Move it

Move it

We have just completed a short film for Christie’s which has gone online this morning. The film showcases Turn Me On: European and Latin American Kinetic Art, 1948-1979a private selling exhibition at Christie’s Mayfair until 7 April. More details are here along with an online version of the catalogue. It’s a really delightful and stimulating show – and entry is free at 103 New Bond Street, London W1S 1ST.

The film was produced and directed for Illuminations over the past five days by Linda Zuck, with Nicole Mandell as production assistant, Ian Serfontein as director of photography and Tor Kristoffersen as editor.

Image: Marina Apollonio, Dinamica Circolare 9B, 1969, on display at Turn Me On.

Links to catch up, 1

Links to catch up, 1

Nearly a month and not a single new post. Given the time of year, I might have expected things to have been quiet, leaving plenty of time for the blog. But not a bit of it. I have started work on the next two cinema broadcasts for the RSC’s Live from Stratford-upon-Avon. At Illuminations we have been busy developing new broadcast ideas and working on a project for the Science Museum. Distribution of our DVD box-set of An Age of Kings continues. And I have been writing two journal articles, a book review for Sight & Sound, preparing a Screen Plays season for BFI

, editing archive material for Tate Britain’s exhibition about Kenneth Clark in May, and teaching some classes at the Royal College of Art. Today, I’m taking part in a Q&A after a special encore screening at the Barbican of Richard II Live from Stratford-upon-Avon, which coincides with the end of the show’s stage run. So I’ve not been idle, just not contributing here – and not being very active with social media either. To start again, however, here is the first of two collections of links that have engaged me recently, with a concentration today on those related to television (including HBO’s True Detective, above) and cinema.
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2013 top ten, 7: John Wyver

2013 top ten, 7: John Wyver

To conclude our 2013 round-up, and before we get to the business of 2014 over the weekend and next week, this is our final ‘top ten’ of the year. Let’s hope that the new year can offer as rich a range of experiences.

1. The Great Beauty

Unsurprisingly Paolo Sorrentino’s panorama of modern Rome (above, with Toni Servillo) has featured in the ‘tens’ by Linda and by Keith, and in many other end-of-the-year round-ups. I saw the film on a Sunday afternoon from the front row of one of the small screens at Clapham Picturehouse – and I was completely overwhelmed. Visually, aurally (part of the score is by Zbigniew Preisner), this is great and glorious cinema…

2. Gravity

… as is Alfonso Cuarón’s astonishing space adventure. Back in November I posted a clutch of links for those interested in learning more about the film, its production and reception. Including it here also gives me an excuse to feature the 2-D trailer once again.


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2013 top ten, 6: Louise Machin

2013 top ten, 6: Louise Machin

At the end of every year each of us at Illuminations and at our sister company Illuminations Films contributes a top ten of cultural highlights of the year. We run these through this holiday period, with the penultimate contribution today from our head of business development Louise Machin. 

1. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, Apollo Theatre

I saw this in March and immediately loved the innovative, hi-tech staging, incredible lighting, and sound design (above) which indicated the grid-like, sensory over-laden world that artistic genius, Christopher (Luke Treadway), perceives around him: overwhelming, busy and noisy. Mark Haddon’s cult novel highlights Christopher’s struggles with the difficulties of everyday life whilst those close to him buckle under the emotional pressures they face.

Adapted for stage by Simon Stephens, this production gives us the world through Christopher’s eyes, which is why it works so well. Starting with a great doggy corpse stuck with a garden fork, Christopher begins his detection trail, virtually disregarding those around him except his teacher, Siobhan (Niamh Cusack) who seems to be the only character able to comfort him when all else appears to stop functioning as he goes into emotional crisis. A must-see, once the Apollo has its roof back on.
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2013 top ten, 3: Keith Griffiths

2013 top ten, 3: Keith Griffiths

At the end of every year each of us at Illuminations and at our sister company Illuminations Films contributes a top ten of cultural highlights of the year. We run these through this holiday period, with the third contribution today from Illuminations Films’ Keith Griffiths. Thank you, Keith – happy new year to you!

Keith: Being a country recluse with little London or overseas travel this year, my cultural input was rather limited in comparison to the non-stop lives of some. But then when I read the about the vast number of exhibitions, concerts and performances friends have visited this year, I get a fierce attack of indigestion. So much ‘stuff’. Do we really need all this to improve our minds and lives? I think I am fast turning into an Edmund Burkean reactionary.

1. Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s

In this spirit – my most pleasurable documentary was Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s, a riveting story of one of NYC’s mythic landmarks. Fabulous stories from Bergdorf Goodman’s iconic history directed by Matthew Miele. The legend, the parties, the fashion idols, the windows, the women, the buyers and shoppers all come to life in an essay to a site where creativity and commerce reigned equally.


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2013 top ten, 2: Tom Allen

2013 top ten, 2: Tom Allen

At the end of every year each of us at Illuminations and at our sister company Illuminations Films contributes a top ten of cultural highlights of the year.

We run these through this holiday period, with the second contribution today from Tom Allen who is a recent recruit to the marketing team. As with most of these offerings, his ten is in no particular order.

1. Persona

“Nicholas Ray is cinema,” Jean-Luc Godard said of the great American director. That’s kind of how I feel about Ingmar Bergman after watching Persona (1966). OK, so that’s the feeling I get from watching most Bergman, but Persona is different, not least because watching Persona is watching a director at the very height of his powers. There are few films that I might describe as perfect, but Persona may well be one.
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2013 top ten, 1: Linda Zuck

2013 top ten, 1: Linda Zuck

At the end of every year each of us at Illuminations and at our sister company Illuminations Films contributes a top ten of cultural highlights of the year.

We run these through this holiday period, with today’s first contribution from Illuminations’ partner and MD Linda Zuck. As with most of these offerings, her ten is in no particular order.

1. Stoner by John Williams

A rediscovered neglected classic, an American novel about an unassuming literary scholar first published in 1965 and re-issued in 2006. It’s so beautifully written and profoundly moving and utterly compelling. A work of quiet perfection.
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A fine, fine life: Lionel Bart on BBCFour [Updated]

A fine, fine life: Lionel Bart on BBCFour [Updated]

Wednesday evening at 9pm on BBC Four sees the first showing of our latest broadcast documentary, Lionel Bart: Reviewing the Situation. Written by Caroline Stafford and David Stafford (and inspired by their fine biography, Fings Ain’t Wot They Used T’Be: The Lionel Bart Story), and directed by Mick Conefrey, this is a totally delightful tale of the astonishing rise and extraordinary fall of the songwriter of Oliver! (1960) and Twang!! (1965). With a fantastic collection of rare film and television archive, and interviews from – among others – Barbara Windsor, Marty Wilde, Ray Davies, Roy Hudd, Cameron Mackintosh and the late Victor Spinetti, it’s a (can I say this?) hugely enjoyable hour of television.
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‘This day of triumph’ #AAoK

‘This day of triumph’ #AAoK

Last week the first shrink-wrapped copies of Illuminations’ DVD release of An Age of Kings arrived at our offices. The event marked the culmination of at least two years’ work by my colleague Louise Machin and I, along with our designer Loic Leveque, and the essential support of Todd MacDonald and Tom Allen. It also represents, given the advance paid to BBC Worldwide as well as the design, sub-titling and duplication costs, a significant investment by the company. So go here to buy your copy for the bargain price of £34.99.

We very much hope that An Age of Kings will be the beginning of a major new project to release great television adaptations of classic theatre plays, which we are conceiving in conjunction with the AHRC-funded University of Westminster research project Screen Plays. Before I explain why I believe An Age of Kings is so significant, and how we plan to promote and support the release, here is a taster:


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Oh such a perfect day

Oh such a perfect day

Today was the Illuminations Summer outing. Seven of us went to see the Moore Rodin exhibition (on until 27 October) at the Henry Moore Foundation in Perry Green. The sun shone and the sky was blue, lunch at The Hoops Inn was rather special, the exhibition is terrific, and the grounds and studios are among the two or three best places to see modern art in Britain. Below are some further pictures, in addition to Three Piece Sculpture: Vertebrae, 1968 (above) and Large Reclining Figure, 1984 (below). But let’s just say here that it was pretty close to a perfect day.


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