Kevin Williamson has lived in Edinburgh since 1979 and feels very much at home there with his daughter and his mates and some of his family and his football team and all the people he likes and the people he bumps into when he walks around aimlessly photographing things. He likes the historic bits of Edinburgh with cobbles and sandstone much more than the shiny new bits with black glass windows and computer terminals. He canít get enough of Arthurís Seat and Portobello beach and Leith Walk and the Botanic Gardens and the house where Robert Louis Stevenson was born and both the bars on the opposite corners of Iona Street and Buchanan Street and the back of the East Stand where folk meet for a smoke and a laugh at half time and the National Museum of Scotland with all the butterflies on pins and the view from the top of Calton Hill in the winter. Some days he likes watching bands at the Liquid Rooms or movies at the Cameo and others he likes watching folk lying around in the summer having picnics in the Meadows and taking the long and winding path along the Water of Leith from the Modern Art Gallery to the Shore and staring down at the burnt out shell of La Belle Angele from The Bridges wondering what would have happened if the Old Town had burnt down. In a previous life he was a publisher but canít recall the details and some of his poetry has appeared here and there and some of the things he has done have worked out okay and others havenít which aint a bad batting average.
FIVE MOVIES THAT KEVIN LIKES:
LA BELLE ET LA BETE
I like Jean Cocteauís Beauty and The Beast because it is set in an enchanted forest that is full of strange things and a castle where the walls have hands and love that can tear you apart and The Beast is actually Cocteauís lover in real life. By the end of this dreamy, surreal, magnificent film I am convinced that cinema is the best technological thing to come out of the Twentieth Century. This is a masterpiece.
To read about the film on the Lenin Imports website, click here; for Derek Malcolm's article on the film on the Guardian Unlimited website, click here or to read about Cocteau's Orphic film trilogy on the Bright Lights Film website, click here
Sunrise is the silent movie that shines like an impossible star. It was made in black-and-white in 1927 and won the first ever Oscar for its Leading Lady Ė as they called them back then. A city slicker in stockings and slutty high heels seduces a country bumpkin with her wily ways and poisons his mind against his lovely wife. When she hypnotises him into killing her he snaps out of it at the last moment, realises his mistake, and takes his wife on a night of spontaneity and adventures and falls completely in love with her again. The narrative is riveting and compulsive and funny. Despite the advances in cinema technique this movie has rarely been equalled and never surpassed.
To read about the film on the Web of Murnau website, click here; to read about director, F.W. Murnau on the Lenin Imports website, click here or for a short profile of Murnau on the Art and Culture website, click here
When you watch this mesmerising brilliant film for the first time you soon realise that Greta Garbo is an even better actress than you ever imagined and that the mythology and mystique around her unfairly overshadows her genius. Queen Christina is set in Sweden in the early seventeenth century and may not sound like a must-see film but it is. There are angry mobs, social injustices, courtly betrayals, double-dealings, spirited idealism and not a little cross-dressing. And as for the tragic final close up of Garbo on the ship it sends a shiver down my spine just thinking about it.
CARRY ON CAMPING
The very best Carry On movies always had both Sid James and Barbara Windsor in them. They were the Carry On films for me. Barbara Windsor only ever made nine Carry On movies and this is the most famous of them. Itís got all the smutty innuendos you could ever hope for and its got THAT SCENE in it. Carry On fans will know exactly which one Iím talking about. ďS-t-r-e-t-c-hĒÖ Boing! I love the music and the fact that every character has their own special score. Makes me laugh from beginning to end. Especially the clothes and haircuts.
How this film got made Iíll never know. Where they got all the footage of those hidden civilisations and breath-taking natural phenomena is a mystery to me and one which I donít ever want solved. This planet is so beautiful and mysterious and diverse and MacDonaldís canít get everywhere. Iíve watched Baraka over and over again Ė itís a late night thing for me. Whether it is the dignified ape at the beginning, up to its neck in a volcanic lake, or the guys going ďcha-cha-cha-cha-cha-chaĒ in the eastern monasteryÖ Iím just hooked on what this planet has to offer and this film helps you realise why we shouldnít try and westernise and fuck up everything in our tracks.
To visit the MPI Media site for the film, click here; to visit the Spirit of Baraka website, click here or for Barak: A World Beyond Words, photographs by Mark Magidson on the Soul Catcher Studio website, click here
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