The National Media Museum: The heart of a cultural community

As regular visitors to this site may already know, Girl On Film’s resident writer is a proud and sometime exasperated Bradfordian currently living in York .

News of the recent planned cuts to the Science Museum Group could have irreplaceable consequences for the two National museums in each respective city: Bradford’s National Media Museum and York’s National Railway Museum. Loathed to lose a vital vessel of cultural significance in the North, the national arts community has reacted strongly to these proposed cuts which could most likely result in the closure of the National Media Museum with a petition gaining nearly 25,000 signatures and respected culture site, Den of Geek rallying for support and awareness of the cause.

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In particular, the National Media Museum or The National Museum of Photography, Film and Television as it was called until 2006, was the building which harboured and cultivated the cinematic dreams of this young writer from a very early age. For a long while, there was little to boast about for a Bradford citizen, brief Premiership glory dissipated and scarring media coverage of race riots purged the city of much enthusiasm to raise its head above the blossoming hedgerow of its neighbour, Leeds. As mentioned in an article however, which traces the on-going plight of the Bradford Odeon, Bradford remained quietly proud of its associations with the visual arts. From the notorious Cottingley Fairies which illuminated the mysticism of photography to the industrial landscapes which were the cinematic settings of the British New Wave, the city upon discovery, charts a history which reels alongside the development of world media and the preservation of the arts.

Indeed, as well as being an interactive museum with fun for all the family, the museum plays an important role in archiving 3.5 million items deemed to have historical, cultural and social value, ranging from the first photographic negative to the first television footage. All of which are accessible to the public for posterity. Quantifiable as this collection may be, the cultural significance in providing a platform for this vestibule of moving history to be viewed, studied and preserved is immeasurable.

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Easily one of the museum’s most popular highlights is the IMAX cinema. The UK’s first IMAX theatre, the museum has continually brought state of the art film technology to the North, granting audiences world-class opportunities to witness cinema’s most immersive of film experiences with record audience numbers. The Pictureville and Cubby Broccolli cinemas also screen art house and contemporary cinema, with Pictureville being the only cinema house in Europe with Cinerama programming. All three cinemas host Bradford’s increasingly prestigious international films festivals which attract filmmakers and film fans annually.

And the list goes on. Whilst the future of the National Media Museum and its sister Science Museum Group counterparts hang in the balance, it’s our continued footfall and support which has the power to convince those pulling the purse strings that these museums are worth saving. The immediate outrage from all three communities potentially affected is a heartening reminder of the importance of creativity, its achievements throughout the twentieth century and its vivacity in times of economic downturn.

To help save the National Media Museum and to find out more about its equally endangered and world-class counterparts, sign the petition here: http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/save-the-national-media-museum-bradford

If you have Twitter please show your support by tweeting your message with the hashtag ‘#SaveNMM

And finally, please visit the museum and donate if you can. The National Media Museum celebrates its 30th Anniversary this year: Thirty Years of the National Media Museum

B0TMYY

Review: Kyss Mig (2011)

We have the Scandinavians a lot to thank for in recent years in regards to TV and movies. If you’re looking for intriguing stories, beautiful scenery and people who look even better, then the Scandi-wave which has tsunami-ed our shores is as exciting as ever. Of course, while the quality of Scandinavian filmmaking has never been doubted, the success of series such as The Killing, Borgen and silver screen adaptations of the Millennium trilogy and Headhunters to name a few, chances to see our European neighbours work has certainly increased.

With this in mind then, GIRL ON FILM has chosen to review a film which while not a nail-biting detective thriller, does have many cosy-looking jumpers in the style of Sofie Gråbøl. Kyss Mig (Kiss Me) is a 2011 Swedish romance film directed by Alexandra-Therese Keining and stars Ruth Vega Fernandez and Liv Mjönes as well as Lena Endre and Wallander‘s Krister Henriksson.

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The film tells the story of Mia (Ruth Vega Fernandez), an up-and-coming architect about to marry Tim (Joakim Nätterqvist), her business partner. At the engagement party for her also newly-engaged Father, Lasse (Krister Henriksson), she meets Frida (Liv Mjönes), daughter of her Lasse’s fiancee, Elisabeth (Lena Endre). Mia and Frida exchange many glances, portending mutual attraction. Mia and Frida both visit the remote island home Elisabeth and Lasse plan to share. Frida continues to be intrigued by Mia whose feelings are mutual but conflicted by her relationship with Tim. Mia and Frida’s feelings for one another blossom becoming increasingly urgent, until finally, Mia is left to decide whether to suppress her love for Frida or go on with her wedding plans or break off her engagement to Tim.

On the surface, this is a ‘coming out’ story, but underlying the drama and romance is a tale of two families attempting to unite as Lasse and Elisabeth become engaged. The actions of their children forces the older couple to discover more about one another in the wake of their daughter’s revelations and at times, though we are primarily focusing on the awakenings of Mia and Frida, the film contains scenes which superbly utilises its ensemble cast. A film which it could be most likened to is the recent Love is All You Need (2012), a Danish film starring Pierce Brosnan which has just been released this month in the UK.

As well as being an engaging family drama, Kyss Mig is a film which is GORGEOUS to look at. Concerning characters who sip glasses of red wine in attractive gardens in private holiday homes, you could be mistaken for thinking this was a film approved by the Swedish tourism board (though that’s probably because our home-grown Brit flicks sometimes waver between Nil by Mouth and Billy Elliot in comparison). The upper-middle-class-ness of it all shouldn’t put you off however, as it all adds to the escapism which makes the love story and setting feel like a fairytale on film.

Paired with the raw emotion the Swedish do so well, the film also boasts a soundtrack which elevates the film in its key scenes, letting the likes of José Gonzalez and Robyn replace what could be superfluous dialogue and allow the characters to flourish against a backdrop of stunning cinematography and sparkling chemistry.

If you’re looking for a film that’s heart-warming, thought-provoking as well as some dazzling romance, heartache and some beautifully sexy scenes, then this is the perfect film. If you like to suspend your cynicism, believe in true love and trust the power of family- Kyss Mig will be the film for you.

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The Bradford Odeon: Restoring a history, restoring the city.

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As a Bradfordian, nearly nothing can cause more frustration than the stalled restoration of the city centre. Facing the new City Park however, is a building which has caused more consternation than most, alerting along the way the nation’s press and a whole host of celebrity supporters in recent years…  

On the 2nd July 2000, the Bradford Odeon cinema closed its doors to the public. Above the door it read in bold letters, “THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES”. Memories which, over the last thirteen years have taken on an added poignancy as the residual overgrowth and disrepair shroud the building.

To many, the New Victoria (as it was originally named) is one of the last reminders of a city once bustling; a glittering star of glamour in a Northern mill town prospering under the grey cloud of industry. Designed by Bradford architect William Illingworth in 1929, it is one of the last surviving art deco super cinemas in the country and heralded the new age of the silver screen to West Yorkshire. The ballroom and restaurant (still in surprisingly good condition), toasted the city. And as the 1950s and 1960s beckoned, stars such as Buddy Holly, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles graced its stage under the new name, the Gaumont.

Bradford has examples of successful restorations in its recent past, one of which being Sir Titus Salt’s mill in Saltaire. It seems almost outrageous to think how in the 1970s, Saltaire’s biggest tourism draw (not to mention, a UNESCO World Heritage Site) faced the same potentially dark future as the Bradford Odeon does today. Furthermore, with Bradford being named the first UNESCO City of Film, can Bradford Council really justify the destruction of a beautiful building which helped to establish the city as a hub of film heritage? The National Media Museum, arguably the nucleus of the City of Film campaign, mournfully overlooks the Bradford Odeon from its huge glass façade, and one can only imagine the restored view if those who love and respect the building have their way.

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The Bradford Odeon Rescue Group (BORG) has worked tirelessly for ten years to put a stop to the attempts from Bradford Council to bulldoze the timestamps of Bradfordian history. Successes such as the City Park next to Centenary Square have been successful  simply because they have utilised a space already available and created areas that work for the people, not just the investors. The countless plans for office spaces and hotel complexes which have graced the pages of the local rag, the Telegraph and Argus over the years, lack inspiration and practicality for the state of Bradford today. Bradford is a city once bitten by the empty promises of a redevelopment company and an inept council. The Bradford Odeon is an opportunity to put right what we already have, to accept our past and re-imagine the future. There are numerous fantastic ideas for the building, all of which seem entirely plausible, especially after inspections have announced the Bradford Odeon to be structurally sound, as well the original Italian Renaissance designs remaining remarkably intact.

Its surviving sister, The Alhambra Theatre, continues to glitter. Perhaps one day the Bradford Odeon will again too.

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We started the fire: The British films which defined the Thatcher era

Baroness Margaret Thatcher died today, leaving a controversial legacy which divided a nation during her time as the first female Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990. The entire decade of the Eighties was under her umbrella of relentless leadership with an iron fist, making generational enemies who still feel the affects of her policies today.

British film in the Eighties could be depicted as being the second tide of the British New Wave which first gained prominence in the Sixties. Beginning with the optimism of Chariots of Fire (1981) which heralded a new recognition of British film on the world stage, it was twinned with the opening years of Thatcher’s premiership in office. By the time we come to The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1989), Peter Greenaway’s film can be read broadly as a lavish and unsettling satire of Thatcherism and the evils of the decade’s excesses.

Here are a list of just some of the films which attempt to capture the mood of the 1980s:

The Long Good Friday (1980) Dir: John Mackenzie

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Chariots of Fire (1981) Dir: Hugh Hudson

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Pink Floyd: The Wall (1982) Dir: Alan Parker

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Local Hero (1983) Dir: Bill Forsyth

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Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (1983) Dir: Terry Jones

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My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) Dir: Stephen Frears

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A Room with a View (1985) Dir: James Ivory

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Brazil (1985) Dir: Terry Gilliam

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Rita, Sue and Bob Too (1987) Dir: Alan Clarke

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The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (1989) Dir: Peter Greenaway

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JAMESON EMPIRE AWARDS 2013: The results!

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The results of the JAMESON EMPIRE AWARDS 2013:

Sightseers wins BEST BRITISH FILM
Skyfall UK & IRE wins BEST FILM
MARTIN FREEMAN wins BEST ACTOR
JENNIFER LAWRENCE wins BEST ACTRESS
EMPIRE INSPIRATION goes to SAM MENDES
OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTION for DANNY BOYLE
EMPIRE LEGEND granted to HELEN MIRREN
EMPIRE HERO this year is DANIEL RADCLIFFE
BEST FEMALE NEWCOMER awarded to SAMANTHA BARKS
BEST MALE NEWCOMER awarded to TOM HOLLAND
BEST COMEDY for Ted (The Movie)
BEST THRILLER for Headhunters
BEST SCIENCE FICTION/FANTASY is The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
BEST HORROR goes to The Woman in Black UK