Fast Track to Fandom – Wes Anderson / BFI

Why this might not seem so easy

“All of Wes Anderson’s films are comedies… and none are.” When the foremost chronicler and advocate of Wes Anderson’s cinema, US critic Matt Zoller Seitz, makes such a sweeping and seemingly paradoxical statement about his subject, the uninitiated Anderson viewer might be forgiven a certain hesitancy to get started. Read more

10 Great Modern Films Shot in Academy Ratio / BFI

With his quixotic adventure film Jauja, starring Viggo Mortensen, Lisandro Alonso is the latest filmmaker to ditch the conventional wide-screen format in order to resurrect the squarer ‘Academy’ ratio of earlier times. He’s in good company…

Martin Scorsese’s deft, tautological epithet, “cinema is a matter of what’s in the frame and what’s out”, typically orbits discussions of subject matter or setting, camera placement or lighting. What’s perhaps considered less of a variable are the actual dimensions of the image: its aspect ratio, or ratio of the width of an image to its height.

Cinema’s early days were straightforward. A 35mm celluloid frame was four perforations high, creating an industry standard ratio of 4:3, or 1:1.33, often shortened to 1:33. When synchronised sound arrived in 1929, dimensions expanded slightly to allow for the optical soundtrack strip, creating a 1:37 aspect ratio. Both of these were folded into one official image size, known as the Academy ratio. Read more

10 Great Comedies of the 21st Century

10 Great Comedies of the 21st Century

As the LOCO London Comedy Film Festival rolls in to blow away the January blues once again, we decided it was time to take stock of some of the 21st century’s finest, funniest achievements in film comedy.

Let’s face it, in dark, dreary January, everyone needs a good laugh. LOCO, the London Comedy Film Festival now in its fourth year, was specifically designed to combat the winter blues, serving up an array of new and classic shorts and features across the capital. Along with its world premieres, and the opening night UK premiere of Lost in Karastan, this year’s LOCO theme is social class – a smart choice in a general election year – which means the likes of vintage Ealing comedies Passport to Pimlico (1949) and Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) and more modern classics such as Local Hero (1983) and Life Is Sweet (1990) back on the big screen.

And LOCO isn’t just about watching movies; it plays an active role in providing training and ideas for funding for the next generation of comic filmmakers. Its highly popular Kickstart Your Comedy Career course at BFI Southbank offers a great way to motivate and connect people – just the way the best comedies do. Read more

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