30 Silver Street, Reading, RG1 2ST

Stand up… opera?

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Film buffs are in for a treat with a restored version of a Powell and Pressburger classic.

This month’s Stand Up Cinema brings Powell and Pressburger’s film adaptation of The Tales of Hoffman to the centre. Their filmed version of Offenbach's opera turned British cinema on its head and has recently been reissued with a new print, restored by Powell’s widow Thelma Schoonmacher – a gifted film editor in her own right, famed for her work with current husband Martin Scorsese.

This new print brings the almost hallucinatory imagery to life once again, as Robert Rounseville’s Hoffmann, regales tavern drinkers with tales of his three former loves: Olympia, Giulietta and Antonia – an automaton, a courtesan and an invalid, three different manifestations of love’s dangerous, seductive power.

The Guardian calls it a “hothouse flower of pure orchidaceous strangeness, enclosed in the studio’s artificial universe, fusing cinema, opera and ballet. It is sensual, macabre, dreamlike and enigmatic”, while Empire names it “The best-ever filmed opera” and admires “special effects techniques Georges Méliès would have understood, but in ravishing Technicolor, with stylised sets and costumes, and amazingly physical performances”.  And if that’s not enough, Scorsese himself has named it one of his biggest influences, too.

For your chance to see this beautifully-crafted classic – as well as short films from local film-makers – head down to the Rising Sun this Friday evening from 7:30pm.

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