Much of note looms on the horizon of November. Herein lies a couple of things I’m most eagerly anticipating.
The undoubted film-cultural highlight of November 2013 is the screening of Abel Gance’s Napoléon at the Royal Festival Hall that takes place on the 30th of the month. The film last screened in the UK in 2004, with legal wranglings long getting in the way of any kind of formal release (although due to the technical specifics required by the film, restoration supervisor Kevin Brownlow has ruled out anything of the sort being possible). Running to just over 5 and a half hours in length, Gance’s Napoléon is one of the finest achievements of the cinema, and this event looks set to be a major highlight of the year in film.
Two days prior to Napoléon taking over the South Bank, A Nos Amours continue with their landmark exploration of the work of Chantal Akerman, with the second in their ongoing quest to screen the Belgian filmmaker’s complete oeuvre in the capital over the next 18 months. Akerman 2 features Le Chambre, Le 15/18 and Je Tu il Elle, her debut feature-lengh work. On a related note, the Leeds International Film Festival this year screens Akerman’s best-known work, Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles in just seven days time. The festival will feature heavily across Hope Lies this month.
It’s a busy month for quality home video too. Frances Ha, one of 2013’s best films, is inducted in to the Criterion Collection, while Eureka’s Masters Of Cinema release the first of their collaborations with Martin Scorsese at the end of November, with their World Cinema Foundation Vol. 1. box-set. They’re also releasing the new restoration of Murnau’s Nosferatu in a week or so’s time, while Arrow finally bring the complete Cinema Paradiso package to Blu-ray too. On the printed word front the tome I’m most looking forward to is Michael Witt’s Jean-Luc Godard, Cinema Historian. Witt is one of the editors of the landmark For Ever Godard, and here focusses upon Godard’s Histoire(s) du cinema. 2013 has been a fantastic year for book-length studies on Godard’s lesser known periods, with Witt’s volume joining Daniel Morgan’s Late Godard and Jerry White’s Two Bicycles in an ever-expanding pantheon of illuminating works.
Adam Batty – Editor