Cancelled: Wednesday, 26 December
(La mort en direct)
Directed by Bertrand Tavernier
Deathwatch is a rare 1980 science fiction cult film directed by Bertrand Tavernier (Round Midnight) with an absolutely phenomenal cast- Romy Schneider in one of her last roles, Harry Dean Stanton, Max von Sydow (Ingmar Bergman's favorite actor) and Harvey Keitel.
It is based on the novel The Unsleeping Eye by David G.Compton which envisions a future world where terminal illness ceases to exist and death has been eliminated. Into this situation comes writer Katherine (fabulously portrayed by a fiery Romy Schneider) who suffers from a rare deadly disease. Soon after being diagnosed, she is being hounded by a reality-TV type documentary crew who want to record her slow demise. The film is set in a world fascinated by death, and it has little of the typical sci-fi gadgetry which envisions a high-tech future - rather in this film the future is represented by a bleak and grey world (1970s Glasgow, where the film was shot). It's an environment full of eerie imagery - graveyards, construction cranes and broken industrial landscapes. Romy Schneider almost reminds me of an animal being hounded down through a brutal landscape, trying to keep the intimacy of her final days away from a messed-up world where nothing is private any longer.
In 1980, Death Watch was nominated for the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. The film was also nominated for five Cesar Awards, including Best Cinematography and Best Screenplay.
One viewer's sharp appraisal:
"Directed in a crisp, low-key, thoughtful manner by Bertrand Tavernier, with a lucid, intelligent, provocative script by Tavernier and David Rayfiel, sumptuous, prowling, appropriately voyeuristic cinematography by Pierre William Glenn, a beautifully melancholy tone and a lovely cameo by Max Von Sydow, this eerily prophetic and gravely philosophical film ruminates on a compelling variety of very timely and topical post-modern issues: technological advancements making it easier to invade a person's privacy and causing creativity to stagnate (Katherine's novels are actually written by a computer that she strictly programs ideas into), technology overwhelming mankind so greatly that it causes people to become unfeeling, dispassionate automatons, the morbidly irresistible allure of real life tragedy, man's denial of his own mortality, journalistic ethics, etc. A brilliant, moving, and most accomplished thinking man's science-fiction gem."
We will be presenting a high-definition projection.
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