Category Archives: Curzon Cinema

The Eagle Huntress at the Curzon, Bloomsbury

Until January 7th. Poster shows  Aisholpan flying her eagle

Fantastic film/documentary directed by Otto Bell showing at the Curzon Bloomsbury (the old Renoir) in the Bertha Dochouse Cinema.

Aisholpan with her father and her eagle

The Eagle Huntress follows Aisholpan, a 13-year-old girl, as she trains to become the first female in twelve generations of her Kazakh family to become an eagle hunter, a tradition that has been handed down from father to son for centuries.

Set against the breath-taking expanse of the Mongolian steppe, The Eagle Huntress features some of the most awe-inspiring cinematography ever captured in a documentary, giving this intimate tale of a young girl’s quest the dramatic force of an epic narrative film.

While there are many old Kazakh eagle hunters who vehemently reject the idea of any female taking part in their ancient tradition, Aisholpan’s father Nurgaiv believes that a girl can do anything a boy can, as long as she’s determined.

Mind you, the same old men who said she could never succeed and Eagle Hunting was unsuitable for a girl, were grudging when she was highly successful (can’t say more without giving away the climax) said she only succeeded because she was a girl. Misogyny is worldwide!!

The Bertha Dochouse cinema was opened in 2015 as Britain’s first dedicated documentary cinema. It’s comfortable enough and its aims are great, but it has the same forbidding grey seats and grey concrete walls as the rest of the refurbished Bloomsbury Curzon. It feels like threading your way through a gulag.

‘Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio:’ (Hamlet Act 5 Scene 1)

Peyote Beaded Skulls
Peyote Beaded Skulls

No – Benedict Cumberbatch didn’t find one of these Peyote Beaded Skulls from the British Museum in the grave in the brilliant production of Hamlet directed by Lyndsey Turner. He picked up a facsimile of a real human skull.

HamletI wasn’t sure I wanted to see the film of the Barbican production but it was on at the local Curzon and Jane had come over for the weekend.

I was used to a Hamlet who declaimed.  I came from a generation that had seen Shakespeare performed by great Shakespearian actors like  Laurence Olivier, Ralph Richardson and Margaret Leighton – powerful but very traditional and mannered. This production was completely different, timeless but in the present and utterly convincing. A friend has seen the film of Hamlet twice and if it’s shown again I will too.

And don’t fall into the trap of misquoting Hamlet. He did not say ‘Alas poor Yorick I knew him well’!!

Song of the Sea

 

Waiting Area
Waiting Area
Grey walls: grey seats
Grey walls: grey seats

Saw a fabulous animation film, Song of the Sea, at what was the old Renoir, now the Curzon Bloomsbury. The graphics were so beautiful you would be happy to have even a segment of any one of them on your walls. An Irish folk-type tale of a Selkie and her Selkie daughter and the pull of the sea.

But oh! the Stalinist plain concrete walls of the new Curzon, with only the odd splash of blood-red upholstered armchairs, grey seats and grey carpet. The Renoir was in sore need of a makeover but the first time i went to the new Curzon i vowed i wouldn’t go back, but Song of the Sea was only on there and how pleased i was to break my vow – I’m afraid one of many!

Who’s that sitting in my seat?

Empty seats
Empty seats in the Curzon cinema

Something very sad about empty cinema seats but it was a 4.15pm showing of the brilliant film London Road. It did start to fill up a bit later but as there are 5 screens to chose from it remained half empty – or half full if you’re an optimist.