Subtitled Films That Take You From the Goldrush to the Credit Crunch, the Barbican’s latest curated season takes stock of how a century of film has addressed issues around money and economics and their impact on daily life. The location, at London’s Barbican Centre, could not be more appropriate, in the heart of a city that has become a capital of global finance and seen both its skyline and its social fabric transformed as a consequence. Indeed the concern that unfettered capitalism, rising inequality and gravity-defying property prices are slowly killing the city that is their host is one of the concerns addressed by this wide-ranging programme of films and discussions. Though they all can be seen as addressing financial themes in some way, the films selected range in genre across cult horror, musical, western and silent classics to documentaries and archive material.
The season opens on Thursday 10 September with Jacob Kornbluth’s documentary Inequality for All, followed by a panel discussion with journalist Polly Toynbee, writer and filmmaker Tariq Ali and economist Ann Pettifour, and closes ten days later on Sunday 20 September with James Foley’s Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) introduced by Will Hutton. The season throughout will feature speakers and filmmakers building context and debate. On Saturday 12 September, a Guardian masterclass will look at Investigative journalism and filmmaking: uncovering corporate corruption, followed by a special preview of Danis Tanovich’s Tigers (2014) a drama-documentary that explores the controversial practice of multinational companies in the developing world encouraging new mothers to bottle feed rather than breast feed.
Musician Stephen Horne accompanies Erich von Stroheim’s silent masterpiece, Greed (1924), about the power of money to corrupt, on Sunday 13. Later that day audiences will have a rare chance to see Djibril Diop Mambéty’s Hyènas (1992) set in Senegal, with an introduction by curator of African film Keith Shiri. On Monday 14, director Ben Lewis will give a talk following the screening of Falciani’s Tax Bomb (2015) which follows the “Edward Snowden of the banking world”, Hervé Falciani, who released data from HSBC, leading to a tax evasion scandal on a gigantic scale. In the evening author James Wallman (Stuffocation) will introduce George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, in which the zombie movie becomes a bleak satire on consumerism as survivors take cover from the undead hoardes in a deserted shopping mall.
As part of the Barbican’s regular Architecture on Film strand, on Tuesday 15 artist and filmmaker Su Friedrich will take part in a ScreenTalk via Skype following a double-bill of Hal Hartley’s Theory of Achievement (1991) about young creatives being forced to move from Manhattan to Williamsburg, and her own film made 30 years later, Gut Renovation (2012) about the gentrification of Williamsburg. On Friday 18, Austin Fisher, author of Radical Frontiers in the Spaghetti Western will introduce Sergio Sollima’s The Big Gundown (1966) about a bounty hunter (Lee Van Cleef) who is offered a political career if he can capture and kill Mexican bandit Cuchillo.
Composer Neil Brand introduces Mervyn Leroy’s Gold Diggers of 1933 on Saturday 19, followed later that evening by a ScreenTalk with Sally Potter following the screening of her own The Gold Diggers (1983), an experimental exploration of the lives of two women on a quest to understand the nature of money, made by an all-female crew, all of whom received the same pay. Also that day, authors of The Misfit Economy Alexa Clay and Kyra Maya Phillips introduce Martin Scorsese’s epic Casino (1995), the story of a Vegas empire built on fear and sand starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone.
Other film titles playing in the season include: Guillaume Suon’s documentary The Storm Makers (2014) about modern human trafficking; Mary Harron’s Bret Easton Ellis adaptation American Psycho (2000), Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street (2014) and Robert Bresson’s L’Argent (1983).
The Colour of Money: Films That Take You From the Goldrush to the Credit Crunch; 10-20 September; Barbican Cinema, Barbican Centre, London; www.barbican.org.uk/film.
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