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Testimony

Auditorium - Subs - Tuesday 5 Mar 2019, 17:30

Ruby Tuesdays:

1987: The Film Society moved to its present home at New Park in 1987.


The following year a 2nd hand 35mm projector was installed, and one of the first 35mm prints screened was Tony Palmer’s epic ‘Testimony’ (1987). We hope to screen an original 35mm print (wait for the breakdown!) provided by director Tony Palmer, whom we hope to welcome to introduce his film. – Roger Gibson.


Tony Palmer's remarkable film portrait of composer Dmitri Shostakovich, stars Ben Kingsley in the title role. Music (generously) is performed by The London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Rudolf Barshai. Palmer's prowess as an editor, skilfully interweaves archive footage and Soviet cinematic portrayals of Stalin with his own film, which is mostly in black and white reflecting the nature of the times in which Shostakovich lived. The starting point is Shostakovich’s funeral, where the composer himself is commenting sardonically in a voiceover on the guests. The dread figure of Stalin looms over the film, and Shostakovich’s terror becomes emblematic of the Terror itself. Based on the now-equivocally-considered memoirs of Shostakovich, written down by Solomon Volkov, this film is an overwhelming experience. Rare 35mm print.

UK/Netherlands/Denmark 1987 Tony Palmer 157m


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