Powers of Ten
Directed by Charles and Ray Eames
Running time: 9 mins
Powers of Ten (1977) is a short documentary film written and directed by legendary architects and designers Charles and Ray Eames. Self-described as 'a film dealing with the relative size of things and the effect of adding another zero', it is a visual investigation of the ideas in the seminal book Cosmic View, written in 1957 by the Dutch educator Kees Boeke. Made for IBM, the film deals with the power of magnitudes and starts off with a man and a woman enjoying a picnic by the lakeside in Chicago. Panning out every ten seconds, to ten times further out from this point, we eventually end up on the outer edges of the universe until our own galaxy is visible only as a speck of light among many others. Then, with breakneck speed, we are bought in again on a journey that ends up inside a proton of a carbon atom within a DNA molecule in a white blood cell inside the hand of the sleeping picnicker. Using a simple premise to break apart our expectations of spatial relationships, relativity and meaning, the film interrogates, visually and philosophically, our place on earth. One of 75 films made by the couple, Powers of Ten is highly influential and was selected in 1998 for preservation in the US National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Running time: 124 mins
Often cited as the best movie of all time, Vertigo (1958) was Hitchcok's 46th film. A stylized psychological thriller and a narrative of obsessive love, it's an exquisitely shot tale about mental breakdown, desire and perversion in 1950s San Francisco. Scottie (James Stewart) is a detective who develops a fear of heights after watching a colleague fall to his death. During his recovery, he is approached by his old pal Elster (Tom Helmore) who confides that his wife Madeleine (Kim Novak) has been possessed by the spirit of Carlotta Valdes, a suicidal 18th century aristocrat. Scottie agrees to follow Madeleine and, after intervening in her attempted suicide, he inevitably falls in love. An attack of vertigo, however, means that Scottie cannot prevent Madeleine's eventual death, a fact which causes him a total mental breakdown. A year later, Scottie meets the Madeleine look-alike Judy and enters into a relationship with her, forcibly altering her hair, make up and clothes until he transforms Judy into the very picture of Madeleine herself. Hitchcock summed up his story, which twists a conventional Hollywood plot line, as “boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy meets girl again, boy loses girl again” but Vertigo confounds any simple readings and makes complex its underlying subject matter of female objectification and the power of the male gaze. Often seen as Hitchock's personal commentary on the medium of film, and on his relationship to his female leads in particular, it is the work of a sophisticated visual stylist and, all at once, a perfectly crafted, frustrating and exhilarating film.
Reservation is not necessary, but places are limited. Please arrive early to avoid disappointment.