Off the Shelf film screenings
By Martin Carter, Principal Lecturer, Film Studies, Sheffield Hallam University
Following the success of our screenings for last year’s Off The Shelf, the Humanities department at Sheffield Hallam University have curated another trio of films to complement the three themes of this year’s festival: Frankenstein 200, Suffrage 100 and Circus 250.
We will be screening the films in Sheffield Hallam University’s cinema, The Void, on Sunday afternoons throughout the festival.
Blade Runner – The Final Cut: Sunday 7th October 4:30pm
Reflecting the festival’s Frankenstein 200 theme, we shall be screening Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner (1982), a film that, like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, explores the consequences and responsibilities involved in the creation of artificial life. Instead of a man built from the body parts and brains of the dead, Blade Runner’s Nexus-6 replicants are perfectly formed men and women but cursed not only with a finite expiry date. How they deal with their equally perfect simulation of human emotions such as love and revenge is a direct echo of the monster’s search for his creator.
Since its first release in 1982, the film has been released in three different versions; we will be screening the most recent (as of the time of writing), Blade Runner – The Final Cut, from 2007.
Die Suffragette: Sunday 14th October 1pm
Surprisingly, the struggle for women’s suffrage has inspired little cinematic representation; in fact, before Sarah Gavron’s Suffragette (2015) one has to go back over a century to find a feature film that deals with the subject. Urban Gad’s Die Suffragette (1913) is a German film loosely based on the life of Christabel Pankhurst and stars Asta Neilsen as Nelly Panburne, a young and beautiful suffragette unafraid to take radical action in pursuit of her cause. Although the film takes liberties with historical fact and replaces it with liberal doses of melodrama and romance, it remains a unique contemporary account of the suffragette movement.
We will be screening the most complete version of the film currently available and there will be an introduction to the film from Dr. Adity Singh.
Circus of Horrors: Sunday 21st October 4:30pm
The 1960s was something of a golden age for British horror cinema and several used the circus as a setting for their grisly goings-on. Circus of Fear (1966) with Christopher Lee and Berserk (1967) with Joan Crawford were two but the most lurid and sleazy (and fun) is undoubtedly Circus of Horrors (1960). The story of a homicidal plastic surgeon who takes over a travelling circus and uses his surgical skills to transform facially disfigured women into stars of his big top. It is a film full of familiar British character actors and a parade of European starlets who suffer bizarrely contrived deaths – all with a circus theme. The film also benefits enormously from having been shot on location at Billy Smart’s Circus. Whilst Anton Diffring chews the scenery as the surgeon/ringmaster, bears and lions chew on the supporting cast – it is truly a film with something to offend everyone.