FilmClub: ‘Best opera film ever’ on campus

2008-02-25 00:00

The 2008 FilmClub programme for the first semester kicks off on Thursday, February 28, with a showing of a film version of Mozart’s famous opera The Magic Flute directed by Ingmar Bergman.

When the celebrated Swedish director died last year, FilmClub screened one of his most representative films — the austere and challenging spiritual drama Winter Light.

But there is another side to Bergman, one that delighted in the joyful and flamboyant world of the theatre.

To celebrate this happier Bergman, FilmClub starts the semester with his delightful 1974 film version of Mozart’s The Magic Flute.

The film is deliberately and enchantingly stagey, evoking the atmosphere of the original 1791 production at the Theatre auf der Wieden in Vienna.

Sumptuously shot by Bergman’s long-time collaborator Sven Nykvist, and featuring leading Nordic singers of the time, the film is, in the opinion of critic Peter Cowie, “the finest screen version of an opera ever produced”.

FilmClub is now in its sixth year and has generated a loyal audience; the choice of films deliberately differs from those available on the circuit: it is a somewhat eclectic mix of cinema classics that have been reissued on DVD and world cinema, each film is introduced by a member of the FilmClub committee and the minimal funds raised are used to purchase additional DVDs, which are then lodged in the permanent DVD collection used for film studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg campus.

FilmClub membership: R100 for entry into all films shown this semester. Individual viewings: R15, or R10 for students.

All films are shown in the Centre for Visual Arts Lecture Theatre — UKZN Pietermaritzburg campus, in Ridge Road, between the Alan Paton Avenue (Durban Road) and Carbis Road.

Safe parking is available by entering the double gate immediately above the Centre for Visual Arts. The gate will be manned between 5.45 pm and 6 pm.

Ingmar Bergman directing Irma Urrila in a scene from The Magic Flute, Bergman’s enchanting film version of Mozart’s opera that will be the first FilmClub offering this year. This is an original production still. The film is in colour.

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