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Slideshow

PREVIOUSLY PLAYED

A KIND OF LOVING

12:30   2:50   5:10   7:30   9:50

Through Thursday, April 13

Directed by John Schlesinger

Starring Alan Bates and June Ritchie

NEW RESTORATION

WINNER, GOLDEN BEAR, BERLIN FILM FESTIVAL

(1962) “You’re a filthy, disgusting pig!” In a grey Northern industrial town, Alan Bates (in his first starring role, following The Entertainer and Whistle Down the Wind) is an up-and-coming draughtsman in a large firm, lives with his housewife mum and engine driver dad (also part-time trombonist in a local brass band), talks non-stop about “birds” with his mates, cheers on the local football team (Bolton), peruses “mucky” books (naked pin-ups), but has eyes for the blonde “untouchable” typist, newcomer June Ritchie’s Ingrid (named for Ingrid Bergman after her mother saw For Whom the Bell Tolls —“If I’d been a boy, I guess I’d have been named for Gary Cooper”). But it’s another time, another life – just before the Beatles revolution:  Bates sits with his pals at the company dance, Ingrid with hers; he’s too embarrassed to buy condoms when the druggist turns out to be a matron; he has to leave the room when she undresses. And then, after their shotgun civil wedding, there’s her Mother, Dame-to-be Thora Hird (“flawless as the nagging, vengeful, mother-in-law” – Dilys Powell). Definitely of the kitchen sink school, but perhaps the first to avoid melodrama, and to treat lower middle class provincials with all the dignity and sympathy of the prevailing well-made drawing room plays. Debut feature for John Schlesinger – who grew up in a middle-class Jewish family in London – soon followed by Billy Liar, Darling, Far from the Madding Crowd, and Midnight Cowboy. Screenplay by Keith Waterhouse (creator of Billy Liar) and Willis Hall. DCP restoration. Approx. 112 mins. 

A RIALTO PICTURES RELEASE

Reviews

“[A] frank, observant drama of horniness, courtship, and disappointment. The film has gained power as its milieu has receded from our times: It’s a feast of Industrial British life, captured in Denys Coop’s beauty-in-the-grime black-and-white photography, documenting northern factories and fog-choked streets, music and dance halls, raucous pub life, cramped flats, the off-season soupiness of the seashore. The actors make the sad moments pierce and the bursts of jubilation explode. Plays less like a study of these two people than a guidebook for the millions of miserable newlyweds they represent — ‘So you found yourself married because you didn’t understand the consequences of sex?’ it seems to ask. Then, movingly, it offers advice about how to make it work.”
– Alan Scherstuhl, The Village Voice

“The plot of A Kind of Loving may lead one to suppose that it is almost a parody of a ‘new wave’ film, with its Northern setting, pregnant girls obsessed with television and brass band concerts, but it is, in fact, a very subtle piece of work, exploring the way individuals have to negotiate what they want through a series of compromises and difficult choices. The story of Vic and Ingrid’s relationship offers a complex view of love and sex in a time of change… There are tensions between desire, responsibility and social acceptance that are not easily resolved. While the moral climate it depicts has largely changed, A Kind of Loving remains an interesting and rewarding film, which dares to accept that there are not necessarily any easy answers to the questions it poses.”
– Phil Wickham, BFI Screen Online 

“Gentle kitchen sink realism… The movie’s industrial realism and sexual candor made it somewhat ahead of its time, and its gritty story was deepened by the authenticity of the performances.”
– Stephen Holden, The New York Times

“The tone is never sensational. A strong sense of seriousness and pathos runs all the way through the film. And the sobering notion that young people must be prepared to accept responsibilities when they start playing seriously with romance is the evolving theme... Mr. Bates, who played the fugitive murderer in Whistle Down the Wind, projects a moving impression of a cheeky, clumsy, crude, confused young man, and Miss Ritchie is heartbreaking as the hopeful, helpless girl.”
– Bosley Crowther, The New York Times 

“One of the most important films of the British New Wave, A Kind Of Loving owes much to the Angry Young Men of theatre. It has rarely been grimmer up north than in John Schlesinger’s tale of social obligation, shame and self-destruction – yet by uncovering the passions beneath these frustrations he turns life’s bit part players into characters in their own right. This is a story with all the components of high drama played out in a world onto which British cinema had hitherto rarely deigned to turn its gaze.
– Jennie Kermode, Eye For Film

“STRIKINGLY DIRECTED AND PHOTOGRAPHED AMID URBAN GRIME AND SUBURBAN CONFORMITY.”
– Leslie Halliwell

“KEENLY OBSERVED...MOVING IN ITS UNPRETENTIOUSNESS.”
– Time Out (London)

“Captures the world of the job, the office party, the evening out at the pictures; and above all the sense of restriction, meanness, and nagging discontent.”
– Penelope Houston

 “Has the sense of desolation so dear to the new British directors: the rainy huddled alleys of the industrial city and the bleak flat spaces of the winter seaside; the mournful sexual colloquies, more explicit than usual... But Schlesinger knows also how to use the drift and scurry of a crowd to create mood and his performers preserve a living rhythm of speech … Ritchie shows an astounding command of the inflections and inconsequences of the half-educated.”
– Dilys Powell

 “Denys Coop’s fine photography makes the most of a palette devoid of sunlight. He transmutes grime and fog into a visual suggestion of the smell of tabloid newsprint… Schlesinger shows quickly that he has compassion and perception as well as an eye for composition and for angles which underscore mood…. He builds his film out of the interplay and rhythm of dialogue, rather than with intrusive editing or hypodermic musical score… Bates plays Vic with such direct goodheartedness that even his recalcitrance affects us as the sulkiness of a child whom basically we like.  His hushed infatuation and his puzzlement at its short life are equally touching.”
– Stanley Kauffmann

 

 

Film Forum