Artist's Choice, Screening

  • A Matter of Life and Death (1946)
    Image: still from 'A Matter of Life and Death', 1946, courtesy of Park Circus Films

ARTIST’S CHOICE | A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH

Set during the Second World War, A Matter of Life and Death is a dazzling romantic fantasy. Directed and produced by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, this iconic British film was first released in 1946 as Stairway to Heaven, a title derived from its most prominent special effect, and narrative device, a broad escalator linking Earth to the afterlife.

David Niven stars as a pilot who meets the love of his life over the radio whilst trying to fly his plane back to base in England. The character becomes caught between life and ‘the other world’, resisting the afterlife to stay with the woman he loves.

The film took a strikingly inventive approach to cinema, reaching for new visual effects. Moving between worlds, and between black and white and colour images, it was shot on three-strip Technicolor film stock. In selected scenes the colour was not fully developed, lending an unusual pearly hue to black and white shots, a reversal of the effect seen just a few years earlier in The Wizard of Oz. The restored Technicolour print screening at CAST was released in 1995.

This film has been selected by CAST studio artist Ben Sanderson, who will give a brief introduction.

CAST Café will serve food from 6.30pm, something hot and something sweet for £6.

The public programme at CAST is supported by Arts Council England, as part of the Groundwork programme 2016-18, which has been awarded Ambition for Excellence funding. Ambition for Excellence is a new programme aimed at stimulating and supporting ambition, talent and excellence across the arts sector in England. The fund aims to have significant impact on the growth of an ambitious international-facing arts infrastructure, especially outside London.

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