Rose Theatre

A Matter of Life and Death - Starlight Room
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A Matter of Life and Death - Starlight Room

as part of Classics Night
Starlight Room Playing in the Starlight Room · 21+ Venue
Wed, 3/7 7:30
“A romantic, daring and beautifully realized allegorical fantasy--one of the best of the Powell/Pressburger movies." — – Martin Scorsese

Back from bombing Germany, RAF flyboy David Niven crashes into the Channel, despite American operator Kim Hunter’s efforts to talk him down – but he isn’t dead yet, since Collector 71 (Marius Goring), a previously beheaded French aristocrat, has missed his scheduled soul pickup due to heavy fog. Asked to make a film promoting Anglo-American goodwill, Powell & Pressburger (The Red Shoes, Tales of Hoffman, etc.) soared into otherworldly whimsical fantasy, moving from the great Jack Cardiff’s Technicolor-drenched Earthly photography (more dazzling than ever in this new restoration), to a grandiose celestial trial with Raymond Massey as Niven’s snarling prosecutor, in glorious black & white (actually underdeveloped color, thus the pearly hue). “One is starved for Technicolor up there,” Goring remarks from Earth. New 4K DCP restoration. ​Approx. 104 min.

“One of the most audacious films ever made - in its grandiose vision, and in the cozy English way it’s expressed… The special effects show a universe that never existed until this movie was made, and the vision is breathtaking in its originality.”
– Roger Ebert

“It is a film with incredible self-possession, at once a playful miniature of innocent love and grandiose epic.”
– Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

“A virtuoso opening shot displays Powell’s ambitions: nothing less than a tracking movement across the universe, beginning with a distant galaxy and coming to fix on the cockpit of a British bomber, returning toward Dover from an air raid deep within Germany… Like so many of the films that Powell and Pressburger made together A Matter of Life and Death seems to overflow with ideas. In between international politics and metaphysical speculation, the film even finds room for some cinematic self-referentiality.”
– Dave Kehr, The New York Times