Thursday, 13 May 2010
Reliving the magic of Tim Burton on screen
Screening in tandem with Tim Burton: The Exhibition, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) presents Tim Burton Film Retrospective, a film season showcasing Tim Burton's complete body of work as a feature film director, alongside selected highlights from his early career as an animator and producer.
The retrospective will kick off upon the exhibition opening with a screening of Burton's break-out hit Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985), screening in a newly minted 35mm print courtesy of Warner Bros, and introduced by Tim Burton on opening night.
The directorial feature debut of the then 27-year-old Tim Burton brilliantly combined a kinetic visual inventiveness - complete with extravagant sight gags and whimsical set pieces - with the no-holds-barred persona of Paul Reubens' disarmingly single-minded man-child protagonist, Pee-wee Herman.
It also marked Burton's first collaboration with composer Danny Elfman (with whom the director has collaborated on no less than thirteen features to date), whose musical scores, songs and lyrics seamlessly align with Burton's visual aesthetic. The marriage of these two great artists via Pee-wee's Big Adventure and the success it spawned makes this the ideal starting-point for this retrospective and for an appearance by Tim Burton, when he introduces the session on opening night, Friday 25 June.
Not widely known to be part of his filmography, The Fox and The Hound (1981) was in fact Burton's first assignment as an animator during a four year apprenticeship with the Disney studio which began in 1979. The most expensive Disney animation made at the time, The Fox and the Hound features the vocal talents of Mickey Rooney, Kurt Russell and Corey Feldman and, upon release, was widely praised for its exploration of relationships and as a morality tale for young audiences.
With subject matter and characters that did not match Burton's own creative vision or interests, he quickly found himself uninspired and thrust himself into sketching and storyboarding animations and live action shorts of his own, which ultimately determined this period as a productive one.
An opportunity to see, or relive, all of Burton's feature films on the big screen, the program will also screen his now-classic tale of a young outcast Edward Scissorhands (1990), his adaptations of Roald Dahl's classic novels James and the Giant Peach (1996) directed by Henry Sellick, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) and, of course, his latest visual treat Alice in Wonderland (2010), based on Lewis Carroll's famed tale.
Other adaptations screening include Sleepy Hollow (1999), Burton's gothic remake of Washington Irving's classic American folk tale; Big Fish (2003) Daniel Wallace's fantastical tale of lives lived and imagined; and Sweeney Todd (2007), Burton's glorious, gruesome, full-blooded adaptation of Hugh Wheeler's novel and Stephen Sondheim's hit Broadway musical.
Also screening is supernatural comedy Beetlejuice (1988); all-star sci-fi spoof Mars Attacks! (1996); Ed Wood (1994) featuring Johnny Depp as a cross-dressing Z-grade film director in this black and white offbeat biopic of Hollywood's 'worst' director; and Mark Wahlberg as the ultimate 'social misfit' in Burton's remake of the 1968 sci-fi epic, Planet of the Apes (2001).
The season features a bumper screening schedule for the popular stop-motion features Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), and Tim Burton's Corpse Bride (2005).
The Tim Burton Film Retrospective would not be complete without his re-imagining of Batman. A comic book fan since childhood, Burton referenced the original 1930s DC Comics in drawing inspiration for a darker vision of a foreboding Gotham City in Batman (1989). Starring Michael Keaton as an emotionally alienated Bruce Wayne and his brooding, bat-outfitted, vigilante alter ego, and Jack Nicholson with an irresistibly maniacal performance as The Joker, Burton's Batman was box office gold.
On the back of Batman's success, Burton invested more of his own sensibility in the sequel bringing to life some of the most unforgettable villans on the big screen to date. Plumbing even murkier psychological depths in the caped crusader's tormented pathology (and those of his antagonists), Batman Returns (1992), sees Michael Keaton reprise his role to battle with the latex-clad Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer) and the grotesque, demented Penguin (Danny De Vito).
ACMI's Tim Burton Film Retrospective is designed to screen Burton's entire oeuvre of feature films over the 14 weeks of Tim Burton: The Exhibition, with screenings programmed until the closing day of the exhibition on Sunday 10 October. Sessions are programmed across Thursday and Friday nights, especially for the night owls and grown up fans, and conveniently on Sunday mornings and afternoons for Burton's youngest fans and families.
All tickets to films in the Tim Burton Film Retrospective are only $6 with the exception of opening night, Friday 25 June, when Tim Burton will introduce Pee-wee's Big Adventure, which is at regular prices ($14 full, $11 concession).
For the full program, please click here.
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