Donkey Skin: Demy’s Fairy-Tale Worlds
By Anne E. Duggan
Insomnia: Unbearable Lightness
By Jonathan Romney
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg: A Finite Forever
By Jim Ridley
Anthony Asquith is remembered primarily as the director of Pygmalion, The Browning Version, and The Importance of Being Earnest, all stage-to-screen adaptations comfortable flaunting their own theatricality. Yet as critic Jay Weissberg writes in the latest issue of Sight and Sound, a new BFI restoration of Asquith’s 1928 silent film Underground proves that the son of a prime minister was not, as his detractors claimed, “an aristocrat without a proper feel for realism” but a maker of vivid, socially engaged cinema. This film, his first solo effort as director, is a populist love triangle; Weissberg writes that it is “about the social interactions that can only exist in the confined, democratic spaces of the London Underground” and is marked by “thrilling location work.” Also in the piece, Weissberg delves into the restoration process that brought Underground (which played on October 23 at the BFI’s London Film Festival) to shimmering new life, and composer Neil Brand, who contributed a new musical score, sings the film’s praises.