Essential Big Screen 2023

Glenda Jackson is superb … Every gesture is an edgy acknowledgment that her mind is on the verge of running ahead of itself, and whose humour acts as a kind of life‐​saving brake, and a life‐​renewing force.”

Vincent Canby, The New York Times

Given their choice of projects after winning Academy Awards in 1970, actor Glenda Jackson (Women in Love) and director John Schlesinger (Midnight Cowboy) chose to make a winter romance together, a film tracking the emotional wavelengths of sexual freedom and relational anonymity. Coincidentally using the same answering machine service (in a wire-crossed camera movement that anticipates Kieslowski’s Three Colours: Red), the recently divorced Alex Greville (Jackson) and middle-aged doctor Daniel Hirsh (Peter Finch) are surrounded by loneliness—except for the hours when the young twentysomething artist they share in an open relationship stops by. Schlesinger’s style, assertive yet cool to the touch, is calibrated to not make any unintentionally revealing moves, reserving its energy for the heart-stopping moments where the subjective past comes rushing in. Jackson, who died earlier this year after a long post-film career as an indefatigable political representative, gives one of her greatest, most subtle performances here.

Best Film, Direction, Actor, Actress, Editing
BAFTA Film Awards 1972

Considerably quieter than [Schlesinger’s] Midnight Cowboy, Sunday is nonetheless far more radical … The world of Sunday Bloody Sunday feels as complete and real as it does because Schlesinger doesn’t force equations between the micro and the macro … [The film] seems to me flawless.”

José Teodoro, Cinema Scope

I knew from the start that it was really a piece of chamber music, that not everyone would appreciate it. But it was a film I believed I had to do. Not wanted to. Had to do.”

John Schlesinger

Upcoming in this Series

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  • USA1978
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  • 94 DCP
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  • Essential Big Screen 2023
  • Fireworks 2
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  • 110 DCP
  • PG
  • Essential Big Screen 2023
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  • France1950
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  • 115 DCP
  • PG
  • Essential Big Screen 2023
  • All That Heaven Allows 1
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  • USA1955
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  • 89 DCP
  • G
  • Essential Big Screen 2023
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