Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Black Angel (1980)

35 years ago, The Empire Strikes Back was released in theaters, and that was kind of a big deal. However, there's more to the story than most people (particularly in America) realize. Upon its European release, the summer blockbuster was preceded by an interesting, Tarkovsky-inspired fantasy short directed by Star Wars crewman Roger Christian. This film, "Black Angel," is a fascinating piece of cinema, full to the brim with gorgeous visuals, a classic story, and an eerie supernatural atmosphere.

Featuring a hauntingly beautiful score by Trevor Jones (The Dark Crystal, The Last of the Mohicans) and some of the moodiest cinematography you'll ever see from Roger Pratt (Brazil, Batman), the film had a profound influence not only on Empire (particularly Luke's encounter with Darth Vader on Dagobah) but also on 1980s fantasy classics like Excalibur (John Boorman reportedly screened it multiple times for his crew). Now available online with an introduction by its director, "Black Angel" is finally getting the recognition it deserves, both as an interesting facet of Star Wars history and as an influential and unique fantasy film in its own right. Check it out!

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