Preview: Horses Galore! Sainsbury Wing Theatre, National Gallery, London

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The Independent Culture

As film programmer at the National Gallery, in London, Lee Riley finds feature films connected to the major exhibitions; in this case, equestrian-themed movies for the summer exhibition Stubbs and the Horse.

As film programmer at the National Gallery, in London, Lee Riley finds feature films connected to the major exhibitions; in this case, equestrian-themed movies for the summer exhibition Stubbs and the Horse.

Her last project, mounting a film season to accompany Caravaggio: The Final Years, was not so straightforward. "I tried to link how the artist worked with light and colour to certain directors and the cinematography in films. This time I have explored the relationship between horse and man."

" Stubbs painted for high society - race horses and hunters - and it was very British. The films that I have picked don't really relate back visually to his paintings. They do, however, explore elements of Stubbs' relationship with horses.

He looked at equine anatomy in detail. He painted them as absolutely beautiful creatures. He did horses as forces of life. I wanted to pull those issues through the films."

Riley has chosen 10 films for Horses Galore!. They include John Huston's The Misfits ("Marilyn Monroe pleads with cowboy Clark Gable and rodeo rider Montgomery Clift not to kill a wild mustang."); Stanley Kubrick's The Killing, about a racetrack heist; Leslie Arliss's highway-woman film, The Wicked Lady; the Marx Brothers in A Day at the Races, with its comical horse race; Akira Kurosawa's 1954 action-epic Seven Samurai (later remade by John Sturges as The Magnificent Seven); and Black Beauty - which is told from the point of view of the horse.

Bahman Ghobadi's A Time for Drunken Horses is about three Kurdish children whose father works on the mule-trains smuggling goods across the mountains to Iraq. Riley says: "In Stubb's lifetime, attitudes changed towards animals, particularly horses, and concern rose for their welfare. This film highlights not only the hardship of the children, but also of the mules."

Every Saturday from 2 July to 3 September, (020-7747 2891, www.nationalgallery.org.uk)

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