mon 02/05/2016

film directors

Arena: All the World's a Screen – Shakespeare on Film, BBC Four

In the last century, when the BBC took arts documentaries seriously, Arena was one of the highlights of the week. Nowadays its appearance is as rare as that of a Midwich cuckoo. Money, or rather the lack of it, is the problem. In our grave...

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Eisenstein in Guanajuato

This is an unashamed, fulsome, extravagant tribute from Peter Greenaway to his cinema idol. The British director – though that description is probably more point of origin these days than allegiance – has long acclaimed his Russian-Soviet...

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Couple in a Hole

Traumatic obsession is hard to get right in film, to draw us as viewers into a situation far beyond our usual experience, make us believe in it, and fix us there. Sometimes it means pushing towards the frenetic energy of madness, which can bring a...

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DVD: 99 Homes

The opening scene of Ramin Bahrani’s 99 Homes plunges us into the darker depths of American society, post-2008 financial crisis. We’re in the world of home repossessions, and the blood spattered around the bathroom of one property by an ex-owner who...

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Lost in Karastan

Ah, the fascination of faraway countries of which we know nothing. And of dictators, always a species of interest to filmmakers, because you rarely have to make anything up – Chaplin, of course, wrote the primer on that one. How alluring when...

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A War

Tobias Lindholm is something of a specialist in exploring the fate of enclosed groups under stress, charting how the dynamics of behaviour between men develop in crisis. I say men, though the Danish director’s name may still be better known in some...

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Best (and Worst) of 2015: Film

The autumn cinema schedules of 2015 were assailed by the double whammy of Spectre and The Force Awakens– at times making it hard to find a screen showing anything else. Yet you’ll see that neither that latest instalment in the Bond...

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DVD: The Czechoslovak New Wave - A Collection, Vol. 2

Distributor Second Run’s second collection of the Czech New Wave (strictly speaking, Czechoslovak, although the three films included here are from the Czech side of the movement) reminds us what an astonishing five years or so preceded the Prague...

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The Lesson

Young Bulgarian writer-directors Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov have made a tight, bleak, suspenseful drama in The Lesson (Urok), driven by a commanding, unforgiving performance from actress Margita Gosheva who leads the film. Clearly made on...

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Güeros

Mexico City itself is the dominant presence in Alonso Ruizpalacios’ debut feature Güeros, a road movie that restricts its journey to that megapolis and its environs. It’s not just the traffic that holds them up, more the fact that they don’t really...

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Mia Madre

After his pop at Berlusconi, The Caiman, and cheeky peek inside the papal selection process, We Have a Pope, beloved Italian director Nanni Moretti returns to the melancholy territory of his Palme d'Or winner The Son's Room for his sombre,...

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DVD: Dragon's Return

It’s easy to forget about the Slovak side of the Czechoslovak “New Wave”: works coming out of Bratislava often seem to receive less attention, even on their home territory, than those from Prague, where the now legendary FAMU film school that gave...

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