sat 06/02/2016

film directors

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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DVD: L'Eclisse

Antonioni’s celebrated trio of films, L’Aventura, La Notte and L’Eclisse, established the Italian director as a major and influential force in world cinema. All three of the works deal with the failure that resides at the heart of human relationship...

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Horse Money

Pedro Costa’s Horse Money begins with a silent montage of Jacob Riis’s grim photographs of late 19th-century Manhattan slum dwellers, some of them former slaves or their offspring. One photo shows a bowler-hatted young black man sitting athwart a...

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Pasolini

It’s somehow unsettling that, while the physical resemblance between Willem Dafoe and Italian writer and filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini is remarkable to the point of being almost uncanny, Abel Ferrara’s Pasolini almost consciously avoids elucidating...

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