wed 26/04/2017

Film Features

theartsdesk in Panama: Latin heat

demetrios Matheou

It’s a close, steamy evening in Panama City. A short walk out of the Casco Viejo, or old quarter, leads to the coastal belt – a rush of highway with an accompanying, exhaust-flogged pedestrian walkway that hugs the Bay of Panama. It’s an inauspicious route, too close to traffic and the pungent smells of the city’s fish market, but I’m drawn towards the far-off sounds of an unlikely cinema congregation.

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Oscars 2017: Moonlight and La La Land go toe to toe

matt Wolf

If only the recent American election had been similarly rectified. That was surely the thought on many people’s lips as the 89th Academy Awards ended in confusion with the news that the evening’s expected winner, La La Land, had in fact lost to Moonlight – an upset immediately amplified by easily the biggest cock-up in Oscar history. 

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Listed: How I Do Love Thee

theartsdesk

Love is in the air. Today, men and women and boys and girls will be pondering how to say it with roses and cards and candlelit dinners: those three words that contain multitudes. As the old strip cartoon never quite got round to saying, love is... the human condition, which is why a good quantity of the culture we review on this site has to do with it. To help you get into the mood for romancing, we have asked our...

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John Hurt: 'If I’ve been anything I’ve been adventurous'

jasper Rees

John Hurt, who has died at the age of 77, belonged to that great generation of British thespians who started in the 1960s and eventually, one by one, ended up knighted: Michael Gambon, Albert Finney, Ian McKellen, Anthony Hopkins, Ian Holm, Nigel Hawthorne, Derek Jacobi. Of them all, Hurt was the outsider. It’s impossible to imagine an alien springing from any midriff but his.

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On the road with Bob Dylan: the mother of all rockumentaries

mark Kidel

Dont Look Back is the Ur-rockumentary, the template for hundreds of hand-held rock tour films, a source of inspiration as well as a model to aspire to.

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First Person: The Juilliard Experiment

mark Kidel

When the French painter Fabienne Verdier told me she’d been invited to explore the relationship between painting and music at the world-famous Juilliard School in New York, I knew straight away that this unusual residency should be documented.

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theartsdesk in Odessa: Films and post-truth in the new Ukraine

peter Culshaw

With Ukraine embroiled in conflict and a currency crisis the Odessa International Film Festival does not have the budget to bring in big stars. In any case, most of those pampered A-listers would have been nervous to go to what they or their advisers would have assumed to be a conflict zone.

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theartsdesk at the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2016

David Kettle

Even without any particular pomp or focus for celebration, the 70th Edinburgh International Film Festival has felt like a particularly strong and broad-ranging one, with a programme so big it was a struggle to take it all in.

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Edinburgh celebrates British films

demetrios Matheou

The Edinburgh film Festival’s signature prize, named after one of its most celebrated directors, is the Michael Powell Award for best British feature film. The dozen up for the award this year have included a Scottish love-triangle road movie, a dystopian drama, an adaptation of Macbeth, and a Welsh language thriller involving identical twins. Where once British film was a predictable affair, rooted in costume drama and social realism, it appears to be happily diverse at present.

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The Edinburgh International Film Festival tees off with golfing drama

demetrios Matheou

To anyone who says that you can’t make a great film about golf, a film which is funny, sexy, and rousing, I have just two words; sadly, for those who attended the opening night of the Edinburgh Film Festival this week, those words are Tin Cup.

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First Person: 'I am one of only three percent'

Susanna White

Last week a report was published by Directors UK laying out the cold facts of a trend that a lot of us knew had been going on for a long time - if you are a man you are six times more likely to make a feature film than a woman. The needle hasn’t moved for the last 10 years.

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Who was St Clair Bayfield?

jasper Rees

This week Stephen Frears's film about Florence Foster Jenkins opens. It will bring to the widest attention yet the story of a New York socialite who couldn’t sing and yet did sing, infamously, to a packed Carnegie Hall at the age of 76 in 1944. Meryl Streep plays her as only Meryl Streep can. But what of the man without whom her story would have been impossible?

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First Person: Couple in a Hole

Paul Higgins

A man and a woman live in a hole in a forest. We don’t know how they got there, though a homespun ceremony they perform suggests some kind of loss. She has difficulty leaving the hole, while he, a creature of the forest, ranges freely, foraging for food, steering clear of the rest of humanity until an emergency forces him to visit a nearby town. We realise, though the couple are British, that we’re in France. A local farmer recognises the man and the story begins to unfold.

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First Person: 'It's all about deception'

David Farr

I’ve been working on two projects over the last four years and like buses they’ve arrived on British screens at the same time. On the surface they seem very different. My adaptation of John Le Carré’s The Night Manager is a huge epic sprawling espionage drama that spans six episodes and several years, moving from the Egypt of the Arab Spring to London, Spain, Turkey and beyond.

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Seven sides of Alan Rickman

theartsdesk

When sorrows come they come not in single spies. It is a bad week to be 69. Hard on the heels of David Bowie's death from cancer comes Alan Rickman's. He was an actor who radiated a sinful allure that first gave theatregoers the hot flushes back in 1985 when he played the Vicomte de Valmont in Christopher Hampton's Les Liaisons Dangereues.

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Best (and Worst) of 2015: Film

theartsdesk

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. 

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