sat 18/05/2024

Film Features

Best of 2023: Film

theartsdesk

Numbers indicate if entries are listed in order of preference


Saskia Baron

Anatomy of a Fall

Broker

Fallen Leaves

Joyland

Killers of the Flower Moon

Otto Baxter: Not a F**ing Horror Story

Return to Seoul

St Omer

Scrapper

A Thousand and One

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Powell and Pressburger: The Composers

graham Rickson

Unlike, say, Hitchcock and Bernard Herrmann, Michael Powell’s working relationships with musicians were cordial, particularly his collaborations with composers Allan Gray and Brian Easdale.

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Powell and Pressburger: A Celtic storm brewing

Kristin M Jones

“Nothing is stronger than true love,” a young laird says to a headstrong young woman in Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s I Know Where I’m Going! (1945), his voice heard above the sounds of wind and waves. She replies, “No, nothing.”

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Michael Powell: a happy time with Bartók’s Bluebeard

David Nice

In his final years Michael Powell mooted the possibility of a Bartók trilogy. He wanted to add to the growing popularity of his work on Bluebeard’s Castle, the deepest of one-act operas, an idea he had previously rejected of filming the lurid "pantomime" The Miraculous Mandarin and, as third instalment, not the earlier ballet The Wooden Prince but a film about the composer’s time in America and his return, after death, to Hungary.

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Powell and Pressburger: In Prospero's Room

Nick Hasted

There’s a thread of bright magic running through British cinema, from Powell and Pressburger through Nic Roeg, Derek Jarman and Lynne Ramsay, and it’s wrapped around Jarman’s last home like fisherman’s rope.

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Powell and Pressburger: the glueman cometh

Graham Fuller

The shop assistant turned World War Two Land Army girl Alison Smith, clad in a summer dress on the sabbath, steps through a glade onto a hilltop track above the village of Chillingbourne in Kent. It’s the same road once taken by medieval pilgrims riding to seek blessings or do penance at Thomas Becket’s shrine in Canterbury Cathedral.

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Powell and Pressburger: Spy masters

Demetrios Matheou

Alfred Hitchcock and Michael Powell are, almost certainly, Britain’s greatest directors. Hitchcock was slightly older, and entered the film business earlier; in fact, Powell worked as a stills photographer on Hitchcock’s Champagne and Blackmail, in the late Twenties, shortly before making his own films.

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Powell and Pressburger: Battleships and Byron

Hugh Barnes

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger made a glorious run of movies from The Spy in Black (1939) to The Small Back Room (1949). Yet the duo’s reputation went into steep decline in the 1950s, and they began to encounter difficulty in securing finance for projects.

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Michael Powell interview - 'I had no idea that critics were so innocent'

Saskia Baron

Michael Powell fell in love with his celluloid mistress in 1921 when he was 16. It’s a love affair that he’s conducted for 65 years. At 81, he’s not stopped dreaming of getting behind the camera again. At Cannes this year he hinted at plans to make a silent horror film, but he’s reluctant to talk about it.

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Martin Scorsese's 'Mean Streets' - a triumph of personal filmmaking

Demetrios Matheou

Ask someone to pick their favourite moment from a film by Martin Scorsese, something defining.

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Powell and Pressburger's 'The Red Shoes' - art and nothing but

Hugh Barnes

Nobody ever forgets The Red Shoes (1948) because it’s a movie that seems to change the way an audience experiences cinema. A story about a diverse group of individuals collaborating to make art, the film is itself a wonderful example of the process.

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They had a good war: Powell and Pressburger's no-nonsense heroines

Helen Hawkins

In the current reappraisal of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, what to make of the depiction of women in their key films, that striking tribe of Isoldes with chestnut hair and passionate natures?

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'Glorious, isn't it?' Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's Subversive Cinema

Graham Fuller

Announcing “A Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger production” or, alternatively “A Production of the Archers”, an arrow thuds into the centre of a roundel. Whether in black and white or colour, that famous rubric not only conflates the auras of Robin Hood and the Royal Air Force, but issues a warning you’re about to get a shot in the eye. 

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London Film Festival 2023 - Scorsese on Scorsese

Nick Hasted

Martin Scorsese walks onstage to a hero’s welcome, shoulders a little hunched, with a touch of sideways shuffle or hustle, taking acclaim in his stride at 80. He has sold out London’s 2,700-capacity Royal Festival Hall for the BFI’s biggest Screen Talk by far, and the queue for returns stretches into the street, to see a director as big as any star.

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Side By Side Ukrainian Film Festival, Curzon Soho - cameras of courage and resistance

Hugh Barnes

François Truffaut said that there is no such thing as an anti-war film because cinema inevitably glorifies the horror of conflict. The premise was robustly challenged over the weekend at the Ukrainian Institute London’s fourth annual film festival, Side By Side, which screened a handful of films, documentary and narrative, feature-length and short, that compelled the audience to reflect deeply on war’s horrific nature.

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Top 10 Films of 2022: Conclusion

Graham Fuller

The Arts Desk’s movie reviewers voted The Banshees of Inisherin the best film released in the UK in 2022. Here are our choices for the top 10 with the names of their directors:

 

1. The Banshees of Inisherin (Martin McDonough)

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