wed 21/08/2019

Film Features

10th Odessa International Film Festival review - exquisite gay love stories and visionary new music

Peter Culshaw

Odessa, the so-called "pearl of the Black Sea", is a Ukrainian city full of lovely 19th-century Italianate architecture and sandy beaches, with a reputation, even in Soviet times, for a certain bohemian sense of freedom.

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theartsdesk Q&A: documentary maker Karen Stokkendal Poulsen

Demetrios Matheou

For a time, Aung San Suu Kyi enjoyed a heroic status on the international stage perhaps surpassed only by Nelson Mandela. The politician won a Nobel peace prize for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights in her country, Myanmar (formerly Burma), endured almost 20 years of house arrest, then played a leading role as her country moved towards so-called democracy.

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Ewa Banaszkiewicz and Mateusz Dymek: 'Is our film porny?'

Ewa Banaszkiewi

Spoiler alert: About sixty-four minutes into our debut feature film, one of the main female characters undresses for the camera. Alicja is being filmed by the other protagonist, a young American documentarian named Katie.

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Franco Zeffirelli: 'I had this feeling that I was special'

Jasper Rees

"I am amazed to be still alive. Two hours of medieval torment.” Franco Zeffirelli - who has died at the age of 96 - had spent the day having a lumbar injection to treat a sciatic nerve. You could hear the bafflement in his heavily accented English.

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Bob Dylan Special - Rolling Thunder Revue, Netflix

Tim Cumming

Tomorrow, Martin Scorsese delivers, via Netflix, two hours and 22 minutes of screen time devoted to Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue, following on from the release last week of the latest Bootleg Series boxed set, 14...

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Cannes 2019: Week One - a genre-heavy opening

Joseph Walsh

Every year the Cannes Film Festival is a swirl of chaos, excitement, and controversy. Last year, the festival had a markedly different feel. Gone were the big starry names.

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Obituary: Bibi Andersson 1935-2019

David Thompson

"One talks, the other doesn’t" is about as crude a description as could be of the Swedish masterpiece, Persona. Profoundly experimental even today, Ingmar Bergman’s film was at base about the intense, vampiric encounter between a mute actress suffering a breakdown and the garrulous nurse assigned to care for her.

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theartsdesk in Tromsø: the celluloid Cold War

Demetrios Matheou

With Russian spies murdering people in the UK, a Norwegian pensioner jailed in Moscow on spying charges, Russian hackers believed to have meddled in both the US presidential election and the EU referendum, diplomats thrown out of various countries and Donald Trump being portrayed as Putin’s puppet, it’s hard not to feel that the Cold War is being warmed up for the 21st century.  

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Director Alexandria Bombach: 'I feel like a completely different person'

Owen Richards

Nadia Murad caught the world’s attention when she spoke at the United Nations Security Council. She spoke of living under ISIS, daily assaults, escaping, and the current plight of the Yazidi people, in refugee camps and still under ISIS control. It was a heart-breaking plea for support to the world’s silent nations.

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James Graham: 'the country of Shakespeare no longer recognises arts as a core subject'

James Graham

Thank you. It’s an honour to have been asked to speak here today. Although looking at the h100 List this year, I’ve no idea why I’m presumptuously standing here; given the talent, creativity and achievements far surpassing my own within this room. But I’m also excited, and genuinely inspired, to be part of such a group.

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'You won't be able to handle this lady': remembering Fenella Fielding

Jasper Rees

Fenella Fielding - “one of the finest female impersonators in the business,” joked Eric Morecambe – has died at the age of 90. Most actors of such a great vintage tend to be forgotten, but not Fielding. Last year she celebrated her big birthday with a memoir.

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'I saw that death is beautiful, unspeakable and strange': on filming 'Island'

Steven Eastwood

Most of us have very little knowledge of the process of life ending, physically and emotionally, until it comes suddenly into our own experience. Dying remains taboo. We don’t talk about dying, we don’t teach it in schools, and yet this event is as natural and everyday as birth. Having been one of the central subjects for art for a millennium or more, death has come to be one of the least broached. The images we have are medicalised or euphemistic.

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Neil Simon: 'I don’t think you want it really dark'

Jasper Rees

Asked to nominate the most important playwright in America since the war, theatregoers would probably plump for Arthur Miller, Edward Albee or David Mamet. But in terms of sheer popularity there is another candidate.

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Box office poison? Joan Crawford at BFI Southbank

David Benedict

What’s that? Joan Crawford had no sense of humour? Well, take a look at It's A Great Feeling. It’s a pretty bizarre (and pretty bad) 1949 musical with Jack Carson and Dennis Morgan playing themselves running round the Warner Brothers lot attempting to make a picture.

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Michel Hazanavicius: 'Losing himself is how he found himself'

Demetrios Matheou

French director Michel Hazanavicius made a name for himself with his OSS 117 spy spoofs, Nest of Spies (2006) and Lost in Rio (2009), set in the Fifties and Sixties respectively and starring Jean Dujardin as a somewhat idiotic and prejudiced secret agent.

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Oscars 2018: The shape of a snoozefest

Matt Wolf

Is #MeSnooze a hashtag? It could well be for those who sat through the 90th annual Academy Awards, an Oscar night so reined in by the current climate in Hollywood that it was as if all the fun and frolics had been leached out of a ceremony always at its best when it lets in a teensy bit of the...

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