tue 19/02/2019

Film Features

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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Clio Barnard: 'We need to talk about sexual abuse' - interview

Owen Richards

Clio Barnard has quietly been building a reputation as one of Britain’s most human storytellers.

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theartsdesk at the Viennale: shunning the 'illusion machine'

Demetrios Matheou

The Viennale is one of the best film festivals in the world and an indispensable part of Vienna’s cultural life. Yet this year’s edition was launched amid trying times.

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Young Reviewer of the Year Award: the four finalists are...

theartsdesk

In July we launched a competition in association with The Hospital Club to unearth talented young critics. We were clear about what we were looking for: “We want to read reviews that make us think – provocative, entertaining writing that gets under the skin of the art it addresses, that dares to ask uncomfortable questions and offer new answers.

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h.Club 100 Awards: Film - in a blockbuster world, originality thrives

Tom Birchenough

It’s fitting that the first name on The Hospital Club's h.Club 100 film list for 2017 is that of Ken Loach. But though the director has a cinema career of more than half a century behind him – and had even officially retired before he came back to make I, Daniel Blake – his presence here is in no sense a Lifetime Achievement award.

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theartsdesk at Bergman Week - finding the spirit of the great Swedish filmmaker

Demetrios Matheou

In his biography The Magic Lantern, Ingmar Bergman recalls his first encounter with the Swedish island of Fårö, in 1960, when location scouting for his next film, Through A Glass Darkly.

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theartsdesk in Karlovy Vary: Warm thermals at the International Film Festival

Ronald Bergan

The sleepy, picturesque Czech spa town of Karlovy Vary (formally Carlsbad) wakes up every July to the noisy bustle of one of Europe's oldest, largest and most vibrant film festivals.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Claude Barras and Céline Sciamma on My Life as a Courgette

Demetrios Matheou

If one were to stop at the title, My Life as a Courgette – from the French Ma vie de Courgette and unsurprisingly renamed for those insular Americans as My Life As a Zucchini – could be too easily dismissed as a juvenile or childlike frivolity. And that would be to under-estimate this French-Swiss, Oscar-nominated, stop-motion...

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