fri 22/03/2019

Film Features

Interview: Andy Serkis on playing Ian Dury

Jasper Rees

The career of Andy Serkis tends to point in one direction: darkness visible. Onstage, more recently on screen, he has inhabited a series of characters for whom violence is second nature. His Bill Sikes was utterly deranged, though a pussycat next to his Ian Brady in Longford (pictured below), whose ghastly charisma he seemed intuitively to understand. Serkis’s performance-captured Gollum gave global audiences the creeps.

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theartsdesk in Artvin: A Film Festival on Wheels

Sheila Johnston Artvin, North East Turkey, the location for this year's Film Festival on Wheels

"Where?" you ask. In the extreme north-east of Turkey, wedged in between the Black Sea, the Georgian and Armenian borders and the snow-capped Pontic Mountains, the hardscrabble town of Artvin clings tenaciously to a near-vertical hillside. Population: 25,000. Hotels: a handful, all rustic. Distance from the small coastal airport of Trabzon: three hours up a precipitous road. Nearest cinema: 50 miles. In short, the perfect spot for an international film festival.

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theartsdesk in the Ruhr: The European Film Awards

Nick Hasted Ken Loach accepts the EFA's Lifetime Achievement Award from one of his own characters

The 22nd European Film Awards closed last night with Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon winning Best Director, Screenwriter and Film. Tahar Rahim was Best Actor for his breakthrough performance as a French-Algerian initiate into a prison’s brutal underworld in Jacques Audiard’s A Prophet, while the absent Kate Winslet won Best Actress for The Reader....

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Christian McKay: Me and Orson Welles

Sheila Johnston

"I must apologise for talking ten to the dozen," begins Christian McKay with a confidential air. "I do it when I'm nervous. I'm a rookie - I've never done this before. The stars get media training, but I thought, ‘I'm a naturally gregarious person and I'd rather be an open book'." It can't last, one thinks ruefully.

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Interview: Anne-Marie Duff plays Margot Fonteyn

Sheila Johnston

Anne-Marie Duff doesn't really resemble Margot Fonteyn. Blonde, fresh-faced and blue-eyed, she has nothing of the exotic, olive, Latin complexion that Fonteyn inherited from her Brazilian grandfather. And she never learned ballet, even if, with her long, lean frame and elegant swan neck, she looks more like a dancer than the rather more compact Peggy Hookham of Reigate (as Fonteyn started out in life).

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Frank Cottrell Boyce

Hilary Whitney

Award-winning screenwriter and children’s author Frank Cottrell Boyce, whose credits include Hilary and Jackie and 24 Hour Party People, always knew he’d be a writer. “I imagined myself in a bungalow in the Hollywood Hills, furiously typing away while someone shoved cigarettes in my mouth and I shouted, ‘Match me, Sydney!’  Or writing bits and pieces for The Paris Review." 

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Sheffield Doc/Fest: the wrap

Sheila Johnston

Upon emerging from Sheffield railway station, one of the first things you clap eyes on is Andrew Motion’s 2007 poem What If? unfurling down the side of one of the university tower blocks and gleaming faintly in the last of the autumn sun. With its exhortation to “greet and understand what lies ahead... The lives which wait as yet unseen, unread,” it’s not a bad incidental epigram for a festival of documentary film-making whose trailer was inspired by the city’s cosmopolitan identity....

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Filming Woodstock: Fact, Fiction, Fantasy

Sheila Johnston Some of the festival crowds, captured in Woodstock Now & Then

The most famous rock festival in history celebrated its 40th anniversary this summer in an orgy of nostalgia. Michael Wadleigh's Academy Award-winning 1970 documentary Woodstock was re-released, the media were flooded with reminiscences and analyses and leading film-makers felt moved to address themselves afresh to the...

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Actress Carey Mulligan, Emotionally Speaking

Graham Fuller

“You’ve no idea how boring everything was before I met you.” As written by Nick Hornby and spoken by Carey Mulligan in An Education, these words of gratitude come after a moment of stillness in which Jenny, Mulligan’s character, reflects on her experience as a 16-year-old schoolgirl taken on a social joyride by a 35-ish hustler, David (Peter Sarsga

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Front Row Confidential

Anne Billson George Clooney and Frances McDormand in Burn After Reading

Your friends never learn. No matter how many times you tell them you don't look on going to the cinema as a social activity, they still insist on dragging you along with them. And even though you've told them a hundred times that, after a hard day's writing about Béla Tarr the only film you can even consider watching afterwards is District 9, they still call up and say things like, "Hey, let's go and see the latest Michael Haneke," or, "What do you say to Hunger?" or, "How...

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Football and Film: United or Damned?

Jasper Rees

There’s a new British film coming soon called Dead Man Running. It features the rapper 50 Cent (aka Curtis “No Relation of the King of Pop” Jackson) as an American loan shark who, suffering in the financial downturn, visits these shores to lean somewhat heavily on a couple of defaulters. The film includes the obligatory flavourings for this sort of cheerful low-life caper: a dog track, and Danny Dyer.

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Sam Mendes back on the (American) road

Matt Wolf

Away We Go is the name of Sam Mendes's fifth film, released in Britain this week. But the title could also serve as the buccaneering mantra of a Cambridge-educated Englishman whose career continues to shed any whiff of his home country. On stage or screen, the director is continually drawn to stories culled from across the Atlantic, where he now lives. And why not? If you had directed a first film called American Beauty that would lead to five Oscars and America eating out of...

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Remembering Patrick Swayze

Sheila Johnston

As graceful in his approach to death as he was in life, Patrick Swayze died yesterday at the age of 57. I met the actor in 1995 at a turning point in his career, just as the sexy lustre of Dirty Dancing and Ghost was beginning to wear thin.

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Close Up on Hunter S Thompson

Sheila Johnston

Hunter S Thompson always had one beady, sun-bespectacled eye on posterity. At 21, living in poverty in a remote cabin in the Catskills and toiling away at an autobiographical first novel, Prince Jellyfish (still unpublished), he would immodestly compare his own progress to that of F Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, two other writers who came late to public recognition.

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