fri 22/03/2019

Film Features

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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First Person: The Laurel and Hardy Roadshow

Ross Owen

I was born in 1968 which, for any Laurel and Hardy fan, was a great time to be around. By the early Seventies, at the age of three or four, I remember Laurel and Hardy films being on television during the day. My mum would put them on and I would be glued to the TV while she got on with her chores, although she would always end up sitting down and watching the film with me and cracking up laughing.

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London Film Festival 2015: Dressed to Thrill

Adam Sweeting

As a novice in the ways of the London Film Festival, I'm not only amazed by the scope and scale of the thing (350-odd films in just under a fortnight), but aghast at the thought of all the backroom work that goes into it. And on top of all that they have to be nice to all the journalists. 

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10 Questions for Director Sarah Gavron

Demetrios Matheou

Director Sarah Gavron tends to make films with strong social content. Her TV movie This Little Life (2003) concerned a couple’s struggles after the premature birth of their son; her first feature film was an adaptation of Monica Ali’s novel Brick Lane (2007) about two Bangladeshi sisters, one confined to an arranged marriage that takes her to London, the other eloping in a "love marriage" in Bangladesh.

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Rio+Film, Barbican

james Woodall

With eyes trained on sporty Rio de Janeiro once more for next year’s Olympic Games, cultural portals on to the city are bound to be offered in all sorts of places around the world. One such is Rio+Film, a new film festival at the Barbican Centre focusing exclusively on the great Brazilian city by the sea. Rio+Film is likely to have further editions elsewhere.

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London Film Festival 2015

theartsdesk

It's that time of year again, with autumn casting a shroud over London and the LFF offering the perfect tonic. The only problem is that with 238 fiction and documentary features over 10 days, even diehard cinephiles with no desire for human contact or fresh air would be hard pressed to sift and select. The festival programmers attempt their customary guidance, with films tucked (sometimes too neatly) into themes such as Love, Thrill, Debate and Dare.

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theartsdesk at the New Horizons Film Festival

Demetrios Matheou

Wrocław is Poland’s fourth most populous city, once described as "The Venice of the North", due to its location on the River Oder, its tributaries and numerous bridges. That description is misleading, of course, a touch of unfortunate hyperbole; on the surface, Wroclaw is a charming but unremarkable city.

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theartsdesk in Moscow: Free thought vs cultural politics

Tom Birchenough

Last year’s Moscow International Film Festival (MIFF) played out in the shadow of conflict in Ukraine and Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and a year on you could be forgiven for wondering if anything’s really changed. International sanctions remain in place – in fact they were renewed for another six months right in the middle of MIFF’s late-June run, and much alluded to by festival president Nikita Mikhalkov throughout proceedings.

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Orson Welles: The Great Disruptor

Demetrios Matheou

No-one could joke about the tragic aspect of Orson Welles’s career, the fact that his inestimable promise had only been partially realised, better than Welles himself. Once, when asked about the outrage following his panic-inducing radio adaptation of War of the Worlds, the director quipped, “I didn’t go to jail. I went to Hollywood.” And that was punishment enough.

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theartsdesk at the Edinburgh International Film Festival - part 2

David Kettle

It has felt like a strong year for the Edinburgh International Film Festival, even with new artistic director Mark Adams joining part-way through the programming process. And as the event sprinted towards its ever-denser conclusion – 17 "best of the fest" screenings of this year’s most in-demand films joined the already full programme for the event’s final day on Sunday 28 June – it was inevitably time to announce the festival’s award winners.

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theartsdesk at the Edinburgh International Film Festival

Demetrios Matheou

It’s a big deal when a film festival unveils a new artistic director. After all, this is the person who leads the selection of often hundreds of films, thereby shaping the style and tone of the festival. It’s a responsibility that can not only reflect but dictate patterns in filmmaking and viewing; and for specifically public events, such as the festivals in London and Edinburgh, the pleasure of thousands of people depends on getting it right.

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The second coming of The Third Man

Graham Fuller

What happened to Harry Lime during the war that he slid into iniquity, or was he always a swine? What cracked in him so badly that he sold diluted penicillin that gave children meningitis? What rat-like instincts of survival prompted him to betray his Czech lover so that the Russians would evict her from Austria? And why did he summon the hapless Holly Martins from America to join his racket?

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Christopher Lee: A Career in Clips

Demetrios Matheou

Christopher Lee died this week, aged 93. It’s strange that an actor best known for horror films, for characters that were fiendish and diabolical, should be so cherished a part of the British cultural landscape. That fact speaks volumes for the charisma and charm, as well as craft of Lee’s performances, and for the intelligence, grace and wit of the man in person.

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Arise, Sir Van, Sir Lenny and Sir Kevin. Dame who?

Jasper Rees

If the honours system is used to award deserving individuals, its other job is to provide an aspirational marker for the country as a whole. This, it tells us twice a year, is who we want to be: inclusive, non-sexist, colour-blind. From the look of the awards dished out in the arts for the Queen’s birthday honours list, in the summer of 2015 it looks very much as if we want to be a society which favours male privilege. Don’t hold the front page.

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theartsdesk Q&A Special: The Falling

Kieron Tyler

The Falling, released in cinemas this week, charts the events surrounding an epidemic of fainting among pupils of a girls' school in the late 1960s. The trigger appears to be the end of the friendship between the intense Lydia and the outgoing Abbie. Much in the dream-like film is unexplained. Abbie’s difficult home life is perhaps a contributing factor, as may be the institution’s disconnection from the liberal world evolving beyond the school’s gates.

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10 Questions for Filmmaker Damián Szifron

Demetrios Matheou

Nominated for Best Foreign Language film at this year’s Oscars, Wild Tales is that rarity, a portmanteau film; even rarer, it’s a good one. Though unconnected by plot or character, the six darkly comic stories are bonded by themes of revenge and fighting back – against cheating lovers, bad drivers, rank bureaucracy, the crook who ruined your life. It’s about people who cross a line most of us only fantasise about.

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