tue 21/05/2019

Film Features

Berlinale 2014: Two Men in Town, '71

Tom Birchenough

The opening days of the Berlinale have seen mixed reactions to high-profile English-language offerings. With its stylish sense of mittelEuropa, the festival’s premiere, Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel, apparently went down a treat. Much less kudos, though, went to George Clooney’s The Monuments Men (released in the UK this week, reviewed on theartsdesk today).

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Listed: The Best Uncredited Cameos

theartsdesk

There are no awards, nor nominations. On the plus side there are no publicity chores either. And there is none of that contractual argy-bargy about billing. In this week’s Listed, there is no billing for the stars who show up on screen without prior warning. And it’s only the biggest stars can do this sort of thing: materialise in the narrative and give it a powerful shot in the arm. If properly deployed, the impact of uncredited cameo can be huge.

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theartsdesk's Top 13 Films of 2013: 5 - 1

theartsdesk

With the end of 2013 nearly upon us it's time for a last look back before we step forward into the unknown. Yesterday our rundown of the year's finest films took you from a radiant romance to a bristling biopic, but the nature of such lists means that the best is yet to come and those that remain could hardly be more different. And so - our final five.

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theartsdesk's Top 13 Films of 2013: 13 - 6

theartsdesk

There are some that will tell you that they don't make movies like they used to. But even if that's true, film is an art-form that continues to thrive by moving with the times - reflecting change, reinventing itself and each year we're supplied with no shortage of outstanding cinema from across the globe. It's a fact that makes compiling the traditional end-of-year list far from a chore, and more like greedily picking your way through a banquet.

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Listed: The 12 Derangements of Christmas

theartsdesk

We at The Arts Desk are as fond as the next person of swans-a-swimming, partridges and pear-trees, not to mention gold rings, but be honest: 'tis already the season to be jolly sick and tired of all those knee-jerk compilations of Slade, sleighbells and Celine Dion's "O Holy Night". Without wishing to audition for the role of Ebenezer Scrooge, it’s time to admit that not everything made in the name of Christmas is of the highest artistic merit.

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Peter O'Toole dies at 81

Jasper Rees

Perhaps 20 people in thick puffa jackets and clumpy boots crouched behind a wooden sea wall on a shingle beach in Whitstable. Or Islington-on-Sea, to give it its modern name. The north coast of Kent glittered in the sun. Across the Medway you could see the contours of Essex in stark outline. The shelled-out husk of a matinee idol, silver mane flying wildly in the bitter wind, hobbled to his mark on the other side of the sea-wall. He was on crutches after breaking a hip in a Christmas tumble...

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Listed: The Many Faces of Nelson Mandela

Jasper Rees

Nelson Mandela had a nose for the dramatic gesture. The evidence is there in his speech at the Rivonia Trial in 1964, in his symbolic walk to freedom as he emerged on foot from captivity in 1990, his astute performance at the Rugby World Cup in 1995 and then finally in death, announced just as an epic new film of his life was being premiered in London, the seat of the old colonial power.

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theartsdesk in Berlin: the 26th European Film Awards

Nick Hasted

Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty was the deserved big winner at the European Film Awards, with Best Film, Director, Actor and Editor. The bigger question the European Film Academy needs to confront is how few of its winners seemed to really care. A crisis in European film is often declared from this ceremony’s stage.

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theartsdesk at the Turin Film Festival

Demetrios Matheou

Turin, December 2013. Berlusconi has finally been kicked out of the Italian parliament. The country is disaffected, fed up with its politicians, broke. Youngsters, including university students, have no hope for the future. It’s a perfect time for them to become acquainted with New Hollywood cinema.

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Listed: Who shot/staged/fictionalised JFK?

theartsdesk

On 22 November 1963 President John F Kennedy was shot, yoking his name to an ex-marine and sometime defector to the USSR called Lee Harvey Oswald. Everyone old enough to remember is said to know where they were when they heard. As America dealt with its trauma, the conspiracy theories started,and spawned well over 1,000 books. The assassination also became the focus for artists in all art forms - in literature, theatre, film and even music.

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Jean Cocteau: 'A poet can never die'

Ronald Bergan

Jean Cocteau, who died 50 years ago today, was a poet/novelist /playwright /film director/designer/painter/stage director/ballet producer/patron/myth-maker/friend of the great/raconteur/wit. A Jacques of all trades and master of all. “Etonne-moi!” (“Astonish me!”) were the words with which Sergei Diaghilev, founder of the Ballets Russes, challenged Cocteau. The result was the ballet Parade (1917), designed by Pablo Picasso, composed by Erik Satie, and set to a scenario by Cocteau....

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Patrice Chéreau, 1944-2013: a partial view

David Nice

It has to be partial, because out of the 10 opera productions from the iconoclastic French actor-director, who died yesterday of lung cancer at the age of 68, I’ve seen but two, on screen only – but a big two at that – and only three of his 11 films. Yet they all had a tremendous impact, one way or another.

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Listed: Jane Austen provides

Jasper Rees

Right at the start of the boom around 20 years ago, a Hollywood mogul is said to have told one of his people to get some more work out of that Jane Austen. She seemed like a good source of romantic comedies. Regrettably for all, there were only ever six titles from this promising scriptwriter, and those have been done and done again by film and particularly television.

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O for Muse of Fire

Giles Terera An

The idea behind Muse of Fire was a simple one. We wanted to spend a year travelling the world and find out from as many sources as we could why Shakespeare is both so loved and so feared. We wanted to try and eradicate our own deep-rooted anxieties and help others to remove theirs.  This was the goal.

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'Always on, never alone'

Beeban Kidron

While newspapers alternately praise and panic about the glittering world of the Internet, there is a generation of children who have grown up with 24/7 connectivity and a smart phone in their hand.

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Listed: The 20 best movie songs

Graham Fuller

Seeing and hearing A Field in England's Richard Glover sing "Baloo, My Boy" while in bedraggled character reminded me of the power often exerted by songs explicitly or implicitly germane to a movie's narrative.

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