fri 14/08/2020

Film Features

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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Listed: Freudian Analysis

Jasper Rees

Hysteria is back. Terry Johnson’s comedy was written for the Royal Court in 1993, and for its 20th anniversary it is being revived at Hampstead Theatre. It is a homecoming in a sense: the play is set in the Hampstead home of Sigmund Freud, where he receives unexpected visits from Salvador Dalí and a young woman who cannot keep her clothes on. Freud will be played by Antony Sher.

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theartsdesk in Locarno: All About the Wet Bits

james Woodall

Feuchtgebiete has been the talk of Locarno. The word combines “damp” or “moist” with “areas” – yes, you might guess what’s coming. English-born, German-bred Charlotte Roche published in 2008 a novel of the same title, which became Wetlands in English. And as my mother’s reprimand of me and my brothers sniggering at what boys always snigger at went, “Will you please get your heads out of your pants…”

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Listed: Sitcoms that became movies

James Williams

This week sees the release of the eagerly anticipated Alan Partridge film, Alpha Papa. And while there are those of us who simply cannot wait to cringe along with Norwich’s favourite talk radio host, there is a rather vocal minority that are indignant at having their favourite sitcom sullied by the limitations of the movie format.

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Listed: Female buddy crimebusters

theartsdesk

There's good cops and bad cops, hard cops and soft cops, old cops and young cops, funny cops and straight cops, maverick cops and by-the-book cops. The pairings are legion, the permutations endless. The movies teem with buddy cops, unlike paired with unlike to bring down bad guys. They've all pretty much got one thing in common: it's a guy thing. Yes, when it comes to reeling in the guilty parties, not a lot of sisters get to do it for themselves.

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The Woody Allen story: 'Why do I feel like I got screwed?'

Jasper Rees

Woody Allen once joked that he would prefer to achieve immortality not through his work but through not dying. He is now 77 and the inevitable is a lot nearer than it was when he first realised, aged five, that this doesn’t go on forever. Fear of death has powered the furious productivity that in the early days yielded jokes by the yard, then the films appearing year upon year.

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