wed 30/09/2020

Film Features

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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Mel Smith, 1952-2013

Jasper Rees

Mel Smith, who has died at the age of 60, will be principally remembered as one quarter of the satirical sketch show Not the Nine O’Clock News and one half of its blokier spin-off Alas Smith and Jones. A natural and inclusive comedian, it’s less widely recalled that Smith also directed one of the most successful films in British movie history: Bean. As co-founder with Griff Rhys Jones of Talkback, he was also a pioneer in independent television production.

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Listed: Whistleblowers

Jasper Rees

Even now, as Edward Snowden floats in the diplomatic neverwhere of Sheremetyevo airport, someone somewhere is plotting the movie. Currently the story of the man who blew the whistle on the National Security Agency looks like it could still play out as farce, but it may yet turn to tragedy.

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Listed: Actors playing themselves

Jasper Rees

Imagine a scenario in which Daniel Day Lewis is cast as himself. To get into character, he adopts his method technique of total immersion. For months he watches all of Daniel Day Lewis’s movies, studying his voice and physical movements to nail those telltale Daniel Day Lewis ticks. He reads all his EPK interviews and pores over his acceptance speeches.

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James Gandolfini 1961-2013

Adam Sweeting

Mobster roles have helped define many of America's greatest screen actors, from James Cagney to Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. Thanks to his portrayal of Tony Soprano in HBO's TV masterpiece The Sopranos, James Gandolfini has made an unforgettable addition to their ranks.

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10 Questions for Actress Déborah François

Demetrios Matheou

There are many reasons to be thankful for the Dardennes brothers, the Belgians whose sibling genius is rivalled only by the Coens, not least the young actors they have introduced to cinema: Émilie Dequenne in Rosetta, Jérémie Renier in La promesse, Déborah François in The Child, Thomas Doret in The Kid with a Bike.

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The Leopard: 50 years on from Cannes

David Nice

It took Sicilian aristocrat Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, melancholy last scion of a never very reproductive family, a lifetime to get round to writing one of the 20th century’s greatest novels. Publication of The Leopard (Il Gattopardo), based on the life of the author's great grandfather and the changes of the risorgimento, only took place over a year after Lampedusa’s death in July 1957. Events then moved very fast.

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Billy Liar at 50

graham Rickson

John Schlesinger’s 1963 film of Keith Waterhouse’s novel is 50 years old. It’s just been reissued in a pristine print by Studio Canal, and looks stunning in its new incarnation. What began as a claustrophobic three-act play was brilliantly opened out by the film’s director, and the widescreen format feels wholly appropriate.

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The Eagles at Sundance - History in the Making

Adam Sweeting

The Eagles recorded their first two albums in London in the early Seventies, though they couldn't have imagined they'd be back 40 years later to present their new documentary, History of the Eagles Part One, at Sundance London. There is, as you may have surmised, also a Part Two, which is available in the DVD and Blu-ray package that goes on sale on Monday 29 April.

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Opinion: Is acting now just for the privileged?

Jasper Rees

Knock knock. Who's there? Eamonn. Eamonn who? Eamonn Etonian. There's an Eamonn at No 10, an Eamonn is Mayor of London, an Eamonn is even Archbishop of Canterbury. Oh, and Eamonns are third and - for three more months - fourth in line to the throne. Recently Eton has started to dominate British film, television and theatre. In 2012 one Eamonn won an Emmy, another was given a Bafta and a third played a Shakespearean king on the BBC. 

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Sundance London 2013: Preview

Emma Simmonds

Bringing some much needed sunshine streaming into what has, so far, been a hit and miss spring is this year's Sundance London, which takes place from 25 - 28 April at The O2. Sundance is, of course, a name most associated with Robert Redford, President and Founder of the Sundance Institute which supports fledgling filmmakers and runs the Utah-based festival.

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theartsdesk in Istanbul: City on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown?

Sheila Johnston

Late on a spring Friday evening, İstiklal Caddesi, the main shopping thoroughfare in Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district, exudes all the delicious traditional Turkish aromas: roasting chestnuts, fierce black coffee, döner grills and simit, İstanbul’s bagel, still selling like hot cakes way after midnight. Most of all, though, milling with the crowd, you are struck by something else, something less familiar these days, in Europe anyway: the smell of money.

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Canal Dreams: the Panama Film Festival

Demetrios Matheou

Cannes, that irresistible feeding frenzy of film, is just around the corner. But 6,000 miles away in Panama City a film festival has just concluded that, for entirely different reasons, is equally significant. Panama isn’t known for its film output – it's made just one fiction feature in more than 60 years – and while America may have relinquished its control of the canal, the grip of its cultural colonialism has proven much more difficult to loosen.

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Richard Griffiths, 1947-2013

Jasper Rees

Richard Griffiths, who has died at the age of 65 from complications during heart surgery, will be remembered above all for three performances, two on screen and one onstage. In Withnail & I (1987), he embodied in Uncle Monty a predatory homosexual who, according to the film’s director Bruce Robinson, was based on Franco Zeffirelli. Many years later Griffiths found himself playing a character parked on the same spectrum in Alan Bennett’s The History Boys (2005).

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Ben Affleck: from Bennifer to Renaissance Man

Adam Sweeting

"There are no second acts in American lives," said F Scott Fitzgerald, but he had failed to include  Ben Affleck in his calculations. "This is a second act for me," announced Affleck, as he collected the Best Director award for his work on Argo at the recent BAFTAs in London, "and you're giving me that and this industry has given me that.

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Oscars 2013: Best Actor/Actress/Director

Emma Simmonds

Given the quantity of uncertain outcomes, this year's Academy Awards guarantee excitement, and there's nothing better than an Oscars ceremony filled with surprises. Furthermore, the selection of films nominated this year are of a rare vintage.

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