fri 22/03/2019

independent cinema

Minding the Gap review – profound musings on life

Where would you go for a devastating study on the human condition? The home movies of teenage skaters would be very low down on that list. But most of those movies aren’t filmed, compiled and analysed by Bing Liu, the director of Minding the Gap....

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Benjamin review - awkward romcom meets cultural analysis

Benjamin is the debut feature of Simon Amstell, a young director who has thought cleverly about the torments (and hilarities) of artistic creation in an information-soaked world. The protagonist Benjamin (Colin Morgan) lives in a contemporary London...

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DVD: An Elephant Sitting Still

The story behind this first – and final – feature from the young Chinese film-maker Hu Bo is as sad as anything in recent cinema history. Stretching to nearly four hours, An Elephant Sitting Still is a film of almost unremitting bleakness, following...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Freak Show

You might think an American high school comedy an unlikely place to locate a love letter to Oscar Wilde – even if there’s a flamboyantly gay story behind it. But Freak Show screenwriters Beth Rigazio and Patrick J Clifton, adapting James St James’...

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The Best Films Out Now

There are films to meet every taste in theartsdesk's guide to the best movies currently on release. In our considered opinion, any of the titles below is well worth your attention.América ★★★★ A heart-warming document of love across the...

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Foxtrot review – controversial movie dances to an ugly tune

Israeli filmmaker Samuel Maoz’s Foxtrot uses irony and visual poetry to condemn his nation’s militarism. Twenty months after the movie won the Grand Jury Prize at Venice, it opens in the UK trailing a divisive history. When it first emerged in 2017...

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Old Boys review - short but not especially sweet

How does the ever cherub-cheeked Alex Lawther keep getting served in pubs? That question crossed my mind during the more leisurely portions of Old Boys, an overextended English schoolboy revamp of Cyrano de Bergerac that flags just when it most...

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Capernaum review - sorrow, pity and shame in the Beirut slums

An angry little boy, in jail after stabbing someone, stands in a Beirut courtroom and tells the judge that he wants to sue his parents. Why? For giving birth to him when they’re too poor and feckless to care for him. And he wants them to stop having...

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Jellyfish review - life on the edge in Margate

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside – well perhaps not, if Jellyfish is anything to go by. Set in Margate, this independent feature paints a picture of a town and people that have been left behind. Cut from the same cloth as Ken Loach’s I, Daniel...

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Monsters and Men review - an impressive debut

This well-crafted addition to the films inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement is subtler and less commercial than last year’s The Hate U Give but covers similar terrain. Writer-director Reinaldo Marcus Green sets Monsters and Men in...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Under the Tree

If you’ve ever had an argument with a neighbour, watch Under the Tree and take notes. This mesmerising story of a dispute over a tree blocking the sun in a next-door garden is based, says Icelandic director Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson, on an actual...

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VOD: 1985

Dallas writer-director Yen Tan has brought 1985 back to stylistic basics, and the resulting resolute lack of adornment enhances his film’s concentration on a story that achieves indisputably powerful, and notably reserved emotion. Independent cinema...

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