tue 23/07/2019

independent cinema

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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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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RBG review - a compelling, restrained insight

Very few could have predicted Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg becoming a cultural icon, least of all herself. A quiet, studious, first-generation American girl who broke down boundaries, not with force, but with a reasoned reproach and a calm demeanour...

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An Impossible Love review - toxic romance across the years

This is a love that begins sweetly, turns terrible, and is told with unflinching directness. Directed by Catherine Corsini, An Impossible Love is based on a novel by Christine Angot (known in France, and increasingly elsewhere, for her powerful...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Postcards from London

Postcards from London is a surprise. You will certainly come away from Steve McLean’s highly stylised film with a new concept of what being an “art lover” can involve, while his subject matter is considerably more specialised, not least in the...

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