Festival Focus: London Film Festival 2016 – The Death of Louis XIV, Porto

Posted Monday, October 24th, 2016

The latest in Albert Serra’s series of imaginative retellings of the legends of historical or literary figures might be his best yet, and is certainly his most accessible. The Death of Louis XIV was conceived initially as a performance piece, commissioned by the Centre Pompidou and due to take place over 15 days there, and elements of this form remain. Starring a 71-year-old Jean-Pierre Léaud as the near-terminal Sun King, Serra’s film takes place entirely within the royal chamber, ensuring

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Festival Focus: London Film Festival 2016 – Eglantine, Voyage of Time

Posted Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

Eglantine, the first feature from artist and filmmaker Margaret Salmon, is full of love – love for nature, love for the family, love of earth and love of the land. A warm and sensuous film, Eglantine could best be described as “a healing film” – one that, as it radiates with calmness and purity, restores the senses and the soul through the viewing of it.

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Festival Focus: London Film Festival 2016 – Moonlight, Mimosas, Sieranevada

Posted Friday, October 14th, 2016

Arriving fresh from TIFF, Barry Jenkins’ three act identity tale Moonlight comes eight years after his feature debut Medicine for Melancholy. Other than being about relationships and the complicating factors that distance people from each other, this new film bares little resemblance to that mumblecore debut, especially stylistically. The style of Moonlight however, may be more familiar to those who have seen some of the shorts Jenkin made in the period between the two features. In particular, two commercial commissions (Tall

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57th BFI London Film Festival – The Double

Posted Monday, October 21st, 2013

For a film about dopplegangers it’s fairly apt that Richard Ayoade’s second feature The Double is drenched in a pervasive sense of cinematic deja-vu. A vast improvement on his twee ode to precocious teenagers – Submarine – Ayoade has dug deeper into his box of cinematic reference points, but rather than lifting them wholesale, here the allusions and gestures are interwoven with a deft slight-of hand. Jettisoning the ‘nouvelle vague,’ this time his concerns are far more literate, riffing on

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57th BFI London Film Festival – 12 Years a Slave

Posted Saturday, October 19th, 2013

12 Years a Slave is the latest film from artist turned filmmaker Steve McQueen, and marks another point in his move from provocateur formalist to award-baiting sentimentalist. Whereas with Hunger and to a lesser degree Shame he played his cards close to his chest, conjuring up a series of oblique yet exquisite images ripe with both mystery and provocation, pointing yet never telling the audience of his true intentions, here what was once internal has become external. The film positively

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57th BFI London Film Festival – Nautical Double-bill: All is Lost & Captain Phillips.

Posted Monday, October 14th, 2013

These reviews contain spoilers.  All is Lost Although the concept of spending two hours alone on a boat with Robert Redford sounds like some suburban housewife’s wet-dream, J.C. Chandor’s All Is Lost is a revitalising take on the survivalist drama genre, offering interesting parallels with Alfonso Cuaron’s sci-fi hit Gravity (see review here). Redford stars as a nameless sailor, who awakens one morning to discover water pouring into the hull of his yacht following a freak collision with an errant

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5 Broken Cameras

Posted Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Last week I had the pleasure of watching the documentary 5 Broken Cameras at the Hackney Picturehouse and in attendance was co director Guy Davidi, who afterwards hosted an in-depth discussion/workshop session that looked at how the film came to be made. 5 Broken Cameras is an impressive feat by any stretch of the imagination. Filmed over six years the documentary charts the non-violent protest movement of the Palestinian village of Bil’in as they struggled against the Israeli build separation

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56th BFI London Film Festival – Seven Psychopaths/The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology

Posted Friday, October 19th, 2012

I should point out that I’m not trying to do a Zizek and link two disparate cultural properties, it’s merely that the second review is quite short and seemed too lacking in content to warrant it’s own post. However if anyone would like to have a go at trying to find comparison then be my guest. Seven Psychopaths In his follow up to In Bruges, Martin MacDonagh has written and directed a film about a screenwriter named Marty/Martin. The level

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56th BFI London Film Festival – No

Posted Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

In 1988, the Pinochet regime responded to growing international pressure and agreed to hold a national plebiscite; making it the first democratic election Chile had seen in almost twenty years. The voting ballot was simple: vote ‘Yes’ for Pinochet or vote “No” for the Concertación, a conglomerate of centre-left political parties that stood for Chile’s transition into democracy. In the run up to the vote, each side was allowed 15 minutes of TV time a day in which to make

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56th BFI London Film Festival – Everybody Has a Plan

Posted Monday, October 15th, 2012

Actor, poet, painter, musician, hunter Viggo Mortensen stars in this Argentinean thriller as estranged twin brothers Agustin and Pedro. The former works as a doctor in the city and on the verge of adopting a baby with his wife Claudia. The latter, still lives in the backwater village where they both grew up. He makes legitimate money as a beekeeper and illegitimate money doing what only can be described as ‘shady stuff.’ What this stuff actually entails is still a

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