In The Picture

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Discussing everything that isn't Hollywood (and a little that is)
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Dunkirk (UK-Netherlands-France-US 2017)

Mon, 07/24/2017 - 14:13
Despite Christopher Nolan’s well publicised advocacy of ‘reel’ film and large format production the critical response is something of a lottery. Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian did not bother, or forgot, to tell readers in what format he saw the film. Mark Kermode, as one would expect, was more careful, spelling out the formats and […]
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Dunkirk (UK 1958)

Tue, 07/18/2017 - 09:17
With Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk due to open in the UK this week [now released, see Keith’s review here], I thought it might be interesting to re-visit this Ealing Studios film from 1958 – the only other film completely focused on the Dunkirk evacuation. Joe Wright’s Atonement (UK/France/US 2007) includes a long segment dealing with events […]
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After the Storm (Japan 2016)

Fri, 07/14/2017 - 20:44
Kore-eda Hirokazu is a Japanese auteur in the original sense of that term. In his films you can rely on recurring faces in the cast list, recurring themes and styles – all with a sense of a director’s ‘personal vision’ honed over twenty years of auteur production. Very occasionally, Kore-eda throws a curve ball, such […]
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My Life as a Courgette (Ma vie de Courgette, France-Switzerland 2016)

Tue, 07/11/2017 - 00:03
A film about orphans (or more generally, ‘children in care’) immediately evokes memories of Oliver Twist (1948), Annie (1982), Holes (2003) etc. But I felt that this French-Swiss stop-motion animation brought me closer to the experience of such children than these or the many other live-action films in the same mould. Director Claude Barras called it […]
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The Good Lie (US-Canada-Kenya-India 2014)

Wed, 07/05/2017 - 16:04
The Good Lie is an intriguing film – a Hollywood-funded production distributed by Warner Bros featuring Reese Witherspoon, executive-produced by Ron Howard and directed by the Québecois auteur Philippe Falardeau, an Oscar nominee for Monsieur Lazhar (Canada 2011). It defies easy assumptions in its negotiation of the idea of a ‘feelgood film’. On IMDb it […]
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Lease of Life (UK 1954)

Tue, 07/04/2017 - 14:44
Ealing Studios as a brand has become so associated in the public mind with the comedies of the late 1940s and early 1950s that many of its most interesting productions are barely seen or discussed. Fortunately, the ‘Ealing Rarities’ collections of DVDs, first published in 2013, have made several titles available for the first time […]
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The Other Side of Hope (Toivon tuolla puolen, Finland-Germany 2017)

Sat, 07/01/2017 - 11:24
I was pleased to finally catch the latest film from Aki Kaurismäki in cinemas. I knew I would like it and indeed I spent 100 joyful minutes in the splendid Hebden Bridge Picture House relishing every moment. Looking back I see that I spelt out Kaurismäki’s unique approach in detail in relation to Le Havre […]
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Don’s Party (Australia 1976)

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 13:02
Don’s Party is another example of the 1970s ‘New Australian Cinema’ or an ‘AFC’ film as Australian film studies now terms such films, referring to public funding via the Australian Film Commission and similar state funding schemes. The film is an adaptation of David Williamson’s 1971 stage play by the writer himself and it is […]
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The Graduate (US 1967)

Tue, 06/27/2017 - 11:49
The 50th Anniversary (actually Christmas 2017 in North America) release of The Graduate is an odd anniversary for me. I now discover that the film is deemed a classic and it has received the same 5 star reviews that all ‘classics’ seem to receive automatically. I’ll have to wait until I watch it again in a cinema […]
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Dispossession: The Great Social Housing Swindle (UK 2017)

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 06:58
This is a social problem/campaign documentary written and directed by Paul Sng. It is produced by his Brighton-based company Velvet Joy Productions. It presumably had a small budget and, like his earlier feature Sleaford Mods – Invisible Britain (2015), it relies on distributing directly to exhibitors. The film’s WebPages offer an overview of the film, […]
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The Wait (L’Attesa, Italy-France 2015)

Tue, 06/20/2017 - 17:23
The Wait turned up in my film rental list. I’d put it on the list because it features Lou de Laâge who was so impressive in Anne Fontaine’s Les innocentes. I’m glad I made that call because I enjoyed The Wait, which I missed completely when it snuck into UK cinemas in July 2016, seemingly without […]
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Harmonium – film or file?

Tue, 06/20/2017 - 13:55
Roy has already reviewed this film and I think he is gives a good sense of what makes it interesting viewing. However, he did not comment on the quality of the screening so maybe he was more fortunate than me. The film seemed interesting but I was constantly distracted by the poor quality of the […]
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My Cousin Rachel (UK-US 2017)

Mon, 06/19/2017 - 09:34
It’s an odd coincidence that this ‘re-adaptation’ of Daphne du Maurier’s My Cousin Rachel should arrive in UK cinemas so soon after Lady Macbeth. I went to see My Cousin Rachel with Nick and when we discussed the film in the pub afterwards we had almost the complete opposite reactions. I was slightly disappointed and […]
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Berlin Syndrome (Australia-Germany 2017)

Sun, 06/18/2017 - 12:53
The title Berlin Syndrome is very suggestive in this feature about a young female tourist who finds herself trapped after a casual sexual encounter in Berlin. How will the reference to the ‘Stockholm syndrome’, that idea that a captive becomes literally captivated by their gaoler, become manifest in the narrative? Not perhaps as you might […]
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Qissa – the Tale of a Lonely Ghost (India/Germany/France/Netherlands 2013)

Wed, 06/14/2017 - 10:28
Like Gurinder Chadha, the co-writer and director of Qissa, Anup Singh, was born in East Africa into a family which had originally had its home in Rawalpindi in Northern Punjab before Indian Partition in 1947. Unlike Chadha he attended university in Bombay and then FTII in Pune for his film school. His approach to a […]
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The Red Turtle (La tortue rouge, France-Belgium-Japan 2016)

Mon, 06/12/2017 - 12:41
The Red Turtle is every bit as good as the rave reviews make it out to be. It seems pointless to add another general review so I’m just going to focus on a few points. Subscribers to Sight and Sound are lucky to have an excellent review by Kate Stables and an interview with the […]
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Dough (UK-Hungary 2015)

Mon, 06/05/2017 - 16:56
This film has finally been released in the UK, a year after France and the US. In many ways, it is an old-fashioned film, though its subject matter is contemporary enough. I hesitate to refer to the 1940s/50s Ealing Comedies but it does offer some of the same pleasures as those films (and to more recent […]
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The Tracker (Australia 2002)

Mon, 06/05/2017 - 11:12
The Tracker is an important film and represents a popular culture contribution to telling the early history of the ‘Commonwealth of Australia’. It was released just a few months after Rabbit-Proof Fence. David Gulpilil plays a tracker in both films and, like the earlier film, The Tracker offers a shocking glimpse into the attitudes of some ‘European […]
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Letters from Baghdad (UK/US/France 2017)

Sun, 06/04/2017 - 22:37
Letters from Baghdad is a remarkable ‘biodoc’ – enjoyable and informative to watch and important for three reasons. First, it presents the story of Gertrude Lowthian Bell, a British woman born in 1868 who would become a prominent figure in the history of British imperial policy in the Levant, Palestine and Mesopotamia during the final […]
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Now, Voyager (US 1942)

Thu, 06/01/2017 - 07:03
Hebden Bridge Picture House are screening this Warner Bros. classic this coming Saturday (June 3rd) in their ‘reel’ film slot. One reason alone should be enough to excite potential viewers, it contains, if not the finest, then certainly the most memorable performance by Bette Davis as Charlotte Vale. The films follows a transformation of this […]
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