Our Children

Our Children Poster

Flicking through the Radio Times and picking out good films to watch I spotted that Our Children, #3 in my top 20 of 2012, is on Channel 4 at 1:10am Thursday morning next week.  I saw the film at the LFF of that year and it has never left me.  A truly claustrophobic account of the disintegration of domesticity within a three-generation household in France, Joachim Lafosse’s film is not to be missed.

This – I want to see this

So the teaser trailer has arrived for David Michôd‘s latest, The Rover. Being a big fan of Animal Kingdom I am loving the look of this.  With cinematography by Somers Town DOP, Natasha Braier and reuniting with Animal Kingdom composer Antony Partos, it’s tentatively booked for an August release.

Summer can’t come soon enough.


Having just seen American Hustle this weekend (another David O. Russell film that I failed to really enjoy) I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that every time Christian Bale took his glasses off I expected him to turn to the person next to him and announce “I’m Batman”.

Which in turn led me to remembering these two works of genius from College Humor:

Love them.

Combined 2013 Top Ten

With the Bafta nomination announcement this morning (and the realisation that I have 26 features to see before the awards are handed out on Feb 16th…!) I remembered that I was meant to post a combined top ten taking into consideration my favourite 20 classic and contemporary films of last year.  So here goes:

#10 Wadjda (BAFTA nominated for Film not in the English Language)

#9 Zero Dark Thirty

#8 Citizen Kane

#7 The Big City

#6 Some Like It Hot

#5 Blackfish (BAFTA nominated for Best Documentary)

#4 Like Father Like Son

#3 The Lunchbox

#2 How to Survive a Plague

#1 Napoleon

So, only three of my top 20 (including Despicable Me 2) have been nominated.  Admittedly that’s because a couple of the films have only just been released (and Zero Dark Thirty was nominated in 2013), but I didn’t manage to make time for Rush, Captain Phillips, Nebraska, Blue Jasmine or Gravity in the 55 contemporaries I saw in 2013.  Should I make 2014 a more mainstream year?


Contemporary of the Year #1

I remember watching Never Let Me Go a couple of years ago and thinking, I will never again cry this hard in a cinema again.  Turns out I was wrong.  How to Survive a Plague did not just break my heart.  It ripped it apart.  Then it stitched it back together with love, warmth and a story of such incredible magnitude that it is almost impossible to put into words.  The true story of ACT UP and TAG, two activist groups campaigning for treatment for the AIDS virus in the 1980s and 90s, David France‘s documentary relies upon an incredible amount of archive footage.  It’s not ‘like’ being there.  You ARE there.  In the meetings, at the protests, on the marches, with the people who made a vital difference to the lives of millions.  Their work and achievements cannot be overstated and this documentary is an excellent tribute.  How to Survive a Plague shows the process of getting things done in its full, devastating, seemingly impossible, stomach churning reality.

It comes out on DVD in the UK on 17th February and I would urge you to watch it.

Classic of the Year #1

Abel Gance‘s Napoleon, performed at the Royal Festival Hall with a live orchestra, conducted by composer, Carl Davis, was simply the most exhilarating cinematic experience of my life.  Gance’s nigh-on 6 hour masterpiece, pieced together over 20 years by Oscar-winning silent film historian Kevin Brownlow, is the most extraordinary cinematic achievement I think I might ever see.  Split, as it was at the RFH, into 4 segments, each felt like a different genre of film – biopic, war, romantic comedy, epic – and I was utterly transfixed by this beautiful, horrifying, witty (downright hilarious in places), tragic, soul-surgingly uplifting, wondrous work of art.  Davis’ score is equally engrossing, uplifting, witty and downright epic.

When, oh when, can I see it again???

Staggering.  Absolutely, jaw-droppingly staggering.

Contemporary of the Year #2

Sadly I could not find a trailer with complete English subtitles for this extraordinary, charming, heart-warming, delicious treat of a film.  I think The Lunchbox comes out in Spring 2014 (April, maybe) and I will be straight out to watch it again.  I can’t think of another contemporary film I watched this year that made me feel such joy.  About 20 minutes into the screening at the LFF I thought, this is going to be my favourite of the Festival, and I was not wrong.  Plus, director Ritesh Batra came out with my favourite quote at the Festival:

“Film-making is all about pissing off people you know to impress people you will never meet”


Contemporary of the Year #3

Like Father, Like Son is one of the films I just couldn’t fit into my London Film Festival schedule, despite all the good things I had heard about it.  Gladly I got to see it only a couple of days after the closing night and those good things were not wrong!  A truly beautiful film about the basic difficulties of parenthood (even set against the extraordinary conditions of the film), Hirokazu Koreeda’s study both breaks and warms your heart.

Simply stunning.