A shifting sense of time, space, and place can bring huge advantages to fantastical works of fiction. The feeling that time is a folded concept, repeating and resetting in a quasi-ritualistic ceremony of life adds a sheen of the monumental to even the smallest and most intimate of dramas. This sheen is the absolute embodiment of the work of writer, Alan Garner, and is never … Continue reading Red Shift (Play For Today, 1978) – John Mackenzie (BFI).
A palette of strange objects, muted imagery, and medieval oddness awaits the viewer of Walerian Borowczyk’s Blanche (1971); only the third feature film in one of the most surreal and haphazard cinematic careers of all European art house directors. Though now more infamous as a purveyor of perverted worlds and eventually soft-core titillation (Emmanuelle 5 in 1987 being a complicated low point), Blanche shows the … Continue reading Blanche (1971) – Walerian Borowczyk (Arrow Video).
This reviewer contains spoilers. Robert Altman was a master in critiquing American forms of culture. So many of his greatest renowned work revolves around taking an American form, cultural sect, or problem and portraying their dramatically polar angles of perspective often denied to it (then and now) in mainstream culture. From early documentaries on college football in his debut work Modern Football (1951) and on … Continue reading Nashville (1975) – Robert Altman (Masters of Cinema).
The late 1970s and early 1980s occupy a strange realm in our current affections of nostalgia. While openly acknowledged as a problematic era for politics, riots and race/police relations being at an all time low, there has been a steady but gradual yearning for the age’s art. This isn’t just in the traditional sense of nostalgia but quite a specific relationship; the era is currently … Continue reading That Sinking Feeling (Bill Forsyth, 1979) – BFI Flipside.
From its opening declarations, John Akomfrah’s documentary on Stuart Hall, The Stuart Hall Project (2013) explicitly acknowledges that it is going to be condensing fifty years of complex history and ideology into its relatively short running time. Akomfrah achieves this in an unusual but extraordinary way by linking the ideas and history of the public intellectual with his passion for the music of Miles Davis. … Continue reading The Stuart Hall Project – John Akomfrah (BFI).
The notion of gothic is quite rightly taking over the BFI at the moment. Their gothic season is looking set to be its most all encompassing and vast seasonal retrospective for some time. The gothic tint has found its way into a number of avenues including its DVD range. The Flipside label always seemed fit for the sort of gothic releases still residing in the … Continue reading Schalcken The Painter – Leslie Megahey (BFI Flipside).
The latest release in the BFI Flipside series revels in the social satire of its era with glee. Though of course the main draw of the release will be Saxon Logan’s main feature, Sleepwalker (1984), the release itself is built up to make a whole package of potential double and even triple bills of viewing; some Logan themed, some nocturnal themed. The main feature simply … Continue reading Sleepwalker (1984) – Saxon Logan, BFI Flipside.
Sergei Loznitsa is becoming more well known in the film world for his foreboding dramas with two excellent feature films currently under his belt. In the Fog (2012) and My Joy (2010) are strong dramas, highlighting the emotional turmoil of war in the former and solitude in the latter. This release sees three of Loznitsa’s documentaries being released by New Wave Films, all of which … Continue reading Blockade, Landscape, Revue: 3 Films by Sergei Loznitsa (New Wave Films).
Classical traditions and feminist ideologies collide and intertwine in Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen’s Riddles of the Sphinx (1977). It’s instantly clear from its opening “contents” page that the film isn’t simply going to be a piece of narrative cinema, nor is it going to be purely avant-garde. With the increasing use of the term Essay Film within the analysis of cinema, Mulvey’s film is … Continue reading Riddles of the Sphinx (1977) – Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen (BFI).
This review contains spoilers. Fluidity is rife within Antonio Campos’ 2012 film Simon Killer. From its character’s perception of reality to its editing and direction, the film seems in a constant state flux, moving in and out of ideas and emotions as easily as its sociopath protagonist. For a film with such a violent, blunt title, it almost betrays the melancholic, rarely visceral content of … Continue reading Simon Killer (Antonio Campos, 2012) – Masters of Cinema.