The Complete Humphrey Jennings Volume 3 (A Diary for Timothy) – BFI

It’s an oft repeated dictum that British director, Humphrey Jennings, had a gradual decline of quality within his work towards the end of the Second World War.  It’s repeated several times in the booklet of this excellent BFI release but, like many of the others who start with this statement, there is a “but”.  That “but” is that Jennings’ weaker work is in fact not … Continue reading The Complete Humphrey Jennings Volume 3 (A Diary for Timothy) – BFI

The Complete (Existing) Films of Sadao Yamanaka – Masters of Cinema.

Displaying a filmmaking ethic and system that would make even someone as fast-working as prodigious as Rainer Werner Fassbinder seem cautious and slow, Sadao Yamanaka should perhaps be far better known that he currently is in the West.  Making twenty two films over his short but highly productive cinema career, Yamanaka can be seen as one of the missing links in great Japanese cinema.  His … Continue reading The Complete (Existing) Films of Sadao Yamanaka – Masters of Cinema.

Tess (1979) – Roman Polanski (BFI Release)

Roman Polanski’s period films don’t garner the same sort of critical attention that his genre films attain.  The likes of Rosemary’s Baby (1968) and Chinatown (1974) no doubt feature more highly in film discussions than the likes of Oliver Twist (2005) or Tess (1979) yet the latter of these films presents an epic expanse that manages to still capture detail and beauty; a rare feat … Continue reading Tess (1979) – Roman Polanski (BFI Release)

BFI Fairy Tales – Early Colour Stencil Films From Pathé (1901 – 1908)

There’s something startling about just how inventive cinema was in the early days of its creation.  Whereas other artistic mediums have taken hundreds of years to bear fruit, film seemed to have caught on to what it was about mere years after its very conception.  Ranging from 1901 to 1908, the films in the BFI Fairy Tales release show a frank endorsement of both storytelling … Continue reading BFI Fairy Tales – Early Colour Stencil Films From Pathé (1901 – 1908)

BattleShip Potemkin + Drifters – The Soviet Influence (BFI)

Curating films together for a DVD release is an interesting concept. Usually the most obvious connection between films is their director with auteur based box sets being perfectly normal in the everyday DVD buying scenario. When a DVD is released combining films with a more subtle connection, it is vital that the films have a strong relationship with each other to avoid clashes and tainting. … Continue reading BattleShip Potemkin + Drifters – The Soviet Influence (BFI)

Maîtresse – Barbet Schroeder (1976), BFI.

This review contains spoilers. Barbet Schroeder’s Maîtresse (1976) is a film that is extremely hard to classify.  Even with the hindsight of almost forty years, its apparent bed fellows all share a stubborn resistance to classification.  The collection of films with vaguely similar themes and tendencies to push boundaries of explicitness that came out in the 1970s such as Salò Or 120 Days Of Sodom … Continue reading Maîtresse – Barbet Schroeder (1976), BFI.

Mon Oncle – Jacques Tati (1958), BFI.

Of all of Jacques Tati’s films, Mon Oncle (1958) is probably the most disarming in its satirical attack on efficiency and modernity. Monsieur Hulot is the perfect out of place character, stuck in an ever changing world that values tidiness and its objects more than its happiness and relationships.  The high tech nature that is gradually engulfing Paris has never been so quaintly photographed (though … Continue reading Mon Oncle – Jacques Tati (1958), BFI.

Jour de Fête – Jacques Tati (1949), BFI.

The films of Jacques Tati so often place their main protagonist out of time and out of step with his various scenarios that it was to be expected that Tati’s debut feature film Jour de Fête (1949) was to bask in a similar situation.  However there’s a sense of naivety due to various factors within the film that makes Tati’s debut seem not quite up … Continue reading Jour de Fête – Jacques Tati (1949), BFI.

BBC Ghost Stories – Volume 5 (A View From A Hill, Number 13) BFI.

This review contains minor spoilers. The final instalment of the BBC Ghost Stories sees a return to form from the haphazard final days of the original 1970s specials.  Though, as previously discussed in the review of Volume 1’s 2012 adaptation of Whistle And I’ll Come To You, recent attempts to carry on the tradition is automatically up against a monumental past whose shadow is hard … Continue reading BBC Ghost Stories – Volume 5 (A View From A Hill, Number 13) BFI.

Onibaba – Kaneto Shindo (1964)

Last week saw the passing away of one of Japan’s greatest and most forward thinking directors to appear in the country’s golden age of cinema.  At the age of 100 Kaneto Shindo was still going strong having only made his last film in 2010 as well as his much overdue retrospective starting at BFI Southbank being mere days later, it seems his life was one … Continue reading Onibaba – Kaneto Shindo (1964)