Great British Documentaries

“In documentary we deal with the actual, and in one sense with the real. But the really real, if I may use that phrase, is something deeper than that. The only reality which counts in the end is the interpretation which is profound.” – John Grierson. With Sight & Sound’s recent poll for best documentaries (September 2014), I wanted to explore some of the British … Continue reading Great British Documentaries

Blackwood (2013) – Adam Wimpenny.

The ghost story has had a resurgence lately in film and television.  Perhaps the increasing reliance on distancing technology and social media has lead to a desire to retread older forms that now seem prescient but there’s no doubt that the genre as a whole is alive and well, especially for commercially minded lower budget film; the blueprint set up by Hammer’s adaptation of Susan … Continue reading Blackwood (2013) – Adam Wimpenny.

Interview with Paul Wright (For Those In Peril).

Paul Wright’s debut feature film, For Those In Peril, won many plaudits on its release and even managed a BAFTA nomination this year.  His film is a richly layered and deeply moving fantastical tale of an isolated community who are at odds with the soul survivor of a tragedy at sea.  For Those In Peril is out now on DVD and a full article on … Continue reading Interview with Paul Wright (For Those In Peril).

Analysis of Sound and Music in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) – Part 3 (Acousmatic Concepts)

Part 1. Part 2. Emphasis on Acousmatic Concepts in Ross J. Fenimore’s “Voices that Lie Within”. “Psycho almost didn’t happen.  This is a unique case of music literally saving a film.” – Sullivan (2006, p.246). Like much literature around Psycho, Fenimore’s “Voices That Lie Within” begins its argument with setting the scene. “Psycho begins with a theft.”(2010, p.80) he begins as so many often do.  … Continue reading Analysis of Sound and Music in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) – Part 3 (Acousmatic Concepts)

The Stuart Hall Project – John Akomfrah (BFI).

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).

El Topo and The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (Jodorowsky and Gabriel).

Alejandro Jodorowsky’s El Topo (1970) has rightly earned a place in the pantheon of cult cinema. Watch any number of documentaries or interviews with the man himself and the film will often stand proud as the pioneer of the “Midnight Movie”; a film obviously shown late due to its content but also exuding free reign over all of its creative aspects.  Researching further into the … Continue reading El Topo and The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (Jodorowsky and Gabriel).

Distant Voices, Still Lives – Terence Davies (1988)

Terence Davies is perhaps the most important creative force to emerge from Liverpool since The Beatles.  The veteran filmmaker, who only has a handful of films to his name, is the quintessential art cinema director who mixes art house visuals with kitchen sink realism and autobiographical narratives.  His first full length film is an exercise in storytelling and makes a relatively straightforward drama seem something … Continue reading Distant Voices, Still Lives – Terence Davies (1988)

Falstaff: Chimes At Midnight – Orson Welles (1965)

Like most films by Orson Welles, Chimes At Midnight (1965) sits uncomfortably in the shadow of his debut film; Citizen Kane.  However this is a view often dismissed by viewers that actually take the time out to watch the rest of the Welles canon and a viewing of any number of his films will quash the ridiculous criticism of achieving success too early on. Chimes At Midnight is an … Continue reading Falstaff: Chimes At Midnight – Orson Welles (1965)

BBC Ghost Stories Volume 3 (Lost Hearts, The Ash Tree, The Treasure Of Abbot Thomas) – BFI

The third volume of the BBC Ghost Stories, restored and released by the BFI, is perhaps the darkest set of stories to come out of television adaptations yet.  This release sees the last of Lawrence Gordon Clark’s screen transformations of the stories of M.R James before the director went on to adapt stories by the likes of Charles Dickens and even commission entirely new tales … Continue reading BBC Ghost Stories Volume 3 (Lost Hearts, The Ash Tree, The Treasure Of Abbot Thomas) – BFI