• The Lady and the Duke

    The Lady and the Duke

    The intentionally flat film of a fascist miser intent upon platforming cynicism.

  • Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon

    Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon

    ★★★★

    "Like a bomb exploding in reverse... Thoughts, ideas... fragments of images. Shards of memory, like shrapnel... All come back to me, and are forced back out in a cruel pastiche of experience."

    A portrait of the artist in bold, unforgiving strokes.

    Perhaps predictablely rejected by Bacon's estate, this film probes the dichotomous relationship between the artist (played surperbly by Derek Jacobi) and his lover/muse George Dyer (a markedly vulnerable Daniel Craig). Tender yet barbaric, traumatised yet inspired, the lens shifts…

  • Yi Yi

    Yi Yi

    ★★★★★

    I was admittedly quite sceptical of this lethargic, three-hour musing into the ordinary lives of countless members of a middle-class family in Taipei, Taiwan. I spent a headache-ridden half-hour straining to adjust to the complexity of Yang’s immaculately detailed world until a while later, when I realised that this was almost unnecessary. Through comedy, tragedy, horror and romance, the diversity of the every-day is expressed – a complex reality that can be felt, observed, yet never fully intellectualised. In Yi…

  • Imitation of Life

    Imitation of Life

    Imitation of Life follows two single mothers, a white widower (Lora), who aspires to be a Broadway actress and Annie, a black maid who finds work in service of the prior. Problems arise when Annie’s daughter, Sarah Jane (born with very pale skin), decides to pass as white in order to avoid the social injustice faced by her mother. The narrative is very much formed of two distinct halves and does not particularly find its feet until the latter. The…

  • Midsommar

    Midsommar

    ★★★½

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    "Dude. You have got to get off the fence with this."

    Another aesthetically impressive yet highly frustrating film from one of the most intriguing filmmakers of the last decade.

    Generally, Ari Aster's Midsommar (I watched the director’s cut and didn’t get a chance to see the theatrical release) is an improvement upon its chaotic predecessor, Hereditary, yet similarly lacks the overarching tonal cohesion and existential shock-factor promised in its exposition. In many ways, Midsommar is a likely follow-up. As with…

  • A Matter of Life and Death

    A Matter of Life and Death

    ★★★★★

    This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

    What a film!

    In a miraculous opening sequence, we zoom through time and space before closing in upon a tiny spec amongst the storm clouds. It is a young British pilot, Peter; plummeting from the skies – parachuteless and doomed. His crew member lies beside him, dead. We cut to a charming American radio operator, June, who consoles the pilot in his final moments. This sequence alone is audacious; daring to show an all-too-real corpse in an era of tight…

  • The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

    The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

    Shunned by Winston Churchill and the Ministry of War, ‘Colonel Blimp’ is a daring satire with urgent moral caution. The title references a wartime cartoon depicting the typically fat, pompous and rigid army general. Through their protagonist, Clive Candy (Roger Livesey), Powell and Pressburger interrogate this dangerous archetype with romantic sensitivity. Told over a 40-year span, the narrative interprets three wars through the eyes of an idealist, connecting its vignettes with a through-line of romance and kinship. Candy befriends a…

  • Touki Bouki

    Touki Bouki

    Absolutely baffling but fun.

    A cowherd (Mory) and a student (Anta), are fed up with their lives in Senegal and so decide to work up a con scheme to fund a route to Paris. This is a lively film which breaks away from an African wave of social-realist cinema, and which dares to scrap almost all key principles of coherent storytelling. There is credit due for this but I often found myself wondering what, if anything, Mambéty was trying to…

  • Ali: Fear Eats the Soul

    Ali: Fear Eats the Soul

    Perfectly imperfect.

    Shot as a hurried side-project in only two weeks, Fear Eats the Soul is an unconventional love story which chronicles the almost accidental romance between Emmi, a German cleaning lady in her mid-sixties and Ali, a Moroccan migrant worker around twenty-five years younger. The pair share a dance after meeting in an almost empty bar, and in doing so, discover tenderness that is all but absent elsewhere. Such melancholy warmth pervades each carefully arranged shot as deliberate and…

  • The Graduate

    The Graduate

    ★★★★½

    I love this film with every atom of my being.

    "There's a great future in plastics. Think about it."

  • Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love

    Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love

    I cried for over a very long time after watching this film