Favorite films

  • A Warning to the Curious
  • Ordet
  • The Edge of the World
  • A Canterbury Tale

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  • Pirosmani

    ★★★★

  • Vampires

    ★★★★

  • Pastor Hall

    ★★★★

  • Man of Desire

    ★★½

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  • Pirosmani

    Pirosmani

    ★★★★

    Films about painters often mimic their subject’s style: here the faux naïf primitivism of Pirosmani, the same with Rousseau in Always on Sunday. 

    Look respectively to Caravaggio, Night Watching (Rembrandt), Lust for Life (Van Gogh), Love is the Devil (Bacon), Aubrey (Beardsley) and (very) so on for simpatico copies and alignments - even fictitious artists like Schlacken get the reciprocal treatment. Andrei Rublev wasn’t seen picking up a brush so that doesn’t count, but often it’s pastiche or parody.

    Why…

  • Vampires

    Vampires

    ★★★★

    I remember something similar to the central posit of this play at my own primary school: in a lane beyond the playground, a bollard to stop traffic also stopped children going any further on account of red paint having been spilt on it - Dracula’s blood it was said…

    Vampires is a good example of unequivocal playmaking. No neat bows tied on the drama, just childhood imagination filling in the blanks between youthful incomprehension and adult fecklessness and obstinacy.

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  • Brideshead Revisited

    Brideshead Revisited

    ★★★★★

    Et in Arcadia Essemus.

    When British television was being deregulated in the early 1990s it was this drama that was most often referenced as evidence for what could soon be lost. Appropriately enough for a serial concerned with decline and fall, it soon was. Brute market forces came to the ugly fore and public service broadcasting has been marginalised ever since.

    It’s not just about an extended duration or a large budget - these things endure to this day -…

  • L'Argent

    L'Argent

    ★★★★½

    “Good has left in a police car”. So said Robert Bresson (at a rather testy press conference) concerning the final scene of this film. For something presumed by some to be a summation of an apparently increased cinematic agnosticism on the part of the director, that’s a simple and telling statement (picking up on a previous answer offering that hope can emerge from despair).

    I think there’s a confusion that his increasingly blank observations were somehow a pessimistic take on…