This quietly devastating Czech film from 1963, released for the first time in the UK, brings utterly credible nuance to depictions of the Holocaust; and intense insight into the lives of those millions who faced death as a waiting game.
Shot on 35 mm film in arduous conditions – much of the film was shot in real snow – this Japanese remake of the Clint Eastwood classic presents the story as a bleak reminder of the price of violence, minimizing the more redemptive aspects of the original. The film has received the Eastwood seal of approval.
We’re so used to cynical war films – even Hollywood was producing them from the mid-50s onwards – or at least war films that conceal their patriotic or pro-military-industrial-complex stance behind technological innovations or human interest stories; that it’s a real eye-opener to witness an unashamedly, obscenely nationalistic and patriotic war film like this one.
The summer has just started and Franck intends to spend his days at the local cruising spot; swimming in the lake, sunbathing on the shore and shagging strangers in the woods. There he meets Henri, a grumpy, overweight, solitary soul who visits the same spot every day to quietly watch the world go by.
Unsavoury but undeniably tense, Claire Denis’ latest film is a revenge drama that’s well worth watching, although it may not be for the squeamish. Denis’ film style requires a viewer’s close attention – but here one comes to suspect that the nuanced drama is based on a cheap trick, a shock tactic.
A Map for Love, not to be mistaken with the international bestselling book, The Map For Love, tells the story of Roberta, a young lesbian, whose girlfriend, Javiera, is a philosophizing actress and dancer. The awkward but inevitable moment when she will come face-to-face with her mother lurks around the corner.
'Found footage' films are certainly polarising. Though Wikipedia tells us the genre was born with Cannibal Holocaust in 1980, the creepy duo of 1998's The Last Broadcast and The Blair Witch Project of the following year were the first serious popularisation of the shaky-handed style of movie-making. The latter was a massive hit, and yet among the quartet I myself watched the movie with, two loved it and two loathed it.
Something about the stylistically layered approach to its subject – a veteran French photojournalist and documentary film maker – makes this documentary quietly inspiring and even profound.
Somehow South Korea has reinvented the rom-com! No, come back, I’m serious. This film has pulled off a coup managing to avoid stale formulas, creating a charming and above all funny affair. Quick, help me undo my bodice an inch, I may faint at the news!
Krzysztof Zanussi’s Illumination opens with footage of a lecture given by Professor Władysław Tatarkiewicz, in which he describes Augustine’s theory of “illumination”. He concludes that it is the moment that we gain pure and immediate knowledge. This preamble sets up the framework that structures Illumination, the journey of a young man searching for this so-called illumination.