Colin Kennedy – Swung (2015)

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David’s life is on the slide: he’s in the middle of a divorce, broke and ‘can’t get it up’. His girlfriend, Alice, is his rock, but the magazine she writes for is going down and the pressure is on to find a story. While job hunting online, David stumbles across the perfect antidote to his boredom: a ‘Swingers’ site. The resulting inbox of lewd invitations on the home-laptop justifiably upsets Alice, until she realises this could be just the ‘story’ she needs. The idea of uncovering the swinging scene causes quite a stir in Alice’s office and, much to David’s chagrin, she is urged to pursue the story. Their first reluctant foray is an hysterically low-rent initiation, however, an unexpected upturn for David’s manhood is all the extra encouragement they need. As events accelerate beyond their control the once adoring couple become lost and fundamental questions are asked of their relationship and them as individuals. In darkness, touched by many others, they will have to find themselves… Continue reading

Lucy Carter – Auschwitz: The Forgotten Evidence (2004)

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When an Allied photo-reconnaissance plane flew over southern Poland in the summer of 1944, following a bombing raid on 20 August, it took extraordinary images of the Nazis’ most evil extermination camp: Auschwitz Birkenau. From these photos, it is possible to see in detail how the SS organised their factory of death in which about 12,000 people were being murdered daily. But the pictures were not analysed at the time. Instead they were simply filed away. Continue reading

Carol Reed – The Third Man (1949)

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Of all the iconic images in Carol Reed’s The Third Man, none is as recognizable as the sight of Harry Lime (Orson Welles) standing in a Vienna doorway, bathed in shadow. Accompanied by Anton Karas’s unforgettable zither score, it’s one of the most iconic entrances in film history, which is befitting one of film’s most iconic characters. Although he’s only on screen for a fraction of the film’s running time, Lime stands out as one of the screen’s most chilling embodiments of the banality of evil, and a perfect stand-in for Third Man‘s vision of moral breakdown in post-WWII Europe. Continue reading

Babak Anvari – Under the Shadow (2016)

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As a mother and daughter struggle to cope with the terrors of the post-revolution, war-torn Tehran of the 1980s, a mysterious evil begins to haunt their home.
Shideh (Narges Rashidi) and her family live amid the chaos of the Iran-Iraq war, a period known as The War of the Cities. Accused of subversion by the post-Revolution government and blacklisted from medical college, she falls into a state of malaise. With Tehran under the constant threat of aerial bombardment, her husband (Bobby Naderi) is drafted and sent to the frontlines by the army, leaving Shideh all alone to protect their young daughter, Dorsa (Avin Manshadi). Soon after he leaves, a missile hits their apartment building and while failing to explode, a neighbor dies under mysterious circumstances and Dorsa’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic. Shideh finds herself slowly drawn into the ensuing turmoil, struggling to cling onto what is real and what is not. Searching for answers, she learns from a superstitious neighbor that the cursed missile might have brought with it Djinn – malevolent Middle-Eastern spirits that travel on the wind.
Convinced that a supernatural force within the building is attempting to possess Dorsa, Shideh has no choice but to confront these forces if she is to save her. Continue reading

Werner Herzog – Into the Inferno (2016)

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An exploration of active volcanoes in Indonesia, Iceland, North Korea and Ethiopia, Herzog follows volcanologist Clive Oppenheimer, who hopes to minimize the volcanoes’ destructive impact. Herzog’s quest? To gain an image of our origins and nature as a species. He finds that the volcano – mysterious, violent, and rapturously beautiful – instructs us that, “there is no single one that is not connected to a belief system”. Continue reading

Peter Greenaway – The Belly of an Architect (1987)

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An American architect arrives in Italy, supervising an expedition for a French architect, Boullée, who is famous for his oval structures. Through the course of 9 months he becomes obsessed with his belly, suffers severe stomach pains, loses his wife, his unborn child and finally his own expedition. Continue reading

Adam Curtis – HyperNormalisation (2016)

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HyperNormalisation tells the extraordinary story of how we got to this strange time of great uncertainty and confusion – where those who are supposed to be in power are paralysed – and have no idea what to do. And, where events keep happening that seem inexplicable and out of control – from Donald Trump to Brexit, the War in Syria, the endless migrant crisis, and random bomb attacks. It explains not only why these chaotic events are happening – but also why we, and our politicians, cannot understand them.

‘The film shows that what has happened is that all of us in the West – not just the politicians and the journalists and the experts, but we ourselves – have retreated into a simplified, and often completely fake version of the world. But because it is all around us, we accept it as normal. Continue reading