Maureen Blackwood – Perfect Image? (1989)

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Bright and imaginative in its approach to its subject, PERFECT IMAGE? exposes stereotypical images of Black women and explores women’s own ideas of self worth. Using two actresses who constantly change their personae, the film poses questions about how Black women see themselves and each other and the pitfalls that await those who internalize the search for the “perfect image”! Continue reading

Jack Cardiff – Sons and Lovers (1960)

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Sons and Lovers
At the Brattle through Saturday
By William A. Nitze, March 26, 1962
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Sons and Lovers does not lend itself easily to a movie script, but Jack Cardiff has transformed Lawrence’s novel into a superb film. The reader must follow a slow and agonizing series of conflicting passions presented in a style which is often deceptively complex. Through a skillful rearrangement of plot elements and dialogue Cardiff has condensed the novel into an hour and 45 minutes without sacrificing its subtlety and force.

The film opens halfway through the story: Paul Morel is in his early twenties. Within the first ten minutes one grasps all of the important relationships of the drama: the abandonment of Walter Morel by his wife and sons, who detest him because of his weakness and cruelty; Paul’s desperate attachment to his mother, and his frustrated love for Miriam. The film then concentrates on the final failure of Miriam to break through Mrs. Morel’s hold on her son, Paul’s unsuccessful affair with Clara Dawes and his final liberation through his mother’s death. Continue reading

Derek Jarman – Jubilee (1978)

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Punks hail Britannia in their own peculiar way in this little-seen gem by the late queer auteur

Jubilee (1978), Britain’s only decent punk film, still isn’t respected at home as much as it should be, and it remains pretty obscure everywhere else. Instead, we had to wait for Trainspotting (1996) to represent some sort of renaissance in “cool” British cinema. Yet, even though it is almost 20 years older, Jubilee makes Trainspotting’s self-congratulatory, CD tie-in antics look like a polite Edinburgh garden party. Continue reading

Ken Loach – I, Daniel Blake (2016)

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Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, the latest from legendary director Ken Loach is a gripping, human tale about the impact one man can make. Gruff but goodhearted, Daniel Blake (Dave Johns) is a man out of time: a widowed woodworker who’s never owned a computer, he lives according to his own common sense moral code. But after a heart attack leaves him unable to work and the state welfare system fails him, the stubbornly self-reliant Daniel must stand up and fight for his dignity, leading a one-man crusade for compassion that will transform the lives of a struggling single mother (Hayley Squires) and her two children. [IFC Films] Continue reading

Otto Bell – The Eagle Huntress (2016)

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This spellbinding documentary follows Aisholpan, a 13-year-old nomadic Mongolian girl who is fighting to become the first female eagle hunter in twelve generations of her Kazakh family. Through breathtaking aerial cinematography and intimate verite footage, the film captures her personal journey while also addressing universal themes like female empowerment, the natural world, coming of age and the onset of modernity. Continue reading