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

Greta Schiller – Paris Was a Woman (1995)

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“Paris was a Woman” is a film portrait of the creative community of women writers, artists, photographers and editors who flocked to the Left Bank of Paris in the early decades of the 20th century, when Paris was the undisputed capital of the world. Using groundbreaking research and newly discovered home movies, “Paris” uses intimate storytelling as it intertwines interview with anecdote. “Paris Was a Woman” recreates the mood and flavor of this female artistic community in Paris during its most magical era. Continue reading

Karel Reisz – Night Must Fall (1964)

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Albert Finney stars in this 1964 psychological thriller, as a psychotic killer who murders a woman then becomes the handy man at a local house where his girlfriend works. Once there he proceeds to slowly torment the old lady who owns the house and attempts to seduce her granddaughter. Continue reading

José Ramón Larraz – Symptoms (1974)

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The official British Palme d’Or entry at the 1974 Cannes Film Festival, Symptoms is a sophisticated modern gothic horror film exploring the themes of sexual repression and psychosis.

Larraz’s dark and stylish film tells of a young woman (Lorna Heilbron) who is invited by her girlfriend (Angela Pleasence) to stay at her remote English country mansion. Events take a disturbing turn when a menacing groundkeeper (Peter Vaughan) interrupts their time together, and a woman’s body is found in the mansion’s lake. Continue reading

Christopher Hampton – Carrington (1995)

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Frail, intellectual Bloomsburyan Lytton Strachey is the unlikely hero for a movie, but congratulations to writer-director Christopher Hampton for making the essayist an elitist everyone can love.
Based on Michael Holroyd’s Strachey biography,
“Carrington” is ostensibly about Dora Carrington, an iconoclastic English painter who had the bad luck to fall irretrievably in love with Strachey, a confirmed homosexual. During their 17-year relationship that lasted until his death in 1932, they managed to live together happily, mostly platonically, sometimes sharing male lovers (one of whom would marry Carrington), but with Carrington often yearning for the sexual comfort Strachey could never fully offer. Continue reading