John Grierson & Edgar Anstey – Granton Trawler (1934)

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Quote:
Granton Trawler follows the small fishing vessel, Isabella Greig, as it carries out its dragnet fishing along the Viking Bank off the Norwegian coast of the North Sea. Grierson used the film to teach budding directors how to analyze movement photographically and how to make use of sound for contrapuntal editing. The soundtrack is made up of crude rhythmic noises that represent the thumping of the ships engine and atmospheric sounds congenial to being present on board. There is no commentary. The sounds were all post-recorded, simulated in the studio. (One of the fisherman’s voices is Grierson’s). Although not credited, Alberto Cavalcanti is known to have created the soundtrack as one of his first creative duties after arriving at the Unit. Continue reading

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Mike Leigh – Mr. Turner (2014)

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Quote:
Mr. Turner explores the last quarter century of the great if eccentric British painter J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851). Profoundly affected by the death of his father, loved by a housekeeper he takes for granted and occasionally exploits sexually, he forms a close relationship with a seaside landlady with whom he eventually lives incognito in Chelsea, where he dies. Throughout this, he travels, paints, stays with the country aristocracy, visits brothels, is a popular if anarchic member of the Royal Academy of Arts, has himself strapped to the mast of a ship so that he can paint a snowstorm, and is both celebrated and reviled by the public and by royalty. Continue reading

Ivan Massow – Banksy’s Coming for Dinner (2009)

Synopsis

Hollywood royalty Joan Collins and husband Percy hold a dinner party for a few of their friends/acquaintances. Among the invited is the acclaimed artist Banksy, renowned for his aversion to the spotlight. Inviting him is fraught with social risk; will he come? How will he behave at table? This would, after all, be the first time he’s revealed himself on camera.

The preparations, the dinner and the goodbyes… the characters speak in the shared language of the famous. Or do they? Perhaps they are commenting on this language, creating a second film within the first; the first being a drama, the second a satire. Continue reading

Pawel Pawlikowski – Last Resort (2000)

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synopsis – AMG:
Last Resort opens as Tanya (Dina Korzun), a young Russian traveling to England with her son Artiom (Artiom Strelnikov), is questioned at a British airport’s passport control. Tanya tells the official she is visiting England on a vacation, but then switches her story and says that her English fiancי is meeting her, and finally, out of desperation, asks for political asylum. She and Artiom are duly packed off to an immigrants’ center in a grim coastal town, where they are given a small apartment and informed that their application for asylum will take over a year to process. After Tanya’s fiancי dumps her over the phone, she gradually befriends Alfie (Paddy Considine), who runs an arcade. Alfie wins the trust of Tanya and her street-smart son, and soon Tanya must decide how far she wants to carry her relationship with this new friend. Last Resort was screened at the 2000 Edinburgh International Film Festival. — Rebecca Flint Marx Continue reading

Ken Loach – My Name Is Joe [+extras] (1998)

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Synopsis:

When recovering alcoholic and amateur football manager Joe (Peter Mullan) falls for health worker Sarah, who should know better, they both suspect the romance may be a bad idea, but it blossoms nevertheless. However, the lovers have very different ideas about how to deal with the problems Glaswegian life throws at them, and when Joe is forced to do some drug running to pay off a debt, their tentative relationship is in danger of spluttering to a halt. Continue reading

Harry Watt & Basil Wright – Night Mail (1936)

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SYNOPSIS

Made in 1936 NIGHTMAIL has become an icon of the British documentary movement. The budget was only £2,000 and the film was made as a promotional film for the Post Office services. The GPO film unit deserves a posthumous Oscar.

The quality of directing, lighting and camera work in this documentary beats that of many of today’s films and brings an almost Hitchcockian atmosphere and tension to the screen.
This is the story of the Travelling Post office from Euston station in London to Glasgow in Scotland, in the days when the railways were efficient, frequent and run by proud workers who wore waistcoats, ties and hats and spoke politely to one another like the team that they were. It is surprising how old the men all seem now, in these days of youth culture, gentle character-full faces bearing no guile, tired and lined but proud and honest. Continue reading

Ken Loach – The Wind That Shakes the Barley [+ Commentary] (2006)

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The Wind That Shakes the Barley is a 2006 British-Irish war drama film directed by Ken Loach, set during the Irish War of Independence (1919-1922) and the Irish Civil War (1922-1923). Written by long-time Loach collaborator Paul Laverty, this drama tells the fictional story of two County Cork brothers, Damien O’Donovan (Cillian Murphy) and Teddy O’Donovan (Pádraic Delaney), who join the Irish Republican Army to fight for Irish independence from the United Kingdom. It takes its title from the Robert Dwyer Joyce song “The Wind That Shakes the Barley” a song set during the 1798 rebellion in Ireland and featured early in the film.

Widely praised, the film won the Palme d’Or at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. Loach’s biggest box office success to date,[4] the film did well around the world and set a record in Ireland as the highest-grossing Irish-made independent film ever. Continue reading