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

Michael Truman – Touch and Go (1955)

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Plot: Touch and Go stars Jack Hawkins as the head of a British family who decides to kick over
the traces and emigrate to Australia. No one in the family, least of all wife Margaret Johnston, is
enthused over this move, but they prepare themselves with dignity. As the technical and legal obstacles
preventing their move begin to mount, even Hawkins has second thoughts about hitching his star Down Under.
Since no one behaves very believably in the film, Touch and Go rises and falls on its individual comic
sequences, some of which are quite good. The title Touch and Go has been used so often that when the
film was released in the US, it was retitled The Light Touch. Continue reading

Ben Hopkins – The Nine Lives of Tomas Katz (2000)

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A sadly neglected gem of British Cinema, this stunningly inventive film takes in German Expressionism, the pop promo, the docudrama and film noir. And that’s just for starters. The story of a mysterious man who creates chaos and anarchy in his wake, this has buckets of sly humour and a pleasingly dark edge. With brilliant performances from Thomas Fisher and Ian McNeice, this is an astounding reminder that UK cinema is much more than gangsters and girls in corsets. Continue reading

Calum Waddell – Slice and Dice: The Slasher Film Forever (2012)

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From shadowlocked.com
Norman Bates once said “We all go a little crazy sometimes,” but never has this been truer than in the genre that spawned everybody’s favourite mother’s boy. I speak, of course, of the slasher film, the roots of which can arguably be traced back to Psycho (1960), Alfred Hitchcock’s monochrome masterpiece. Though there are cases for other films being the trigger point for the modern stalk and slash movie, notably Mario Bava’s Bay of Blood (1971), Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom (1960), and even the various celluloid incarnations of Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians, all of which are put forward by the contributors in Calum Waddell and Naomi Holwill’s Slice and Dice: The Slasher Film Forever, it was Psycho that brought murder to the masses and opened the vein for what was to follow.Considering the popularity of the slasher movie over the subsequent four decades or so, it’s surprising that there hasn’t been a documentary like Slice and Dice before now, but like the pay off in a well plotted horror movie, it’s definitely been worth waiting for. Continue reading

Cordelia Dvorak – John Berger or The Art of Looking (2016)

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John Berger: The Art of Looking
BBC Four
Sun 6 Nov 2016
10.30pm-11.25pm

Art, politics and motorcycles – on the occasion of his 90th birthday John Berger or the Art of Looking is an intimate portrait of the writer and art critic whose ground-breaking work on seeing has shaped ourunderstanding of the concept for over five decades. The film explores how paintings become narratives and stories turn into images, and rarely does anybody demonstrate this as poignantly as Berger.

Berger lived and worked for decades in a small mountain village in the French Alps, where the nearness to nature, the world of the peasants and his motorcycle, which for him deals so much with presence, inspired his drawing and writing. Continue reading

John Berger and Susan Sontag – To Tell A Story [Voices] (1983)

““Somebody dies,” says John Berger. “It’s not just a question of tact that one then says, well, perhaps it is possible to tell that story,” but “it’s because, after that death, one can read that life. The life becomes readable.” His interlocutor, a certain Susan Sontag, interjects: “A person who dies at 37 is not the same as a person who dies at 77.” True, he replies, “but it can be somebody who dies at 90. The life becomes readable to the storyteller, to the writer. Then she or he can begin to write.” Berger, the consummate storyteller as well as thinker about stories, left behind these and millions of other memorable words, spoken and written, when he yesterday passed away at age 90 himself. Continue reading