Calum Waddell – Parasite Memories: The Making of ‘Shivers’ (2014)


Barbara Steele and others share anecdotes including how Cronenberg slapped an actress (at her own request) to help her cry, how makeup artist Joe Blasco invented the bladder effect and what Steele’s singular regret is about her kissing scene with another actress. This is an enjoyable look back at the making of a messed up movie. Ivan Reitman makes an appearance too discussing his role as producer on the film. Continue reading

Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger – Black Narcissus (1947)


(Gary W. Tooze wrote)
“five Protestant missionary nuns embark on the task of establishing a school/health center and residence for their future convent in the desolate Himalayan mountains. The dwelling is a deserted sultans palace surrounded by the grandeur of the snowcapped peaks of Kanchenjunga. Obstacles confront them at every turn with a community of superstitious natives and a jaded and rugged British intermediary named Mr. Dean (David Farrar). Adding to these hurdles are their own emotional frailties, culture shock and previously unearthed worldly passions with the inherent creeping jealousies and desires. The project proves a daunting test for the ambitious Sister Clodagh (Deborah Kerr), given her first taste of authority and her strong determination to succeed as she counters the continuous roadblocks.” Continue reading

Joe Massot – Wonderwall (1968)


An eccentric, lovable scientist falls in love with the girl next door – in an unusual way. Set in 1960’s London (aka Swinging London), WONDERWALL tells the story of a reclusive professor who becomes obsessed with a stunning model called Penny Lane. A psychedelic fantasy steeped in voyeurism, this film features a musical score by George Harrison with musical contributions from Eric Clapton and Ravi Shankar. Continue reading

Robert Vas – Refuge England (1959)

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The films follows a Hungarian refugee arriving in London, speaking no English and with little money…

Hungarian refugee Tibor Molnar has arrived in England, picking London as his new place of residence. The film follows him as he wanders the centre of his new home and tries to find his lodgings at 25 Love Lane – but with no other information than this and the name of his landlord, he finds himself with a long day of travelling to find which Love Lane it is.

Part of the Free Cinema movement in the late 1950’s and funded by the BFI, this film takes on the story of an immigrant walking the streets of London looking for his new home. Substance wise it is interesting as it is well narrated with some of the fellow’s thoughts but I will admit that it was not as interesting as it really could have been. I cannot imagine that immigration was a welcome thing at the time in England (how things have changed) and the film could have done a better job of challenging the audience but, while it does this a little, it is far too gentle to be really memorable. Continue reading

Jamil Dehlavi – Immaculate Conception (1992)


Immaculate Conception is the story of a young western couple, Jewish-American Hannah and British Alistair who are living in Karachi and desperate for a child. They visit the eunuch shrine of Gulab Shah which has a reputation for curing infertility and, sure enough, Hannah conceives. Hannah decides to convert to Islam and coaxes Alistair to do the same.

This causes a conflict with her family, while steering Alistair into a brief love affair. Meanwhile, the eunuchs from the shrine seem to think they have a share in Hannah’s baby. As tension mounts, the dangerous cocktail of clashing cultures and religious beliefs threatens to explode in the faces of everyone involved. Continue reading

Joanna Hogg – Exhibition (2013)


Joanna Hogg (Unrelated, Archipelago) brings her distinctly minimalist brand of comedy into the ultra-modernist home of artists D and H. This troubled but brave-faced couple have decided to sell their much-loved apartment, but as the sale begins to inch ever closer to reality, submerged anxieties, resentments and second-thoughts spring to the surface.
Starring Viv Albertine, guitarist of influential punk group The Slits, and Turner-prize-nominated artist Liam Gillick, Exhibition is as sleekly designed and uncompromisingly arch as the house itself – the film’s commanding central character. It’s also a deftly observed comment on the uncontrollable property obsession that characterises modern Britain. Continue reading