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
John Berger: The Art of Looking
Sun 6 Nov 2016
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
““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
Produced in 1983, it was originally headed for a cinema release but apparently that never happened and it ended up being shown as a TV movie only.
In Stephen Poliakoff’s first film script, Tom Lindsay (James Fox) searches for his 13-year-old daughter, Rachel (Kate Hardie), two years after she ran away from their Midlands home. After an anonymous tip-off, he spots her, but the reunion is not what he has expected or hoped for…. Continue reading
A young woman, Janice, is living with her restrictive and conservative parents, who lead a dull working-class life, and consider their daughter to be “misbehaving” whenever she’s trying to find her own way in life. When she becomes pregnant, they force her into abortion, and hypocritically blame her for “upsetting them” when she is unable cope with the emotional and mental effect this has on her. The film is depressing and excruciatingly painful and hard to watch, as Janice is subjected to brain-washing and reproach by her parents and shockingly self-righteous and ignorant doctors (could this have been only 25 years ago???). A masterpiece, a stark and painful portrait of a hypocritical society. Continue reading
David’s life is on the slide: he’s in the middle of a divorce, broke and ‘can’t get it up’. His girlfriend, Alice, is his rock, but the magazine she writes for is going down and the pressure is on to find a story. While job hunting online, David stumbles across the perfect antidote to his boredom: a ‘Swingers’ site. The resulting inbox of lewd invitations on the home-laptop justifiably upsets Alice, until she realises this could be just the ‘story’ she needs. The idea of uncovering the swinging scene causes quite a stir in Alice’s office and, much to David’s chagrin, she is urged to pursue the story. Their first reluctant foray is an hysterically low-rent initiation, however, an unexpected upturn for David’s manhood is all the extra encouragement they need. As events accelerate beyond their control the once adoring couple become lost and fundamental questions are asked of their relationship and them as individuals. In darkness, touched by many others, they will have to find themselves… Continue reading
When an Allied photo-reconnaissance plane flew over southern Poland in the summer of 1944, following a bombing raid on 20 August, it took extraordinary images of the Nazis’ most evil extermination camp: Auschwitz Birkenau. From these photos, it is possible to see in detail how the SS organised their factory of death in which about 12,000 people were being murdered daily. But the pictures were not analysed at the time. Instead they were simply filed away. Continue reading