Stephen Poliakoff – Close My Eyes (1991)

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Incest, architecture and messing about on the river in Stephen Poliakoff’s frank, challenging and taboo-flaunting London drama. Separated as pre-teens when their parents divorced, Natalie (Saskia Reeves) and Richard (Clive Owen) meet again after years apart. The unthinkable happens and the siblings embark on an affair. Matters come to a head when Natalie’s husband, the wealthy and eccentric Sinclair (Alan Rickman), invites Richard on a family picnic and confides to his brother-in-law that he suspects his wife is being unfaithful. Continue reading

Harry Watt – West Of Zanzibar (1954)

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Plot Synopsis by Hal Erickson:
No relation to the 1928 Lon Chaney vehicle of the same name, the British West of Zanzibar was filmed on location in East Africa. Game ranger Bob Payton (Anthony Steel) makes it his mission in life to capture the head of a vicious ivory-smuggling racket. Payton tracks his quarry through some of the most treacherous passages of the Zanzibar territory. Despite such obstacles as crocodiles and rhinos, Steel finally corners the villain, who turns out to be. . . Well, the ending needn’t be spoiled here. The most fascinating aspect of West of Zanzibar is its accuracy in depicting native customs and values. Continue reading

Peter Greenaway – Drowning by Numbers (1988)

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Quote:
Following his pair of despairing urban studies, A Zed and Two Noughts and The Belly of an Architect, director Peter Greenaway turned to the sardonic countryside of The Draughtsman’s Contract for another tongue-in-cheek murder yarn, Drowning by Numbers. Easily his most playful film in every sense of the term, this tricky and often charming film boasts some of his wittiest dialogue and makes for an ideal introduction for newcomers compared to his more experimental works. Continue reading

Nigel Williams – Arena: George Orwell [5 Parts] (1984)

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Part One: Such Such Were the Joys
‘From a very early age, perhaps the age of 5 or 6, I knew that when I grew up I should be a writer …One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.’
George Orwell is one of the greatest writers England has produced. Tonight and for the next four nights Arena presents a unique full-scale portrait of this remarkable man, filmed in the places where he lived and worked and told in his own words and the words of those who knew him.
The first programme traces Orwell’s upbringing in a sedate middle-class home near Henley, his horrific experiences at preparatory school, his years at Eton and as a military policeman in Burma – and closes with his sudden and dramatic emergence as a writer with Down and Out in Paris and London, a book drawn from his experiences among vagrants, tramps and outcasts. Among those appearing are Jacintha Buddicon Sir John Grotrion, Malcolm Muggeridge Cyril Connolly and Professor Bernard Crick Continue reading

Marguerite Duras – Marguerite Duras: Worn out with Desire…to Write (1985)

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Quote:
She was the sort of woman who spared neither herself nor others—and arguably qualifies as 20th-century France’s greatest femme de lettres. In this interview, the late novelist and filmmaker talks openly about the hardship and the romance of her childhood in French Indochina, sharing how this period haunted her life and shaped her work. Excerpts from her films and readings from her books by actress Elizabeth Rider and Duras herself—including The Lover, winner of the Prix Goncourt and translated into more than forty languages—bring to life those formative years in Vietnam. (52 minutes) Continue reading

Sandra Goldbacher – Me Without You (2001)

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This drama follows the lives of two very different girls (Holly and Marina) from their teenage years in the 1970s as they grow up, and how their relationship develops. Starring Anna Friel and Michelle Williams.

Plot:
One long, hot summer in seventies London, Holly and Marina make a childhood pact to be friends forever. For the troubled, unpredictable Marina, with her seemingly glamorous father and her Valium-addicted mother, Holly stays the only constant in a life of divorcing parents, experimental drugs and fashionable self-destruction. Meanwhile, Holly buries herself in books out of feelings of frustration with her over-protective mother and a nagging insecurity around her beautiful and possessive best friend. She holds just one secret from Marina, her increasing passion for Marina’s brother Nat. Continue reading