‘Ladies and gentlemen, I am an oilman’: There Will Be Blood

By Bryan Nixon. I cling to films that strive to reach the cinematic outer limits, such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Apocalypse Now, and 8 1/2; I dare say that There Will Be Blood is one of those films. It is a film defining corruption and greed that tears apart […]

Bumbling Towards Ecstacy: Man on Wire

By Deirdre Devers. Truth really is stranger than fiction. Our 21st century mediascape is saturated with personal and very public spectacles that are so commonplace as to become low wattage visual fodder. There’s the live coverage of David Blaine’s test of endurance whilst frozen in a block of ice in […]

A Bodyguard Turns 50: Yojimbo (Japan, 1961)

By Bryan Nixon. A while back, the Criterion Collection revamped and re-released Akira Kurosawa’s samurai classic Yojimbo. One of the most influential films of all time, Yojimbo, which translates as ‘the bodyguard’, features a protagonist who stands firmly as the blueprint for the quintessential cinematic badass. Played brilliantly by Toshiro […]

Romain Goupil and Hands in the Air: Love, Love, Bombs, Love

By Daniel Lindvall. Hands in the Air (Les mains en l’air), written and directed by Romain Goupil, was first shown at Cannes in 2010, but is only now tentatively finding its way onto screens beyond France. Goupil is, I would say, relatively little known outside of his French homeland and […]

A Nation Ripe for Thatcher: Radio On (UK, 1979)

By Tom von Logue Newth. When it appeared in 1979, Radio On seemed to have few precedents in British cinema. An independent black and white feature, artfully photographed, with minimal narrative or plot, and a thematically-integrated soundtrack of electronic krautrock and new wave ‘hits’, it was the first film by […]

The Joke’s on Who? Exit Through the Gift Shop

  By Daniel Lindvall. ‘You could stick all my shit in Tate Modern and have an opening with Tony Blair and Kate Moss on roller blades handing out vol-au-vents and it wouldn’t be as exciting as it is when you go out and paint something big where you shouldn’t do.’ […]

Raising the Spectre of Hope: Savage (Sweden, 2011)

By Daniel Lindvall. It is frequently said that respect is something you have to earn. Proffered as a life-rule this is an unusually stupid thing to say. On the contrary, respect is something we’re morally entitled to from the moment we’re born. Savage (jointly written and directed by Martin Jern […]

In a Better World: ‘The White Man’s Burden’

  By Daniel Lindvall. ‘Take up the White Man’s burden/send forth the best ye breed […] To wait in heavy harness/On fluttered folk and wild/Your new-caught, sullen peoples/Half-devil and half-child.’ (Rudyard Kipling, ‘The White Man’s Burden’, 1899.) ‘Half-devil[s] and half-child[ren]’ – that is a description as good as any of […]

Aurora (Romania, 2010)

By Daniel Lindvall. There’s a sequence in Cristi Puiu’s new film, Aurora, where the main character, the middle-aged Viorel (Puiu), drops his 7-8-year-old daughter off at the neighbours’ place, where she’s supposed to wait for her mum to come home. She doesn’t seem to know these neighbours very well. There’s […]

Katalin Varga (Peter Strickland, Romania/UK, 2009)

By Kierran Horner. Over a black screen, sub-titles translate a raised voice; “Open up. Police”, repeated, cut, and a camera sits on someone’s shoulder as they open a door to reveal the sneering, lupine mug of a man with, what seems to be, cranial-mange, surrounded by other assorted, skin-headed aggressors. […]