Andrei Tarkovsky: The Sacrifice

WARNING: Contains spoilers

Television Special: John Adams

In the final episode of Tom Hooper’s masterful mini series, John Adams, the titular protagonist stands, an old man, in front of an artist’s rendition of the signing of the declaration of independence. It features the entirety of the continental congress watching as key players sign the now world famous and historic document. Adams stands noble and proud next to Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. Nearly fifty years later and Adams excoriates the artist for his lack of historical accuracy, pointing out that the scene he has depicted is a work of pure fiction.

Hidden Classic: The Hired Hand

Easy Rider has become synonymous with the counterculture generation. It is a film that attempted to explore the rise and fall of the hippie movement, which had become a major facet of American life during the middle of the 1960s. The hippie movement, certainly within the popular consciousness, mostly revolved around music, the sexual revolution and drug taking. This popular youth movement seemed to coalesce in the ‘Summer of Love’ of 1967; when it is estimated that around 100,000 people travelled to San Francisco that summer to, in the parlance of the time, drop out.

Overlooked Gems: Interiors

Coming directly between the two recognised highpoints of Woody Allen’s career, Annie Hall and Manhattan, Interiors is perhaps the starkest departure in both form and content that a director has made directly following his most successful outing. Annie Hall, which won four Academy Awards including two for Allen himself, best director and best original screenplay; was a huge success for Woody Allen and is still today his most acclaimed and discussed picture. It is a stridently funny romantic comedy that flirts with the conventions of cinema.

Terrence Malick: The Tree of Life

Terrence Malick’s fifth film as director is perhaps his most ambitious and unorthodox while paradoxically also being his most beautifully, intimate and intensely personal. For the Malick enthusiast, the arrival of The Tree of Life, delayed for over a year in the editing process, is the event of the cinematic calendar, if at the beginning of the 2011 I’d been told I could only watch one film, I would have chosen The Tree of Life without hesitation.

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