Articles

World Cinema Masterpiece: Possession

Realism has long been held as the de facto cinematic standard for the vast majority of films from around the globe. There are limits of course, even the most extreme examples of realistic film are constrained by runtime, events often truncated to fit the confines of an average feature film length, alas even advocates of realism will admit that films would be both dull and pointless if they repeated real life verbatim. Why bother watching films at all if all they contained was the monotony and tedium of existence?

World Cinema Masterpiece: Come and See

“I lost interest in making films… Everything that was possible I felt I had already done”. These words were spoken by director Elem Klimov in 2001 after being asked why he’d ceased filmmaking at the height of his powers fifteen years earlier. After watching his final film Come and See (1985) audiences may better understand from where these words sprang forth. Klimov is one of the rarest of all artists, one who knows when he’s peaked and refuses to risk his legacy with further films.

Overlooked Gem: Galaxy Quest

In the history of television perhaps no other programme leaves itself so open to ridicule and parody as Star Trek. The immense success and cultural impact of the programme makes it well known to most individuals; who hasn’t heard the oft mis-quoted “Beam me up Scotty”, the starship Enterprise, “to boldly go where no man has gone before”, or that chap with the pointy ears?

Hidden Classics: Stolen Kisses

Francois Truffaut is firmly ensconced in the popular canon of directors. His most famous works The 400 Blows, Jules & Jim and Day for Night can be counted amongst the best loved films ever made. His status at the forefront of arguably the most successfully branded set of films within the history of cinema, the French New Wave, is unimpeachable. Whilst the quality of this wave of French films from the late 1950s through to the end of the 1960s is highly debatable, Truffaut certainly provided some of the most thoughtful, warm and greatest achievements of the loosely defined collective.

American Masterpiece: Bad Day at Black Rock

Executive Order 9066 represents one of the darkest pages in the history of the United States of America. Following the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Imperial Japan, the then President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorised the relocation and internment of Japanese-Americans, some 62% of them citizens of the USA. It was an act of pure, paranoid hysteria compounded by racial prejudice and ruined many lives of innocent men and women in the process. It would be another forty-six years until Ronald Reagan officially apologised for the action and reparations were made to the tune of $1.6 Billion.

Television Special: The Sopranos

Over the past decade one company was at the forefront of the golden age of American television - HBO. The greatest television dramas have all spawned from that one, highly literate network: Tom Fontana’s brutally pessimistic prison drama, Oz (1997-2003), Alan Ball’s existential exploration of life and death, Six Feet Under (2001-2005), David Milch’s poetic re-invention of the western genre, Deadwood (2004-2006) and David Simon’s deconstructions of systemic failures within American institutions, The Wire (2002-2008).

Comparative Examination: Unrelated and Archipelago

Joanna Hogg might be name with which you are unfamiliar; this article will hopefully go some way towards rectifying this.

Krzysztof Kieslowski: The Scar and Camera Buff

1976 saw the start of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s fiction film career, although he’d directed documentaries and television productions during the preceding decade, The Scar, represented his first venture in this most coveted of creative artistic positions. The Scar was one of two films Kieslowski directed in the 1970s, the other was Camera Buff released in 1979.

Andrei Tarkovsky: Nostalgia

Italy, as viewed from the eyes of the Russian master, is something special. Nostalgia (1983) represented a departure and an extension for Andrei Tarkovsky’s cinematic approach. It was the first film to be produced outside of his homeland, originally with funding from MosFilm, but then via European finance after MosFilm pulled out. Tarkovsky was working with all new people, he was a stranger in a strange land and he found himself longing for Mother Russia.

Overlooked Gems: City Hall

There are of course any number of films released in any given year that disappear without a trace, and there are, indeed, any number of reasons why said films go unnoticed by the majority of the cinema-going community. But perhaps the most perplexing type of vanishing movie is the one with everything going for it.

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