At The Cinema [1st]
Essential Killing (Jerzy Skolimowski, 2010) [Main Picture]
I missed this one at last years LFF, but it certainly sounds interesting: essentially it’s an arthouse chase thriller about a Taliban member who escapes his American captors and runs to freedom through harsh environments. The most interesting aspect is that the Taliban man, Mohammed, is played by Vincent Gallo, a deeply frustrating actor/filmmaker who is capable of pretentious garbage and astounding artistry in equal measure. His career as a director is less interesting than his acting credentials, which include Arizona Dream (1993) and Tetro (2009), as he’s an intensely sad screen presence, and should prove commanding in this film. Lets hope the material supports him.
Oranges And Sunshine (Jim Loach, 2010)
Ken Loach is one of the most important and well-regarded names in the history of British cinema. After years of TV work including Footballers’ Wives, Bad Girls, Holby City and Coronation Street his son Jim is hoping to follow in fathers footsteps with Oranges And Sunshine, his feature debut. It stars two terrific acting talents in the form Emily Watson and Hugo Weaving, in the story of Margaret Humphreys, a social worker who discovered a saddening scandal at the heart of the British government – the fact that thousands of children in care had secretly been migrated to commonwealth countries. Lets hope for searing social drama, and the same unflinching eye that makes Ken Loach’s work so enduring.
On DVD / Blu-Ray [4th]
Boudu Saved From Drowning (Jean Renoir, 1932) / Blu Ray
Although I am a fan of Jean Renoir (and really, who isn’t?) I haven’t yet seen Boudu Saved From Drowning, one of his most critically acclaimed films. That’s more down to its poor distribution though, as until now the best edition on the market has been the expensive US Criterion. On restored Blu Ray it’ll probably look brilliant, capturing the photography of Georges Asselin and Marcel Lucien. This comedy tells the story of Boudu, a tramp, who after attempting suicide is saved by a kindhearted bookseller, who takes the unfortunate man into his home. It has a reputation to live up to, but I’m just glad the film is finally getting a decent release!
The Man Who Fell To Earth (Nicolas Roeg, 1976) / Blu Ray
A jagged, complex piece of sci-fi art, Nic Roeg’s iconic exploration of big business has until now been most famous for starring rock-star and glam alien David Bowie (perfect casting) but on restored Blu Ray should finally get recognition as a flawed masterpiece of British cinema, and one of the most ambitious films of all time. The film is unfocused and there are loose narrative strands that weaken its impact, but it’s still incredibly fascinating, especially in the wider context of Roeg’s oeuvre, taking in themes of psycho-sexuality and identity, as well as directorial flourishes such as non-linear narratives and cross-cut sex scenes. The Blu Ray image looks absolutely gorgeous too, and the disc contains new interviews.