All posts by George Hardy

Cold War

He’s a musician, or maybe a musicologist, lightly burdened by Marcello Mastroianni-style ennui, touring post-war Poland, barely introduced in an opening montage as one of two government-appointed scouts listening to a series of home-grown Polish folk music talent. Maybe he’s holding some auditions, maybe he’s

Apostasy

At what point does the care and attention of a close-knit community become too close, evolving into a punishing system of abuse and control? What separates legitimate beliefs from the parasitic, overbearing decrees of an extremist cult? If you’re looking for ambiguous and equivocating answers

Two Woodfall films and an American equivalent

Yes, I am yoking three reviews and three films together, but bear with me, and we can ride on this makeshift oxcart together. It’s not just that two of them are from the BFI’s Woodfall collection, a recent boxed set of British New Wave classics;

A Ciambra

A spectre is haunting cinema— the spectre of Italian neorealism. Spectral, because despite the critical and cultural ripples made by films like The Florida Project, American Honey, and Valeska Grisebach’s Western, these non-professional actors, semi-real situations and hitherto unexplored settings tend to be forgotten by

The Defiant Ones

This summer, you might have already seen two very different people, chained together, forced to co-operate in order to escape their captivity. They even climbed out of a mud-pit; if you weren’t thinking about The Defiant Ones (about two chain-gang prisoners, one white and one

Inherit the Wind

In the mid 1950s, at the height of Joseph McCarthy’s anti-Communist campaign of political repression, a bold new courtroom drama opened on Broadway that allegorised a dire incident from America’s Christian fundamentalist history to excoriate the current climate of fear and repression. The play’s impact

St Valentine’s Day Massacre

There are a lot of people who found success in their mid 20s, and I am usually jealous of them. But even I draw the line at Al Capone, despite admiring how he rose to the top of Chicago’s busiest criminal enterprise by age 26.

The Awful Truth

It is almost inconceivable today that Academy voters would award an Oscar to the director of a light, farcical comedy. But in 1938, not only did Leo McCarey’s The Awful Truth get the trophy, it won at the expense of that year’s other McCarey effort,

An Actor’s Revenge

It’s late Edo-period Japan. An acting troupe from Osaka has arrived in the capital city to perform. Thieves and pickpockets stalk their prey among the paying audience, while merchants and aristocrats watch from the balcony seats. Yukinojo, a slightly paunchy onnagata (kabuki actor who plays