All posts by Graham Williamson

Story of my Death

There’s an inherent risk to saying this on the internet these days, but here we go: sometimes spoilers aren’t a bad thing. Every single synopsis or review I’ve read of Albert Serra’s seventh feature film, Story of My Death, mentions a character who doesn’t turn

Walerian Borowczyk Short Films and Animation

The story of Michael Brooke’s [EDIT – actually Daniel Bird; see comments section] restoration of the films of Walerian Borowczyk deserves to be film-restorer’s folklore by now, a Cinderella story about one of cinema’s least Disney-esque animators. After facing plenty of indifference, Brooke turned to

Polish Cinema Vol. III

One of the key dilemmas faced by anyone looking to distribute or exhibit foreign-language cinema is this: do you distribute films that offers insights into a different culture, or do you distribute films that are universal? The former, of course, is something that many arthouse

Fruit of Paradise

The utterly unique career of Věra Chytilová, and the story of Czech cinema in general, finds itself at a crossroads with 1970’s Fruit of Paradise, now released on DVD by Second Run Films. It feels like the product of a golden age; as noted in

Electricity

Right at the start of Bryn Higgins’s sophomore film, there’s a credit for the Wellcome Trust as producers. Having one of the world’s largest financiers of cutting-edge medical research in your opening credits sets out a mission statement; when it comes to medical accuracy, this

Traps

The Czech director Věra Chytilová is best known internationally for her 1966 film Daisies, a ferocious, antic and relentlessly original comedy about two young women carrying out a Dadaist rebellion against the staidness of Czechoslovakian society. Although Daisies seems to become more and more acclaimed

Pictures of the Old World

When Czechoslovakia divided into two nations in 1993, cinema fans could be forgiven for thinking the new Czech Republic had hoarded the family silver. So many of the former nation’s finest directors – Věra Chytilová, Miloš Forman, Jiří Menzel, Jan Švankmajer – were Czech, so

The Turning

It’s a common lament among booksellers that you just can’t get people interested in short story collections, which is a shame considering writers as diverse as HP Lovecraft, E Annie Proulx, Angela Carter, Eileen Chang and Jorge Luis Borges have produced their finest works in

The Last of the Unjust

Claude Lanzmann’s complex, heavyweight and incredibly powerful new film The Last of the Unjust is a feature-length reworking of material gathered over the arduous twelve-year shoot for his defining work Shoah.  It is an interview with Benjamin Murmelstein, a Viennese rabbi appointed by the Nazis

Kinetta

Yorgos Lanthimos’s films have the feel – though not the visual style – of watching CCTV footage of a rowdy Saturday night. You are always aware that terrible violence could erupt at any moment, but you don’t know when, and it’s all you can do