All posts by Graham Williamson

Ken Russell: The Great Passions

How many BBC arts documentaries of the 1960s do you think begin with the exhumation of a mummified corpse, lit by flickering torches and soundtracked by booming horror-movie music? Not many, I’ll wager, but then there weren’t many directors walking the corridors of Broadcasting House

Sheba, Baby

On the face of it, we shouldn’t need to watch blaxploitation any more.  As soon as Will Smith and Denzel Washington became viable Hollywood action movie stars, its USP of showing black actors in empowered, heroic roles was co-opted.  This, though, ignores the pleasures of

Shooting Stars (1928)

It’s not often that I’m prescriptive about the way you choose to watch a film, but if you do get the BFI’s new dual format edition of Anthony Asquith and A.V. Bramble’s pioneering British silent Shooting Stars, watch the extras first. The main bonus feature

Fixed Bayonets

Before he was a director, Samuel Fuller fought in World War II and worked as a tabloid journalist.  The former experience shaped his politics, the latter shaped his sensibility.  If Fuller’s films sometimes seem simplistic, their simplicity is at least born of sincerity.   He knows

Hiroshima Mon Amour

Forgive the sentimentality, but one of your correspondent’s all-time idols has just died unexpectedly (you know who it is- it’s not Ed ‘Stewpot’ Stewart) and it is hard to review a film about loss, pain and memory without wondering about all these obituaries, and who

Aferim!

Since Cristi Puiu’s 2005 breakthrough The Death of Mr. Lazarescu, Western European audiences have grown accustomed to seeing a certain kind of film come out of Romania.  They came to be known as the Romanian New Wave, and even the most dedicated skeptic of national

All My Good Countrymen

A rural, bawdy, political epic with magical realist fringes, full of drinking, singing and close-ups on weathered peasant faces, Vojtěch Jasný’s 1968 film All My Good Countrymen is exactly the sort of thing some people think of when you talk about classic European cinema. Following

The Firemen’s Ball

If you’re intrigued by the current cinephile chatter about the Czechoslovak New Wave and you’re looking for a good place to start, you couldn’t do much better than Arrow’s new reissue of Miloš Forman’s second film. The Firemen’s Ball is as formally precise and tightly