All posts by Graham Williamson

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

Black Girl/Borom Sarret

Black Girl and Borom Sarret, the two films by Ousmane Sembène included on this new BFI release, are historic films. That’s not a value judgement, that’s a statement of fact. A documentary-style account of a day in the life of a troubled wagon driver, Borom


There aren’t many measures by which Sean Connery’s career could be considered a failure, but he has his Achilles heels, chiefly his self-admitted failure to understand science fiction and fantasy. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, a project which persuaded him after nearly half a century

3 Women

We all know how Robert Altman spent the 1970s, right? M*A*S*H, Nashville, The Long Goodbye, McCabe and Mrs Miller. Freewheeling satirical ensemble pieces, playing fast and loose with genre, inventing the adjective Altmanesque for their naturalistic sprawl. Except there’s another face of Altman’s ’70s work.

Hard to be a God

The world feels like a brutal, unsentimental place after watching Aleksei German’s final film, not least when I had the following realisation: Hard to be a God’s ceaseless, grotesque phantasmagoria of cruelty makes German the only director who could possibly adapt Cormac McCarthy’s classic novel

Horse Money

After a decade of bringing undervalued and overlooked films to light on DVD, Second Run’s career as a big-screen distributor begins, in winningly perverse fashion, with an elegy. Pedro Costa’s Horse Money adds a fourth instalment to what most people assumed would be a trilogy

Dragon’s Return

All generalisations are false, up to and including this one. But it does feel as if, even before Czechoslovakia divided into two nations, there were already two parallel cinemas existing in it. You have the Czech films of Jan Švankmajer and Věra Chytilová; witty, urban,

Man with a Movie Camera

Newly enthroned by Sight & Sound as the greatest documentary ever made, Man With a Movie Camera is an easy film to enjoy.  Partly this is because of its ripping pace – 67 minutes long, utterly relentless and married here with a Michael Nyman score