Category Archives: Movies & Documentaries

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

Wooden Crosses

Important cinema is a phrase that has evolved throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, in 2015 it has more to do with the message that a film champions or the reputation of the director involved. Sadly, ‘important’ as an adjective has become tantamount to cultural

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

Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter

Takako Konishi was an office worker from Tokyo who was found dead in Minnesota and became the muse behind the urban legend that the Coen Brothers Fargo is the key to a lost bounty of cash. That same Urban Legend is the key inspiration behind

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

Back to 1942

The British Film Institute has had many seasons dedicated to many national cinemas, directors, epochs or movements, with their supreme stature they have brought many old science fiction programmes, documentaries or, as is currently the case, Chinese films to the fore. Today they have released

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