Categories
Cult Column Film

Cult Column: Beau Travail (1999)

Beau Travail, Claire Denis’s tale of French legionnaires stationed in Djibouti, adapted to a degree from Herman Melville’s novel Billy Budd (1924), is a film which negotiates a path between stasis and movement (between moments of the sea glistening and laminary, and hard toil in the heat of the sun), all subordinated to an elusive, […]

Categories
Film

A Dispatch from Out West: the 2019 Glasgow Film Festival

Both the opening and closing films of this year’s Glasgow Film Festival can be described as ‘coming- of-age’ films: Jonah Hill’s Mid90s and Brian Welsh’s Beats. It may be more accurate to label them films about being inducted into new social milieus. In the far superior Beats, this concerns entry into the put-upon Scottish rave-scene. […]

Categories
Film Reviews

Happy as Lazzaro

Alice Rohrwacher’s Happy as Lazzaro is a film about extreme poverty, exploitative labour, systems of cyclical and hierarchical abuse — and magic. At first, it’s impossible to discern the time the film is set in: a group of workers (sharecroppers) are living in the pastoral Italian countryside, but the land is removed of meaningful period […]

Categories
Film Reviews

Loro

Paolo Sorrentino’s Il Divo (2008) is a biopic of Giulio Andreotti, the infamous former Italian Prime Minister and all-round corruption magnet. The sordid, immoral work of this character’s existence is animated by Toni Servillo, a veteran Italian actor, who is adept at highlighting the strange oddities and quirks of the subjects he seeks to embody. […]

Categories
Film Reviews

At Eternity’s Gate

A cursory glance will tell you actors are drawn to performing the role of Vincent van Gogh. Something in the life of the visionary artist has always been and remains appealing: there’s Kirk Douglas as the Dutch painter in Vincente Minnelli’s Lust For Life (1956); Martin Scorsese portrayed the man in Akira Kurosawa’s vignette film […]

Categories
Film Reviews

Mid90s

This year’s Glasgow Film Festival opened on Wednesday night with a screening of Mid90s, actor Jonah Hill’s directorial debut. Young, diminutive Stevie (Sunny Suljic) is friendless and bored, living at home with his mother Dabney (Katherine Waterston, in a thankless role) and abusive, abrasive older brother Ian (Lucas Hedges). One day, from across the street, […]

Categories
Film Reviews

The Favourite

There’s one scene in Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Favourite that rises above the impulses and practices of his hip nihilism, and shows something worth looking at and thinking about. A candlelit hall is the setting, dark as pitch with suggestions of golden flames and bright, made- up faces, who are attending a dance. The Duchess of Marlborough, […]

Categories
Film

Best Films of 2018

Film in 2018 contained many things. There were superheroes imperilled more seriously than ever before, there was a romance between Sally Hawkins and a fishman, there was code-switching, there was an astronaut motivated by grief, there was a woman caught in a series of terrible dates, there was a man whose despair manifested into something much […]