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Coming Soon: Tony Richardson and Woodfall Films

Tony Richardson and Woodfall Films: A Revolution in British Film
A month-long season at the BFI Southbank, April 2018
Reviewed by Lee Hill

From 1959 to 1963, director Tony Richardson became synonymous with “kitchen sink realism”. That catchphrase simultaneously celebrated and dismissed a new wave in British film. The wave first came to attention when Richardson and Karel Reisz screened their documentary short, Mamma Don’t Allow, as part of the 1956 Free Cinema programme at the National Film Theatre, now BFI Southbank. Thanks also to a precocious amount of work in student productions at Oxford, Richardson became part of The Royal Court Theatre, where he directed John Osborne’s two most famous plays, Look Back in Anger and The Entertainer.

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Film Review: Ready Player One

Reviewed by Zack Evans

Cyberpunk has been with us for quite some time, but it has never quite gone mainstream. Whilst Philip K Dick has been embedded in sci-fi film culture for decades, surprisingly few of the other big names (Sterling, Stephenson, Noon…) have made it directly into the medium, except Gibson’s Johnny Mnemonic, and his Pattern Recognition is stuck in Dev Hell. Instead, cyberpunk has diffused through geek culture in general, and from there leaked into screenplays through influence on, well, everyone.

80s film culture is equally pervasive, and the book Ready Player One finally provided a bridge from geek to popular, through an outrageous mix of the two – and if you need someone to do something outrageously popular with culture, director Spielberg is your man.

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Interview with Gholam Director Mitra Tabrizian

Interview with Mitra Tabrizian, co-writer and director of Gholam by author and Screenwords critic Lee Hill

Gholam is the haunting feature film debut of Mitra Tabrizian. In collaboration with her co-writer, Cyrus Massoudi, Tabrizian has created a subtle character study of an Iranian exile in London trying to make a living as a mini-cab driver and in his free time, struggling to move on from a dark and complicated past as a soldier. While Tabrizian’s film is, in many ways, a examination of loneliness, Gholam is not an embittered character and the film depicts his many acts of kindness and efforts to connect with his more established Iranian counterparts in London.

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Film Review: A Wrinkle In Time

Reviewed by Zack Evans

Whether or not the book is a timeless classic, the basic premise of A Wrinkle In Time is certainly the stuff of archetype. Following the disappearance of her father four years ago, Meg Murray, played by the excellent Storm Reid, grows into a Troubled Teenager – she is bullied at school and has a difficult relationship with her mother. There’s a refreshing additional dynamic between Meg and her younger boy genius brother, Charles Wallace Murray, startlingly well played by Deric McCabe.

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Film Review: The Islands and the Whales

Reviewed by Rachael Kaines

A thoughtful, measured, and unbiased look at a myriad of issues facing modern man through the lens of an isolated archipelago with an unusual and controversial culture. The Islands and the Whales manages the impressive feat of illuminating a society that has, until now, largely escaped the many effects of globalisation, but they are on the brink of change. Pollution, overfishing, global warming, animal rights, and gender equality are all offered up for thought without commentary or criticism.

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Wonder Wheel: A Meta Review

Reviewed by Lee Hill

If you want a review of Wonder Wheel, Woody Allen’s 48th feature film as writer and director, the following will prove disappointing or perhaps, even upsetting. Go ahead cry, fume, tsk tsk or rant – tweet if I care. This is a meta-review of Wonder Wheel (not to be confused with Woody Allen Summer Project 2017 aka A Rainy Day in New York, which may or may not be the last summer project ever depending on where we all are this time in six months). It is a response to the lazy, armchair moralizing that has passed for film criticism and to a lesser, but still crucial extent, the tenor of activism via social media when Allen’s name comes up.

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Film Review: The Third Murder

Reviewed by Rachael Kaines

The Third Murder is a frustrating and intriguing drama that asks many more questions than it answers. The truth is unknowable in this atmospheric and atypical offering from Japanese auteur Hirokazu Koreeda.

The story follows Tomoaki Shigemori (Masaharu Fukuyama), a lawyer who is defending a client, Misumi (Kōji Yakusho), in a murder trial. Misumi was previously convicted for two murders, but sentenced to years rather than the death sentence by Shigemori’s father, a judge. Misumi changes his story constantly throughout the film, so Shigemori, and the audience, is never quite sure what to believe.

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BFI FLARE: Five Must See Films

With the 32nd Edition of the BFI LGBTQ Film Festival opening on the 21st March, what better time than to take a look at some of the most eagerly awaited films in this year’s programme, and shine a light on the films we are most looking forward to catch. 

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Film Review: The Square

Reviewed by Lee Hill

In his 1946 essay, Politics and the English Language, George Orwell said: “…if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation, even among people who should and do know better.” Clear thinking, common sense, open debate and reason face new threats from the grip that marketing, branding, spin, “fake news” and other forms of intellectual cheerleading now have over our lives. The extent to which this corruption can infect even the most progressive nations, organisations, communities and individuals is one of the many themes of The Square, Ruben Östlund’s problematic follow-up to his 2014 arthouse hit, Force Majeure.

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