The Human Voice

 This is Almodóvar’s contribution to lockdown. A short 30-minute film about abandonment, loss, depression and anxiety, all told in a monologue by the immaculate, translucently beautiful and elegant Tilda Swinton. Although the film could have been specially created for her, it is in fact based on a Jean Cocteau play, and was the basis of […]

Martin Eden

This is an adaptation of Jack London’s eponymous autobiographic novel, transported by Italian director/writer Pietro Marcello from California to Naples, although many of the details are kept the same, not least the name of the main character in London’s life retold.

Martin Eden (Luca Marinelli) is an angry young man, with angular and angry features, born into […]

First Cow

This is a western with a difference.  Opening in the present with the gruesome and mysterious discovery of two skeletons buried side by side, we are suddenly transported into the 1820s and a cantankerous beaver-trapping party. Cookie (John Magaro) is failing to do his job and comes across a naked Chinaman King-Lu (Orion Lee) whom he […]

Spring Blossom

How does a 20-year-old girl get to write and direct her own movie (written in fact when she only 15)? I guess it helps if you are Suzanne Lindon and your parents are the French stars Vincent Lindon and Sandrine Kiberlain, but it’s still an extraordinary achievement not only to pull it off but also […]

The Father

Hurray for the big screen again! In fact it’s the only place you can – quite rightly – watch Anthony Hopkins’ masterclass study of Alzheimer’s. Adapted from a play Le Pere, and co-scripted by Christopher Hampton, it does sometimes feel like that the drama is restricted to ‘home’ – albeit which one? His daughter’s flat? […]

Rare Beasts

As we came out of the cinema we turned to each other and said, what was that all about? The Doctor said – religion, the writer said relationships, I said ‘They fuck you up your mum and Dad’. The two writers are unsure whether we like it, the Doctor said it made her feel that […]

The Mauritanian

This film has been heavily criticised for being worthy and avoiding the big questions, for the lack of any real baddies, aside from the faceless (masked) torturers. It tells the  memoir of Mohamedou Ould Slahi (Tahar Rahim, who found fame in the marvellous prison movie, Le Prophet), the eponymous Mauritanian. Two months after 9/11, he […]

Servants

This has to be one of the most over-hyped movies I have seen for a while. My Slovak friend and I (of Czech origin) had plumped for this having read and heard good things about it. She is a film producer and director and knows a thing or two.
So when I, after half an hour, […]

Nomadland

Best Film, Best Director and Best Actress: Nomadland won all these in the 2021 Oscars. Did it deserve them?
Nomadland’s docu-fiction classification is unique. It tells the story of Fern (Frances McDormand), a widow who has had to leave her life behind when the mine in her home-town in rural Nevada went bust. With no money […]

Sound of Metal

Ruben and Lou are a heavy-metal duo, musically and romantically, and they tour the US in their luxury RV. Their world falls apart when Ruben suddenly goes catastrophically deaf (hardly surprising really as their ‘music’ is cacophonous). Ruben is determined to save their band and relationship by regaining his hearing; Lou, with the help of […]