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Features Live Action Movies

Klokkenluider

Director – Neil Maskell – 2022 – UK – Cert. 15 – 84m

*****

A couple have seen something; two men are assigned to look after them as they wait in the middle of nowhere for a journalist to come and interview them – a subscription exclusive on BFI Player from Thursday, February 22nd

Mr. Appleby (Amit Shah) and Mrs. Appleby (Sura Dohnke) arrive at the house on the outskirts of a small village in Belgium they’ve booked for a party. Appleby is not their real surname, and nor will there be a party. He is what the Dutch call a ‘klokkenluider’ or bell ringer, slang in that language for whistleblower. He has approached a newspaper and is following instructions. They are at the house awaiting the arrival of a journalist to interview them.

Meanwhile, Brits Kevin (Tom Burke) and Ben (Roger Evans) are driving to meet them. They have guns in the boot. We don’t really see them at first. For the first few minutes, they are shown only in little details cropped or in shade so as to be almost unrecognisable – a fragment of a detail in a wing mirror here, a view beyond a car window part obscured by a reflection there – and they choose their words carefully so as not to give away anything more than they need to.… Read the rest

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Features Live Action Movies

Gran Turismo

Director – Neill Blomkamp – 2023 – US – Cert. 12a – 135m

*** ½

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You can with a Nissan. A Welsh, gaming obsessive is recruited by a PR executive from Japanese car manufacturer Nissan to train as a professional Grand Prix driver – out in UK cinemas on Friday, August 11th

Cardiff rail worker’s son Jann Mardenborough (Archie Madekwe) is a gaming obsessive, specifically the Gran Turismo videogame – or as he likes to describe it, racing simulator. He spends a lot of money on getting his gaming set up just right, and a lot of time either tweaking his virtual car for performance or logging hours practising his driving on the virtual set up. So real is the virtual driving experience to Jann that as he sits at the wheel, a diagrammatic drawing of his car builds itself out of thin air around him as he drives.

Alas, his father Steve (Djimon Hounsou), so supportive of Jann’s footballing brother Coby (Daniel Puig), thinks Jann needs to take stock and think about his future rather than pursuing his impossible dream of becoming a professional racer. However, his mother (Geri Halliwell Horner, former spice girl Ginger Spice and today the real life wife of Red Bull Formula One team principal Christian Horner) is far more supportive.… Read the rest

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Animation Documentary Features Live Action Movies

My Extinction

Director – Josh Appignanesi – 2022 – UK – Cert. 15 – 80m

***

In which director Appignanesi chronicles both his unease at the climate crisis and what happens when he joins Extinction Rebellion to do something about it – world premiere on Thursday, June 29th at the Curzon Mayfair, out in UK cinemas on Friday, June 30th

As well as making small British narrative features (Female Human Animal, 2018; The Infidel, 2010), Aappignasi makes little diary films about his life. The previous two, in which his wife, the author and academic Devorah Baum, is credited as co-director, chart impending parenthood (The New Man, 2016) and their relationship (Husband, 2022). This third entry sees Josh hit a professional lull after a planned feature film falls apart and he wonders if his career as a film maker is over. Actually, he reiterates variants of this question at various points throughout the film.

At the same time, environmental activists Extinction Rebellion (XR) are on the TV news for bringing parts of London to a standstill. Cue a title sequence montage of collapsing ice shelf, burning tar sands, gridlocked London traffic, industrial pollution, a bewildered kangaroo with outback ablaze behind it, a flooded street with parked cars, a polar bear stranded on an ice floe, the UK government declaring a climate emergency in response to XR and Greta Thunberg’s “I want you to… act as if your house was on fire” speech.… Read the rest

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Features Live Action Movies

Hit The Road
(Jaddeh Khaki,
جاده خاکی)

Director – Panah Panahi – 2021 – Iran – Cert. 12a – 93m

****

Four in a car. An Iranian family drive across Iran towards the Turkish border, for reasons that will only later become clear – out in cinemas on Friday, July 29th

A family of four – dad (Hassan Madjooni), mum (Pantea Panahiha), elder son (Amin Simiar), younger son (Rayan Sarlak) plus family dog Jessy – are driving across Iran towards the Turkish border. Actually, when we first meet them, they’ve stopped at a lay-by. That opening, combined with the title, doesn’t leave you in much doubt that this is going to be a road movie. We take an instant shining to the younger son, an irrepressible six-year-old who plays air piano on the keyboard drawn on the plaster cast around his sleeping father’s leg.

A bit of a rogue, this one: mum and dad have left their mobile phones at home as instructed, but six has brought his with him (he denies it, but the ringtone is a giveaway: it turns out he’s hidden it in his underwear and we should probably be thankful the director didn’t make this film in Odorama). Mum takes the phone away and buries it, but later on in the journey, he’s trying to buy another one.… Read the rest

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Features Live Action Movies

Deerskin
(Le Daim)

Director – Quentin Dupieux – 2019 – France – Cert. 15 – 77m

****

A man buys a deerskin jacket then decides he should be the only person who can wear a jacket which leads to disastrous consequences – on BFI Player and Curzon Home Cinema rental from Monday, October 4th

Georges (Jean Dujardin from The Wolf Of Wall Street, Martin Scorsese, 2013; The Artist, Michel Hazanavicius, 2011; OSS 117: Cairo Nest Of Spies, Michel Hazanavicius, 2006) is driving. Some considerable distance across France. And very full of himself, too. After a couple of days, he arrives at the seller’s house. 100% deerskin! The Jacket is everything he dreamed, and he willingly pays the asking price in cash. The seller is stunned at his good fortune; he’s never seen so much money. He throws in a digital video camera.

Georges’ credit card is blocked, so on checking in to the local hotel he leaves his gold wedding ring with the receptionist as a deposit. Drinking at a local bar, he explains to the barmaid Denise (Adèle Haenel from Portrait Of A Lady On Fire, Céline Sciamma, 2019; 120 BPM (Beats Per Minute), Robin Campillo, 2017) that he’s a filmmaker and currently shooting.… Read the rest

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Features Live Action Movies

Shape Of Red
(Red)

Director – Yukiko Mishima – 2020 – Japan – Cert. N/C 15+ – 122m

****1/2

A woman trapped in a stultifying marriage experiences freedom and laughter in both returning to work and pursuing an extramarital relationship – played online in the Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2021 in the UK

Married to Shin (Shotaro Mamiya) with a six-year-old girl Midori, Toko (Kaho – Our Little Sister, Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2015) is a stay-at-home mum. Shin works with a trading company and judging by the size of the house is not lacking financially. Shin’s mother is a constant fixture in their home and the first time we see Shin come in from work of an evening, he rejects the meal his wife has prepared because he’s “not hungry” only to readily accept a favourite dish his mother has prepared.

That doesn’t bode well for the marriage. In bed she dutifully performs a blow job on him which satisfies him but not her. As she wipes away the results with a tissue, you feel that she’s not so much a wife, more a sort of sexual skivvy.

As his wife, Toko accompanies Shin to various work social events where she similarly appears to be little more than an appendage.… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

Perfumes
(Les Parfums)

Director – Grégory Magne – 2019 – France – Cert. tbc – 100m

****

In Cinemas and on Curzon Home Cinema from Friday, August 21st

GuGuillaume (Grégory Montel) is a chauffeur. His boss Arsène (Gustave Kervern) is thoroughly fed up with him, so gives him a job with a known difficult customer Mademoiselle Walberg. Guillaume is currently trying to get 50/50 custody of his daughter, so needs his job. And must put up with any nonsense his client comes up with. Like throwing his cigarette packet out of the car window. Or insisting he help her change the hotel bedsheets because she doesn’t like the smell of the chambermaid’s perfume.

The reclusive Anne Walberg (Emmanuelle Devos) is a ‘nose’. She combines smells to create perfumes and had a stint with the Dior company before her career took a wrong turn. These days, all her agent can get her is recreating the smells of caves or making the fumes from unpleasant factories smell nice. But she longs to make perfumes again.

This is a stylish and charming movie with unusual, olfactory subject matter. You can’t smell in movies, so this element is instead conjured by verbal description. In a trip to a cave – the real cave, not the duplicate nearer the highway for which she must compose the smells, Anne feels, rubs and sniffs cave interior surfaces, getting Guillaume to write everything she says in a notebook.… Read the rest