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Features Live Action Movies

The End We Start From

Director – Mahalia Belo – 2023 – UK – Cert. 15 – 102m

***1/2

As parts of the UK are flooded and submerged by an ecological disaster, a woman births a baby she must then bring up – out in UK cinemas on Friday, January 19th

On the one hand, this starts off with a woman (Jodie Comer) giving birth and then experiencing the process of being a new mother, with all the joys and stresses that entails. On the other, this shows the UK being overtaken and flooded by an eco-disaster, and how people respond to that situation both individually and en masse. The second scenario is reminiscent of any number of disaster and / or science fiction movies about flooding, apocalypse or dystopia (When Worlds Collide, Rudolph Maté, 1951; Children of Men, Alfonso Cuarón, 2006; Waterworld, Kevin Reynolds, 1995): if you approach this movie expecting something like that, you’re going to be disappointed, because although that element is very much present in the film, it’s little more than the backdrop.

It plays more like a road movie, in which the heroine – the husband having dropped out of the narrative towards the end of the first reel – meets a series of people on her travels, each of whom offer their own individual insight into the state of things and how the new mother might move forward.… Read the rest

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Art Documentary Features Live Action Movies Music

Klimt & The Kiss

Director – Ali Ray – 2023 – UK – Cert. 12a – 90m

*****

A look at one of the world’s favourite paintings, housed in Vienna’s Belvedere Museum, and the wider body of work of the artist who created it – out in UK cinemas on Monday, October 30th for one day only

All lovers of art have their blind spots. That’s partly why we go to exhibitions, to fill in the gaps in our knowledge. Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss is one of those images everyone knows, since it’s been widely reproduced as prints, while movie buffs know it from the opening museum sequence of Bad Timing (Nicolas Roeg, 1980) and as a major influence on the visuals of The Thief And The Cobbler (Richard Williams, 1993). Beyond that, however, my knowledge of both Klimt and the painting itself are sparse. This latest entry in producer Phil Grabsky’s excellent Exhibition On Screen series about art is therefore most welcome since it proves highly informative about both.

Accompanied by a perfectly judged piano score of sequences of notes rising and falling, it opens on out of focus images of gold surfaces before showing us a detail of the two heads in the painting viewed not, as you might expect, straight on, but from a side angle.… Read the rest

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Art Documentary Features Live Action Movies

Mary Cassatt:
Painting
The Modern Woman

Director – Ali Ray – 2023 – UK – Cert. U – 93m

*****

A look at an often overlooked member of the Impressionists, a US-born, female painter and printmaker who moved from Philadelphia to live in France – out in UK cinemas for one day only on Wednesday, March 8th (International Women’s Day)

I had never heard of Mary Cassatt when I came to this documentary. I’m not really sure why not (apart from the obvious reason, the widespread exclusion of numerous women artists from the annals of art history until recently) and feel indebted to this remarkable study for introducing me to her work. It comes as no surprise that the film was produced by Phil Grabsky for his excellent Exhibition On Screen series about art, although what IS a surprise here is that all the interviewees in this instance are women. Nothing at all wrong with that if they have something of value to say, which they clearly do.

One could argue that the piece has a very strong feminist leaning with its emphasis on women being free to live their lives as they choose. It’s tempting to say that one could forget the gender bias here and simply say that all the interviewees have important insights to share and do a good job.… Read the rest