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Features Live Action Movies

Next Sohee
(Da-eum So-hee,
다음 소희)

Director – July Jung – 2022 – South Korea – Cert. 18 – 134m

*****

A schoolgirl on an internship is appallingly exploited by her employers, and a police detective is called in to investigate – out in UK cinemas on Friday, June 14th

Here’s a film which presents a real problem for reviewers. Something monumental happens in the middle of the film which entirely changes it. It’s a little bit like the shift from the traumatic drama to the police manhunt in High and Low (Akira Kurosawa, 1963) and a bit like the infamous shower scene in the middle of Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960). And yet, the film is like neither of those classics in any other way (except, perhaps, the fact that it’s a remarkable film that will leave you with an indelible impression afterwards). Still, how much can a reviewer give away without ruining the film for audiences?

It’s very much a film of two halves. The first half centres around Sohee (Kim Se-eun), a star pupil at an average secondary school. She is obsessed with dancing, specifically the kind of dance moves associated with K-pop girl- and boy-bands. Among her friends are another former intern from her school who dropped out of her intern position and now spends her evenings getting paralytically drunk.… Read the rest

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Features Live Action Movies

In Broad Daylight
(Bak Yat Ji Ha,
白日之下)

Director – Lawrence Kwan Chun Kan – 2023 – Hong Kong – Cert. 15 – 106m

***1/2

A woman uncovers a catalogue of abuse visited upon the residents of the Hong Kong care home in which her grandfather lives – out in UK cinemas on Friday, January 19th

This opens and closes to the strains of ‘We’ll Meet Again’ and images of Hong Kong buildings reaching towards the sky.

Ling Hu Kay (Jennifer Wu from The Shadows, Glenn Chan, 2020; Tracey, Li Jun, 2018) enters the Rainbow Bridge Care Home in search of her grandfather Chow Kin-Tong (David Chiang from Election, Johnnie To, 2005; The Adventurers, Ringo Lam, 1995; Once Upon a Time in China II, Tsui Hark, 1992; Yes, Madam!, Corey Yuen, 1985; Shaolin Temple, Chang Cheh, Wu Ma, 1976) who she hasn’t visited for a while as she’s been abroad in Canada. He doesn’t remember her. Chow’s roommate is the amiable Shui (Woo Fung). Shocked at finding a dead rat in their room, she finds the manager Cheung Kim-wah (a memorable Bowie Lam The Crossing, 2014; Hard Boiled, 1992, both John Woo) who informs her both that while they are always understaffed, the place is like a family where everyone pitches in.… Read the rest

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Art Documentary Features Live Action Movies Music

Squaring The Circle:
(The Story Of
Hipgnosis)

Director – Anton Corbijn – 2022 – UK – Cert. – 101m

*****

The story of the visual creatives behind album sleeves, for Pink Floyd and others, who revolutionised the field from the late 1960s and through the 1970snow out on Blu-ray/DVD combo and various streaming services plus BFI Player following its release in cinemas in the UK and Ireland on Friday, July 14th

Everyone who bought LP records from the late 1960s through to the very end of the 1970s knows the name Hipgnosis. As one interviewee points out, you would go in to the centre of your town to buy the latest album and mull over all the written information on the sleeve on the bus coming home to find out who played on it and who was responsible for the cover. Many of the most memorable sleeves were designed by Hipgnosis, the name coming from ‘hip’, meaning ‘cool’, and ‘gnosis’ meaning ‘secret wisdom’.

Director Corbijn made his name in black and white photography and album sleeves for such bands as U2 and Depeche Mode in the 1980s, so has a background in the album cover world in a later decade. He is therefore extremely well placed to tackle the subject and chooses to film many of his interviewees in trademark black and white.… Read the rest

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Features Live Action Movies

Jumbo

Director – Zoé Wittock – 2020 – France – Cert. 15 – 93m

*****

A young woman working at a fairground falls in love with one of the rides, a machine named Move It, which she renames Jumbo – out in cinemas and virtually via Modern Films Virtual Player on Friday, July 9th and streaming on Arrow from Wednesday, September 1st

When her single parent mother Margarette (Emmanuelle Bercot) drops Jeanne Tantois (Noémie Merlant) off for her first day of employment at the local amusement part Jeanne has known all her life, her mother makes a passing remark about Jeanne’s father: “if only he could have been my vibrator”. While that comment is never (ahem) touched on again, the idea is central to the film.

Whatever she says, it isn’t an idea that Margarette can live by. An outgoing bartender, shortly into the narrative she strikes up a relationship with Hubert (Sam Louwick), moving him pretty swiftly into the family home. Jeanne doesn’t seem to like or dislike him much either way as a step-dad… She’s not really interested.

Margarette would like her daughter to bed a nice boy. Someone like her young manager at the fairground Marc (Bastien Bouillon) who both encourages her to enter for the Employee Of The Year contest and is drawn to her physically.… Read the rest

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Live Action Movies Shorts

GoGo Club
(梁韻怡)

Director – Rei Leung Wan-yi – 2019 – Hong Kong – Cert. N/C 15+ –25m

*****

The progress of a former nightclub employee following his fortuitous encounter with a girl in a panda suit – FREE TO VIEW online in the UK in the Fresh Wave short films strand of Focus Hong Kong 2021 Easter from Wednesday, March 31st to Tuesday, April 6th

At age six, Yin (Matt Jiu Kai Laam) was brought by his mother (Gaga Tse Ka Wai) to the Golden Rose nightclub where she worked as a live-in cleaner and odd job person as the grown up Yin describes in voiceover narration. He doesn’t mention her suavely suited manager (Tony Ho Wah Chiu – Our Time Will Come, Ann Hui, 2017; Infernal Affairs, Andrew Lau, Alan Mak, 2002; Dead Or Alive: Final, Takashi Miike, 2002) is a permanent fixture propping up the enquiries desk window counter. At age 26, Yin (Shaopin Tsui) is told by the manager that today is his last day. In fact it’s also the manager’s last day because the Golden Rose is closing down. Enquiring about his missing back pay, Yin is given the company’s very expensive car to sell for profit which turns out to be an old van covered in dust. … Read the rest

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Features Live Action Movies Music

Mogul Mowgli

Director – Bassam Tariq – 2020 – UK – Cert. 15 – 90m

****

A UK British Pakistani rap artist is stopped in his career tracks by an auto-immune system suppression illness – in cinemas from Friday, October 30th and on BFI Player Subscription Exclusive from Friday, February 5th

This opens with British Pakistani rapper Zed (Riz Ahmed, who also co-wrote the film) waiting in the wings then going on stage to perform before a massively enthusiastic New York crowd. I had fairly high expectations and my heart sank. Ahmed’s performance as the singer was leaving me absolutely cold. (To be fair, I’m not a huge fan of rap music.) Happily I was much more impressed with almost everything that followed.

This opening performance turns out to be the final leg of a tour. Zed has a major European Tour planned imminently. Back in Britain, he gets into a street fight with a fan/stalker and in the course of the resultant fight starts to experience severe stomach pains. He wakes up in the local hospital to learn that he’s suffering from an auto-immune system suppression illness and consequently will be unable to tour. He’s horrified by the the suggestion from his trusted manager Vaseem (Anjana Vasam) that his admirer and rival performer RPG (Nabhaan Rizwan), whom Zed despises, can cover for him on the European Tour.… Read the rest