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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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Paris Memories
(Revoir Paris)

Director – Alice Winocour – 2022 – France – Cert. 15 – 105m

****

A woman tries to recall her memories of a Paris terrorist attack – out in UK cinemas on Friday, Aug 4th

Were it not for a singularly unconvincing sex scene (as in, why are these two characters having sex?) about ten minutes before the end, this might have been one of my films of the year. That knocks it down from ***** to ****. That gaffe aside – and it’s a monumentally huge one – this is, otherwise, most impressive.

It starts off with Mia (Virginie Efira) in her Paris flat, feeding the cat, dropping and clearing up a glass, and talking with her partner Vincent (Grégoire Colin), a surgeon who heads up a hospital department. She rides her motorbike to her radio station workplace, where she has a gig as a Russian-French translator. Afterwards, in the evening, she meets Vincent in a restaurant for a meal, but he gets a call from the hospital and has to go back in. After a bit, she heads for home, but it’s raining heavily, so she stops off at another restaurant to have a drink and wait out the rain.… Read the rest

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Blue Jean

Director – Georgia Oakley – 2022 – UK – Cert. 15 – 97m

*****

A woman attempts to keep her LGBTQ lifestyle and her day job as a PE teacher separate, but has reckoned without the widespread anti-gay prejudice of late 1980s Thatcherite Britain – previews in UK cinemas from Monday, February 6thprior to release on Friday, February 10th

“Everything is political”, says her out and proud girlfriend Viv (Kerrie Hayes) to Jean (Rosy McEwen), an LGBTQ woman who has to date managed to compartmentalise her existence so that work and private life are kept separate. She’d like to keep it that way too, because in her job as a teacher there’s an underlying assumption that heterosexuality is the norm. Which is fine if you happen to fit that model, less so if you don’t. Which Jean doesn’t. And a couple of factors are about to break down those carefully constructed compartments of her life.

It’s the late 1980s in Britain, and Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government is trying to push through Parliament what will eventually become the Local Government Act (1988). Section 28 (or Clause 28) of that Act prohibits councils in England, Wales and Scotland from promoting homosexuality, seen as a deviant behaviour which can be cured.… Read the rest

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Samjin Company
English Class
(Samjin Group
Yeong-aw TOEIC-ban,
삼진 그룹영어토익반)

Director – Lee Jong-pil – 2020 – South Korea – Cert. 12 – 110m

*****

Three undervalued corporate women employees investigate an environmental cover up at their company – a teaser screening from the London Korean Film Festival

1995, Korea. Three twentysomething women working in the Samjin Company are consistently undervalued. They meet up after work and swap stories about their respective departments.

Lee Ja-young (Go Ah-sung from Snowpiercer, 2013; The Host, 2006, both Bong Joon Ho) is a Girl Friday smarter than most of the male employees in her office, including her immediate superior and corporate conformist Choi Dong-soo (Cho Hyun-chul), which would probably cease to function without her. Jeong Yu-nah (Esom from Microhabitat, Jeon Go-woon, 2017) is a marketing minion constantly held back by an immediate superior who does everything they can to take credit for her ideas. Sim Bo-ram (Park Hye-su) is a maths prodigy working in the accounts department where her forward-thinking, male boss Bong Hyeon-cheol (Kim Jong-soo), against the prevailing sexist norm, is possessed of the ability to recognise talent in employees regardless of gender and treat them decently as co-workers.

Sent to clear out the old offices of the boss’ son Oh Tae-young (Baek Hyeon-jin), Lee is told by a male colleague to flush a pet goldfish down the toilet “to set it free”.… Read the rest

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Muscle

Director – Gerard Johnson – 2019 – UK – Cert. 18 – 110m

****

Pump it up! A man dissatisfied with his life comes under the influence of a manipulative bodybuilding trainer – on Sky and NOW from Tuesday, June 1st

Newcastle, UK. Simon (Cavan Clerkin) is at a dead end working days in a dodgy telesales job he hates and coming home at night to his partner Sarah (Polly Maberly) who no longer loves him. Whatever attracted her to him has gone. Looking for a way to move forward, Simon sees a man walk confidently out of a doorway and on realising it’s a local gym, decides to join. It’s not long before he’s under the influence of fellow member Terry (Craig Fairbrass), an ex-forces type who takes him under his wing as a personal trainer to help him transform his body. Under Terry’s influence, Simon changes his diet, reduces his drinking with colleagues to virtually nil and is suddenly achieving top sales at work. None of that is enough to stop Sarah leaving him.

Terry is however not what he initially seems. He suggests first he then his friend Crystal (Lorraine Burroughs) move into Simon’s house to help pay the bills then instigates increasingly orgiastic parties with his friends as if the place was his own.… Read the rest