MAN OF IRON

1981; directed by Andrzej Wajda; written by Aleksander Scibor-Rylski; 147 mins

[Sorry, couldn’t find a suitable English language clip or trailer]

With the passing, late last year, of director Andrzej Wajda, and with Cannes 2017 well underway, I thought it time to check out Palme d’Or winner Man of Iron – interestingly, the only sequel ever to win the prize. Previously, I had only seen Wajda’s 1958 masterpiece, Ashes and Diamonds and beyond that, my knowledge of Polish cinema is pretty poor, so let’s delve in… Continue reading

THE GREAT SILENCE

1968; directed by Sergio Corbucci; written by Mario Amendola, Bruno Corbucci, Sergio Corbucci and Vittoriano Petrilli; 101 mins

[SPOILERO!]

Bleak is the word! In Sergio Corbucci‘s atypically snowbound Spaghetti Western, the faces are scarred and severe and the landscapes are endless and lonely. Filmed in the Italian Dolomites, watching it on a bitterly cold evening was perhaps not the wisest option as Silvano Ippoliti‘s bitingly beautiful cinematography is matched by Corbucci’s ice-cold outlook. Continue reading

THE WHITE DIAMOND

2004; directed by Werner Herzog; 87 mins

[Sorry the trailer’s in German, that is the only trailer I could find]

In lieu of There Will Be Blood (because my DVD was shagged), the 100th review on Reading Films will be of my second favourite Herzog film – after 1972’s Aguirre, the Wrath of God. A neglected documentary, released thirteen years ago and never mentioned except in passing in any retrospective of the director. This, I think, is his most positive, heartwarming and emotionally fulfilling film. Continue reading

THE UNKNOWN GIRL

2016; written and directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne; 106 mins

Receiving what was, for the Dardennes, an uncharacteristically unfavourable response at last year’s Cannes film festival and hot off their Oscar-nominated 2014 effort, Two Days, One Night, it seems that The Unknown Girl has dropped off the radar both commercially and critically. That in the background, I was prepared for disappointment… Continue reading

LE DOULOS

1963; adapted and directed by Jean-Pierre Melville; 109 mins

I’m not a smoker but neither am I anti-smoking and the amount of fag smoke wreathed around the mise en scène of this movie put me in mind of the low-hanging cloud that used to permeate so many pubs my family went to when I was a kid. I mean this is in a good, nostalgic way and also as a demonstration of how Jean-Pierre Melville‘s films still work so well… Continue reading

MINIONS

2015; directed by Kyle Balda and Pierre Coffin; written by Brian Lynch; 87 mins

This is not a joke: I love this movie! I love the Minions! They were funny in Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2 and – given their own movie – they are even more funny! OK, I admit, even with those previous adventures in the background, I still went in sceptical and slightly snobby but five minutes in and that intro, me, my folks and my sister-in-law were in fits of laughter! I have no idea whether anyone else was laughing because we were enjoying ourselves so much that we just disappeared into our own little bubble of childish glee! Continue reading

A LIZARD IN A WOMAN’S SKIN

1971; directed by Lucio Fulci; written by Lucio Fulci, Roberto Gianviti, José Luis Martínez Mollá and André Tranché; 99 mins

An exploitation film that explores exploitation itself with the tale of a bourgeois family torn apart by fear of sexual liberation, new freedoms and the hippie dream! The Telegraph DVD review says; “forget the story” but it’s also a murder mystery where the weirdness is intertwined with a vortex of double crossing and psychological games. It does, however, occasionally go a step too far in it’s desire to push buttons and falls over into male leeriness… we’ll get to that! Continue reading