Film Club Review 2014

Every fortnight for the past five years, I have hosted a film club in our flat in Dalston, East London (projector / white wall / decent throw / blackout curtain). The criterion for film selection is simple: those movies that we might be too lazy to watch otherwise, and would really benefit from a quasi-cinematic sacralized space. Hollywood is banned, though not by me personally. When we started, I was worried that we might exhaust the list of quality art movies quite quickly, and soon be stuck in a second-grade world cinema back catalogue. This has emphatically not proved to be the case, and we feel we’ve only skimmed the surface of the history of this amazing, short-lived art form.

In 2014 we had a very strong year, from rarely seen classics to outstanding recent movies. If you’d like to come along one Sunday, let me know at richard (AT)

I will add commentary as and when….


Omar (2013) – Hany Abu-Assad

Superbly made political thriller about young men on the wrong (Palestinian) side of the Apartheid wall. The climbing over the wall itself by the protagonist is an excellent metaphor for the drama. It becomes physically harder for him as the hope for his relationship with the young woman on the other side becomes more hopeless. As Cedric pointed out, the film is nevertheless curiously unmoving. Perhaps the main characters are a littel under-characterised.

5 Broken Cameras (2012) – Emad Burnat

Talking of visual metaphors, there are none better than Burnat’s decision to make a film around the occasions each of his cameras is broken by the IDF as he tries to record the abuses in his Palestinian village. Sometimes it shows a slight artificiality, with shooting to fill in the narrative, with the domestic scenes in articualr a little stagey. but this is carping. This is a first-rate, deservedly award-winning, doc.


Rust and Bone (2012) – Jacques Audiard

*CONTAINS SPOILER* The magnificent Marion Cotillard again (we saw the superb Two Days, One Night in 2013) in a moving romance between the “disabled by shark” Stephanie and desperado kick boxer Ali. Is there a problem in Act 3, with the rather forced turnaround, where his son’s near-death makes Ali realize he should commit? Does it matter?

Read My Lips (2001) – Jacques Audiard

A nice “oddball romance” / crime thriller with excellent performances.


The Secret In Their Eyes (2009) – Juan Jose Campanella

Uses gripping murder investigation to examine love. commitment, justice, and the legacy of the US-backed fascist coups in Latin America. And there’s THAT shot, the long tracking take into and around the football stadium as the police find and chase their man.

The Official Story (1985) – Luis Puenzo

Argentina’s only country to win the Best Foreign Movie Oscar twice. This first one powerfully presents the intersection of the personal and the political, showing how the “Dirty War” could even destroy middle-class families that saw themselves as immune.


Something Else Brazilian….

Foreign Land (1996)


A Separation (2011) – Asghar Farhadi

Divorce: Iranian Style (1998) – Kim Longinotto


Audition (1999) – Takashi Miike

Dark Water (2002) – Hideo Nakata


Andrei Rublev (1966) – Andrei Tarkovsky


Nymphomaniac (2013) – Lars von Trier


Rome, Open City (1945) – Roberto Rossellini

Germany, Year Zero (1948) – Roberto Rossellini


Games of Love and Chance (2003) – Abdelatif Kechiche

Closely Observed Trains (1966) – Jiri Menzel


A Touch of Sin (2013) – Jia Zhangke

The Flowers of War (2011) – Zhang Yimou


The Conformist (1970) – Bernardo Bertolucci

Red Desert (1964) – Michelangelo Antonioni


Contempt (1963) – Jean-Luc Godard

Hiroshima, Mon Amour (1959) – Alain Resnais


Hospital (1970) – Fred Wiseman

In the Year of the Pig (1968) – Emile de Antonio


Cries and Whispers (1972) – Ingmar Bergman

Summer Interlude (1951) – Ingmar Bergman


Dead Ringers (1988) – David Cronenberg

Videodrome (1983) – David Cronenberg


Memories of Underdevelopment (1968) – Tomas Gutierrez Alea

Medium Cool (1969) – Haskell Wexler


Summer Palace (2006) – Lou Ye

Crisis – Behind a Presidential Commitment (1963) – Robert Drew

A Pervert’s Guide to the Cinema Part 3 (2006) – Sophie Fiennes / Slavoj Zizek