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Showing posts with label Saffron Screen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Saffron Screen. Show all posts

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

A #UCFF response to A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)

This is a response to A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2019 (17 to 24 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

27 May

This is a response to A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014),
as seen at
Saffron Screen on Monday 27 May 2019 at 8.00 p.m.


Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Monday, 18 February 2019

Two Tweets in initial astonishment at the vividity and richness of image and meaning in Orphée (1950)

Astonishment at the vividity and richness of image and meaning in Orphée (1950)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2018 (25 October to 1 November)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

18 February

Astonishment at the vividity and richness of image and meaning in Orphée (1950)

Jacqueline Pearce RIP (Servalan)

Épilogue :

End-notes :

* Seen at Saffron Screen (the community cinema on the premises of Saffron Walden County High School, Saffron Walden, Essex).

Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Monday, 14 August 2017

Cool for cats ?

This is an appraisal [uncorrected proof] of Kedi (2016)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2017 (19 to 26 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

This is an appraisal [uncorrected proof] of Kedi (2016), as seen at Saffron Screen on Monday 14 August 2017 at 8.00 p.m.

Kedi (2016) is no more about cats¹ than Visitors (2013) is about alien life per se² on Earth : likewise, Wes Anderson does not intend us to understand The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) to be telling part of the history of The Republic of Zubrowka...

What probably cannot be told, even at the time of filming [the calendar included in one shot seems to show that at least part of the shoot was in 2014], could even less so now : in the Turkey of President Erdoğan, would making this film even be allowed...?

Plus-points :

* The nauticality, the maritime nature, of Istanbul both strongly and very beautifully comes out at times, and makes one think of - and long for - Venezia !

* it is very good that at least two (human) participants are heard talking about their mental-health issues in relation to how being with and caring for cats helps them (one says what her therapist thinks, one attributes his progress, after a nervous breakdown in 2002, to looking to feeding the street cats)

* The stories about the cats – whether one or two, or in numbers that run into tens – emerge as a way of managing one’s notional world, through having an understanding of it that is rooted in telling oneself how it is, and the film’s director (Ceyda Torun) acknowledges these stories and, through editing and framing, partly gives an authority to them (saying which, takes from what are clearly different occasions³ are editorially conflated to the end of telling visually what those near to the cat(s) want (us) to believe about each one)

* Though where the film comes into its own is at the point when talk about, or reflection on, the cats of the city shades into alluding to other things – to the question for whom cities and the life within them exist, what it is to be human, and what we lose to our peril…⁴ From this perspective, some, but not very many, of the tracks used alongside the composed score (please see below) are spot on for the part of the film for which they have been selected

* Despite some reservations (please see below), there are enough moments of pure cinema to please the fussy watcher of film – plus ones of unforced smiles and laughs about what it is about cats that has some people embrace philosophies or beliefs that assert that cats know God directly, and that we, when we (respond to God and) serve their needs, are but mediators of God’s will

Negatives (these are all less important than they seem, since, on Kedi the 'Ayes' have it) :

* If you did build your entire hopes for the film on seeing the cat from the poster, it is just in one shot

* Which could also be a positive, the fact that some of the film looks – for not necessarily being the best take, but perhaps an atmospheric one – unpolished

* With the first cat featured (who, about the body, is one of the more obviously unsymmetrical ones - ginger, but with predominantly white legs (one of which has a ginger 'flash')), one is 86% certain – and would have to re-watch, when the film is on DVD, to check – that some footage has been flipped, left to right, because, one imagines, having the image that way around looked right (ginger 'flash' apart) / fitted with that segment’s dynamic better⁵

* Kira Fontana’s original score for the film [one looks in vain to IMDb (@IMDb) for much detail about the film, except the soundtrack] is sometimes too intrusive on what one is seeing (for example, the ‘shimmer’ effect of what sounds like low-reverb vibraphone over marimba), with the result of detracting from what it tries to respond to (rather than amplifying it)

* Even when Fontana brings back the principal theme in its full form (presumably, ‘Nine Lives’), which feels as though it is meant to be the final reprise that pulls out all the stops (musically, and so emotionally), there is a connected question :

Does the film do itself a disservice by seeming to build to a closing image, but then reprising the featured cats, and ending (after an unattributed short commentary by voice-over⁶) on another shot and a fade-out – as if not confident that it has established the star cats in our mind ?

Maybe some closing words here (a quotation from Russell Hoban's novel Pilgermann might be good - or from his collection The Moment Under The Moment ?)... or maybe that is it... ?

End-notes :

¹ As one might guess, 'Kedi' is Turkish for 'cat'.

² In part, Godfrey Reggio is invoking a Biblical saying (1 Chronicles 29 : 15), and alluding to its wider relevance.

³ With, for example, the cat who taps on the window of the bar / restaurant when hungry, the open or shut front door, and where the cat is tapping, give this away.

⁴ With one commentator saying that, if people have lost their relation to cats, it is for them to rediscover it (not for cats to change who they are), for it is to our detriment. Kedi unavoidably reminds of the deeper matter of such films Citizen Jane : Battle for the City (2016), The Human Scale (2012), and A Dangerous Game (2014)…

⁵ If one watches too many films (or is otherwise attuned, as to an out-of-tune string orchestra), it may also grate when the chosen aesthetics of documentary have led the cinematographer (and director) to arbitrary choices about how to shoot. Such as evoking immediacy through a very shallow depth of field and / or when the focus keeps shifting during the shot (even if either may not just actually have some viewers irresistibly hunting around the image - trying to find something in focus, and not greatly fore- or backgrounded…).

⁶ It could have been added at any time, not least because it feels more contemporary to the Turkey of now than much of the film (except the clearances of the orchards, and the similar threat to the market area) ?

Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Comedy and atrocity : The possible origins of 'The Chuckle Brothers' in The Journey (2016)

Some account of The Journey (2016), watched at Saffron Screen on Sunday 16 July

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2017 (19 to 26 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

16 July

This may become - hopes to become - some account of The Journey (2016), watched at Saffron Screen on Sunday 16 July at 8.00 p.m.



Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Monday, 6 February 2017

Some Tweets about Spike Lee's Chi-Raq (2015)

Some Tweets about Spike Lee's Chi-Raq (2015), seen at Saffron Screen

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2016 (20 to 27 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

5 February

Some Tweets about Spike Lee's Chi-Raq (2015), seen at Saffron Screen, which - perhaps as an antidote to the cynicism of the musical or film called Chicago ? - looks to sisters in Ancient Greece, also tired of warfare, as a source of hope...

Nick Cannon (as Chi-Raq)

As we are shown by titles on the screen during the opening number, whose lyrics are otherwise displayed on a dark screen, the film is predicated on the fact that more men died violent deaths in 2015 in Chicago than US servicemen up to that point in Afghanistan and Iraq together : hence the name Chi-Raq, by which one of the gang-leaders (Nick Cannon) also calls himself (his opposite number is Cyclops (Wesley Snipes), and there is a loquacious chorus-figure, played by Samuel L. Jackson).

Above : John Cusack (Fr. Corridan), Wesley Snipes (Cyclops), La La Anthony (Hecuba) and Spike Lee
Below : Samuel L. Jackson (Dolmedes)

The sex-strike is started by Lysistrata (Teyonah Parris) – as in his Greek model, but with the encouragement of Miss Helen (Angela Bassett).

Teyonah Parris (Lysistrata), Angela Bassett (Miss Helen), and
Jennifer Hudson (Irene [= Greek for Peace])

Spike Lee additionally gives a role for the black evangelical church : the real St. Sabina’s in Chicago (all of the locations shown are in the city), fronted by John Cusack (as Father Michael Corridan), but with the support and appearance of its own Father Michael Pfleger, and its music and dance-groups.

Above : John Cusack (Fr. Michael Corridan) and Father Michael Pfleger
Below : Spike Lee, Al Sharpton (not credited ?), and Father Pfleger

John Cusack and Spike Lee

Necessarily, obstacles are in the women’s way, otherwise no drama and no action to the film, but it ends with an unexpected act of mercy, and a revelation by Nick Cannon of the extent to which – except physically – his acting has been subdued until that moment.

Spike Lee offers a message of hope, and we would do well to heed him.

Angela Bassett (as Miss Helen)

Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Viva la vida¹ !

This is a micro-review of (or response to ?) Yarn (Garn) (2016)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2016 (20 to 27 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

9 October

This is a micro-review of (or response to ?) Yarn (Garn) (2016), as seen at Saffron Screen on Sunday 9 October 2016 at 5.00 p.m.

Yarn (2016) [the link is to the official trailer, on YouTube (@YouTube)] was seen at Saffron Screen (@Saffronscreen), and is a four-stranded documentary about artists - very broadly defined to feature those who direct and appear in a yarn-themed circus-style performance in Copenhagen² - and their work and the effect (impact ?) that it has internationally³ (except for the circus, where we are only within Denmark⁵).

Things to like (in no particular order) :

* That the underlying theme is much broader than textile-art (essentially, for the three individual artists, crochet, although Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam's⁴ installations / constructions require the use of a certain grade of nylon (which she specifies)) : it is really the natural world and how, if at all, we respect and conserve it, e.g. in just a few generations, deviating from a pattern, over the last couple of millennia, of people making their own clothes…

* The presentation of materials in and behind the closing titles

* We will all have our own ‘favourite’ artist(s) from the strands, and moments within the latter (in artistic terms, I suggest Olek⁴, originally from Poland)

* Including a sense of our appreciation and understanding each strand's artist’s (or artists’) work developing and deepening, as against the initial disclosure of its content and import

Connections (in alphabetical order, by name or title) :

* Energized (2014)

* Freistunde (Doing Nothing All Day) (2015) [micro-review to come, from notes made at Leeds International Film Festival 2015 (@leedsfilmfest / #LIFF29), but meanwhile a link to the film's page on IMDb...]

* Last Call (2013) (the link is to the film's web-site - it is reviewed with Energized (2014) (as listed above), but the part of the review that addresses Last Call is incomplete)

* Match Me ! How to Find Love in Modern Times (2014) (as seen, and linked to, at Sheffield Doc / Fest⁵ (@sheffdocfest))

* Ockham’s Razor (their show Not Until We Are Lost)

* Rams (Hrútar) (2015)

Things that impress less (again, in no particular order) :

* Use of animation, which may be intended to diversify the impact of the strands (no pun intended about implied unravelling), or, conversely, to interweave them, but actually may just interrupt one’s concentration (as with the narrated text and the decision, at all levels, to use it ?)

* Variability in camerawork and in the effectiveness of editing choices

* Barbara Kingsolver’s text (as if ‘inspired by’ Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman), but really its being uses when we might want to contemplate the quietness of, e.g., livestock scenery (for sheep) on Iceland right at the start and the creatures themselves in themselves, and without an overlay of a voice and words

* The opening caption claims to differentiate a noun and a verb, to riff on the idea of a material (noun) and telling a story (verb), but the latter definition is of another noun (not a verb)


¹ It was unclear that this fact (from Wikipedia®) featured in Icelandic yarn graffiti artist Tinna Thorudottir Thorvaldar's choice of slogan : 'Viva la Vida' (/ˈviːvə lə ˈviːdə/; Spanish: [ˈbiβa la ˈβiða]) is a song by the British alternative rock band Coldplay.

² As if to pander to all needs, the placing captions have, for example, to state ‘Denmark’ below ‘Copenhagen’ (as if anyone who did not, but wanted to, know could not note it and look it up ?) : there is sometimes actually more care that we should know where we are than whom we are seeing ?

³ For example, we see the featured artists in Barcelona, Berlin, Rome, and Hawaii.

⁴ Rather unhelpfully, and not for the first time, the film's entry on IMDb (@IMDb) only credits one other artist, Tinna Thorudottir Thorvaldar (originally from Iceland), and not Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam (originally from Japan, and whose name one noted enough from the credits to find her), or the director and performers at the circus-style show...

⁵ The comment made about Match Me ! How to Find Love in Modern Times may be relevant here, one imagines : the Q&A essentially confirmed what one had really already suspected, that it was not really about match-making, but had been made to be to complement the story of a couple who had met through a type of arranged yogic marriage.

Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Monday, 8 August 2016

Tale of Tales (2015) [Il racconto dei racconti] : A few Tweets from Saffron Screen...

Tale of Tales (2015) [Il racconto dei racconti] : A few Tweets from Saffron Screen...

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2016 (20 to 27 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

8 August

Tale of Tales (2015) [Il racconto dei racconti] :
A few Tweets from Saffron Screen (@Saffronscreen)...

Salma Hayek as The Queen of Longtrellis [an unnecessarily literal translation, from her title in Basile's Neapolitan text ? - which we never hear]

Post-script :

Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Trying too hard to be strange ?

This is a review of The Lobster (2015) (seen at Saffron Screen)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2015 (3 to 13 September)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

13 November (quotation added, 26 December ; link to a new review added, 1 January)

This is a review of The Lobster (2015) (seen at Saffron Screen)

Director Yorgos Lanthimos (and his co-writer Efthymis Filippou) may tell us that they (intend to) subvert the notion of a film having a story with The Lobster (2015) – though they would hardly be the first, in the history of cinema, to set out to do so. Certainly, in the overlong first forty-five minutes¹, they may set up a situation that is relatively internally coherent², but it appears to be as a point of departure and contrast, and, until then, we could be frankly little less concerned or engaged with what is presented³.

In the original t.v. series of Monty Python’s Flying Circus (with Arthur Pewty (Michael Palin) and his wife Deirdre (Carol Cleveland) visiting the marriage guidance counsellor (Eric Idle)), unexpectedly disinhibited behaviour was used to provoke both shock and laughter (partly through shock / embarrassment, partly through incongruity). However, it was never more than a sketch, to which an end – of sorts – was brought (after Pewty has challenged the counsellor and, being told to go away, just does so) : the script has the direction Arthur is then hit in the head with a chicken by a man in a suit of armour.

Fourteen years later, with The Meaning of Life (1983), one essentially has a loosely connected series of sketches (as The Pythons themselves describe it and its genesis in The Pythons' Autobiography By The Pythons (heard via the audio CDs of the interviews)). There, the topic is revisited, as a lesson on sex education to a class of boys abruptly changes gear and (again provoking hilarity, for the reasons given) becomes a practical demonstration of sexual technique⁴.

Into The Lobster, and - not for the first time - seemingly for no more than a gratuitous laugh (since the scene does not obviously have any bearing on what happens⁵), Lanthimos brings this familiar conceit, and adopts it as the inappropriate behaviour of two so-called loners (Colin Farrell (David) and Rachel Weisz (Short-sighted Woman)). In the film’s initial locale (which proves not to be unique in this regard), it dealt with, amongst other things, punishments for what the regime has decided are crimes, and retribution was both swift and Dante-esquely fitted to the offence : in all of this, a curious acquiescence, and with scant notion of rebellion or refusal. (Later on, as will be explored further, there is no sign that anything is different in another place, with other just as arbitrary prohibitions, and painful practices to secure compliance.)

If Farrell and Weisz’s [characters] bizarrely behaving in company has a meaning (beyond a laugh), it is, if not lost, almost submerged. Their trying too hard to look a couple (was Seydoux also meant to be one, with Smiley ?) has now become excessive, but we never did know the conceit behind their needing to be in the company of Seydoux’s parents and play up their status : earlier on, with his flowery speech, Farrell’s character had over-acted (more laughter), but it did not seem to have counted against him, but won him congratulation (though, one must repeat, seemingly purposelessly – what was all this pretence for (other than as a clothes-horse for gags), and to show Farrell better at it than someone else confronted in a shopping-centre).

However, if we do believe the narration (and it is open to question whether we should – please see below), the draconian prohibitions seemed never to have meant anything to Weisz and Farrell (the ‘love story’ that the poster promises ?). Indeed, beyond another joke - albeit, this time, in passing - with the idea of a coded, private language, there actually seems so much freedom (and absence of surveillance or control) that we have scant evidence of needing the elaborate communicative subterfuges of which we are told in the narration (designed, by making Semaphore sound like child’s play, to amuse : as can be seen in this video-clip, linked from the web-site of, @RottenTomatoes).

In fact, having lovers with their (actually or imagined) unseen ruses is no more unique as a subject of comedy than the Pythonesque excess (and it may actually be from another Python sketch, where the team ridicules romanticism – if not from Woody Allen (doing the same with Russian literature) in Love and Death (1975) ?). For The Telegraph (though seemingly only as an endorsement, not as any review that one can conventionally find), Robbie Collin calls the film ‘dizzyingly funny’, but one has to ask, if so, how much other humour he knows, for the first part of the film, when it is not setting out to shock (which it manages with some skill), is arguably not breaking new ground, but doing no more than stringing together largely unrelated satirical material.

Too much, and not all that interestingly, revolves [the wisdom / content of] adages and truisms such as Alone in a crowd, Love will find a way, Birds of a feather flock together, Two’s company, three’s a crowd, and the film actually spends a lot of its extended opening doing no more than exaggerating, in the form of a rigid hierarchy, how those who are not in a couple can be ostracized (often in ways no less cutting than here, if more subtle). (Although we largely leave this setting behind, there is a foray back, but it also serves no clear purpose : it confronts selected people with the truth, but, at best, this sequence really only seems designed to challenge ourselves, with our on-screen desire for blood and retribution [as Haneke does in Funny Games (1997)], and not to move anything on in structural terms.)

The Lobster is well-acted and thought-provoking. It works as a commentary on the way that society conditions its population to pair off and the stigma which surrounds single people.

As a point of reference in Lanthimos' films, and not, of course, to say that he (or his co-writer Filippou) has to do the same again, their last feature-film Alps (Alpeis) (2011) (of which a review is, as yet, still incomplete) also gives us the arbitrary assumption and use of power, at times to violent effect, in a reality that resembles ours, but yet is of its own kind. (As one reviewer of The Lobster remarks (Nick Pinkerton – please see below), the world we are introduced to looks very much like our own in the present day—specifically Ireland, where the film was shot.)

Alps works by duration and disturbingly, by playing out a few strands, principally through one central character. What governs those strands, though not incomprehensible on the level of agreed rules (if agreed under threat), defies being accepted or assimilated because of what it demands. There, Lanthimos achieves his aim without additional elements, baffling us not as to those rules per se, but as to what it implies about this world that things are as they are – again, a world recognizably ours, and so it makes us ask, in our disquiet, why it came to be that way.

[This words displayed above are from a review by Neil White (@everyfilmdteled) who, seemingly insufficiently content with the demands of being Editor of The Derby Telegraph (!), every year sets himself a challenge (largely given by his Twitter-name) : to review it for his blog, trying to watch every film released in the UK, and clocking up hundreds in the attempt. He seems to have surprised himself by now warming to Lanthimos…]

If artistry does come into this film, it does not consist in an ill-judged and repeated failure to resist the temptation to tell a gag (even in the service of superficially giving The Lobster commercial credentials ?), or even in the ‘unconventional love story’ that the poster wants to promote : that part of the story may be, in terms of the rules that are accepted to apply to forbid it, subversive or transgressive, but one can still effectively ask So what ?, because, despite the blatant reference in the first few minutes, we are not talking of those in the position of a Winston Smith or a Julia.

[As alluded to above, there is underground activity, but scarcely in the same way (since it seems centred more on survival ?), and with no real rationale that the screenplay cares to give. At the same time, an absurdist claim could, of course, be made : to show what one will to challenge perceived notions of reality / rationality… Then one is in the territory of Holy Motors (2012), which, however much it may reference cinematic history, for some has a fairly tenuous basis for what it does, and one which also – much more extensively and explicitly – seeks to include discrete and disparate episodes by means of a very modest (undeveloped ?) linking device.]

Though maybe – just maybe – The Lobster is doing something, and much more subtle, that is to do with what it means to use an authorial voice (of, one has to suggest, doubtful reliability therefore) ? Partly on account of the bipartite nature of the film, the narrator is unplaced for a very long while : during that time, and in a cursorily fleeting way, the voice tells us what the loners, as a category, do that means that they behave indistinguishably and as a group. (It is another gag, this time oral, and at the expense of those who listen to electronic music (though headphones), but the jibe comes, and it goes : except to recur as a visual joke, with people in one place, but dancing separately to what they are listening to, it expendably seems to lack rootedness in the fabric of the whole.)

As elsewhere – in a distinctively brittle, almost dry, manner – we were told this so matter-of-factly, so unemotionally, that we might have started wondering why any of this is being told at all (and whether whoever the narrator is pictures it to herself as a story that, maybe unwillingly, she believes). Indeed, just after the brief initial scene, and the shot of Farrell over his right shoulder (which very gently telescopes in on him), we hear this voice, telling us what ‘he’ did, and how he chose his brown shoes : only was there the suggestion, right from the off, that this was an adapted short story or novella ?

The Lobster uses that form, and sometimes the voice-over is very present – and not always adding, but, by over-interpreting or even unnecessarily stating what can be seen, it acts to interpose itself between us and the on-screen world, i.e. an alienation technique (Verfremdungseffekt). (Other reviewers have commented on the stiltedness of the characters' speech. [So, for example, Nick Pinkerton (please also see below) writes all of them deliver dialogue in much the same mannered, tin-eared cadence : unvaryingly measured, stilted in tone, unnervingly to-the-point, and devoid of any softening niceties.] However, if one regards those who are speaking as created by, or creatures of, the narrator, that quality is put in another context : it remains, as it ever is, meaningless to talk about 'what really happened', but here the film is well nigh brought into existence by the voice that tells it.)

At other times, though, it is quite absent, and it seems possible that the device may have been abandoned, yet not, for example, with what happened in The Transformation Room : let alone how what, in general terms, is supposed to have happened there took place, we are kept outside the door that we see Farrell go through. The voice's ignorance (of what went on), that of the unknown 'she', becomes ours – but, in the first place, we only know any of this by placing credence in what the voice tells us, and we might wish to reflect on the silence and the lapse of time with which the film concludes…

Of course, the deliberate allusion to Room 101 put one in mind of Nineteen Eighty-Four, but, along with thinking that we are in the dystopian genre³, it is probably a misdirection to see Orwell here any more than to make a connection that, in a way, is just as much there with Animal Farm.

For those in search of other thoughts :

* This review (from Nick Pinkerton, of Reverse Shot), from which there have been quotations above, may tell too much for those who have not yet seen the film, but is interesting...

* Peter Bradshaw, for The Guardian, has some good points to make, but lapses - in the third to the fifth paragraphs of his review - into telling us what happens, rather than why we should be watching. (As, for example, he did with a review of The Great Beauty (La Grande Bellezza) (2013)).

* Finally, with the review by Demetrios Matheou (The Arts Desk), we have to bear with his worryingly getting his facts wrong (such as calling Farrell’s character John (not David), and saying that he has been widowed), but it is worth a read.


¹ Except on the level that the film creates a desire, for this scenario in the screenplay not to continue as it is, which is then sated – even if we scarcely welcome what takes its place, or how that resolves…

² By contrast, those who have read in David Eagleman’s small collection Sum : Tales from the Afterlives will know the superlative concision and exactness with which he conceives of numerous different futures.

³ People who only choose to look at the world within the film as dystopian are thereby easily failing to credit that elements of it, at least, operate not only on the level of satire, but also of allegory : does calling this filmed world a dystopia, by imagining it as a possible future, thereby miss its applicability, as a deliberate distortion, to our present social norms, practices and trends (such as our expectations of couples, or of single people, and how they may tend to stay with their own kind) ?

⁴ Other examples surely abound, but Hale and Pace (not a little obsessed with a stereotypically sexual portrayal of Sweden) could not resist confronting a British couple with a Swedish one, being unnecessarily frank.

⁵ * Contains spoilers * If it is what did change anything (and not what, nearer the relevant time, we hear read aloud), we never have any idea, in all honesty, whether there is an ultimate and licensed aim that their Leader (Léa Seydoux), at whose instigation they are acting, when she, they and one other loner (Michael Smiley) make it The City for short periods, pretending that they belong there.

Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)