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Showing posts with label TAKE ONE. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TAKE ONE. Show all posts

Thursday, 26 December 2019

'Thoughtful' violence in Drive (2011) and You Were Never Really Here (2017) - or the principal elements of film noir ?

Responding to 'Thoughtful Violence in Drive & You Were Never Really Here'

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

Lines of thought sparked off by 'Thoughtful Violence in Drive & You Were Never Really Here' [Nancy Epton, writing for TAKE ONE]

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

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

The #UCFF Tweets about Cargo (2017)

The #UCFF Tweets about Cargo (2017)

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

25 October

The #UCFF Tweets about Cargo (2017)

April McIntyre’s (@AprilMcIntyre’s) review for TAKE ONE is here

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

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Some #UCFF Tweets and a link about The man who killed Don Quixote (2018)

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

25 October

Some #UCFF Tweets and a link about The man who killed Don Quixote (2018)

More, by way of a comment, on Rosie Applin’s review for TAKE ONE (@TakeOneCinema)…

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

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Pre-Festival reviews of films in Camera Catalonia II (for Cambridge Film Festival 2015)

Three more films in Camera Catalonia (for Cambridge Film Festival 2015)

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

2 September

Three more films (for one, The Agent cheats) in Camera Catalonia (for Cambridge Film Festival 2015)

For the fourth year, Ramon Lamarca has curated Camera Catalonia screenings (films with a connection in language, themes, directors or actors with the autonomous Catalan region within Spain*), and it is a pleasure to have worked with him and with the kind help of the producers of the films to prepare pre-Festival reviews this year : Ramon is thanked for his generous assistance and encouragement (as in 2014).

The titles are links to full-length previews of three further films from Camera Catalonia at Cambridge Film Festival 2015 (@camfilmfest / #CamFF) (and the links to the first three reviews are here, in the first posting) [rather than re-invent the wheel, one has linked to the review by Nashwa Gowanlock for TAKE ONE (@takeonecinema /] :

* Héroes Invisibles (Invisible Heroes) (2015)

* The Long Way Home (El camí més llarg per tornar a casa) (2014)

* Traces of Sandalwood (Rastres de sàndal) (2014) [a link to Nashwa Gowanlock's TAKE ONE preview]

The films can be seen as follows, and the title, in each case, is a link to the booking-page for that screening**

NB Except for the first screening of Traces of Sandalwood, which is at The Light cinema (@lightcambridge), all screenings are at The Arts Picturehouse (@CamPicturehouse).

Thursday 3 September

3.30 p.m. The Long Way Home (El camí més llarg per tornar a casa) (Screen 3)

Wednesday 9 September

6.45 p.m. NB At The Light cinema Traces of Sandalwood (Rastres de sàndal) (Screen B)

Thursday 10 September

1.00 p.m. Traces of Sandalwood (Rastres de sàndal) (Screen 2)

6.00 p.m. The Long Way Home (El camí més llarg per tornar a casa) (Screen 2)

Friday 11 September

3.30 p.m. Héroes Invisibles (Invisible Heroes) (Screen 3)


* Please read further about the region and its cinematic style in What is Catalan cinema ? [with 1,800+ page-views, though now in need of being updated].

** Notes on screenings :

NB The allocation of films between the three screens at Festival Central (and elsewhere) can always change (as can, if one is coming from a distance for a specific film, the programme as a whole) : if the audience for a film scheduled for Screen 3 (the smallest screen, around half the capacity of the largest, Screen 1) proves greater than expected, it may end up being swapped, so there could be a change in the exact time of the screening, too.

In the programme (that is a link to the where the PDF file can be consulted / downloaded printed copies are available at Festival Central and all good local outlets), some slots are also kept blank, so that popular screenings can be repeated : announcements are on Cambridge Film Festival 2015's (@camfilmfest's) web-site, as are alterations to the programme (or the allocation between screens).

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

Sunday, 2 August 2015

For posting 1111, a portal-page to the TAKE ONE interviews...

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

17 October

Interviews conducted for, and published by, TAKE ONE, a Cambridge-Film-Festival-based and mainly on-line ( / @TakeOneCinema [formerly]) publication [except at the time of Cambridge Film Festival (@camfilmfest / #CamFF)]

An accreting series of links, by order of interviewee's name (date of publication is in square-brackets, and the film-title links to the IMDb (@IMDb) web-page for the film) :

Claudio Zulian [23 September 2015] :
Interview with Claudio Zulian Anthony Davis spoke to Claudio Zulian, the creator of the film BORN, which screened at this year’s Cambridge Film Festival. [BORN follows the 18th century adventures of coppersmith Bonaventura, his sister Marianna and the rich merchant Vicenç, in the disappeared neighbourhood of El Bornet in Barcelona.]

Daisy Hudson [14 January 2017] :
Half Way We spoke to Daisy Hudson whose documentary chronicles her family’s devastation when they find themselves at the mercy of the housing crisis. [HALF WAY chronicles the experience of a family of three women trapped in a homeless limbo.]

Desiree Akhavan [20 September 2018] :
Interview with Desiree Akhavan Anthony Davis spoke to Desiree Akhavan at the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse recently after the screening of her film THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST. He began by asking whether she had been influenced by ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST or GIRL, INTERRUPTED

Dunstan Bruce [17 October 2014] :
A curious life We spoke to Dunstan Bruce at Cambridge Film Festival this year about his documentary A CURIOUS LIFE, which follows the winsome Jeremy 'The Levellers' [@the_levellers] Cunningham on a trip down memory lane via squids, folk-punk festival mayhem and the Battle of the Beanfield

Hammudi Al-Rahmoun Font [9 January 2015] :
Font's Othello Anthony Davis spoke to Hammudi Al-Rahmoun Font about his entertaining and provocative Catalan adaptation of OTHELLO, screened at CFF2014

Otel.lo (Othello) (2012) ~ ~ @otel_lo

Ken Loach [6 June 2014] :
In conversation with Ken Loach Ken Loach visited the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse with his new film JIMMY’S HALL; Anthony Davis spoke to him about journalistic vitriol and corporate propaganda

Laura Rossi [17 October 2014] :
Interview with Laura Rossi Anthony Davis spoke to composer Laura Rossi about her experience writing music for BFI Silent Film JANE SHORE (1915), currently touring the UK

Magali Pettier [28 August 2015] :
Addicted to Sheep Anthony Davis spoke to Magali Pettier, farmer’s daughter and director of ADDICTED TO SHEEP, which follows a year in the lives of two sheep farmers.

Mar Coll [27 September 2014] :
[Appended to Rebecca Naghten's] review of We All Want What's Best For Her (2013)
Anthony Davis spoke to director Mar Coll after the screening, focusing on the mental-health-related themes in the film. (An extract of the interview follows.)

Marc Quinn / Gerry Fox [23 July 2015] :
Interview with Marc Quinn & Gerry Fox [Although there is now a link to the full interview] On 23 July the Arts Picturehouse screened MAKING WAVES, a documentary in which Gerry Fox records one year in the life of Marc Quinn. The film delves into the nature of creativity, following Quinn across the globe. Shortly before the post-screening Q&A we spoke to director Fox and subject/artist Quinn about his notorious “shit-head”, his bromance with Fox and the film’s examination of Quinn’s Warhol style “assembly line of art workers”.

Raf V. [11 February 2018] :
Vlogumentary joy with Rafael V. In his 2017 documentary JOY, vlogumentary maker Rafael V. asks what it means to be happy – where can we find joy ? A few months on from the film’s release, Anthony Davis caught up with Rafael to discuss his personal approach to cinéma vérité, reflect on what he learned from making this film, and find out about his next project.

Toby Amies [6 November 2013] :
Interview with Toby Amies Filmed predominantly in his cave, haven, call it what you will, of a council flat, Toby Amies’ touching portrait follows ageing maverick Drak [self-styled Drako Zarharzar] as he goes about his everyday life, or rather his every second. Anthony Davis spoke to Toby Amies following the screening at Cambridge Film Festival.

William Fowler [12 October 2012] :
Interview with William Fowler Following the collection of works, featuring or directed by Bruce Lacey, that he brought to the 2012 Cambridge Film Festival, I spoke to William Fowler, who is Curator of Artists’ Moving Image at the BFI (British Film Institute [@BFI])

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

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Film Festival frenzy (#CamFF 2015)

Recollected in tranquillity : Cambridge Film Festival 2014 (#CamFF)

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

27 July

Recollected in tranquillity :
The bustle that was Cambridge Film Festival 2014 (#CamFF)

Cambridge Film Festival (@camfilmfest / #CamFF) is just around the corner from putting on its big show again amazing to think that, when one first attended screenings there, all the programming was for a one-screen cinema, and one almost took for granted getting to see the new Woody Allen early…

As the Festival gears up for the thirty-fifth time (that’s where, behind the scenes, the frenzy comes in !), no less, a little moment to reflect on last year…

* Well, one was seeking to promote the Camera Catalonia (Catalan) strand, by providing reviews ahead of the screenings : a double pleasure, first to do so, and then to see how beyond the confines of 'a screener', watched on a laptop the full potential of the image blossomed in proper screenings

Composer Ethan Lewis Maltby, on the far right, during the Q&A for Fill de Caín (Son of Cain) (2013) (with Ramon Lamarca next to him, and director Jesús Monllaó)

* Relatedly, meeting and interviewing three Catalan film directors and happening to take two of them punting on the Cam (and even giving one a punting lesson)

Punt pupil (and film director), Hammudi al-Rahmoun Font

* Plus lovely Festival photography from Tom Catchesides (@TomCatchesides) and David Riley (@daveriley) ! (That as well as being with the winning team of Catalan curator Ramon Lamarca, and intern-cum-interpreter Cristina Roures)

Ramon Lamarca and Mar Coll at Festival Central image courtesy of Tom Catchesides

* The chance to watch both screenings of some Festival favourites at, and see especially how Kreuzweg (Stations of the Cross) (2014) (but also Mary is Happy, Mary is Happy) (2013) repaid renewed attention

* The coffee, the chats, the news – in passing, as one dashed to different screenings – of other viewings, and the celebrated insanity of the TAKE ONE (@takeonecinema) crew (and of a Vine into which we were all cajoled, which was later banned (Not me, guv’ !)…)

* Meeting Dunstan Bruce (@dunstanbruce) for a fun, late-night TAKE ONE interview about A Curious Life (@a_curiouslife), his film on The Levellers (@the_levellers) (with a microphone-wielding editor in chief hiding under a table ?)

Dunstan Bruce

* With Screen 1 in gala mode, the warmth and energy in a film tribute to the late Tony Benn, Tony Benn : Will and Testament (2014)

* Warmth and energy of a different kind in, having guided one of the Catalan directors there, Festival regular Neil Brand (@NeilKBrand), with Jeff Davenport, playing to Menschen am Sonntag (People on Sunday) (1930), an early picture credit for Billy Wilder

* And, of course, the expected preview of the new Woody Allen, Magic in the Moonlight (2014) (and the brief delight of a vocal from Ute Lemper) a tetchy role for Colin Firth that also made some people unnecessarily sceptical of historical fact that men of his age married women of the age of Emma Stone ?

* Closing-night party ? No, sorry, one does not know anything about that !

See you at Cambridge Film Festival, daily during the eleven days from 3 to 13 September !

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

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Mathematics for the Million (after Hogben) ?

This is a Festival review of How I Came to Hate Maths (2013)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2014 (28 August to 7 September)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

8 October (Tweets embedded, 15 December, 22 April 2015)

This is a Festival review of How I Came to Hate Maths (Comment j’ai détesté les maths) (2013)

Except as far as the first part of the film is concerned, the title How I Came to Hate Maths is somewhat misleading*, for we actually spend much time with people who are studying, or employed in, higher-level mathematics…

Contrariwise, some seem to have complained that the film is not what it does not seem to try to be, which is a sweeping account of how mathematics affects our lives and what mathematicians might be like : one, in particular, with an unusual dress sense and a striking scorpion fashion-accessory (pictured below), speaks very potently about what mathematics is and what the prize that he has gone to India to be awarded means to him.

Cédric Villani, who won a Fields Medal in 2010

He, and another Frenchman, who teaches the subject, both also touch upon (as the start of the film does) the changes in presenting it that brought about what the appropriate generation would know as The New Maths, when textbooks such as that of the Midlands Mathematical Experiment were being used (for some reason, Sarah Dillon, in her review for TAKE ONE, seems to interpret this development as a specifically French one). The film makes clear that The New Maths was not, as it might be in another subject, a change in emphasis or on techniques used to understand concepts, but redefining, at much greater length, such things as what one might mean by a straight line.

What is equally clear was that there were winners and losers, in, respectively, those who related to this approach, and those who found themselves excluded by it, but also that the change itself is still not viewed, all this time later, as having been self-evidently right, but having been partly influenced by forces and paradigms outside what is essential about mathematics itself. For those who get to study mathematics in depth, those matters may be less material, and it is with them that we spend most of the film.

Some mathematicians have religiously defended maths as being on the arts side, as if to defend it from being tainted by the sciences (by not being seen as creative). One mathematician, however, was keen to stress how studying the patterns created by dripping honey onto toast, as both one moves in relation to the other and the speed of the falling material changes, is actually relevant to laying cable on the sea-bed, so that it falls smoothly and does not make those convolutions.

Maybe we duplicated our attention unnecessarily in seeing two ‘retreats’ / summer schools for mathematicians (please see comments below as to whether the film could have been ‘trimmed’), in one of which they even made seating plans so that each person sat at table with every other person at least once (hardly a higher-level mathematical task since, once a program had been devised, the names could just be slotted in each time) – and maybe it would have been nice to have heard more interesting comments from those working for organizations such as Google® than appreciation of the topology of a favourite (commissioned ?) sculpture…

In reviewing the film, Sarah Dillon takes issue with the time devoted to high-speed (or quantum) trading, as if this is somehow peripheral to the subject of mathematics, although a former academic mathematician, Jim Simons (who set up Renaissance Technologies), is at the heart of what has been happening with computer-driven decision-making. Dillon claims that :

The film loses its pace when it moves away from this world [that of ‘higher-level mathematics research’] in order to address the role of mathematics in the global financial crisis. Whilst this is clearly an important contemporary moment in the story the film is telling, the film spends too long on it – cut by about fifteen minutes it would have been a good end to an otherwise perfectly balanced piece.

Just on the figures and with a run-time of 110 mins (and, as remarked elsewhere, The Queen’s Building at Emmanuel College does not, in its lecture-theatre, have the most comfortable seating in the world), that would mean cutting it to around 95 mins. However, Dillon must be mistaken in thinking that the film’s financial focus took it this much out of her ideal proportion – for, although she may have had a stopwatch on it, fifteen minutes would seem more like the total ‘spend’ on that topic, not the amount by which it could have been shortened. The Tweet embedded now at the top of this review is meant to suggest further why such things matter to us all...

That said, as long as one credits the meaning of the world economy, and that global trends ought, because governments subscribe to its having significance, to be allowed to crush the lives of millions who are not at fault, quantum trading in commodities, futures, etc., will continue to have the potential to cause chaos. Couple that with the incident that occurred on 6 May 2010, which has been trivially called The Flash Crash (and which no one in the film seems to be able to explain in detail), and it must be right to question what high-speed trading has led us to, and what it might lead to again : in something of the order of 30 minutes, 10% was lost from the value of the Dow Jones, only to be gained back within the day.

Some human decision-makers would have ‘held their nerve’ and traded their way out of the position, others, seemingly along with the automated trading that was going on at phenomenally high frequencies, would have ‘cut their losses’ – and all over what, as no one even identifies market insecurities as being responsible to so-called positions collapsing? These are the Modern financial instruments, and does not a film about mathematics fitly ask some questions about this, when mistakes in super-string theory, not even mentioned, do not damage people’s pension-funds ?

People who like to talk about Google sometimes speak of its algorithm (as if that explains anything, when there are countless algorithms in how it is put together, not just one). With trading, we are essentially talking of the effects of one program going through the contingencies, which have been dictated by the program-steps, over and over at enormous speeds, coupled with that other programs doing the same, each at the same time, and in a process of not necessarily predictable feedback, shifting their stances / responses. Possibly a massive game of crying wolf, such as unautomated trading could also give rise to, but where one could never go back to who cried it…

The calm tone of acceptance of Wikipedia®'s article also makes for alarming reading !


For his Movie Evangelist (@MovieEvangelist) blog (up to Day 9 of 11 so far in writing up the Festival), Mark Liversidge wrote this review, which, at two paragraphs, is rather on the short side :

Although Mark is certainly right that it is a kind of anthology, in that it begins with maths teaching and rarely, if ever, returns, one has to ask Where (in the film) is it suggested, let alone stated, that it intended 'to come close to helping those in the “normal person, hate maths” understand why maths is so cool to those of us in the other camp' [word missing, but Mark divides the world in two : 'those people like me who are good at it and enjoy it, and normal people who hate it'].

But what if the film actually is what it says, an anthology of reasons (such as high-speed trading) to hate maths, not like it... ?

For there was also, as well as implicating mathematics in the minutiae of trading, mention of how those algorithms had been written to automate lending criteria - although it was less that automation was inappropriate, but that human oversight both of the parameters, and of the resultant body of lending within a portfolio of risk, was defective.

Unless (as some will boldly still have it) one discredits such banking as one of the factors in this world economy of ours, the point is likewise : another instance of giving over the task of making decisions about risk to a program, and not seeming to check it or its ongoing performance, as if computers will necessarily do what we would have wanted.


* And it is far from obvious that it conveys the same message as the original French title, Comment j’ai détesté les maths.

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

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Was sagst du, Mensch ?

This is a Festival review of People on Sunday (Menschen am Sonntag*) (1930)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2014 (28 August to 7 September)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

2 October

This review is of a screening of People on Sunday (Menschen am Sonntag*) (1930), which was a special event at Cambridge Film Festival 2014 (#CamFF) on Friday 5 September at 4.00 p.m.

The naturalness of director Robert Siodmak’s People on Sunday (Menschen am Sonntag) (1930) beguiles us, and persuades us that what we are seeing might be true – an effect that is part of the immediacy of Neil Brand’s (@NeilKBrand’s) and Jeff Davenport’s live accompaniment.

Even for those of us who could construe the German in the slide at the beginning, and learn that what we were about to see was around 90% complete (some 1,800 metres of a known length of around 2,000 metres), nothing seemed to be missing, and the restoration was so clear that it did not leave us distinguishing different parts of the footage.

After the event, what one is left with is the impression of the morals and activities of the weekend in Berlin, spent by the lake at Schildhorn, and one has to pinch oneself and say that this presentation of life (outside of the candid shots of contemporary Berlin) is no more truthful than a newsreel of the day : that is the power of cinema, and of exposures that were not only clear, but insightful and affecting, that they can speak to us to-day when care has been used to present them alongside themes that match their moods, but had a feeling if not always of energy as such, then of being alive.

That, too, is something that we would come to associate with screenwriter Billy Wilder, whether in Some Like it Hot (1959), or Sunset Boulevard (1950), and is as good a reason as any to be interested in this film…

Over at TAKE ONE, Mike Levy has more observations about the film / performance...


* Might we still write Menschen am Sonntag, or would it more often be Leuten - without the full sense that these are real, human people ?

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

Monday, 19 May 2014

Six short films from Watersprite 2014

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2014
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

19 May

This is a review of a screening at the bar of The Arts Picturehouse of the top films from Watersprite (the international festival for student film-makers, @WaterspriteCam) – it fell in two parts, the first being on Monday 12 May 2014

1. Wind [link to the film on Vimeo]

Much has been written about this inventive film already by TAKE ONE, which covered the Watersprite Festival. As with the one that followed at this screening, it plays with being the wrong side of safe, and some have said that it is about adapting to extreme conditions.

Yet, although one can have a stylized haircut that depends on the wind blowing, one gets one’s nose cut off, it is not. The adaptation itself seems to be to something that is of these people’s own making, for we see shifts being changed at the plant where the wind is being generated, and where the outgoing worker has had time to grow a lengthy beard before being relieved : a symbolic depiction, but we need reminding that we sometimes create a problem, sometimes psychologically, and then learn to live with it, rather than seeking a proper solution.

2. Border Patrol [link to the film’s IMDb page]

This is a story that does not quite take one where it might, when it has the potential of the older officer Franz having ‘got one over’ on his dismissive younger colleague Carl, but instead settling on a relatively modest and benign punch-line (if at the cost of an unfortunate victim).

It is well resourced and acted, and there is tension, but director Peter Baumann seems to have reckoned that the latter is dissipated by the film ending as it does, whereas it really ends as a sick comment on people in authority passing the buck (and at the expense of the person who suffered).

3. Echo [link to a ‘teaser trailer’ on Vimeo]

There was disagreement, following the screening, whether Caroline ends, through having cried wolf, in a different place from where she began. Even if she did, it is not obvious enough that she is not just ‘up to her old tricks’, and they are really what is more interesting, for she reminds of Jeune et Jolie (2013)’s Isabelle (Marine Vacth) in acting / seeming to act immorally.

At first, Caroline appears to be the one in danger, because she has strewn the contents of her bag on the floor and we fear that she may come to regret being so trusting. As things develop, and, when she is at home, it is clear that her mother had no message from her, it seems like a scam on her part, but maybe one to which she is addicted as Isabelle is. It turns out to be rooted in truth, whatever weight the ending bears : is Caroline, as Lady Macbeth does, repeating the distressing experience over again, because she can do nothing else, and not for gain ?

* * * * *

4. How to Count Sheep [link to the trailer on Vimeo]

After the interval came what felt the least effective film – not for the visual quality, or for the imagery of such moments (which spoke volumes) of tracks going towards and right up to a tree (a disappearance seemed implied, rather than a tree-climbing sheep), but for the lack of overall coherence.

Maybe it came from being in the invidious position of the first after the break, when concentration was not at its greatest, but it never seemed to come together to say something : was it life striving to imitate dreams, or dreams that were too rooted in the over-worked idiom of the folklore of going to sleep – or did we, despite its title, mistake, if we though that it had either aim in mind ? The title may simply have been an over-reaching claim, for it seemed like exploring being awake, but with a forced notion of what dream and its elements are…

5. Born Positive [link to the trailer on Vimeo]

Forget who mimes best to the real voices*, who have been disguised by having actors stand in for them : this is a powerful piece of film-making, well edited and treating of the three stand-in actors together and individually. It is a way of engaging with people who want to speak, but remain hidden, that proves very impressive here, not just because of the subject-matter.

At first, the three actors are on a roof-top space together (as can be seen in the trailer, talking in turns (and a place to which we return)), and we become used to them as a group with the unfamiliarity that this face is not really speaking these words – though all that links those speaking is having found out that HIV had been passed on to them (and the film ends with remarkable figures about how low the incidence now is amongst babies born to mothers in the UK with HIV).

One suspects that no more than with exact age that the ethnic origin may not have been kept the same as that of the speaker, to add a greater level of making the voices difficult to recognize, for Zachariah Fletcher (as Mark) did not sound as he looked, and Trevon Paddy (as Blake) seems older as an actor than the role that he was playing. The important thing about the film is, of course, what it tells us, but that it has Zachariah owning an outdoor location gives a vividness to what his character is telling us.

Blaming others for what happened, then finding, with reflection, that maybe they had guessed at what they did not know when a parent had not been around to ask, and working out how to tell others that they have HIV, and who needs to know – these strong questions that people ask about themselves and their identity in all sorts of contexts have a special poignancy in the context of statistics given at the end.

6. A Man Came From The Sea [link to the film at The University of York]

This was another film that seemed less strong : it is preceded by the incongruity of a tango reconstructed in arrangement (score by Kattguldet), a cynical evaluation by the well-played pair who find The Man unconscious, and a beautiful location, but – unless it meant to draw attention to itself – also a title-song in no way as convincing as those are in The Wicker Man (1973).

Here, because there was not the uncertainty inherent in How To Count Sheep, it was evident that the plot was wafer thin, dwelling on the theme of the refugee, and what makes, or does not make, someone worth while in the eyes of those who do not know him or her : not a skit on Yorkshire hospitality, but on all forces that will have someone ‘sent back’ because his or her ‘story’ has been discredited (albeit in an impressive long shot, and to what is now the stridency of tango-writing).

Unfortunately, the political staginess of a man made welcome and as soon rejected, was matched by the inevitability of what happened. With opening and closing sequences so long (1:23 and 1:34, respectively, out of an overall 10:28), and so no time for conflict where we might feel something more for this man with Scandinavian tones, we might just condemn the instance, but can overlook it as happening there – as if it could never happen / does not happen here.


* After all, there must have been some matching of lip-movements to the target audio in the editing process. (One may also fear for the speakers that, from his or her voice alone, someone might know who he or she is, and so know things about him or her that were only being shared anonymously – one hopes not…)

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

Saturday, 19 October 2013

George MacKay Q&A

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2013
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

19 October

When George MacKay answered questions at @CamPicturehouse yesterday afternoon, it was after a screening of one of his latest, For Those in Peril (2013) - guarding against the peril of forgetting, here is a posting to record the main points...

* Non-spoilery answers *

NB Here is a link to the review

MacKay worked on three films last summer, which, in order, were How I Live Now, For Those in Peril and Sunshine on Leith.

He said that, as he had most involvement with the director in this film, he had found it a more involving experience, whereas he might have relied more on the cast on other projects.

I asked about the voice that he had used for the voiceover, and how it had been arrived at - it sounded like a complex process, not just of director Paul Wright making it sound more breathy in post-production, but of MacKay working with Wright in a studio, trying being himself, being his character Aaron, etc.

I also asked whether MacKay thought that, given that Aaron sees through Michael Smiley's character (Jane's father), he would have taken in what the people in the town were saying about him, or was too absorbed in trying to get his brother Michael back to pay attention - MacKay thought that it would have affected him, but that he knows what he thinks

Host Jack Toye, Marketing Manager at @CamPicturehouse, asked where MacKay saw himself going in twenty years' time - Toye asked if he would be a Hugh Grant by then, but MacKay said that it was not for him to comment

It was also commented that, despite appearing in this film and Leith with an accent, Mackay is not Scottish - I am not so sure that those who do not sound Scottish do not call themselves Scottish, but am assured that MacKay is from London.

Regarding those fellow citizens' derogatory comments, we were told that they had a script for them, but improvised with Wright, who then processed the results in post-production

As to the arduous nature of the part / story, MacKay said that the support from Wright had made it not difficult, but an enjoyable experience

He had not researched mental health much, and his work with Wright had always been to see where the roots to what was happening to his character lay in events, rather than approaching the film as if it were about mental ill-health as such - the status of the doctor whom he sees was left deliberately imprecise regarding being a psychiatrist

At the end, the irrepressible Rosy Hunt from TAKE ONE presented MacKay with two gingerbread figures, the traditional gesture of welcome in these parts

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