You know this is a race against time, and that the time in question might not only be diegetic. So informed we are of our world, it seeps into this story, uninterrupted – history hiding underneath its own frayed repeats. Fascism as collective narcissism. Narcissism as ultimate isolation from life source. This is esoteric Christie, avenging angel, her agent, screenwriter Sarah Phelps, at the steering wheel.
Suddenly my eye aligned with the camera. The way Rourke framed it, and Ronan and Robbie fleshed it out, and flamed it, helped me understand what it must have felt like to have a female form and nature at the time, full of ripe wants and infinite prohibitions. Competing with men for a place of power, while at the same time being a place of power. By virtue of the royal womb.
If it had been more artistically rigorous with the slapstick, it could have arrived at Arendt’s ‘banality of evil’, and taken that point home with guns blazing. It might have been brilliant. But it turned out to be merely a sledgehammer to the rusty nail, painting its point across like a shiny billboard.
Viola Davis is relentlessly on point, a woman who loves, grieves, is terrified, and confused, and yet is steely in her newfound awareness. All the widows’ performances are honed to perfection, achieving something truly miraculous nowadays – exhibiting agency without arrogance.
Elegantly cutting through the Cold War politics, slippery metaphors on masculinity, the now archaic technologies yet still very raw societal injustices, an actual insane audacity of the venture building up as monumental ego trip of a nation – this is a story that finds its heart in a silence, mystery of the inner cosmos. There are things we do because we must. The micro and the macro are aligned.
It lands on a piece of me that is yet to accept loss – the devouring of a chunk of my life, of many lives, by the gods of lesser value. This is why I could not take it in any other way than lightly. Giving it my full attention meant giving in to a lack of meaning. A blank canvass of a memory of a home(land) that invites everyone to draw in their own conclusions. All of them true and entirely wrong.
A testament to the inexplicability of mourning, and the therapeutic nature of art. In this case, the art of the moving image, the most conjuring art of all. The camera becomes a dignified way to navigate the grieving process, to share it. There is a great generosity in One More Time With Feeling. This is film as communion, echo of a longing, an evocation of love in that eternal painfully human quest to transcend death.
It was the humanity of the delivery of divinity that was the key to Callas’s impact – and the way she knew, by some uncanny ability, just how to channel an archetype. Seeing her in Pasolini’s Medea, even just for a few screen seconds, shook my soul, if not my world.
Camille emerged fully formed, a she-shaman forged in the era of the return of the witch, expanding the liminal space between traumatic events, taking the silver bullet of all audience assumptions and projections in a tale of female rage – of women hurting other women – all those dark vagina dentata materials blooming a venemous crimson red in the patriarchal dollhouse.
Now, and with a fresh set of goggles, the ill-fated relationship seems to be merely the departure not the destination, the anti-climatic tryst itself making way for a rather sombre study of cultural prejudice and misogyny, one that still could be taken as relevant a hundred years plus change fast-forward.
Everyone feels they know much of Oscar Wilde, the ultimate prophet laureate of pop culture, but no one can really come close to grasping a micron of that man’s life until they understand Clapham Junction.
A sexual damage mentally packaged as a taboo love affair – an irreversible seduction interpreted as consensual in the imaginings of a 13-year-old girl determined to preserve the right of her passage to womanhood.
It swept me like high tide, in the end, much as a windfall of good luck can disorient us when we are deep in mourning… this painful, beautiful, essential meditation on isolation, and how we get there, and what gets us out.
If the Sex Pistols, Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, and X-Files had a threesome and spawned one single entity, you’d get John Cameron Mitchell’ s zany, lovely, but weirdly ordinary love story.
If you’ve ever been pushed off a cliff, this is the film for you. Once you transcend the gore, the sheer originality of its dynamics, the ingenious transgression of its point of view, which happens to be a according to a woman’s frame, makes it a thrill ride of mythic proportions.
A Colt 45 of a film, silver bullet of dark erotica, fertile pathology, a sunlit & soiled mystical union of shadows & light… Beauty and beast in one.
This is no comedy – not that it isn’t darkly funny, in a Bretonian ‘gallows with lighting rod’ kind of way, depicting humour not as a relief, but at the centre of the disease, a punctured ulcer reeking of that which it could not any longer contain.
The remedy to all life’s ills lies in Wes Anderson films. I finally found it in the character of the Oracle dog, and you will find yours too. Keep watching.
There is no horror quite like the murderous rage of someone you once loved. If you ever had anything similar in your life, then consider Xavier Legrand’s explosive separation drama as homeopathic remedy.
Soderbergh’s new twist on his road to revolutionising craft, if not necessarily art – a looming premise of gold-standard corporate totalitarianism.
Zvyagintsev’s eulogy to humanity lost, the severing of connections in the fetishisation of the material – an absence, rather than a presence, a dark jewel, which, when observed against the light, shows no reflection.
It nourished me like a long-lost lover, a soul-mate found when all hope is lost, but it left me pining for a certain perfection in life that is impossible to conjure, a dark fairy-tale with a happy ending… An illusion of the light.
What I reckon the aftermath of Oscars 2018 will be is what I see every day – the sheer hypocrisy of an industry built on appearances will soak in all the good intentions, appropriate the sentiments, and pretty much do the same thing as always – profit, pander and exclude. But it will have a dent in its side, a vulnerability in its veneer – a slightly less relaxed attitude about being called out for what it does every day. Precisely.
A love story for narcissists, deceptively tender to the touch, an exquisite cashmere cardigan concealing its cold, cold heart.
Take two of Berlinale is that, organisationally, it is a festival of extremes. Gliding between its seamlessly sewn edges, sometimes one gets the forgotten sharp pin.
Social exclusion has many faces, the most obvious ones are the ones least discussed. For example, why is the audience cordoned off so that the performers and informers can pass by? Are they to serve the public, or to rule it? If they say they are inviting you in, walk in. See what happens.
Shifts the eternal war between sexes in one tiny scene – explaining, in what is essentially a high standard courtroom drama, something preciously true, if you know where to look.
A glossy millennial ghost story that wants to take itself seriously and not seriously at the same time. But I did dig its soul.
Saying NO to the devil after walking through the valley of the shadow of death for two hours should get a bit more love.
Frances McDormand is an Old Testament act of God in Three Billboards, all wrath and unrelenting righteousness, avenger of womanhood desecrated, mother archangel of lost causes.
This should have been a masterpiece. It has it in its genes. But it’s not. Because it was rushed. No one gets away with bullying the muse.
There’s great heart in Margot Robbie in taking on a national joke, a second-hand villain, and turning her into a quiet hero, in all her vulnerable garishness, her terrier posture, her awkward dignity.
Lola On Film is designed to deconstruct the spectacle, measure empty calories, offer nutritional insights on films newly released, as well as archival treasures (and junk), assess the state of film culture, new formats & hopefully, illuminate cinema’s place in society, as well as in our individual psychology.