Film Club: 14-20 March
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There's lots of cool films about cool ladies doing cool things this week, and even though last week was International Women's Day, we're not mad about it. From a Czech moddish gal-pal romp to the trifecta of Parton, Fonda and Tomlin, to Hedy Lamarr blowing us away with her beauty and even more stunning brains, this week the ladiez are doin' it for themselves.
Becoming a woman ain't easy - between the roller-coaster of hormones, hair growing in funky places, and all the lusty feelings bubbling to the surface, there's also the added novelty of having to fight back against systems of oppression that would rather have you seen and not heard. The latter is especially true for Ava, a young girl coming of age in Tehran, and coming up against the patriarchal structure and societal conventions that do not allow women agency or self-expression.
Also showing on Thursday 15th.
Vera Chytilová’s absurdist New Wave farce proves that some themes just stay relevant. As two precocious young women, both named Marie, decide that the world is spoiled and thus they will be spoiled too, we are taken on a whirlwind of pranks. Nothing is serious – not war, not food, and certainly not men. The film was immediately banned by the Czech government upon its release, because of course women owning their sexuality could never have been accepted in 1966. Luckily things are different now and daring feminist art gets the proper accolades, right? Oh, wait…
Take one part family dysfunction, one part kitschy Americana-imbued road movie, and one part razor sharp theatrical arthouse oeuvre, and you've got something resembling Paris, Texas. Directed by the untouchable Wim Wenders, this is the story of a family that's beyond broken - a lost man, his lost wife, and their lost son.
It's about dingy truck stop diners and 24-hour gas stations and palpable grief and searching for the ever-elusive Norman Rockwell-esque American dream. Above all, it'll make your crazy family look really fucking great.
What a way to make a living, it's all takin' and no givin' - arewerite, ladies? See the ultimate shoulder-pad rocking, workin' gal trifecta (Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin) in all their sassy screwball glory as they stick it to their chauvinistic boss. If ever there was a time to feel inspired to wear a candy-coloured power suit, it's now.
The film will be followed by a screening of short film, Ode to a Fuckboi, which honestly sounds like just the kind of thing we wish we'd thought of writing.
One surefire way to make people empathise with the situation of the bottom half of America's 99% is to tell their story through the eyes of a heart-wrenchingly cute kid. Moonee is a precocious six-year-old living with her young barely-working-class mother in a motel in Florida, not far from Disneyland, which serves as both a backdrop and a foil for the decidedly un-Disney facts of this family's life.
Director Sean Baker (Tangerine) uses flawless stylisation to illustrate a very real slice-of-life storyline. Go see it on the big screen while it's back, the cinematography deserves it.
Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story
This illuminating documentary reveals the story of the 1940s screen siren whose most famed accomplishment was being labelled The Most Beautiful Woman in the World. The fact that she invented concepts that were the basis of Bluetooth and cell phone technology, and a secret communication system that was instrumental in helping to beat the Nazis in WWII was largely ignored by the public, because what’s worth more in a woman? Beauty or intellect? I think we all know the answer to that.
Showing all around town.
Molly Dineen is known for her sharply cutting documentaries of UK icons that bring social issues from the micro scale outwards to the macro. Her latest, Being Blacker, is no exception. This profile of Blacker Dread, a Jamaican-born reggae producer and South London legend shines an intimate light on the role of friendship, family and community in South London's Caribbean community, starting with scenes from his mother's funeral.
Showing at Curzon Bloomsbury, Ritzy Picturehouse and Picturehouse Central
In this heartbreaking documentary director Eric Caravaca explores his dark family history as he returns to the place where his sister, aged three, died and was buried. Plot 35 investigates the systematic erasure of his sister and her life by his family, describing how, after his sister’s death, his parents never spoke of her and kept no photographs of her. It is a dark study of family secrets and how people cope with inexpressible loss.
Through interviews with family members and obsessive scrutiny of home videos, Caravaca asks questions that are not always answered, resulting in an experience that is somewhat unsatisfactory, but poignantly so. In the words of Philip Larkin, 'They fuck you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do.'
Showing at ICA.