Film Club: 15-21 November
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Ah, films featuring strong female leads - one of our all-time fav Netflix categories (and life categories, durrr). The selection of films this week wipes the floor with what you could find on Netflix though, with much-needed interjections of LGBTQ+ voices, and the chronicling of some pretty #important social and economic issues. These on-screen and behind-the-camera ladies are strong as hell, and we're not at all sorry for this ad-hoc theme of the week.
Say it with us - feminism and misandry are two different things, and while the former is great, the latter is not so fab.
Bruce LaBruce (aka the undisputed king of queer cinema) is clearly in our corner, as his latest film delves into the cult-like world of radical lesbian separatists living in the man-free zone of Ger(wo)many. As you can expect from LaBruce, it's campy, crazy, edgy, and a little controversial - like No Men Beyond This Point with grit.
West Berlin, a hedonist's playground - what a time it was. Jochen Hick's second film in his latest trilogy examines the city during these decades of flux. Chronicling the rise of the queer revolution in West Berlin from its repressed and underground post-war roots through to the free love of the 70s and the AIDS epidemic of the 80s, this is an interesting and insightful portrait of the city and its people, featuring insight by queer icons Romy Haag, Wieland Speck, and DJ WestBam.
Murder has never looked this good with Faye Dunaway staring as a fashion mogul in John Carpenter's 70s cult classic. When models and fashion's darlings start getting picked off one by one, Laura (Dunaway), a coveted editorial photographer, becomes consumed with guilt and haunted by flashes of the serial killer responsible. As sartorially-smart and stylish as it is scary, the real horror undertones here are those of the hyper-sexualisation of women in the fashion industry and the violence that comes with it. Lord knows that's still relevant today.
Lesbian feminist director Jacqui Duckworth is criminally underrated outside of her niche, and we think it's time for that to stop. Important not only for their acute representation of queer female characters and lesbian feminist identity, her films also delve into the experience of disability, the rise of 'dyke' culture in 1980s London, and the ins and outs of misogyny in the porn industry.
Hiroshima, 1959. The film follows a French actress and a Japanese architect in the throes of a tumultuous affair - entwined by mutual guilt and grief. Are these protagonists simply two individuals trying to reconcile their places in the aftermath of war and disaster, or are they stand-ins for the troubled international relations that defined post-war Japan? Up to you to decide, all we can guarantee is a few tears along the way.
The Florida Project
One way to make people empathise with the lower half of America's 99% is 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. The fairytale theme park 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, highlighting through these flawed and loveable characters an epidemic of social striation and classism.
Showing at a whole bunch of places.
Congolese singer Véro Tshanda Beya flexes her evident star power in her role as Félicité, a club singer with a voice like velvet whose son ends up in the hospital after an accident. The single mother must then weather against every parent's worst nightmare, doing everything she can to be there for her son, get him the help he needs, and stay afloat.
It's a portrait of the socioeconomic difficulties faced by many in the Congolese capital, with the added strife of single motherhood. On a more joyful note, it's also about the richness and power of music, and the importance of the smallest moments in the grand scheme of things. In a word: it's poetic as hell.
Showing at Curzon Bloomsbury and ICA.
No Stone Unturned
Once you've finished all those true crime docs on Netflix, turn your attention to this nail-biter. No Stone Unturned digs deep into the cold case of a mass murder at a Northern Irish pub in 1994. The victims were innocent civilians, and the motives have been chalked up to religious tensions, but the perps, who belong to the UVF, have never been found. This documentary attempts to uncover the complicated whys and hows of the collusion, political and religious tension, and corruption that led to this tragedy, in order to finally put it to rest.
Showing at Curzon Bloomsbury and Picturehouse Central.