Film Club: 17-23 January
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This week's looking a little dark, and that's not just your January blues and attempted sobriety talking. Go see Get Out and Raw now, because you've been meaning to for months and horrors are always better on the big screen, get some action-by-proxy with Gaspar Noe's gritty sex-filled romp, or watch one of the two new releases about kidnapped women - yay!
If you missed it the first time round, this is your chance to catch the racial horror that errbody is still talking about on the big screen.
Picture-perfect suburban America has often been a successful backdrop for horror films, but Jordan Peele's Get Out has managed to take that formula, get extremely real with it, and completely blow us away. The big baddie here isn't a ghost or an alien or a cold-blooded killer, but rather just the all-too frightening middle-class, white racists, and the lengths they would go to keep themselves in their white bubble *shivers*.
Everybody's favourite space oddity is back to grace the silver screen once more with The Man Who Fell to Earth.
David Bowie plays an alien who gets stranded on Earth whilst on a mission to find water. He must then undergo a harrowing journey filled with humans and other Earthly plagues before returning back to his home planet. This trippy sci-fi adventure flick is at once campy, emotional, and thought-provoking, and imbued with director Nicholas Roeg's trademark over-saturated visuals.
A cannibalistic coming of age film featuring a strong female lead - we knew we were gonna love this one from the start. When a vegetarian veterinary student undergoes a hazing ritual in which she has to eat meat, she begins to get cravings for all kinds of flesh... This dark comedy/stomach-churner is a whole new kind of body horror. Word to the wise: you may want to leave the snacks for later.
While films about the love of film and the film industry can sometimes feel a little self-indulgent, Cinema Paradiso stands tall as one of those movies about movies that made us fall in love with movies - so meta, we know. Giuseppe Tornatore's masterpiece is a true classic - it's a beautifully composed story of a young boy in war-torn Sicily who finds escapism at the old Cinema Paradiso, and how his love of the old picture house plays an integral part in who he becomes, his life's journey, and the course of his romantic relationships.
Gaspar Noe's sultry, steamy flick is called Love, but a slightly different four-letter word might have been more appropriate. With plenty of unsimulated sex, this is truly a film made out of blood, sweat, and semen, as our protagonist (a filmmaker himself) declares. And, being French and arthouse-y, the plotline centres on infidelity, menages-a-trois, broody introspection about the nature of relationships and the way sex is portrayed in film - so meta, right?
If you like your sex scenes all glossy and Hollywood-esque, with swelling orchestras and lights that dim at the crucial moment, go elsewhere - this one does not beat around the bush (pun very much intended).
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
If you watched the Golden Globes last weekend for more than just the red carpet and Oprah, you've probably been waiting with baited breath for this week's release of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. The emotionally-wrought drama brought home the Globes for Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Screenplay, and has evidently garnered some Oscar buzz as well.
The story follows a mother whose daughter has been raped and murdered, her anger at the town's police chief who has given up on the case, and the brutalisation of the black men who are the scapegoats for the crime. It's a layer-cake of pain, anger and raw emotion, with nuances of dark comedy and an absolutely heart-wrenching lead performance by Frances McDormand.
Showing all about town.
A Woman's Life
Sometimes, we just crave a period drama - especially one wracked with anguish, swelling emotion, and picturesque romance. This adaptation of Guy de Maupassant's Une Vie sees Judith Chemla in the titular role of Jeanne, a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed young woman whose naive idealism is about the get squandered by a curmudgeonly older man and a patriarchal society. More so, it's a dynamic portrait of a 19th century woman and all the trials and heartaches she must bare throughout her life, from childhood to marriage (of convenience, naturally) to motherhood to old age - a woman's life, huh?
Showing at Ciné Lumiere and Curzon Bloomsbury.
The stories of two women who have been utterly failed by the authorities in Mexico play out like a tragic poem in Tatiana Huezo's latest film.
Miriam Carbajal was taken from her job working at the airport in Cancun, kidnapped by the government who throw her in a prison run by a violent cartel, who hold her for ransom under the threat of killing her for crimes she didn't commit. Adela Alvarado is a middle aged woman with a job as a clown, and if that wasn't sad enough, we learn that her daughter had been kidnapped and that the authorities who should be helping to bring about justice and instead taking advantage of her family's pain and extorting them in any way possible.
The two women narrate the film in turns, lending their voices to the realities of corruption and violence at the hands of the state in Mexico.
Showing at ICA.