Video City Staff A-Z of Film: C is For…(pt.1)


C is for A Canterbury Tale

This is Powell & Pressburger’s modern riff on Chaucer’s medieval stories. In one brilliant cut we’re transported from a time of men in skirts on horseback to present day men in uniform driving tanks. Meanwhile women do their jobs amongst the blackouts and boredom of a country at war.

The plot is pure hokum of the Ealing variety. A man in a soldier’s uniform has been terrorising a small village by pouring glue into the hair of local young ladies. Our three leads Alison (Sheila Sim), Peter (Dennis Price), and Bob (John Sweet) set out to solve the mystery. The real story here is the deep sorrow buried within these three and the hope that their wishes may come true in a modern-day pilgrimage to Canterbury. It’s a great film about life during wartime, about the beauty of the English countryside and rural existence. Above all it shows Powell & Pressburger’s deep love for their characters. This may be a propaganda film but there is a genuine sweetness devoid of any Hollywood cheese.

You come to expect wit and invention from Powell & Pressburger but here you also get a large dollop of unusual poetic romance and a very English cheery resilience against adversity.

See also: A Matter of Life and Death, Life and Death of Colonel Blimp


C is for Coach Carter – (2005) directed by Thomas Carter

This film is based on a story about a High School basketball coach that tries to teach his players that there is more to life then being “ghetto hoop stars”!

Despite most of the parents, other teachers and all the players thinking his methods are a bit extreme, coach Ken Carter (Samuel L. Jackson) continues to employ his teaching methods and the players soon learn that it’s the coaches way or they’re off the team!
A combination of sports, a true life story with a powerful message and a good cast, enough to make this one of my top choices!

C is for Come and See
Elem Klimov’s 1985 Come and See tells the story of a young mans coming of age in the midst of Nazi-occupied Belarus. From the outset, the film displaces its audience mixing almost farcical scenes of partisan recruitment officers with a scene of the protagonist, Florya and his friend (who sounds like he’s talking with the aid of an electrolarynx) sifting through a sandy beach searching for a discarded rifle.

As the film progresses, this initial displacement acts to unsettle us, and as we continue, and the subject matter intensifies the difficulty we’ve had in placing the film’s genre or position only unsettles us further. Coupled with the film’s intense and intricate aural and visual design – which is constantly pulling itself apart and re-intertwining – drags the audience with Florya into the madness and disorientation that enshrouds him.

Although not a graphically violent film by todays standards (only rated 15), Come and See is certainly not for the faint-hearted (for example, there’s an extremely difficult scene, where Florya and a girl he has met wade through a swamp, whilst the soundtrack bears down on us oppressively. Seemingly pushing downwards from above). This said, I have watched the film numerous times, and maybe it’s just the masochist in me, but I’ll certainly be watching it again and sharing it with all my loved ones.

Interesting review here:

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