A Pervert’s Favourite Films

Slavoj Zizek spills the somewhat messy beans on his favourite films for The Criterion Collection. Classic Zizek: illuminating, amusing, bemusing and somehow a bit annoying. Interesting to hear what he says about liking Criterion for the bonus features it provides, in particular the commentaries, saying that he often prefers these to the films themselves – a statement which is in direct contrast to one made by a top, oscar-winning director in our shop a month or so ago who wanted to buy some BFI blu-ray films by Pasolini, only to balk at the price. When it was pointed out to him that the BFI put together a fantastic package of additional material, he said he’d rather just pay a fiver for the film and not bother with the notes… It occurred to me to suggest that perhaps his own films might be only worth a fiver, but that actually someone like Pasolini was worth investing in and whilst his own films – perhaps with one exception – aren’t especially note-worthy, the same can’t be said for PASOLINI for christsake. Funny that one of his films should be mentioned by Zizek here.. Hmm. Whoever could I mean?  Anyway, here’s Zizek being considerably more generous:

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THE FILMS:

TROUBLE IN PARADISE:

Zizek: for its critique of capitalism.

Alternatives: Frank Capra’s ‘You Can’t Take it With You’, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and ‘Meet John Doe’. Also, Charlie Chaplin’s ‘Modern Times’. For something a bit more..obscure, try Pasolini’s ‘Porcile‘ (‘PIGSTY’) (1969).

SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS:

Zizek: for its depiction of the corruption of the American press.

Alternatives: Noam Chomsky’s ‘ Manufacturing Consent’, Frank Capra’s ‘ Meet John Doe’ and Billy Wilder’s ‘ Ace in the Hole‘ (1951).

PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK

MURMUR OF THE HEART

ICE STORM

GREAT EXPECTATIONS

CITY LIGHTS

CARL THEODOR DREYER:

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Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)

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Ordet (1955)

ROSSELLINI’S HISTORY FILMS:

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The Age of the Medici (1973)

Alternative Rossellinis: the film that brought neorealism to the attention of the world:’Rome, Open City‘ (1946). Also, ‘Journey to Italy’ (1953), starring his then wife, Ingrid Bergman who was blacklisted by Hollywood for her affair with the director ( both were married at the time it began).

CHILDREN OF MEN:

“Otherwise a failure.”

ANTICHRIST

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Pervert’s Guide to the Cinema (2006) – dir. Sophie Fiennes.

posted by Dixie Turner

New Releases: 3rd November

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS:

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“Prettified cancer fantasy”.

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CHEF:

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Star/writer-director Jon Favreau goes “back to basics” – i.e. no elves, iron men, cowboys or aliens – with this middlebrow flavoured food romp. We’ve been asked about this one for months, so stick a reservation in if you want to check it out any time soon. Yeah, looks alright; no Swingers though.

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GOD’S NOT DEAD:

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God’s Not Dead is the most interesting film out this week. It’s a Christian film, and I’m going to watch it – with four cans of continental lager and a fresh notepad – because Christian films are seriously (well, sometimes) fascinating. If you’re green, do some preparatory viewing; it pays to know the genre, because whilst this film is never going to hit the dizzying heights of end times classic A Thief in the Night or its sequels, we can always compare. Contrast it with pastor Estus W. Pirkle’s inimitable brain-bombs If Footmen Tire You, What Will Horses Do? and The Burning Hell. Those are some genuinely remarkable films. They’re also decades old, so be sure to check out what passes for the majority of Christian (scare) film these days and load up a few recent marriage equality ads – this one is something else. Wow. Anyway, let me know what you think and be sure to swing by the shop if you fancy some free love and heavy metal after the fact.

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OUR GIRL:

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ALSO OUT  THIS WEEK:

MAD MEN SEASON 7 PT. 1:

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VIKINGS SEASON 2:

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NEW GIRL SEASON 3:

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GREY’S ANATOMY SEASON 10:

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Posted by William

New Releases: 27th October

GODZILLA:

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THE ART OF THE STEAL:

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A  new film! Starring people! From the studio that brought you – some other films! In colour, full sound, etc. 😦 😦 😦

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THE HUNDRED YEAR-OLD MAN WHO CLIMBED OUT OF THE WINDOW AND DISAPPEARED:

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The highest grossing Swedish film of all time. And it looks fun. Though possibly a touch Forrest Gump-ish for my tastes, I like the promise of angular Scandinavian humour applied to such broad historical strokes.

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THE GOLDEN DREAM:

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Three Guatemalan teenagers take the dangerous journey across the Mexican border into America.

“…the struggle of the innocent is caught with precision.” – Ken Loach

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MYSTERY ROAD:

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Watch the brilliantly seething and oblique trailer for this Australian thriller. Coupled with Mark Kermode’s rather persuasive Guardian review, it’s gotten me quite excited.

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ALSO OUT THIS WEEK:

NEWSROOM SEASON 2:

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New Releases: 20th October

MALEFICENT:

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BELLE:

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Dido Elizabeth Belle. Important and interesting history, no doubt. The film’s had good reviews and (hopefully) prompted some decent disucssion. To me Belle just appears a bit, well, like “Downton does racism” (cheers for the sass, Tom)…

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3 DAYS TO KILL:

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WALKING ON SUNSHINE:

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I can’t even. Jesus. Bleurghhhhhhhhhh. R. Budd Dwyer.

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COLD IN JULY:

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Going by its trailer, if Cold in July can drop the pretense of substance it seems to be aiming for, and just dig in to the pulpy style it clearly has, we might be in for a fun little (midnight) movie.

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TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT:

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Ravely reviewed new one from the brothers Dardenne: master purveyors of verisimilitude, or, the veritable Thomas Cook of class tourism. That’s probably unfair, but so is the amount of kudos these two get. Anyway, I suppose this does look quite good. Judgement reserved, for now.

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ALSO OUT THIS WEEK:

CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY VANILLA:

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GLEE SEASON 5:

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Posted by William

New Releases: 13th October

EDGE OF TOMORROW:

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Umm … …

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GRACE OF MONACO:

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Have you ever seen The Official Nicole Kidman Facebook Page? It’s probably on a par with Roger Federer’s.

So Grace of Monaco got totally murdered – “a film so awe-inspiringly wooden that it is basically a fire-risk” – and yet, unsurprisingly, the pervert in me is quite eager to give it a whirl … …

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THE OTHER WOMAN:

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CHINESE PUZZLE:

The third chapter in Cédric Klapisch’s Spanish Apartment trilogy, following on from Pot Luck (2002) and Russian Dolls (2005). Xavier (Romain Duris), now 40 and divorced from Wendy (Kelly Reily), follows his ex and their two children to New York in the hope of remaining a part of the kids’ lives. Pot Luck and Russian Dolls are perennial populars; Chinese Puzzle, if word of mouth is anything to go by, looks set to join them in capping off the series.

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LOVE IS IN THE AIR:

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An image surely funnier, and perhaps less obnoxious, than the entire film above it.

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CAMILLE CLAUDEL 1915:

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This looks devastating and I can’t wait to see it.

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SUPERMENSCH: THE LEGEND OF SHEP GORDON:

imageHollywood manager, agent and producer extraordinaire Shep Gordon is the documentary subject of Mike Myers’ directorial debut.

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Posted by William Goodey

New Releases: 6th October

OMAR:

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Big one. Since I wouldn’t want to go making assumptions about this, well, at least publicly, here’s Jonathan Romney’s Guardian review ripped in full: This is a subtle political film: one that fully dramatises a situation and lets us think out its contradictions for ourselves. Palestinian director Hany Abu-Assad made a mark in 2006 with his Paradise Now, a deeply provocative drama about suicide bombers. In a similar but somewhat more thrilleresque vein comes Omar, about a young man caught between love and his commitment to the Palestinian cause. Adam Bakri plays the hero, a young militant who goes on a mission with his two best friends, gets captured by Israeli intelligence, and realises that compromise and subterfuge may be the only way to win Nadia (Lubany), his friend’s sister, whom he intends to marry. As the intrigue tightens, so do the visuals – a leitmotif, in the film’s many chase sequences, has Omar racing between walls that seem to be forever closing in on him. Sharply and sensitively acted, largely by newcomers, vibrantly shot by Ehab Assal (lots of Middle Eastern shades of terracotta and orange) and very briskly edited, Omar has the intimacy of a star-crossed romance and the political and moral complexity of a le Carré story. It’s a lean, controlled film and most compelling.”

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THE YOUNG AND PRODIGIOUS T.S. SPIVET:

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Cutesy adventure from the director of Amélie, which I don’t think he’ll ever – can’t (without cute taking a pejorative turn) – out-cute. At least not with Helena Bonham Carter trying to out-weird everyone, ‘n’ stinking up the frame.

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BLOOD TIES:

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A good week for thrillers – this is one of three that I actually intend to watch. *That doesn’t happen often.* Here we have a glossy evocation of dirty NYC circa ’74, albeit with the filth peeled back and a respectable French director (Guillaume Canet) reigning it in. There’s potential.

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DEVIL’S KNOT:

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If, like no one in particular, you’ve an abstract need for Colin Firth, a love – pure and simple – for Reese Witherspoon, piqued interest in Atom Egoyan and straight fascination with the West Memphis Three, it would appear the stars have aligned and dropped a perfectly serviceable thriller on you in the form of Devil’s Knot. Thing is, I hear it sucks; its apparent shortcomings being contrasted with the accomplished documentaries (we’ve got them at the shop) about the same event. Still, I think those aforementioned elements are solid enough to deliver at least a few flashes of excitement, and at worst (by which I mean best) some juicy ‘based on a true story’ schlock!

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JOE:

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Ooo, something with meat on its bones. From patchy-cum-punchy director David Gordon Green, with a ‘kin titanic looking performance from Cage. Good trailer, well reviewed – worth a punt (with a pint). REST IN POWER, Gary Poulter.

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MR PEABODY AND MR SHERMAN:

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Featuring the music of Peter Andre.

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ALSO OUT THIS WEEK:

SPACE STATION 76:

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BARBECUE:

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A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST:

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24: LIVE ANOTHER DAY:

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Posted by William Goodey

Film of the Day: IL POSTINO (1994)

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POETRY DOESN’T BELONG TO THOSE WHO WRITE IT;

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IT BELONGS TO THOSE WHO NEED IT.

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YOUR SMILE SPREADS LIKE A BUTTERFLY.

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Il-Postino-The-Postman-foreign-movies-17721591-1067-800The whole poem, read by an automated voice,  as found on poemhunter.com – a great service. But, also, how no romantic poem should ever sound. Unless the poem is written by a surrealist comedian. Perhaps Spike Milligan.

Il-Postino-The-Postman-foreign-movies-17719203-1067-800Philippe Noiret plays the iconic Chilean poet, “loved by women”, Pablo Neruda, who arrives in exile on a small Italian island and forms an unlikely friendship with local postman, Mario Ruoppolo, played by the late comic actor Massimo Troisi. Mario is a t bit at a loss in life; lonely and dissatisfied with the idea of following in his father’s footsteps as a fisherman, he sees in Neruda someone who can teach him how to better express his innermost feelings; how to develop a better relationship with the world around him and, ultimately, how to woo the woman he loves. Neruda, in turn, enjoys watching Mario bloom and appreciates his simple approach to life, but takes their friendship very much in his stride, something he perhaps regrets by the end of the film.

Il Postino is a beautiful little film – a fictional account of the mark left by a great poet on the life of a villager, and the mark the villager left on his in turn. Massimo Troisi died of a heart attack the day after principal filming was completed adding extra poignancy, in particular, to the final scenes. a

Allegedly, he put off heart surgery in order to suit the film schedule. He was so weak during filming that he was only able to shoot for an hour or so a day, so most of his scenes were delivered in just a couple of takes at most, which makes his performance all the more remarkable. His performance is so understated, so nuanced – truly one of the all-time great screen performances – and one that earned him a posthumous Oscar nomination. Apparently, the film was so popular in New York, that cinemas screened it for two years running.

The film is directed by an Englishman, Michael Radford – a fact I always found extraordinary, as so much of the humour seems so totally Italian and so subtle its hard to imagine it being captured by anyone other than a native. Radford also directed 1984 (1984) and White Mischief (1987). His latest film, Elsa & Fred, starring Christopher Plummer and Shirley MacLaine, is due for release later this year.

THE POSTMAN

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posted by Dixie Turner