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    Bergman’s enigmatic masterpiece

    Life, Plalai Faifa, Published on 02/05/2014

    » Ingmar Bergman’s most memorable films almost always drew on his personal memories and especially his personal torments. But by the time Persona was released in 1966, even his greatest admirers may have been tiring of his ongoing argument with God, which he had been chronicling on-screen for a decade.


    Subtle spooks

    Life, Plalai Faifa, Published on 21/03/2014

    » Horror films are everywhere now, with zombies and vampires rampant, but we don’t see many traditional ghost stories. The reason isn’t hard to guess — most of the audience for horror consists of young gore geeks who drop off to sleep if 15 minutes pass without someone munching someone else’s guts. When they wake up, the verdict is announced — boring!


    British grand guignol

    Life, Plalai Faifa, Published on 07/03/2014

    » Fans of two films that stand near the top of the long list of British supernatural thrillers, Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now and multi-director shocker Dead Of Night were poorly served on DVD. Although the image quality in both cases was acceptable, the soundtracks had deteriorated dreadfully. Listening to the main title music of either film was an experience to make the teeth itch, and the screechiness the degraded soundtrack inflicted on young Sally Ann Howes’s voice in Dead Of Night was real fingernails-on-blackboard torture.


    Lessons in Intolerance

    Life, Plalai Faifa, Published on 21/02/2014

    » D.W. Griffith’s Intolerance: Love’s Struggle Through The Ages appears regularly on lists of the greatest films ever made, but when was the last time you saw it, or even had a chance to see it? It is one of those legendary works that is more revered than watched.


    Like they were shot yesterday

    Life, Plalai Faifa, Published on 30/08/2013

    » When Blu-ray discs appeared several years ago there were dire predictions about their future. With film lovers already downloading or renting movies online, the same thing seemed to be happening with cinema that had happened with music: people were willing to sacrifice video and audio quality to have the movie they wanted to see appear on the screen then and there.


    The rough road to redemption

    Life, Plalai Faifa, Published on 12/04/2013

    » The Korean filmmaker Kim Ki-duk has packed so much lurid material and high melodrama into his latest film, Pieta, that the weakness of its dramatic punch can't be chalked up to a lack of trying. The ease with which it can be shrugged off is especially intriguing because the performances and production values are so impressive.


    Cinematic chameleon

    Life, Plalai Faifa, Published on 15/02/2013

    » One of the secondary pleasures that certain movies offer to true addicts is the chance to spot affectionate nods to favourite films that their creators have slipped into them. These can be parodies of famous scenes and images that everyone is expected to recognise _ King Kong on top of the Empire State Building, the shower scene from Psycho, practically anything from Casablanca _ but are more revealing when they come from more obscure films that have special meaning for the director and give some insight into where his heart lies.


    The hidden language of the soul

    Life, Plalai Faifa, Published on 01/02/2013

    » In 2009 German director Wim Wenders was preparing to make a documentary film about the great German dancer and choreographer Pina Bausch when her heavy smoking caught up with her and she died within a few days of receiving a cancer diagnosis.


    A life less ordinary

    Life, Plalai Faifa, Published on 04/01/2013

    » Movies about addiction date in interesting ways. Seen today, Billy Wilder's The Lost Weekend, whose lurid treatment of alcoholism made the film a bombshell of controversy in 1945 (it may have been the first movie to present alcoholism as a disease rather than a character flaw) and won it a shelfful of awards, looks antiquated now. Its overwrought dialogue and posture of appalled shock at behaviour that subsequent films have made familiar to the point of cliche haven't aged well.


    The end of days

    Life, Plalai Faifa, Published on 16/11/2012

    » Viewers who have followed Bela Tarr's ongoing chronicle of humankind succumbing to terminal misery and entropy will find the process reaching its bitter end here (the word is that it is the director's final film, his definitive statement). The Turin Horse is a cinema snob's wet dream: shot in the bleakest black and white with Hungarian dialogue (very little of it), filled with takes that go on for long minutes in which virtually nothing happens, a mood of intensifying breakdown and despair that culminates in complete stasis. Not a lot here for the Great Unwashed, the Batman crowd, but even they will have to admit that the film is stunning to look at, whether or not it really works as a whole and does justice to its colossal theme.

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