Keira Brown

Classic read: Fahrenheit 451

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Ray Bradbury

First published in 1953

Best known for his politically dystopian work Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury, at the age of 91, sadly died on 5 June 2012. Since then, sales of Fahrenheit 451 have increased by 250 percent week on week. But the increase in sales is unsurprising considering the international acclaim the book has received since its publication in 1953. It is a book that is a pleasure to re-engage with.

Bradbury's work was obviously influenced by authors such as HG Wells and Edgar Rice Burroughs, but most of all the gothic horrific texts of Edgar Allan Poe.

We Need to Talk About Kevin

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It is almost impossible to think about a film adaptation without considering the book from which it originated. We Need to Talk About Kevin is a hard-hitting 2003 novel which recounts the aftermath of a fictional high school massacre told from the point of view of the killer's mother.

Lynne Ramsay's gritty film adaptation is about Eva Khatchadourian's experience of attempting to conform to society's expectations as a mother. She recounts the events from her child Kevin's conception to his school massacre, a horrific act that leads him to prison and leaves her utterly shattered. Early on the audience witnesses Eva amid the debauchery of La Tomatina - the tomato fight festival. The red props and smeared tomatoes symbolically convey that danger is imminent, and we soon learn that this danger stems from the birth of Kevin.

A Screaming Man (Un Homme Qui Crie)

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Director: Mahamat-Salet Haroun
Release date: 13 May

A Screaming Man is set during a period of civil upheaval in Chad, known as the "Dead Heart of Africa". It tells the story of a conflict and resulting tragedy between a father and his son.

Mahamat-Saleh Haroun tells the story of a pool attendant at a luxury hotel who loses his job to his son after it is taken over by a Chinese company.

It is a film about betrayal and pride, and the corrosive and corrupting effects of globalisation.

Oranges and Sunshine

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Director Jim Loach
Release date: 1 April

It is not often you encounter a film that satirises itself so perfectly.

Oranges and Sunshine begins with our female protagonist, social worker Margaret Humphreys, removing a child from the care of its "unfit" mother. We later hear Humphreys' own son exclaiming, "I gave you my mum!" He feels that his mother has been removed from him by her personal and emotional involvement with her work.

Son of Babylon

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Director: Mohamed Al Daradji, Release date: 11 February

Mohamed Al Daradji's Son of Babylon tells the bleak story of a young boy in post-Saddam Hussein Iraq, as demanding an environment to survive in as before the "coalition of the willing" toppled the statue of Saddam, and his search for his "missing" father.

It's notable as it's the first film, along with Lucy Walker's Waste Land, to win a joint Amnesty International Film Award. This should be enough to capture your attention and suggest that it's a captivating piece with big issues, even if they're treated in a stylised manner.

Gasland

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Director: Josh Fox, Release date: 14 January

Type "Gasland" into any search engine and a couple of things come up. The documentary website encourages you to take action in support of safe drinking water. A Guardian article, with a contribution from Mark Ruffalo, directs you to a "terrorism watchlist" which serves to make this piece of investigative journalism all the more compelling.

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