Louis Bayman

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

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Director: Andrew Dominik; Release date: out now

Modern westerns tend to understand the US through the stories it tells itself about its past. It is fitting then that this film about legends, based on Ron Hansen's novel, is destined a place alongside the masterpieces of the genre and well beyond.

Anyone who doesn't already know the story will after they've read the title. The real action lies not in gun fights and hold-ups, but in the disruptive effect of Jesse James's awesome enigma in the last six months of his life.

51st London Film Festival

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The London Film Festival kicked off in mid-October with over 150 films from across the globe. A common thread is the desire to express the uncertainties of the modern world.

The festival opener was David Cronenberg's Eastern Promises, a gangland thriller about murder and prostitution in the Russian mafia. Cronenberg attaches his visceral interest in the human body to some spectacular scenes of violence on the streets of east London. But despite capturing well the oppression of young prostitutes, this film has a disappointingly old fashioned view of immigrant crime and melodramatic goodies vs baddies scenarios.

The Caiman

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Director: Nanni Moretti; Optimum Releasing, £17.99

Hopes were high when Nanni Moretti's The Caiman was released in cinemas to coincide with Berlusconi's 2006 re-election bid. The stage was set for battle between Italy's premier left wing comedian and Italy's right wing premier - the most hated and the longest continuous ruler since Mussolini.

Pasolini DVD Box Set Volumes 1 & 2

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Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini

No Italian film director excites the attention of socialists as much as Pier Paolo Pasolini. Born in Bologna in 1922 to a lieutenant who saved Mussolini's life, he joined the Italian Communist Party in Friuli only to be expelled for being gay. A poet, philosopher and linguist, Pasolini became the epitome of the 1960s public intellectual, his detached critique of Italy's Catholic and consumerist society the height of cultured chic.

A-List Dissent

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Review of 'Hollywood's New Radicalism', Ben Dickenson, IB Tauris £14.99

The crowd pauses at the luxury skyscraper, breaks through the glass facade and proceeds towards the wealthy inhabitants. A yuppie gulps, 'We're fucked,' as the zombies approach and literally eat the rich. Land of the Dead came out after this book was written, but it fits the premise perfectly - that Hollywood is radicalising and using the imagery of Seattle and 15 February.

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