Film

Life, Animated

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Life, Animated is an award-winning film adapted from a book of the same name by Ron Suskind about his son, Owen. Owen is a young man with Autism Spectrum Condition.

The film centres on the way that Owen’s lifelong special interest in Disney animated films has acted as a way for him to understand aspects of the neurotypical (non-autistic) world. It helps him to communicate and consider how other people might think differently from him.

The Pass

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The Pass is a dark, emotional and claustrophobic insight into football shown through the eyes of Jason, a closeted footballer.

Russell Tovey is excellent as Jason, especially as we see him initially as the cheeky, working class character he often plays in TV comedies such as Him and Her. However, this likeability soon diminishes. We see his character develop over time expressing sexism, racism and homophobia while in public he suppresses his sexual feelings towards other men.

Paterson

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Paterson is a wonderfully gentle and gently amusing film. It is almost entirely without plot but that is no complaint. It has a rhythm to it, revolving around the daily routines of the protagonists — Paterson (Adam Driver), a poet and bus driver, Laura (Golshifteh Farahani), his wife, and their dog, Marvin — and it has a lovely, deliberate, serene tone.

Revolution: New Art for a New World

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This is a great film for socialists with an interest in art. Written, produced, directed and narrated by Margy Kinmonth, the film focuses on the artistic avant-garde that flourished in advance of and following the 1917 Russian Revolution.

It moves on to discuss the changes in art subsequent to Stalin’s consolidation of power. The film gives a basic political history of the 1917 Revolution and the events that followed.

American Honey

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Sasha Lane as Star

This is a film about a class we don’t often see in movies but are all too aware exists behind the shiny images of the American dream.

American Honey follows a group of young people on the road. A classic road-trip you might think, but the film rejects the predictable beginning, middle and end. We first meet its focus, Star (newcomer Sasha Lane), dumpster diving, scoring a plastic wrapped chicken, which she tosses to the kids with her. We are left wondering who they are. All we see is Star’s existence in a grimy home and grubby town dragged down by poverty.

The Free State of Jones

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This film is quite unlike other recent movies about the American Civil War. It’s not about heroes and victims. It’s the true-life story of poor whites and black slaves coming together to fight a common enemy: the Southern plantocracy.

The film opens with Confederate soldiers being mown down by Union troops. The pointless death of his terrified young press-ganged nephew spurs Newt Knighton (Matthew McConaughey) to desert the Southern army. So do many others, as the Confederate generals demand economic sacrifices to pursue the war they are losing.

I, Daniel Blake

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Ken Loach’s new film is an unflinching exploration of the reality of government welfare reforms. The powerful performances illustrate the effects on people at the receiving end of this Orwellian nightmare. Their stories, though fictional, find parallels with many who have found themselves at the mercy of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) in recent years.

The Clan

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Based on a true story The Clan is about a criminal family in 1980s Argentina, a period when the military dictatorship was coming to an end and democracy was reinstalled. The Clan follows the Puccio family’s antics in kidnapping rich neighbours for a ransom.

It is a politically turbulent period, with their first victim having already been kidnapped before. It is never made explicit, but it is implied that father Arquimedes learned the tactics of extortion through working for the state.

The Hard Stop

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In August 2011 the taxi 29 year old Mark Duggan was travelling in was forced to stop by police on Ferry Lane, Tottenham, in north London. Four seconds later he lay dying on the pavement, shot in his arm and chest by a firearms officer.

This killing of a black man lit a tinderbox which saw mostly young people riot around the country. Fighting pitched battles with police, they were condemned by Tory prime minister David Cameron as “thugs”.

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