Film

A Fantastic Woman

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As the words “A Fantastic Woman” appear on the screen we are looking, somewhat jarringly, at a man’s body. For several minutes we follow middle aged Orlando as he goes about his business in Santiago, getting a massage, heading back to work, then out to meet his lover, Marina, who he is taking out for her birthday. Their relationship is easy and comfortable, but also passionate.

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story

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Bombshell tells the extraordinary story of the film actor and scientist Hedy Lamarr, Hollywood’s “most beautiful woman in the world”, who starred in films from the late 1930s to the 1950s opposite icons such as Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy.

Journalists have tended to focus on digging out details of her early nude appearance in an erotic arthouse film, her turbulent journey through six marriages, her plastic surgery, drug addiction and reclusive later years.

Why I won’t be joining in with Bergmania

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If you follow the world of the movies to any great degree you will know that 2018 is the centenary of the birth of Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman. You will also know that this is a Big Deal in the High Culture circles. The British Film Institute is holding a two-month festival showing all his movies. There are any number of commemorative books and at least two feature length documentaries to come.

Downsizing

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Just before I went into the screening of Alexander Payne’s new film, Downsizing, I was reading George Monbiot’s article in the Guardian, “Is this the end of civilisation? We could take a different path”.

That could be the subtitle to this odd and amusing film from the director of Nebraska and The Descendants.

Matt Damon plays Paul Safranek, an everyman who cares for his mum, then his wife, all while working as an occupational therapist in a meat factory.

Last Flag Flying

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The American humiliation in Iraq has caused Hollywood no end of trouble. There have now been close to 50 movies about the Iraq war and almost all of them have been critical failures with just one (the odiously Trump-ette American Sniper) a major box-office hit. In fact Variety has decided that Iraq movies are a “toxic genre”.

Menashe

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Deep in the heart of New York’s ultra-orthodox Hasidic Jewish community, we follow Menashe — a bumbling, gentle giant of a man who, after the death of his wife, is struggling to keep custody of his 11 year old son Rieven.

Mudbound

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Mudbound is a film about war, racism, brutality and change. It is also a film about family, love and work. With great performances from the cast which includes Carey Mulligan and Mary J Blige, the film beautifully weaves between World War Two and the post-war period in the US South.

Detroit

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The 1967 Detroit rebellion erupted in the thick of the Civil Rights Movement as a result of police racism, poor housing and lack of decent jobs. Director Kathryn Bigelow says she was inspired to tell the story after the 2014 Black Lives Matter demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri.

The film is a hard-edged action-thriller, packed with expensive looking set pieces. It is another example of Hollywood’s continuing preoccupation with race and resistance.

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