This debut from Francis Lee is a love story between Romanian farmhand Gheorghe and farm owner’s son Johnny. It is filmed on location in Keighley, south of the Yorkshire Dales.
There is certainly nothing subtle about this film. From the opening shot Lee sets out to describe in an uncompromising way some of the poverty, hardships and brutality of farm life. Lee almost starves his characters of dialogue. The method highlights well the little world of repression in the family (Nan, Dad and son) as they battle the father’s illness and try to make the farm work.
Otto Quangel is the foreman in a coffin factory. A mechanic, he is a small cog in the apparatus of death that was the Third Reich. Quangel and his wife Anna get notification of the loss of their son at the front. Their feelings of disengagement with the regime harden into opposition. They embark on a low-level campaign of resistance, writing postcards with anti-Nazi messages and leaving them secretly in the stairwells of Berlin businesses and apartments.
This film is made up of the testimonies of 12 survivors. Each one is told in their old age, sometimes alongside pictures of them in their youths. For example, Roman Ferber recognises himself in footage of Auschwitz, a small boy in striped uniform looking through barbed wire. Others manage to recover photographs of their families.
These photos both haunt and, in a sense, orient them in their post-war lives. This is a film about the Holocaust, and about survival — how to live with such memories.
Loaded with symbolism, beautiful visuals and poetic dialogue, Daughters of the Dust is captivating in parts and politically charged.
It was originally released 25 years ago, but its influence on Beyoncé’s celebrated Lemonade video last year has led to renewed interest and a reissue.
This lovingly made stop-motion animation tackles difficult realities in a straightforward way that can speak to adults and children alike. The brightly coloured models with huge heads and even huger eyes convey a remarkable range of emotion.
Dealing with trauma is not new in animations aimed at a family audience, but rarely is it done entirely without irony or metaphor or cute animals.
A Moving Image is an innovative account of the gentrification of Brixton. The film is a fictionalised account making use of documentary footage, photography and performance art. It begins with Nina, who is returning to the area after living in Shoreditch, east London.
The opening scenes feature the character Big Ben on a megaphone, a nod to the many political activists and religious evangelists who make the streets of Brixton so unique.
Our protagonist, Katherine, is trapped. In an arranged marriage to a weak and bitter man twice her age; in an isolated house out on the moors, where she is repeatedly advised to stay indoors; in the corseted dresses which her maid, Anna, straps her into each morning. Katherine, luminously played by Florence Pugh (who also lit up Carol Morley’s The Falling), is bored.
Director Pablo Larraín’s acclaimed recent film Jackie starred Natalie Portman as Jacqueline Kennedy following the assassination of her husband, US president JFK. With Neruda it seems that Larraín — who also directed 2012’s powerful anti-Pinochet drama No — is on more familiar territory, focusing this time on quite a different political figure: the Chilean Nobel prize-winning poet and Communist senator Pablo Neruda.