Film

A Most Violent Year

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This is the story of Abel and his struggle against organised crime and the unions to make his fuel company a success. From this brief description it would seem to be a right wing story of the individual’s fight against “vested interests”. However, the film plays around with this common sense bourgeois morality and explores the inevitable corruption that a life lived according to capitalist ideals will lead to.
It is a gangster movie that isn’t a gangster movie. Abel is familiar with the world of organised crime but refuses to be a part of it.

Stations of the Cross

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Most people brought up in the Catholic religion will have followed the Way of the Cross, a spiritual meditation on the journey of Jesus from death sentence to crucifixion. It is a story told in blood, as Jesus stumbles and falls on the road to his death at Golgotha. The Passion, as it is referred to, is a central tenet of Catholicism. In 1965 the Second Vatican Council abandoned the Latin mass and other older elements of the Catholic tradition. Before that, children were taught that Jesus died because of their sins, thus placing blood, suffering and guilt at the centre of Catholicism.

Der Kreis

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Before the Stonewall riots, gay liberation movements and recent campaigns for marriage equality, Der Kreis (The Circle) was a radical proposition. A bi-monthly magazine, it included homoerotic images, essays, articles, and a letters page written for and by gay men. An underground gay movement crystallised around the publication. Elaborate balls were organised around the magazine’s subscribers and promoted in each issue. These secretive gatherings were the only places most gay men could be open about their sexuality within the secretive and coded post-war Swiss society.

The Imitation Game

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“We’re going to break an unbreakable Nazi code and win the war” says Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) near the start of this new biopic of the computer pioneer.

For anyone who doesn’t know the story, well they do now. And that’s one of the problems for the film makers. So they tweak the plot, glam it up by getting Keira Knightly to do the exposition and add some extra espionage in case the raw elements aren’t enough.

Concerning Violence

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Concerning Violence is a new film by Göran Hugo Olsson, (director of The Black Power Mixtape), based on Frantz Fanon’s classic book The Wretched of the Earth. It is illustrated with archival film of colonial realities and national liberation struggles taken from the vaults of Swedish Television.

The film is divided into nine sections ranging from footage of guerilla warfare in Mozambique to the pillaging of natural resources from former colonies. The film footage is superb.

Nightcrawler

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Jake Gyllenhaal plays Lou Bloom, an unemployed thief who becomes a freelance video journalist to escape a life selling scrap metal.

With the aid of a police scanner and a car he is first to the scene of crimes, films the immediate aftermath and sells the footage to a local news channel.

While ostensibly a crime thriller, the real tension doesn’t come from the crimes, but from Bloom’s increasing desperation to appease the demands of news editors.

Mr Turner

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Mike Leigh’s new film has Timothy Spall as artist William Turner. It recreates the artist’s life and early 19th century England in meticulous detail with warts, bad teeth and all.

The acting is of the highest level, the film looks great and is as accurate in the facts it tells as the costumes and landscapes it recreates.

The son of a barber and wig maker of Covent Garden, Turner sold directly to his clients, mostly the gentry, and did so as an equal. He was a difficult and taciturn man who lived for his art and was never part of a movement.

'71

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71

A British soldier is deployed to a divided country he knows nothing about. The army is there to keep the peace but who is “friendly” and who is “hostile”, and who can he trust? This flawed but entertaining thriller could have been set during any number of wars, but this is 1971 in Belfast.

Tony Benn: Will and Testament

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Tony Benn

Hundreds of people came to the see the preview of Tony Benn: Will and Testament in Chesterfield. Many of us had known Tony Benn as our MP and campaigned alongside him. It was very emotional to see him standing in his kitchen, smoking the famous pipe and talking directly to us. These were the thoughts and images he wanted us to remember as he faced the end of his life.

Northern Soul

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Northern Soul

Many of us grew up in a town like Burnsworth. “Burnsworth is a shithole”, says the graffiti put there by John, the main character, who moves from a no-hope school to a dead-end job with a grim inevitability.

But thanks to a chance encounter at the decidedly uncool school disco, he discovers Northern Soul and a new world of black music, dancing, record collecting and amphetamine fuelled all-nighters.

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