Film

The Lobster

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Having watched Dogtooth a few years ago I was pretty excited to see what Yorgos Lanthimos did next. The Lobster proves to be just as strange, brutal and confusing.

The film is a brilliant satire of society’s expectations of relationships. In this world they are founded upon one common characteristic two people share rather than anything more meaningful.

Suffragette

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Maud (Carey Mulligan) is leading an impoverished life in the East End of London in 1912. She works in an industrial laundry where noxious fumes and scalding water ensure daily accidents. Her boss harasses the young girls and the pay is a pittance. She’s married to fellow worker Sonny and they have a son George, named after the king.

When Maud is sent out to deliver a parcel in the West End she is shocked to witness suffragettes smashing the windows of department stores and even more so when she spots her colleague Violet among them.

Pasolini

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Here is a film made by Abel Ferrara, the enfant terrible of New York cinema (the auteur behind Driller Killer and Bad Lieutenant), about Pier-Paolo Pasolini, the enfant terrible of 60s and 70s Italian cinema (whose genitalia-fest Salo is still banned throughout most of the world). When enfants get it together like this the results are usually both infantile and terrible. Yet against all expectations this is a rich and masterly movie.

Amy

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This documentary will challenge everything anyone thought they knew about Amy Winehouse.

The tragic death of the English soul and jazz singer at the age of 27 in 2011 ended a talent that had brought us the five Grammy Award winning album Back to Black and powerful songs such as 2008’s “Rehab”.

Director Asif Kapadia, who also made the critically acclaimed documentary Senna, has pieced together some of the best memories of the singer, smashing the disgusting judgements that the mainstream media made about her during her lifetime.

The Salt of the Earth

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Documentary The Salt of the Earth introduces the career of Brazilian photographer Sebastiao Salgado. Born in 1944, he initially trained as an economist and this “equipped him with a…knowledge of…what was driving the world”.

He enthusiastically used a camera his wife Lelia bought and abandoned his career in economics to become a photographer. This was the start of an extraordinary creative partnership between Sebastiao and Lelia as they embarked on a series of photography projects.

Dear White People

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Dear White People comes out at a time when the issue of institutional racism in the US has exploded into the open. A wave of protest has forced the mainstream press to acknowledge that racism hasn’t gone away.

The film — a broad comedy — opens with the breaking news of a race riot erupting at Winchester College. It is an institution where frat houses decide the hierarchy of student politics and black students have their own fraternities.

Freaks: One of us!

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Tod Browning’s Freaks, re-released this month, is a 1932 horror film about sideshow circus freaks that was banned in the UK for 30 years. Yet its treatment of disability is notably refreshing compared to most of what the contemporary mainstream media has to offer.

One of the film’s central themes is the concept of solidarity — rather than let themselves be divided and compete for acceptance by the “normals”, the freaks protect themselves against cruelty by adopting the principle of “an offence to one is an offence to all”.

We Are Many

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We Are Many tells the story of 15 February 2003 when millions marched against war in Iraq on the biggest day of protest in history. It starts with the terror attacks of 11 September 2001 and the decision of Bush within 24 hours to bomb Iraq.

The first half depicts the build up to the Iraq war with the bombing of Afghanistan and the lies told by the UK and US governments to the public and to the UN. There is also the corresponding Stop the War movement which grows in size and confidence.

London Road

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The murder of five prostitutes in Ipswich does not sound like a promising subject for a film. But following two sell-out runs for the stage production at the National Theatre the film adaptation of London Road reunites the original cast with director Rufus Norris, script by Alecky Blythe and music by Adam Cork.

The Look of Silence

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Adi is watching TV impassively, transfixed, as two ageing men describe in detail how they killed his brother, Ramli, almost 50 years before. They are laughing while they act out the murder in the exact spot where it took place by the Snake River in North Sumatra.

They describe how they repeatedly stabbed him but somehow he managed to escape. They had to drag him back to the river, where they made him crouch down so they could slice off his penis with a machete so that he bled to death. After recounting the story they pose for a photo waving “v for victory” signs.

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