All posts filed under: LFF 2015

blades fall like brush strokes in ‘the assassin’

There’s a distinct promise that comes with a film of the martial arts genre. High octane sword splicing and garish violence; it’s the kind of cinema to make the bloodthirsty giddy. But when you hear who’s behind The Assassin, it should come as no surprise to find that it carries that notorious label rather lightly. Advertisements

The blurred lines of documentary with Francofonia, Taxi Tehran and Janis: Little Girl Blue

  Janis Joplin: Little Girl Blue (Amy Berg, 2015) – ★★★★☆ Consider this an unfairly biased view, for I am, without a shadow of a doubt, a serious Amy Berg fanboy. The documentary filmmaker has a genius technical form, avoiding  staged ‘interpretations’ of events and instead taking us to the core of the real people behind them. Janis Joplin, much like this year’s music doc star Amy Winehouse, was a playful soul whose emotions made her crumble behind closed doors. Berg gives us the key to those morose moments, but in a way that, unlike most music docs, doesn’t feel wrapped up by it. First and foremost, Little Girl Blue gives us a breathtaking view of a rockstar’s whirlwind career, giving us insight into her heyday from those who loved her most. Berg brings Joplin’s audacious sense of humour to the fore, and we’re left to revel in it before those heartbreaking final moments arrive. For the dedicated fans of her music, Little Girl Blue will deliver a beguiling look into Janis’ life, while not necessarily …

The Parisian suburbs are a violent jungle in Audiard’s ‘Dheepan’

When Jacques Audiard picked up the prestigious Palme d’Or at Cannes this year, there was a collective gasp of surprise from critics. 2015 had been an unusually strong year for the festival. Bar a few outsiders that didn’t stand a real chance, there was a solid group of three or four films that really deserved that prize. Amongst the lauded company of Carol and The Assassin, Dheepan stood as the defiant, unlikely underdog. Persecuted in his home country due to his position as a Sri Lankan Tamil Tiger, Dheepan flees to France, bringing a woman and child with him to help speed the refugee process along. After trailing the capital as a street vendor, he’s given a job as the caretaker for a tower block of suburban Paris. However, the tense, controlling community he works in brings back terrifying memories of home that he’s fought so hard to escape. Dheepan succeeds due to what it says, rather than the way in which it says it. The topic of conversation here could not be more relevant, giving us a speculative look into how these people’s lives …