Posts Tagged ‘British’

Intense Style – Afterschool & Love Is The Devil

Posted 09 Sep 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

Afterschool, USA, 2008

Written and Directed by Antonio Campos

Love is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon, UK / France / Japan, 1998

Written and Directed by John Maybury

Afterschool is a chilling look at the effect of media saturation in the modern world. Today’s entry in the old Movies I Didn’t Get pantheon looks at two films made a decade apart that share one major unifying similarity, which is an abundance of visual style. Antonio Campos’s Afterschool and John Maybury’s Love is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon have very little else in common other than a similarly dark vision and the fact that each is the work of a single, distinct writer-director, but seeing them within about a week of one another, I was struck by how each of them create fascinating worlds through the use of highly unconventional cinematic techniques. In both films, the viewer is consistently thrown off-kilter by camera angles and distortions that create an intentional emotional distance, and at times even make it difficult (and therefore all the more intriguing) to see what exactly is going on in the edges of the frame that is our only window in. Read More

Another Year – Another Great Leigh Film

Posted 15 Feb 2011 — by Ezra Stead
Category Film Reviews, Movies I Got

By Ezra Stead

Another Year, UK, 2010

Written and Directed by Mike Leigh

Another Year is one of Leigh's best films.

British writer-director Mike Leigh is absolutely one of the most impressive filmmakers alive today. His method of working is unparalleled in its ability to create believable, fully realized characters and utterly realistic situations. What he does can be expressed quite simply, but is undoubtedly very difficult: he takes his time. He rehearses for months without a script, creating the characters and their situations with the actors through improvisations and other exercises and writing the script based on these insights. The result is that we see real people, whose lives begin before the film and go on after it, as opposed to the more utilitarian and one-dimensional characters usually seen in films.

This method had served Leigh and his actors (many of whom have been nominated for and won huge, prestigious awards as a result of their collaborations with him) extremely well over the years, in films like Vera Drake (2004), Secrets and Lies (1996) and Naked (1993), to name just a few. Now, with his latest film, Another Year, Leigh trains his incisive gifts on the desperate loneliness and terror of mortality that can come with incipient old age. Read More