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7 Day Film Diet #40

7 Day Film Diet #40

QUAD Cinema Programmer Adam Marsh returns with another batch of suggestions of films to stream at home during lockdown.

The Big 4-0! The 7 Day Cinema Diet flies past the milestone birthday with a seven day celebration of cinema in all its varying shapes and sizes.  We swing by BBC iPlayer and ALL 4 for some free options including an early adaptation of An Unsuitable Job For A Woman from 1982 and a double film hit looking at the Tonya Harding scandal. We hit up Arrow again for some arthouse classics like Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence and the little seen Spotlight On A Murder, as well as a day exploring the Giallo output on the player. Finally we also draw your attention to the QUAD player where we have 7 brand new films available to rent right now including the Emma Thompson directed Effie Gray,. 

Day One - BBC iPlayer

The BFG 

See the film here

When little Sophie is taken from her orphanage bed one night, it's just the beginning of a thrilling adventure with The Big Friendly Giant (voiced by David Jason). As they catch dreams together in Dream Country and blow them into children's bedrooms,trouble appears in the shape of The Bluebottler and Fleshlumper-big,bad giants who like to gobble children for breakfast. It's up to Sophie and The BFG to persuade the Queen of England to help them stop the giants and thwart their fiendish plan. 

Queen Of Versailles 

See the film here

Jackie and David Siegel are building their dream home modelled on the Versailles palace in France. And then the economic crisis hits. The Queen of Versailles is their story and how, in the face of the worst economic crisis in 100 years, Jackie, David, their children, maids, dogs, employees and business associates struggle to keep the time-share business afloat and finish their dream-home: Versailles, Florida. The Queen of Versailles is a deft and surprisingly subtle piece of filmmaking; Lauren Greenfield’s knowing camera not only interviews but captures private moments in the Siegels’ lives, and she constructs metaphors to create portraits of family, friends, colleagues, nannies and children as their rarefied world is turned upside down. The result is a hypnotic film of a family and the demise of the American Dream. 

The Price Of Gold 

See the film here

The world was mesmerised by two athletes in particular at the 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer Nancy Kerrigan, the elegant brunette and Tonya Harding, the feisty blonde engulfed in scandal. Just a few weeks before the Olympic Games, Nancy Kerrigan was struck on the knee in a stunning attack and what unfolded was one of the most dramatic controversies in sports history. Award-winning filmmaker Nanette Burstein (The Kid Stays in the Picture, American Teen, On The Ropes), takes a fresh look at the worldwide spectacle that ensued. 

I, Tonya 

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Margot Robbie stars in the title role of this biographical drama about American figure skater Tonya Harding. Growing up with an aggressively pushy mother (Allison Janney), Tonya Harding was forced into the world of figure skating but never quite fit in. Unlike others in the sport, she was not from a privileged background nor did she present an image of grace and elegance, but her ability far outweighed this, and she went on to compete in and win several competitions. But with the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championships looming and her opponent Nancy Kerrigan (Caitlin Carver) posing a dangerous threat, her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan) decides to take matters into his own hands to ensure that Tonya wins the title. 

Day Two – ALL 4 

Charlie Says 

See the film here

Matt Smith (Doctor Who) stars as Charles Manson in this biopic about the infamous criminal cult leader and three of his most trusted female members during the late 1960s. Leslie Van Houten (Hannah Murray), Patricia Krenwinkel (Sosie Bacon) and Susan Atkins (Marianne Rendon) are incarcerated in adjoining cells after their involvement in several murders from 1969 when newly graduated Karlene Faith (Merritt Wever) is assigned with running adult education classes. As Karlene gets to know the women she tries to remind them of their lives before they came under the influence of Manson, but will her attempts be enough for the women to denounce their loyalty to him and repent for their crimes? 

The Girl In The Spider’s Web 

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Fede Alvarez co-writes and directs this thriller starring Clare Foy as Lisbeth Salander, a hacker and vigilante protecting the streets of Stockholm. After helping a group of hackers gain access to the NSA's servers and surviving an explosive attempt on her life, Lisbeth joins forces with journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Sverrir Gudnason) to find out who wants her dead. As they dig deeper they find themselves weaving through a web of government corruption. 

Sexy Beast 

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A contended ex-villain is forced into one last spectacular robbery by a psychotic face from his past in this mould-breaking stylish thriller by director Jonathan Glazer. Gary Dove (Ray Winstone) is blissfully retired to a Spanish villa paradise with the wife he adores. His perfect lifestyle is shattered by the arrival of his gangster nemesis Don Logan (the intensely terrifying Ben Kingsley) intent on persuading him to return to London for a big heist. Desperate not to sacrifice his carefully built idyll, Dove is drawn into a shocking battle of wills with Logan, ending in an explosive psychological showdown, and a sensational underwater bank robbery in which he must risk everything to protect the woman he loves. 

Elle 

See the film here

Paul Verhoeven directs this drama adapted from Philippe Djian's novel. After being sexually assaulted in her own home, successful video game company director Michele Leblanc (Isabelle Huppert) sets out on a mission to find her mysterious attacker. Electing not to report the crime to the police, Michele attempts to hunt down the assailant on her own, and in the process, becomes embroiled in a dangerous game of cat and mouse which soon threatens to get out of hand. The cast also includes Laurent Lafitte, Anne Consigny and Charles Berling. The film was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards, winning in both categories for Best Performance By an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama (Huppert) and Best Foreign Language Film, and an Academy Award for Best Actress (Huppert). 

Day Three  - All 4 

Happy As Lazzaro 

See the film here

Lazzaro (Adriano Tardiolo) is an adolescent peasant living in the isolated village of Inviolata, where he and his fellow workers in the tobacco fields are ruthlessly exploited by Marchesa Alfonsino de Luna (Nicoletta Braschi). Lazzaro strikes up a close relationship with the marchesa's son Tancredi (Luca Chikovani), who decides to fake his own kidnapping to end his mother's exploitation of her workers and enlists his new friend's help. Italian drama written and directed by Alice Rohrwacher. 

An Unsuitable Job For A Woman 

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Being a tough young private eye is not usually considered a suitable job for a young woman, though when Cordelia Gray (Pippa Guard) is left in charge of a seedy London detective agency, on the suicide of her boss, she bravely steps into his shoes. On her first case Cordelia investigates the apparent death by hanging of a young student , the son of a wealthy James Callender (Paul Freeman). Her growing involvement with the image of Mark, the dead boy, becomes an obsession and leads her into strange and dangerous situation. She discovers that the boy's birth had been grotesquely stage managed and she becomes entangled in a web of sexuality and horror and almost loses her life before she finally exposes the true story. Adaptation of the PD James novel with Billie Whitelaw. 

Birth Of The Dragon 

See the film here

Set in 1960s San Francisco, the film follows a young Bruce Lee (Philip Ng) as he looks to establish himself as a star in the United States. After taking on new student Steve McKee (Billy Magnussen), kung fu teacher Lee finds out that legendary Shaolin monk Wong Jack Man (Yu Xia) is heading to town and has a problem with him sharing his knowledge with Westerners. When Wong then arrives in the city and confronts Lee, it soon becomes apparent that the pair will need to settle their differences in an epic bout of their own. 

Franklyn  

See the film here

Urban fairytale set between modern-day London and the religion-dominated future metropolis of Meanwhile City. The film follows four lost souls divided between the two worlds: Jonathan Preest (Ryan Phillippe), a masked vigilante detective who has vowed revenge on Meanwhile City's leader, Emilia (Eva Green), a beautiful young art student whose difficult relationship with her mother fuels her cynicism and suicidal tendencies, Milo (Sam Riley), a heartbroken thirty-something who remains fixated on his first love, and Peter (Bernard Hill), a deeply religious man who has come to London to search the streets for his missing son. 

Day Four – All 4 

Jumanji – Welcome To The Jungle 

See the film here

Jake Kasdan directs this sequel to the 1995 film Jumanji. When four teenagers suffer the punishments of detention by cleaning out their school's basement, they discover a vintage video game called Jumanji. As they select their avatars to play the game, they get sucked into the screen and find themselves living the jungle game as Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson), Franklin 'Moose' Finbar (Kevin Hart), Professor Shelly Oberon (Jack Black) and Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan). As they get further into the jungle they learn that their only way home is to finish the game, and to finish the game they must survive everything the jungle throws at them.  

Leaning Into The Wind 

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Documentary profile of renowned British sculptor Andy Goldsworthy, famed for his work using natural materials, such as ice, stone, leaves, and wood, in natural and urban landscapes. The film follows Andy as he tours the globe to complete newly commissioned works in Brazil, the USA, France and the UK, during which time he discusses his work and ruminations on art. 

Ema

 

See the film here

Unable to conceive a child of their own, dancer Ema (Mariana Di Girolamo) and her choreographer husband Gaston (Gael Garcia Bernal) adopt a young Colombian boy but become troubled by his propensity for arson, and decide to give him up after he sets fire to their home, resulting in Ema's sister being hospitalised and permanently disfigured. Despite the couple's disastrous experience of adoption, Ema struggles to overcome the loss and her failure as a mother. Chilean drama directed by Pablo Larrain. 

Brothers Of The Head 

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Set in the mid-1970s just before the punk movement swept the British Isles, this film tells the story of shadowy cultural icons Tom and Barry Howes, conjoined twins from an isolated headland on the east coast of England. Plucked from the safety of their isolation, they find themselves being groomed by one of rock's leading impresarios to become part of the burgeoning punk rock scene, soon to take the world by storm. 

Day Five – QUAD Player 

Effie Gray 

See the film here

Based on the real-life scandal that shocked Victorian-era England, Effie Gray is a sumptuous historical drama set against a luscious backdrop which explores the scandalous love triangle between Victorian art critic John Ruskin (Greg Wise), his teenage bride Effie Gray (Dakota Fanning) and Pre-Raphaelite painter John Everett Millais (Tom Sturridge). The story follows Effie, married at the tender age of 19 and who quickly realises her marriage is a lie when Ruskin refuses to consummate it. Yearning for affection, she soon falls for the charms of the charismatic John Everett Millais, Desperate to be freed from John, Effie embarks on a life-changing journey to become one of the first women in history to seek a divorce from her husband. Written and co-starring Emma Thompson, Effie Gray also features an amazing ensemble cast including screen legends Claudia Cardinale and Julie Walters. 

Verdict 

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Abused and battered wife, Joy lives in Manila, with her six-year-old daughter Angel and her husband, Dante, a small-time criminal. As so often in the past, Dante comes home drunk at night and beats Joy brutally. This time, he also hurts Angel. Joy grabs her daughter and flees to the local police post to finally get him sent to jail. Justice, Joy learns, takes time at best and is impossible to get at worst. Not without reason, she feels that she and her daughter are increasingly under threat. 

The Guardian - ★★★★ - "Empathy and urgency in convincing domestic abuse drama

Little White Lies - ★★★★ - "Filled with strong performances... It is reminiscent of other recent understated female tragedies, such as Never Rarely Sometimes Always and The Assistant." 

Shadows on the Wall - ★★★★ - "Writer-director Raymund Ribay Gutierrez's fascinating forensic look at the legal process in the Philippines also highlights an urgent global issue.

A Common Crime 

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One night in the pouring rain, Kevin, the adolescent son of Cecilia’s housekeeper, knocks on her door. A sociology lecturer and financially secure, Cecilia lives alone with her young child. She is too afraid to let Kevin in. The next day, his body is found in a river. The neighbourhood accuses the police of having hounded the teenager and social unrest rocks this impoverished part of town. Cecilia’s concept of reality is also increasingly shaken, her moods start to fluctuate and she begins hearing and seeing things. Is she losing her mind?  

In a ghostly, shimmering narrative, director Francisco Márquez articulates the injustices of Argentine society, which manifest themselves in the growing gap between rich and poor, employees and employers. His protagonist, sensitively played by Elisa Carricajo, is tormented by her guilty conscience. Like a ghost, her mounting consternation encroaches on every area of her life. 

Song Without A Name  

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Peru, at the height of the political crisis of the 1980’s. Georgina is a young woman from the Andes whose new-born daughter is stolen at a fake health clinic. Her desperate search for the child leads her to the headquarters of a major newspaper, where she meets Pedro Campos, a lonely journalist who takes on the investigation. Based on a true story. 

Song Without a Name is a critically acclaimed, award-winning drama directed by Melina León, and has been announced as Peru’s International Feature Film entry for the 93rd Academy Awards®. 

Day Six – Arrow Player 

Clapboard Jungle 

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Following five years in the life and career of independent filmmaker Justin McConnell (Lifechanger), this documentary explores the struggles of financing, attracting the right talent, working with practical effects and selling the finished product in the hope of turning a profit. Featuring interviews with a range of industry luminaries - including Guillermo del Toro (Crimson Peak), Sid Haig (Spider Baby), Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator), Mick Garris (The Stand), Dick Miller (Matinee), Tom Holland (Fright Night) and George A. Romero (The Crazies), alongside a host of others - not only are technical aspects and interpersonal skills discussed but also the emotional stamina and little-known tips needed to survive in the low budget film industry. A warts-and-all exploration of what it takes to get a film made and released, Clapboard Jungle serves as a survival guide for the modern independent filmmaker and offers a fascinating insight into a side of the industry with which few are likely to be familiar. 

My Life As A Dog 

See the film here

Nominated for two Academy Awards (Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay), My Life as a Dog has become a perennial arthouse favourite. A bittersweet portrait of growing up in Sweden in the late 1950s, the film continues to speak to audiences more than 30 years after its release. Based on Reidar Jönsson’s autobiographical novel, My Life as a Dog focuses on Ingemar, who is sent to the country to live with his uncle. An escape from his turbulent home life – and his terminally ill mother – the rural town brings adventure, eccentricity, growing pains, and friendship with tomboy Saga (Melinda Kinnaman, Modus).  

Directed by Lasse Hallström, the success of My Life as a Dog brought him international recognition. Previously best-known for his collaborations with ABBA, having been responsible for most of their music videos as well as ABBA: The Movie, Hallström would soon pursue a Hollywood career, his later films including What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Cider House Rules and Hachi: A Dog's Tale

Spotlight On A Murderer 

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When the terminally ill Count Hervé de Kerloquen (Pierre Brasseur) vanishes without trace, his heirs are told that they have to wait five years before he can be declared legally dead, forcing them to devise ways of paying for the upkeep of the vast family château in the meantime. While they set about transforming the place into an elaborate son et lumière tourist attraction, they are beset by a series of tragic accidents – if that’s really what they are… The little-known third feature by the great French maverick Georges Franju (Eyes Without a Face, Judex) is a delightfully playful romp through Agatha Christie territory, whose script (written by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac of Les Diaboliques and Vertigo fame) is mischievously aware of the hoariest old murder-mystery clichés and gleefully exploits as many of them as possible. They’re equally aware of the detective story’s antecedents in the Gothic novel, a connection that Franju is only too happy to emphasise visually at every opportunity thanks to his magnificent main location. A young Jean-Louis Trintignant (The Conformist, Amour) is amongst the Kerloquen heirs. 

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence 

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In 1942, British officer Major Jack Celliers (David Bowie) is captured by Japanese soldiers, and after a brutal trial sent, physically debilitated but indomitable in mind, to a POW camp overseen by the zealous Captain Yonoi (Ryuichi Sakamoto). Celliers' stubbornness sees him locked in a battle of wills with the camp's new commandant, a man obsessed with discipline and the glory of Imperial Japan who becomes unnaturally preoccupied with the young Major, while Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence (Tom Conti), the only inmate with a degree of sympathy for Japanese culture and an understanding of the language, attempts to bridge the divide through his friendship with Yonoi's second-in-command, Sergeant Hara (Takeshi Kitano), a man possessing a surprising degree of compassion beneath his cruel façade. 

Day Seven – Arrow Player 

Death Has Blue Eyes 

See the film here 

Death Has Blue Eyes is a gripping paranormal action thriller with shades of giallo from the director of the cult classic video nasty Island of Death (1976). When local gigolo Chess (Chris Nomikos) greets his vacationing friend Bob Kovalski (Peter Winter) at Athens airport, the pair embark on a string of scams and erotic dalliances that eventually lead them into contact with an elegant wealthy woman, Geraldine Steinwetz (Jessica Dublin), and her glamorous daughter Christine (Maria Aliferi). Geraldine blackmails the two cheeky bachelor boys into acting as bodyguards for Christine, whom it transpires has telepathic abilities and has had her eye on them for some time. After fleeing from a series of assassination attempts, it soon becomes clear that Geraldine herself might not be quite whom she seems, as the two young men find themselves caught up in a political conspiracy of international dimensions 

Blood And Black Lace 

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The Cristian Haute Couture fashion house is a home to models… and backstabbing… and blackmail… and drug deals… and murder. Having established a template for the giallo with The Girl Who Knew Too Much, Mario Bava set about cementing its rules with Blood and Black Lace. In doing so he created one of the most influential films ever made – an Italian classic that would spearhead the giallo genre, provide a prototype for the slasher movie, and have a huge effect on filmmakers as diverse as Dario Argento and Martin Scorsese. 

Don’t Torture A Duckling 

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When the sleepy rural village of Accendura is rocked by a series of murders of young boys, the superstitious locals are quick to apportion blame, with the suspects including the local "witch", Maciara (Florinda Bolkan, A Lizard in a Woman's Skin). With the bodies piling up and the community gripped by panic and a thirst for bloody vengeance, two outsiders - city journalist Andrea (Tomas Milian, The Four of the Apocalypse) and spoilt rich girl Patrizia (Barbara Bouchet, The Red Queen Kills Seven Times) - team up to crack the case. But before the mystery is solved, more blood will have been spilled, and not all of it belonging to innocents... 

Deemed shocking at the time for its brutal violence, depiction of the Catholic Church and themes of child murder and paedophilia, Don't Torture a Duckling is widely regarded today as Fulci's greatest film, rivalling the best of his close rival Dario Argento.