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The All New Cinema Diet #18

The All New Cinema Diet #18

QUAD Cinema Programmer Adam Marsh brings you another seven days of fantastic film viewing options.

For this week’s eclectic mix of titles we explore both QUAD and a range of streaming platforms to bring you some cinematic gems. We are looking at QUAD, free platforms - BBC iPlayer, All4 and paid platform MUBI (Free trial available).

See you at the movies! 

Adam J. Marsh

Day One – QUAD 

Girlhood (15) 

See it at QUAD. Book tickets here

Sixteen-year-old Marieme lives in a low-income suburb on the outskirts of Paris, a rigid, male-dominated neighbourhood. Her poor performance in school leaves her with the options of either attending a vocational school or working as a cleaner in a hotel. One day, Marieme meets a trio of charismatic local girls who have swagger to burn. She quickly becomes integrated into their gang and begins to feel empowered—for better or worse—and finds a sense of freedom through her newfound style, attitude, and friends. 

Shot with seductive verve, Girlhood tells a specific coming-of-age story of characters not normally represented onscreen. As Marieme, Karidja Touré is a true discovery. Her subtlety and vulnerability work to transform Marieme from an unsure girl to one finding her power as a self-possessed young woman with emerging independence. 

Northern Ballet – Dangerous Liaisons 

See it at QUAD. Book tickets here. 

Sex. Power. Cruelty. Deceit. Two bored aristocrats spin a web of heartbreak in 18th century France. It may seem like a game, but lives will be ruined and love irrevocably lost. Northern Ballet's bodice-ripping retelling of Dangerous Liaisons is performed and filmed by their incredible dancers in a cinema first that pulls you into their stage. Set to Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, you'll feel every heartbeat of this scintillatingly scandalous ballet. 

Horrors Of Malformed Men – Satori Screen 

See it at QUAD. Book tickets here. 

Satori Screen is excited to bring you a rare UK big screen showing for a classic of out-there cinema, based on the work of Japan's celebrated pioneer of ero-guro (“erotic grotesque”) literature, Edogawa Rampo and directed by cult director Teruo Ishii (Blind Woman's Curse, Yakuza Law) for a film which can be described as a mixture of HG Wells' Island Of Dr Moreau with the colours of Dario Argento's Suspiria and the dreamlike logic of a David Lynch film. 

Medical student Hirosuke Hitomi slips out of the asylum in which he has been wrongfully confined and stealthily assumes the identity of a recently deceased nobleman with whom he bears an uncanny resemblance. Hirosuke eases his way into the nobleman’s household and his dead double’s marital bed. But as long-repressed memories begin to bubble to the surface, he soon finds himself drawn to a remote isle where he is confronted by a mad scientist and his malformed men, and discovers the key that will unlock some long-suppressed mysteries of his own. 

A dark labyrinth of the monstrous and perverse that fuses mystery and horror while incorporating motifs from a myriad of Rampo's tales, Horrors of Malformed Men boasts astonishing carnivalesque art design and haunting performances. Withdrawn from cinemas by its own studio after its original scandalous release nearly fifty years ago, the film is among the very best screen interpretations of the author’s macabre brand of horror-fantasy fiction, and a unique oddity of Japanese cult cinema. 

"One of the most singular cinematic experiences not just in Ishii's history, but in all of Japan's" - Tom Mes, MidnightEye.com 

No Place Like Home 

See it at QUAD. Book tickets here. 

Almost fifty years after Perry Henzell’s The Harder They Come put Jamaica on the cinematic map. Henzell spent the next eight years getting enough money together to make his second Jamaican feature, No Place Like Home. He shot the film during the 1970s, but when the New York laboratory where the film material was stored closed down, the negative was lost. To Henzell’s great delight it was recently rediscovered. Henzell unfortunately died before No Place Like Home could be screened for a Jamaican audience. 

Reconstructed and restored, this definitive version of the film is both a sun-kissed love letter to Jamaica and a thoughtful examination of it. Susan is the American producer of a shampoo commercial being shot in Jamaica. When the star, PJ (PJ Soles, Carrie and Halloween), abandons the shoot, Susan sets out to find her, with charismatic local fixer Carl. Making their way through the countryside Susan and Carl find themselves attracted to each other. Neither of them, however, has any illusions about the separate and unequal worlds to which they belong. With a soundtrack to rival that of The Harder They Come (and Grace Jones in her first screen role!).   

There will be a recorded intro and post screening discussion with Jonathan Ali and Lisa Harewood, co-curators of the Twelve30 Collective about their journey of bringing the film to the UK. 

Day Two – QUAD 

Caribbean Calling Shorts Programme 

See it at QUAD. Book tickets here. 

Following our virtual screening at Derby Film Festival in 2020, we are bringing back this collection of great shorts from the region. The digital revolution has seen a blossoming of Caribbean filmmaking, but these films remain mostly unseen in the UK. A dynamic and diverse selection of short contemporary fiction films from the islands, curated by the Twelve30 Collective, it offers a valuable, nuanced understanding of the region and its diaspora. A great juxtaposition to No Place Like Home in looking at the way the Caribbean has seen interpreted on the screen. 

I’m Your Man 

See it at QUAD. Book tickets here.

Alma (Maren Eggert) is looking for a relationship on her terms but finding it tough. Then, one night in a bar, the academic encounters Tom (Dan Stevens). He’s good looking, charming, can quote Rilke by heart and does a mean rumba on the dancefloor. It all seems too good to be true. And it is. Because Dan is an android. But one who has been designed specifically to Alma’s tastes. But what if that perfection begins to grate? Do we need the angst, irritation and annoyance that relationships cause for them to work? Maria Schrader’s satire begins where most high concept film ends, exploring the nature of human relationships. Schrader finds the perfect balance between high concept and comedy, aided in no small part by her leads, along with Toni Erdmann’s Sandra Hüller who plays one of the people who oversee the creation of this new species.  

★★★★ “A witty screenplay and another fabulously broad performance from Dan Stevens are reasons to see this German-language comedy” - Kevin Maher, The Times 

Our Ladies  

See it at QUAD. Book tickets here.

Scottish director Michael Caton-Jones’s riotous 90s-set comedy drama, an affectionate adaptation of Alan Warner’s widely acclaimed novel The Sopranos, follows six Catholic teenage schoolgirls cutting loose in Edinburgh. The choir girls of Our Lady Of Perpetial Succour are on a day trip from their Highlands hometown to a singing competition, but the rebellious gang sitting at the back of the bus (brilliantly played by Eve Austin, Tallulah Greive, Abigail Lawrie, Sally Messham, Rona Morrison and Marli Siu) are far more interested in drinking, boys and sex than they are singing. Cue an exploration of sexuality, class differences and the tumultuous path of true friendship. Reminiscent of Channel 4’s Derry Girls, though with a far more upfront study of teenage female desire. Hilarious and determinedly sex positive, it refuses to judge its starts or depict them through a male lens. 

Herself 

See it at QUAD. Book tickets here.

Sandra (Clare Dunne) is a young Mum, struggling to get by, desperate to provide her two young daughters with a safe and happy home to grow up in. When it becomes clear that the local council won’t provide that home, she decides to take action: she’ll build it herself, from scratch. With no budget and a possessive ex-husband lurking, Sandra must use all her courage and ingenuity, along with a tight-knit community of friends, to build herself and her daughters the home they deserve. 

Day Three – BBC iPlayer 

Witness For The Prosecution 

See it here

Eminent barrister Sir Wilfrid Roberts returns to his chambers after illness, with strict instructions from his doctor not to take on any strenuous criminal cases. But he cannot resist the prospect of defending Leonard Vole, who has been accused of murdering a wealthy widow. 

Summer Holiday 

See it here. 

Don and his friends persuade their employer to lend them a London bus for their summer holiday. En route to the south of France, the boys run into some girls and offer them a lift to Athens. Then, they pick up an American boy who isn't exactly what he seems but who is running away from an exploitative mother. 

The Keeper 

See it here. 

Recruited from the local prisoner-of-war camp by the manager of non-league St Helens, Bert Trautmann has to overcome the prejudices of his fellow team members who are all appalled at the prospect of playing with the enemy. At the end of the war, Bert is free to return to his home in Bremen, but his growing connection with Margaret, the boss's daughter, leads him to stay and pursue a career in professional football. 

Piranhas 

See it here. 

Naples. 15-year-old Nicola is growing tired of seeing his single mother struggle to keep his family afloat, while the local criminal gang extorts protection money from her business. One day he decides to start aping the big guys, and he soon discovers that there is money to be made by doing the Camorra's bidding. Roping his friends in to his plans is an easy job. But as the kids work their way up in the world of organised crime, are they aware of what they are getting into? Are they gaining or losing control? 

Day Four – BBC iPlayer 

The Heroes Of Telemark 

See it here. 

Occupied Norway, 1942. A team of resistance fighters undertake the vital and dangerous mission to destroy the Norsk heavy water plant to prevent the Nazis producing an atomic bomb. Based on a true story. 

Operation Crossbow 

See it here. 

World War II drama. A small group of agents is sent on a vital mission to destroy a Nazi V-2 rocket base in Holland. Their aim is to prevent flying bombs from falling on London. 

Song Of The Sea (Oran na Mara) 

See it here. 

Ben and Saoirse undertake an epic adventure. Trying to return home, they encounter many challenges and surprises. Ben and Saoirse set out to return to the island where they grew up, a journey that will pit them against mythical creatures and see them confront the truth about who they really are. 

Shakespeare In Love 

See it here

William Shakespeare hasn't written a hit in years, and theatre owner Henslowe is counting on Shakespeare's promised comedy, Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate's Daughter, to keep his wolfish creditors from the door. At the casting session, Will hears his lines spoken with great feeling by an unknown young actor and his curiosity is fired. Soon he discovers the secret of the talented young actor and rediscovers his muse. As Shakespeare falls in love with an unattainable noblewoman, the farcical comedy transforms into the timeless tragedy that is Romeo and Juliet 

Day Five – All 4 

Playing Away 

See it here. 

When a West Indian cricket team from Brixton are invited to play a charity game in a small English village, members of both teams have their reservations. A weekend in the country away from the inner city produces unexpected results both on and off the field of play. 

Playing Away subtly explores and undermines white and black stereotypes and succeeds in linking two familiar but strange cultures through the simple device of a cricket match. 

From pioneering British filmmaker Horace Ové (Pressure, 1975) comes this comedy of manners with an outstanding array of British talent on display, including Ross Kemp (EastEnders) and Neil Morrissey (Men Behaving Badly, Line of Duty) at the start of their careers, and a poignant performance by the brilliant Norman Beaton (Desmond's). 

The Witch Part I: The Subversion 

See it here. 

10 years ago, Ja-yoon escaped from a secret government facility in the midst of an inexplicable incident. An old couple finds her alone near death in the woods and takes her in even though she has no memory of who she is or how she got there. She grows up to be a bright high school student and enters a nationally televised audition program to win the top prize and help her struggling family. But as soon as she appears on TV, strange people start appearing in her life and Ja-yoon falls into turmoil as her seemingly ordinary life turns upside down in a blink of an eye Featuring an award-winning performance by Kim Da-mi and co-starring Choi Woo-shik (Parasite, Train To Busan

Babymother 

See it here.  

Babymother follows young black woman Anita (Anjela Lauren Smith), who dreams of becoming a successful dancehall deejay, whilst juggling the difficulties of raising her two children on a Harlesden housing estate. Her ambitious babyfather Byron (Wil Johnson, Outlander) forges his own music career, unashamedly stealing lyrics from Anita in the process. Supported by her rude girl friends Anita is determined to make her mark, culminating in a dancehall battle against Byron. 

Widely considered to be the first truly black British musical, director Julian Henriques uses music to uncover the energetic culture beating at the heart of Harlesden's streets and estates. Featuring music by Beres Hammond and Carroll Thompson this 90’s gem stars familiar faces from stage and screen including Corinne Skinner-Carter (Burning an Illusion, Pressure) as Anita’s mum and Don Warrington (Rising Damp, Death in Paradise) as ruthless promoter Luther. 

Come To Daddy 

See it here

After receiving an invite from his estranged father, Gordon (Stephen McHattie), Norval Greenwood (Elijah Wood) spends the weekend at his remote beachside cabin. However, his father's odd behaviour makes Norval doubt whether he wishes to be reconciled with him at all. Norval becomes rather unsettled by his father's fondness for violent stories and soon finds himself well and truly out of his comfort zone. 

Day Six – All 4 

Sweet Country 

See it here

The film follows Sam Kelly (Hamilton Morris), a middle-aged Aboriginal farmhand sent to help embittered war veteran Harry March (Ewen Leslie) renovate his ranch. However, tensions between the pair soon reach breaking point and a fight breaks out, resulting in Sam killing Harry in self-defence. Now a wanted criminal, Sam and his wife are forced to flee into the outback as local lawman Sergeant Fletcher (Bryan Brown) gathers his forces and sets out into the wild to track him down. Meanwhile, as more details about the killing are revealed, many in the local community begin to question whether justice is being served. 

Animals  

See it here

Sophie Hyde directs this comedy set in Dublin with Holliday Grainger and Alia Shawkat in the lead roles as two female friends in their thirties whose relationship undergoes scrutiny when one of them gets engaged. Laura (Grainger) and Tyler (Shawkat) share a flat and have spent much of their twenties partying together, but as those around them begin to settle down the pair obstinately refuse to change their ways and continue to live their hedonistic lifestyle. However, when Laura meets concert pianist Jim (Fra Fee) and their whirlwind romance results in an engagement she sees a lot less of Tyler. His teetotal lifestyle and dedication to his profession motivates Laura to reconsider her own ambitions of becoming a writer. But how will these changes affect her relationship with Tyler? 

Mickey And The Bear 

See it here

It’s April in Anaconda, Montana, and headstrong teenager Mickey Peck (Camila Morrone) is doing what she can to keep her single, veteran father (James Badge Dale) afloat, navigating his mercurial moods, opioid addiction, and grief over the loss of his wife. Secretly, Mickey fantasises of going to college on the west coast and finally living life on her own terms. When Hank’s controlling, jealous behavior turns destructive, Mickey must decide between familial obligation and personal fulfillment as she puts everything on the line to claim her own independence. 

Brothers In Arms 

See it here

Cal (Jai Courtney) is a police officer who uses his influence to help his irresponsible younger brother, Oyster (Nat Wolff), avoid a prison sentence after several encounters with the law. However, when Oyster is involved in a fight at a bar and accidentally kills a man Cal can do nothing to prevent his incarceration. Aware of the harsh treatment that Oyster is subjected to, Cal plans an audacious escape with help from his veteran friends from the United States Marine Corps. 

Day Seven – MUBI 

Holy Motors 

See it here.  

From dawn to dusk, a few hours in the life of Monsieur Oscar, a mysterious man who journeys from one life to the next, while being chauffeured around Paris in a limousine by a loyal driver. He is, in turn, assassin, beggar, monster, family man. He seems to be playing roles—but where are the cameras? With the magnificent Annette in cinemas, it’s a good time to revisit Leos Carax’s 2012 jukebox experiment Holy Motors: a playful reverie buoyed by a tour de force performance from the inimitable Denis Lavant. Bounding between genres with musical abandon, this labyrinthine fantasy is an anarchic masterpiece. 

Genus Pan 

See it here

Three gold mine workers leave their jobs to travel home through the unforgiving wilderness of the mythical island of Hugaw. When they arrive at the end of their arduous journey, they see that a tragic event has shaken their village. As buried histories emerge, a sense of psychosis invades the scene. Winner of the Best Director award in the Orizzonti section of last year’s Venice film festival, this latest work from Lav Diaz is a psychological fable of startling immediacy. A primal examination of human nature, Genus Pan acutely allegorises the rise of fascism and a nation’s collective trauma. 

The Unbelievable Truth 

See it here

Beautiful college-bound Audrey, a young woman who is disturbingly preoccupied with the threat of nuclear destruction, falls in love with a handsome and mysterious ex-con who is rumored to have murdered the father of his high school sweetheart. Charting a new generation lost amid the tides of corporate America, Hal Hartley’s witty, unpredictable debut hums with danger and mischief. The ennui of the Long Island suburb is peeled back to reveal a beguiling quotidian oddness, augmented by a star-making turn from the inimitable Adrienne Shelly. 

Metropolis 

See it here

In a highly-stylised city, a wealthy utopia exists above a bleak underworld where mistreated workers live. When privileged youth Freder discovers the grim scene below, he sets out to help the workers and befriends the rebellious teacher Maria. But this puts him at odds with his authoritative father. One of the most iconic films ever made, Fritz Lang’s dystopian classic is as thrilling today as it was on release in 1927. A mind-blowing visual symphony, Lang’s deeply influential vision is both the foundation of sci-fi cinema and a time-honoured gateway to the expressive wonders of silent film.