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7-Day Cinema Diet #2

7-Day Cinema Diet #2

Okay here we are on week two of LOCKDOWN, and you’re thinking I might need to save some money here.

So, this 7-day healthy film diet is the 7-day healthy film diet on a budget! All the selections this week are available on free to air services or Mubi (which you can get on a free 3-month trial period). 

Each day has a delicious movie menu for you to choose from - Let’s turn those eyeballs square.

Day 1 – BBC iPlayer


Cat People (Director - Jacques Tourneur, USA, 1942)

Director Jacques Tourneur’s massively influential horror movie follows a Serbian fashion illustrator in New York who believes she is cursed to turn into a panther whenever she is aroused or angered. Visually inventive and a masterpiece of suspense, Cat People is rightly considered a classic piece of cinema.


The Curse Of The Cat People (Gunther Von Fritsch & Robert Wise, USA, 1944)

Just two years after the success of Cat People, producer Val Lewton went back to the well for another go around. But this time crafting more of a gothic fantasy around the myth of the Cat People. A dramatic shift in expectations, nevertheless, Curse Of The Cat People is a hypnotic watch.


HyperNormalisation (Adam Curtis, UK, 2016)

Adam Curtis’ inventive documentary made it’s debut directly onto the BBC iPlayer in 2016, a dramatic case is put forward that the complex real world has been left behind for a new simpler, fake world run by the elite.


Witness (Director – Peter Weir, 1985, USA)

Harrison Ford stars as a detective who is determined to protect a small boy who becomes a witness to a murder in Philadelphia. The catch is the boy is Amish, and Ford has to go to the secluded Amish community to protect the boy. With Kelly McGillis (Top Gun), Lukas Haas. Nominated for 8 Academy Awards and winner of 2 (Best Screenplay and Best Editing).


Day 2 – Mubi

The Blood Of A Poet ( Director - Jean Cocteau, 1932, France)

An avant-garde silent film to kickstart Day two. Jean Cocteau’s first film is the beautiful and strange The Blood Of A Poet. This collection of images evokes the thoughts and feelings that go through a poet’s heart.


Testament Of Orpheus (Director, Jean Cocteau, 1960, France)

Jean Cocteau for his final film returned to his first film creating a loose Orphic trilogy (with The Blood Of A Poet (1932), Orphee (1950)). In this final film Cocteau seems to be analysing his own career, looking back to his earlier works through another series of extraordinary imagery.


Eva (Director – Joseph Losey, 1962, France)

Writer Tyvian Jones (Stanley Baker) seems to have it all – an international best seller, an apartment in Rome, a gorgeous fiancé – but he’s bitter anyway. He meets his existential match in the mod seductress Eve (Jeanne Moreau). An emotional tyrant, her casual manoeuvring forces Baker to confront his past and his weaknesses. Based on the novel by James Hadley Chase.


Primer (MUBI) (Director - Shane Carruth, 2004)

Shane Carruth’s influential low-fi sci-fi confused and inspired a generation of filmmakers to realise that you don’t need a huge budget to make science fiction. This intelligent tale of the accidental discovery of time travel doesn’t ‘dumb it down’ for the audience as former mathematician and engineer Carruth unfolds his story.


Day 3 – All 4


Diego Maradona (Director – Asif Kapadia, UK, 2019)

Director Asif Kapadia (Amy, Senna) constructs this new documentary about the fabulously gifted but humanly flawed footballer Diego Maradona. Similar in style to Amy and Senna, Kapadia constructs the narrative from over 500 hours of footage of the footballer both on the pitch and off it as he begins his new life in Naples after a multi-million pound transfer from Barcelona.


Mary And The Witch’s Flower (Director – Hiromasa Yonebayashi, Japan, 2016)

Studio Ponoc, formed by former Studio Ghibli producer Yoshiaki Nishimura, burst onto the scene with their first animated feature the delightfully charming Mary And The Witch’s Flower based on The Little Broomstick by English writer Mary Stewart. Mary finds an old broomstick and a strange Fly-By-Night flower that blossoms every seven years. The flower and the broomstick whisk her away to Endor College high above the clouds, a school of magic.


I Wish (Director – Hirokazu Koreeda, Japan, 2011)

Forced to live apart due to their parents’ separation, a ten year old and his younger brother hatch a complicated plan to reunite their family. There are two new bullet trains and if the brothers can be on each train at the moment they pass each other, a wish will be granted. Beautiful and heartfelt drama from the master filmmaker Hirokazu Koreeda. (The Truth, Our Little Sister).


The Nile Hilton Incident (Director – Tarik Saleh, Egypt/Sweden/Demark/Germany, 2017)

This brilliant Egyptian thriller blends Nordic Noir with the unique setting in Cairo, Egypt. Police detective Noredin is investigating a murder in the capital’s Nile Hilton Hotel. The amoral Noredin initially views it as a way to pocket some bribes. But as he uncovers increasingly disturbing details about the reach of the crime, this ambivalent anti-hero discovers his conscience stirring.


Day 4 – My5


The Shooting (Director – Monte Hellman, USA, 1966)

This early example of the New Hollywood movement is also an early example of the acid western. Warren Oates’ Willet Gashade is taking an unnamed woman (Millie Perkins) to the town of Kingsley. They are being followed by a mysterious gunslinger (Jack Nicholson), but the roles of hunter and hunted prove to be fluid. With echoes of Beckett’s Waiting For Godot and Jean Paul Satre’s No Exit, this should be a fun way to kick start your day!


Mary And Max (Director – Adam Elliot, Australia, 2009)

This brilliant stop motion animation was overlooked on release but it well worth a reappraisal. It tells the story of a friendship, by letter, between Mary, an eight year old in Mount Waverley, Australia and Max, a morbidly obese 44 year old New Yorker. With Toni Collette as Mary and Philip Seymour Hoffman as Max.


Bronson (Director – Nicolas Winding Refn, UK, 2008)

Nicolas Winding Refn’s biopic of the prisoner Michael Peterson, renamed by a bare knuckle boxing promoter as Charles Bronson. Considered Britain’s most violent criminal, responsible for hostage taking while incarcerated. He was repeatedly put in isolation, contributing to his emotional problems. Tom Hardy’s magnetic performance as Bronson, established him as a cinema star after a couple of misfires.


The Fifth Element (Director – Luc Besson, France, 1997)

Bonkers European sci-fi action to round off the day, with Bruce Willis’s taxicab driver who joins forces with a young woman Leeloo (Milla Jovovich) on a quest to recover four mystical stones that are essential for the defence of Earth against an impending attack of a malevolent cosmic entity. Hugely enjoyable bunkum.


Day 5 – Mix of Platforms


I Walked With A Zombie (Director – Jacques Tourneur, USA, 1943) – BBC iPlayer

Jacques Touneur’s first film after the seminal Cat People sees him heading to the Carribean for a tale of voodoo. A nurse is hired to care for the wife of a sugar plantation owner, who has been acting strangely.


Croupier (Director – Mike Hodges, UK, 1998) – All4

Get Carter director Mike Hodges re-emerged after a 9-year absence to direct this neo-noir that made a cinema star of Chancer actor Clive Owen. This film had a strange release, made in 1998 and played many places in the world, before getting a UK release in June 1999. Owen plays an aspiring writer and part time croupier who is drawn into a plan to rob the casino with him as the inside man. With Kate Hardie, Gina McKee and Alex Kingston.


Kill List (Director – Ben Wheatley, UK, 2011) – All4

A double bill of Ben Wheatley films to end Day 5, with his breakthrough film Kill List first up. This horror/thriller was ahead of the current folk horror curve when this film was released in 2011. Neil Maskell and Michael Smiley are contract killer friends, whose latest job spirals out of control into a shockingly brutal and gory end.


Happy New Year, Colin Burstead (BBC iPlayer)

This film debuted at the London Film Festival 2018 and in a unique release pattern (similar to the 2013 A Field In England) was released straight to BBC Two for a big Christmas release. The film reunites Wheatley with his Kill List star Neil Maskell, who plays Colin who has rented a country house in Dorset for his extended family to celebrate the New Year. Unbeknownst to the rest of the family, his sister Gini (Hayley Squires) has invited their estranged brother David (Sam Riley).


Day 6 – Mix of Platforms

Autumn Sonata (Director - Ingmar Bergman, Sweden, 1978) - MUBI

One of the final cinema releases from the great Swedish auteur, sees him reuniting with his Persona star (and many others) Liv Ullmann and casting his famous namesake Ingrid in her final cinema release. This implosive mother-daughter drama sees icy concert pianist return home to vist her long-suffering daughter. Over the course of a day and a long, painful night the two finally confront the bitter discord of their relationship.


Wonder Boys (Director – Curtis Hanson, USA, 2000) - BBC iPlayer

Curtis Hanson’s adaptation of Michael Chabon’s novel sees Michael Douglas play Pittsburgh English Professor Grady Tripp desperately juggling a late, late, late novel deadline, a pregnant girlfriend (Frances McDormand), a wife who’s leaving him, a student who fancies him (Katie Holmes), the arrival of his editor (Robert Downey Jr) and a strange, talented student seeking mentorship (Tobey Maguire). A wonderful comedy drama.


eXistenZ (Director – David Cronenberg, Canada/UK/France, 1999) – My5

This high tech thriller sees games designer Allegra Geller (Jennifer Jason Leigh) targeted by anti-gaming assassins while playing a virtual reality game of her own design, eXistenZ. She is rescued by Ted (Jude Law), and insists that they play the game to know if it has been damaged. They soon find out that their sense of reality can become dangerously distorted.


Sisters (MUBI) (Brian De Palma, 1972)

Brian DePalma’s ode to the Hitchcockian thriller is probably a phrase that can start 75% of Brian DePalma’s work, but here is where it all began. After a few comedy dramas, DePalma delivered this psycho thriller starring Margot Kidder, Jennifer Salt and Charles Durning. Danielle (Margot Kidder) is a French/Canadian model whose separated conjoined twin Dominique (Margot Kidder) is suspected of a brutal murder in Staten Island.


Day 7 – Mix Of Platforms


Gangster No. 1(Director – Paul McGuigan, UK, 2000) - All4

Released at the end of the mini boom in UK gangster films in the 1990s, Paul McGuigan is a really strong late entry in the field. It chronicles the rise and fall of a prominent, and particularly violent, gangster. The film is littered with great character actors and legends with Malcolm McDowell, David Thewlis, Kenneth Cranham, Eddie Marsan and the star making performance from Paul Bettany.


Cold In July (Director – Jim Mickle, USA, 2014) - My5

This wonderful crime thriller, based on the novel by Joe R Lansdale, follows Michael C Hall, a man who kills a burglar and is now confronted with the murderous father Sam Shepherd. When private investigator Don Johnson shows up, the two men are forced to put aside their past.


The Descent (Director – Neil Marshall, UK, 2005) - All4

A great British horror double to round off the week. Neil Marshall’s claustrophobic caving horror sees an all female group of cave explorers become trapped underground. When you thought it couldn’t get any worse, there is something alive down in the caves that begins to hunt the women.


Triangle (Director – Christopher Smith, UK, 2009) – My5

When a group of friends overturn their yacht, they take refuge in a drifting ocean liner. The ship appears deserted, the clock on board has stopped but they are not alone. They soon find themselves hunted by an unseen attacker. Suspenseful escapades from British director Christopher Smith (Creep, Severance, Get Santa).