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7-Day Cinema Diet #22

7-Day Cinema Diet #22

Adam Marsh
QUAD Cinema Programmer

Day 1 – Amazon Prime

Snowpiercer (2014)

Bong Joon-ho’s thriller is set amid a post apocalyptic ice age that has forced humanity’s last survivors aboard a globe-spanning super train. One man (Chris Evans) will risk everything to lead a revolt for control of the engine and the future of the world. With Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell and John Hurt.

Taxi (1998)

This surprise hit at the worldwide box office spawned three sequels and an US remake. It’s a high octane action about a taxi driver, in order to work off his tarnished driving record, must chauffeur a police officer on the trail of violent criminals. Starring Marion Cotillard in an early role, this is lots of fun.

Knives Out (2019)

When a renowned crime novelist (Christopher Plummer) is found dead at his estate, the inquisitive Detective Blanc (Daniel Craig) is mysteriously enlisted to investigate. Knives Out is a modern take on the classic “Whodunnit?” mystery and a tribute to the mystery mastermind Agatha Christie. With an all star cast including Ana De Armas, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Toni Collette, Michael Shannon, Katherine Langford, LaKeith Stanfield and Don Johnson.

Official Secrets (2019)

Based on world-shaking true events, Official Secrets tells the gripping story of whistleblower Katharine Gun (Keira Knightley), a British intelligence specialist who leaks a secret memo to the press in order to prevent the Iraq invasion by her government. Starring Matt Smith, Matthew Goode and Ralph Fiennes.


Day 2 – MUBI Italian-Style

Marriage Italian-Style (1964)

The wealthy Domenico has had a long love affair with Filumena, who he’s been happy to keep as a mistress but nothing more. The problem comes when she grows tired of being kept to the side and hatches a plan to become a bigger part of his life…Two icons, one tumultuous love affair! This Oscar-nominated hit is at once a triumphant battle-of-the-sexes comedy and a clever satire of gender politics, with the radiant Sophia Loren as the long-suffering mistress of an incorrigible, childish, and impressively mustachioed Marcello Mastroianni.

Boccaccio 70 (1962)

Sex, love, and Italian culture experience a period of upheaval in the four short stories of the landmark Boccaccio 70. Seen together, these four featurettes, spanning comedy, melodrama, and fantasy, form a sharp tour through Italian society. In 1962, four of the biggest names in Italian cinema (Fellini, De Sica, Visconti, Monicelli!) united, each contributing a comic featurette to a legendary omnibus about love and sex in modern Italy. This is the uncut version, starring such icons as Sophia Loren and Anita Ekberg!

L’Avventura (1960)

A young woman mysteriously disappears on a yachting trip to a remote volcanic island in the Mediterranean. Her disaffected lover and best friend embark on an illicit affair while they search for her. There is no canonical arthouse masterpiece more essential than Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’avventura. Mysterious, emotional, and gorgeously composed, it is a pinnacle in movie history and one of the most profound meditations on the human condition in the modern world the medium has produced.

Suspiria (1977)

From the moment she arrives in Freiberg, Germany, to attend the prestigious Tans Academy, American ballet-dancer Suzy Bannion senses that something horribly evil lurks within the walls of the age-old institution. A candy-colored danse macabre from the Italian terror maestro. Argento’s stone-cold classic of pulpy psychedelic giallo, Suspiria is a dark Gothic horror told in exceptionally vivid colour. As rich exercise in heightened style, disturbing and alienating, this is a meticulously designed production outstanding in all respects.


Day 3 – BFI Player – Godard

Breathless (A Bout De Souffle) (1960)

Jean-Luc Godard’s extraordinary debut feature was this insouciant and iconoclastic crime film, which almost singlehandedly changed the face of French cinema and went on to inspire countless New Waves around the world. Ostensibly a laid-back homage to Godard's beloved Hollywood B-movies of the 1940s, this simple story of an American student's (Jean Seberg) relationship with a charismatic young hoodlum (Jean-Paul Belmondo) is steeped in naturalistic and innovative touches, from pop-culture references and Seberg's androgynous haircut to the then revolutionary adoption of jump-cut editing. The result is a film that, despite the cliché, genuinely feels as fresh today as it did upon its radical emergence into the staid cinematic culture of 1950s France.

Vivre sa vie (1962)

Jean-Luc Godard’s critically acclaimed drama tells the story of Nana (Anna Karina), a young Parisian woman who works in a record shop but finds herself disillusioned by poverty and a rapidly failing marriage. With dreams of becoming an actress and making it in the film industry, Nana is disappointed when nothing comes of it, and she quickly turns to a life of prostitution. Told in 12 short episodes, Godard borrowed the aesthetics of the cinéma vérité approach to documentary film-making that was fashionable at the time with the result being a landmark of his career.

Le Mépris (1963)

Based on Moravia’s novel, Jean-Luc Godard’s sardonic look at the world of filmmaking boasts superb performances by Michel Piccoli as a compromised writer, Brigitte Bardot as his bored wife, Jack Palance as a manipulative producer and Fritz Lang as himself, about to film Homer’s Odyssey in Cinecittà and Capri. Raoul Coutard’s camerawork and Georges Delerue’s music enhance the beauty and poignancy.

Alphaville (1965)

In Godard's dystopian sci-fi, detective Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine) travels to the soulless technopolis of Alphaville on a secret mission to capture the dictatorial Professor Von Braun and destroy the Alpha 60 computer that has outlawed human emotions. Love comes to his aid in the form of Anna Karina’s Natasha von Braun and the poetry of French surrealism. Appropriating the Lemmy Caution character that had served Constantine well over a series of popular detective films, Godard’s subversion of the character apparently incensed the film’s backers and damaged Constantine’s reputation as a stalwart of the detective genre.


Day 4 – ALL4

Brick Lane (2007)

Brick Lane, adapted from Monica Ali’s much-lauded novel, is the compelling and thought-provoking story of a Bangladeshi woman, Nazneen Ahmed, who is forced into an arranged marriage as a teenager. Separated from her beloved sister and sent to live with her husband in a run-down housing estate in east London, Nazneen’s carefree childhood seems far away. The demure Nazneen sees the potential for some independence in making jeans for dashing market stallholder, Karim. Gradually the two become embroiled in each other’s affections and Nazneen has to decide where the best balance between duty and happiness lies.

Menashe (2017)

Menashe is a hapless grocery store clerk who struggles to make ends meet and responsibly parent his young son Rieven. In the wake of his wife's death tradition prohibits Menashe from raising his son alone. Though Menashe seems to bungle every challenge in his path his rabbi grants him one special week to prove himself a suitable man of faith and fatherhood.

The Florida Project (2017)

The Florida Project tells the story of a precocious six-year-old and her rag-tag group of close friends whose summer break is filled with childhood wonder, possibility and a sense of adventure, while their parents and the adults around them struggle with hard times. Willem Dafoe received a nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Hounds Of Love (2017)

Loosely based on real-life events, this harrowing psychological thriller from Australian writer-director Ben Young is set to join the likes of The Silence of the Lambs as one of the most gruelling serial killer movies ever realised. In 1980s Perth, Australia, a depraved couple are abducting and murdering young girls. When seventeen-year-old Vicki Maloney accepts a ride from the duo late one night, she finds herself catapulted into a nightmare beyond her imagining. Bolstered by astonishing performances from its three main leads, Hounds of Love is bold and powerful piece of filmmaking which proves that Australian genre cinema is alive and well.


Day 5 – Netflix – Studio Ghibli

Princess Mononoke (1997)

The first of Miyazaki’s films to gain mainstream attention in the West, Princess Mononoke depicts the clash between the natural world and its old gods, and the rise of humans and the beginnings of modern civilisation. It shows three elements of the Japanese psyche warring for supremacy in an epic ecological fable of stirring mythic power. Featuring an English-language script by Neil Gaiman, author of Anansi Boys and American Gods, and vocal performances from Claire Danes, Minnie Driver, Billy Crudup and Gillian Anderson, Princess Mononoke is a must-see, epic animated adventure.

Whisper Of The Heart (1995)

Shizuku is a young schoolgirl dreaming of becoming a writer. When she goes to her school library for inspiration, she finds that all the books she wants have already been checked out by a boy called Seiji. As Shizuku dreams about what this boy could be like, sharing the same literary tastes as her, she starts to bump into an obnoxious new boy at school. Could they both be the same person? Item comes with card board slip case.

From Up On Poppy Hill (2011)

From the legendary and highly celebrated Studio Ghibli (Spirited Away, Ponyo, Arrietty) comes From Up on Poppy Hill, the uniquely inspired and highly anticipated coming-of-age story from Goro Miyazaki and Hayao Miyazaki. Set in Yokohama in 1963, this lovingly hand-drawn film centres on Umi (voiced by Sarah Bolger) and Shun (voiced by Anton Yelchin) and the budding romance that develops as they join forces to save their high school’s ramshackle clubhouse from demolition.

Pom Poko (1994)

As civilisation draws ever nearer to their idyllic forest home, a group of mischievous Japanese raccoons try to scare humans away. But they soon discover that man is not their only rival in their struggle for their age-old territory. Drawing on Japanese myths and legends, writer and director Isao Takahata presents a satirical view of woodland spirits using every available magical ruse to take on modern developers: including transformations sabotage and trickery. Pom Poko is a unique window into Japanese folklore, a comedy of modern failings, and an elegiac tale of unlikely heroes fighting insurmountable odds.


Day 6 – BBC iPlayer – What’s Up Doc?

The Edge (2019)

Between 2009 and 2013, England’s Test cricket team rose from the depths of the rankings to become the first and only English side to reach world number one. Compelling, funny and emotional, this film tells the story of a special band of brothers’ rise to the top, their unmatched achievements and the huge toll it would take. The story highlights cricket as one of the toughest - and psychologically, perhaps the most demanding - sports on the planet, providing insight into the game's ruthless intensity, the sacrifices required to reach the top and the impact on players’ mental health. The Edge is Test cricket like never before - the rollercoaster story of a team that went above and beyond the call of duty

Culture In Quarantine – Exhibition Tours 3 – Ray Harryhausen: Titan Of Cinema – The Exhibition

An exclusive preview of the National Galleries of Scotland exhibition, marking 100 years since Ray Harryhausen’s birth. The film special effects superstar is credited with elevating stop motion animation into an artform. His innovative and inspiring filming, from the 1950s onwards, changed the face of modern movie-making forever. We see personal objects on show for the first time, alongside painstakingly restored original models not on display for many years. The preview includes interviews with Ray’s daughter Vanessa Harryhausen, actors Caroline Munro and Martine Beswick; and also shows how Harryhausen’s new techniques influenced a whole generation of film makers. We look at Harryhausen’s early influences and how these inspired films like ‘Jason and the Argonauts’ and how his anatomically correct miniature models were turned into towering giants on screen.

Bob Ross: The Happy Painter (2011)

Documentary that takes a behind-the-scenes look at American painter Bob Ross’s journey from humble beginnings to pop culture icon, charting how one local TV commercial evolved into a viral phenomenon that continues to inspire millions around the world. The film reveals the public and private sides of Bob Ross through accounts from close friends and family, childhood photographs and rare archive footage. Interviewees recount his gentle, mild-mannered demeanour and unwavering dedication to wildlife, as well as disclosing little-known facts about such things as his hair, which was naturally straight, and his fascination with fast cars.

Everything – The Real Thing Story (2019)

The Real Thing were four working-class boys from one of Liverpool’s toughest neighbourhoods, who became Britain’s most enduring soul and funk act ever. With a string of hits, they dominated the international charts throughout the 1970s with iconic songs like You to Me Are Everything, Can’t Get By Without You and Can You Feel the Force. But the group’s meteoric success was also tempered with personal tragedy, drug addiction and racial prejudice. They were – and still are – The Real Thing – and this is their incredible true story.


Day 7 – BFI Player – Japan 2020 – Akira Kurosawa

Ran (1985)

Akira Kurosawa’s visually spectacular epic transplants Shakespeare’s King Lear from Celtic Britain to feudal Japan. In its epic scope and expert execution, Ran can be seen as a culmination of the great Japanese director’s filmmaking career; a late triumph which he planned and refined over several years. By fusing the narrative – about an arrogant King who’s betrayed by his resentful children – with non-naturalistic Japanese aesthetics from the samurai epic and Noh theatre, Kurosawa crafts an arresting and singular cinematic (re)vision of Shakespearean drama. Epic and bloody spectacle is underscored by a sombre mood of loss, regret and mortality, making Ran both enthralling and disturbing. The film is presented here in a stunning new restoration.

Seven Samurai (1954)

Strongly influenced by the poetic westerns of John Ford, Kurosawa’s story of farmers recruiting a motley troupe of samurai to help them fend off bandits in turn had a huge impact on subsequent westerns and action films. Kurosawa expertly sustains the suspense over a lengthy duration, instilling the story with an almost Shakespearian grandeur.

Stray Dog (1949)

When rookie detective Murakami (Toshiro Mifune) has his pistol stolen from his pocket while on a bus, his frantic attempts to track down the thief lead him to an illegal weapons market in the Tokyo underworld. But the gun has already passed from the pickpocket to a young gangster, and Murakami's gun is identified as the weapon in the shooting of a woman. Murakami, overwhelmed with remorse, turns for help to his older and more experienced senior, Sato (a superb performance by Takashi Shimura). The race is on to find the shooter before he can strike again.

Rashomon (1950)

Credited with bringing Japanese cinema to worldwide audiences, Akira Kurosawa’s breakthrough tells the story of a murder in the woods from four differing perspectives. The word ‘Rashomon’ has passed into the English language to signify a narrative told from various, unreliable viewpoints. In this case, the mystery relates to the murder of a samurai and the rape of his wife in 11th century Japan, events which are relayed in wildly differing versions by those present: the bandit, the treacherous wife, a passing woodcutter and the spirit of the dead samurai. This radically non-linear structure, with its profound implications about the fallibility of perspective, impressed judges at the 1951 Venice Film Festival. They awarded Akira Kurosawa’s film the Golden Lion, helping to encourage a broader interest in Japanese film in the west. With its snaking bolero-like score and poetic use of dappled forest light, Rashomon is a work of enduring ambiguity.