Dead Man’s Shoes (2004)
Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide
Nearly 20 years on, there’s still unmistakable flavour and dark Jacobean energy to this modern-day revenge tragedy from Shane Meadows. Paddy Considine is at his fieriest playing the soldier, Richard, who returns to his hometown of Matlock, Derbyshire to mete out bloody vengeance on the local gang who abused his mentally impaired brother while Richard was away in the army. Grainy 16mm images, a soundtrack featuring the likes of Will Oldham and Bill Callahan, and Meadows’ brilliant flair for mixing the darkest subject matter with lived-in textures and conversations – it all gives Dead Man’s Shoes the air of brutal folk tale.
Love Life (2022)
Love Life is a melancholic drama about a complicated family. It turns on a 20-minute-mark tragedy with the force to leave you shaking, and the rest of the film drifts by in its vapour trail of sadness. Yet there’s comedy and clarity too in the story of a couple bringing up their eight-year-old son, a whiz at the board game Othello. Life brings them back into the orbit of the boy’s biological father – a deaf and homeless man now seeking their help. Koji Fukada is the Japanese director whose earlier domestic drama Harmonium won a jury prize at Cannes in 2016. This latest film is inspired by an Akiko Yano song.
My Man Godfrey (1936)
Where’s it on? Talking Pictures TV, Sunday, 15:10
“All you need to start an asylum is an empty room and the right kind of people,” remarks the despairing family patriarch in this immortal screwball comedy, and this one has the right kind of people: Carole Lombard at her flighty best playing the impulsive rich kid, William Powell playing the vagrant she plucks off the street to instal in her Park Avenue home, and Eugene Pallette on harrumphing form as the dad. As a vision of high society blithely tottering through chaos, My Man Godfrey breathes some of the same lunatic air as certain films by Jean Renoir or Luis Buñuel from the same period. Made at the height of the Depression, it’s an archetypal screwball vision of the nitwittery of the rich.
Partie de campagne (1936)
Where’s it on? Blu-ray
Five minutes into Jean Renoir’s daydream of the French countryside, two rural bounders are sitting inside a café preparing glasses of absinthe and discussing the arrival of a family of daytrippers from Paris. They fling the shutters open to get a glimpse of the womenfolk, and the sudden flooding in of sunshine and depth of field as we see outside to Henriette (Sylvia Bataille) on a swing takes the breath away. It’s one sensuous moment in a film that’s full of them, Renoir conjuring the languorous rhythms of a summer afternoon with an extraordinarily physical sense of light, changing weather and the heaviness of bodies pressed against each other in the grass.
Dazed and Confused (1993)
Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide
The second Richard Linklater reissue in as many weeks (following readmissions to the School of Rock last week), Dazed and Confused rings the bell for the last day of term at a Texas high school in 1976. To a soundtrack of 70s rock including Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper, it takes place over a night of cruising, partying, flirting and worrying, Linklater peeling back the years to the place and time of his own coming of age. The free-wheeling ensemble bustles with unknowns who wouldn’t stay that way for long, including Matthew McConaughey, Milla Jovovich, Parker Posey and Ben Affleck.
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