5 things to watch this weekend – 9 to 11 June

The potency of popular protest, two paeans to projection, and one of the scariest of all haunted house movies.

9 June 2023

By Sam Wigley

My Imaginary Country (2022)

Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide

Patricio Guzmán is the great Chilean documentary-maker whose life’s work has been to chronicle his nation’s turbulent social and political history. His three-part epic The Battle of Chile (1975 to 1979) captured the 1973 military coup as it happened. Later films have fixed upon the scars left by Pinochet’s resulting dictatorship. This new film brings the Guzmán project right up to date: it examines the grassroots activism and wide-scale protests that swept through Chile in 2019. The trigger was a price rise on the subway, but the engine was a dam-burst of long-standing discontents – from unequal women’s rights to the treatment of Indigenous peoples. Change in government was the result, which makes My Imaginary Country a Guzmán film of rare, tentative optimism. 

A Dog Called Discord (2023)

Where’s it on? BFI Player

A Dog Called Discord (2023)

Celluloid has the schedules at BFI Southbank sewn up this weekend, as the BFI’s first Film on Film Festival takes over. There are original release prints, first-wave 3D from the 1950s, classics showing on nitrate, and a host of 16mm works – all of which offer the site-specific promise of a wallow in the joys of seeing analogue film projected. The new short film by Bait (2019) and Enys Men (2022) director Mark Jenkin is about that very thing, the tangible pleasures of film: shooting on it, watching it, the way it captures and preserves fleeting moments of light. A Dog Called Discord was commissioned for the festival, where it premiered on Thursday, but it’s now being made available to stream on BFI Player too – heretical as that may be.

Goodbye, Dragon Inn (2003)

Where’s it on? BFI Player

Goodbye, Dragon Inn (2003)

We barely knew it, but by 2003 the writing was already on the wall for the experience of watching films on film. Within 10 years, major Hollywood films were being released exclusively for digital projectors. It makes Goodbye, Dragon Inn, Tsai Ming-liang’s 20-year-old paean to moviegoing, look increasingly like one of the defining films of this century. No surprise that it nearly cracked the top 100 of the recent Sight and Sound poll. Funny, mournful and indelibly haunting, Tsai’s film takes place among the denizens of the darkness attending a screening of King Hu’s wuxia classic Dragon Inn (1967). It’s last night at a Taipei picture palace, and the projector lamp is about to go out.

The Changeling (1980)

Where’s it on? Blu-ray and 4K UHD

The Changeling (1980)

Although not one of the best known, Peter Medak’s 1980 film The Changeling must rank among the scariest of all haunted house movies. George C. Scott plays the bereaved New York composer who is trying to make a new start in Seattle. Mistake one is renting a mansion – one that’s been empty for 12 years. That various apparitions and unexplained phenomena ensue will surprise no watcher of films like this, but even the most seasoned viewer might be taken aback by just how scary moments of this are. What’s more, it’s all based on a story by screenwriter Russell Hunter, who claims such things actually happened to him. This new Blu-ray and 4K UHD comes from Second Sight.

Medusa Deluxe (2022)

Where’s it on? Cinemas nationwide

Medusa Deluxe is a hairdressing mystery with a scalping but no (apparent) cuts: Thomas Hardiman’s audacious debut feature seems to consist of one long, snaking movement by the camera; actually several shots sneakily stitched together. A stylist has been found dead during a hairdressing competition. With police investigating, a mood of paranoia and bickering has descended at the venue. Rival stylists, models and a security guard could all be suspects, as Robbie Ryan’s sinuous Steadicam takes us on a darkly funny, visually outrageous whodunnit journeying from one backstage room to the next. 

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