Make Me Up
Truly iconoclastic and alluding to the Suffragette attack on the Rokeby Venus in the National Gallery, Maclean’s most ambitious film to date is a feminist science fiction on a mission to destroy the patronising exploitative tradition of patriarchal art criticism. Siri and Alexa are among two fortunate young women to have been made over at a pastel-coloured hyperreal beauty clinic. It’s presided over by Figurehead, a demonic pedagogue who is intent on educating her girls on art’s construction of female beauty and taking it to the next level with her high-tech remodelling of all feminine imperfection. Initially willing to please, including eating from empty plates, Siri discovers something is amiss. Why are the rebellious ones disappearing? What are they becoming? Maclean is the irrepressible creative force behind the entire spectacular production and delivers a virtuoso performance as Figurehead, splendidly attired in the highest of haute couture. Cleverly referencing a range of films about transformation and rebellion, Make Me Up is both a hugely enjoyable satire and a richly imaginative work.
Helen de Witt
A Paris Education
Aspiring filmmaker Etienne (Andranic Manet) leaves his Lyon home to study cinema in Paris and discovers that life isn’t quite like the art films he reveres – although in some ways, perhaps it is. Among the people who enter his orbit are independent-minded flatmate Valentina (Jenna Thiam) and Mathias Valence (Corentin Fila), a legend among his peers for his hardcore devotion to cinema as art. Steeped in filmic and literary sensibility, and as unashamedly serious as its characters, this intimate but expansive – and gorgeously shot – black-and-white drama is a celebration of a very Gallic attitude to the life artistic, and is the latest characteristically poetic offering from a most individual writer-director, last seen in the LFF with 2014’s My Friend Victoria.
Quien te cantara
Lila (Najwa Nimri), a popular singer, has not recorded a song for ten years, since the death of her mother. Her manager Blanca (Carmen Elías) has persuaded Lila to return to the stage for a series of concerts, but when she faints on the beach close to her house, sudden memory loss finds Lila unable to remember the lyrics to her own back catalogue. Enter Violeta (Eva Llorach), a nightclub singer who faces the gig of her life as she prepares to work closely and clandestinely with her idol. Boasting luminous performances from its female leads, sumptuous cinematography by A Single Man cinematographer Eduard Grau and emboldened by Almodóvar regular Alberto Iglesias’ haunting score, Carlos Vermut’s feature is a mesmerising and thoroughly entertaining mystery.
Lust to Love and In Between
The pursuit of love is a road well travelled. This series of short films shows the universality of desire and breadth of love.
Programmed by Aduke King