Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Deep vein thrombosis

I am sure that sitting through five or six films a day can't be good for my legs. To say nothing of my mental health. Yesterday's films were all emotional rollercoasters, reducing me to tears more than once (I blame my general state of exhaustion) and sending my brain spinning for answers to questions I'd never begun to think about. In other words, it was a great day at the cinema! I love movies that make me think. Even if a day full of them leaves me virtually unable to walk.

A nighlight lst night was the Q&A following a screening of Warsaw Dark, Christopher Doyle's latest film as a director (he's pictured here with actress Anna Przybylska and cinematographer Rain Li). The film is a challenging story of political assassination, obsession and control, told with a fractured narrative that leaves us unable to make much sense of it. But it looks gorgeous, and carries an intriguingly emotive punch. The session afterwards was a lot more fun, as Doyle hopped around the stage posing and mugging and cracking jokes. He also gave insightful answers to the questions, and framed the film as a work of art like a painting, sculpture or jazz composition.

Films today include:

Goodnight Irene (Marinou-Blanco, Por) ***
This fascinating film shifts and changes as it goes, from a gentle comedy about two miss-matched neighbours who form a bond to a missing-person drama and finally a road movie about another miss-matched pair of friends. The characters are intriguing and very nicely played, although the film's odd structure leaves us feeling a little cold.

Death Defying Acts (Armstrong, UK) ***
This story from the life of Harry Houdini is engaging and artfully well-directed, and it features another superb performance from Saoirse Ronan (Atonement) as a girl whose mother (Catherine Zeta-Jones) worms her way into the life of the famed musician (Guy Pearce) while he's visiting, yes, Edinburgh. Zeta-Jones and Pearce never really emerge as proper characters, but the film is still thoroughly enjoyable.

Jason and the Argonauts (Chaffey, UK) - rare big-screen presentation of this 1963 classic, as part of a Ray Harryhausen retrospective attended by Harryhausen himself!

Summer (Glennan, UK) - Robert Carlyle stars in this drama about loyalty and loss - comments tomorrow.

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