Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Critical week: Campfire songs

It's been a very odd week of press screenings here in London, with a series of documentaries, revivals and indie films. The only starry cast was the Mexploitation pastiche Casa de Mi Padre, starring Will Ferrell, Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna. It's pretty hilarious, actually, even if it's difficult to see the point after we've got the joke. More involving was Mia Hanson-Love's intricately plotted French romance Goodbye First Love. And while the British indie Piggy features a terrific central role for Martin Compston, there's nothing particularly original about its violent plot.

Documentaries were better, with the startlingly moving Being Elmo, telling the story of Muppet performer Kevin Clash; Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel, a visually stunning exploration of the fashion icon; and Town of Runners, exploring young athletes from a small Ethiopian town who dream of Olympic glory. I also caught up with the just-reissued Flamenco Trilogy by Carlos Saura: Blood Wedding, Carmen and El Amor Brujo - three masterpieces of 1980s Spanish cinema that playfully blend theatre, film, music and dance to tell three iconic stories of love gone badly wrong.

This coming week is taken up mostly with press screenings for the Sundance London Festival, which is bringing American independent movies (plus some British music docs) to the O2 for four lively days later this week. My screening list includes: Nobody Walks, Liberal Arts, Safety Not Guaranteed, For Ellen, Filly Brown, Luv, Under African Skies, The House I Live In, Chasing Ice, The Queen of Versailles and a collection of shorts. Meanwhile, regular press screenings continue with Emily Blunt in Your Sister's Sister, Jon Hamm in Friends With Kids, Tahar Rahim in Free Men, Karin Viard in Polisse and, bringing it full-circle, the Spanish spoof Juan of the Dead.

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