RR Films: Moving On

Whether he’s just braving it out or simply doesn’t understand the concept, Robert Mugabe seems incapable of moving on from his life’s works as a despot. He should know by now, from observing the past experiences of his kind, that the choices open to him are exile with a secret fortune, jail or a ditch; I’d make my mind up pretty quickly, I reckon, and I can’t imagine Grace is keen on either of the second two….

We have explored films about leaving and escaping but I think moving on is slightly different in that the movement is as a direct result of an existing situation that changes, prompting a move to, hopefully, a better one. Or something like that. Close to the current news story, I was tempted to choose The Death Of Stalin, in which Uncle Joe’s death prompts several plans to move on in those around him. But I actually wasn’t as impressed by this film as I wanted to be, as an Armando Iannucci fan (it’s difficult to get laughs from rape). So instead I’ll pick I’ve Loved You So Long, with Kristen Scott Thomas’s wonderful performance as a woman trying to move on with her life following 15 years in prison and the events that preceded them.

What films about moving on would you recommend?

RR Films: Strange, Disturbing and Surreal

Are Michael and Boris being controlled by aliens?, by Russia?, by the Daily Express?, by the casting of runes? Weren’t they once bessie mates who then fell out big time last year and yet seem now to bessie mates again? Do they belong to the same political party as their boss? Do either of them understand where they are, what they are supposed to be doing or even what they really, really want? It’s difficult not to regard it all as a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party where Alice May simply gets more confused by these nutjobs. Pity it’s all quite important….

I confess I quite like a puzzle and, although this one makes no sense (other than in disgustingly ego-centric ways), I’m happy if a film makes me deliberately confused so that I can try to figure it out. Sometimes it doesn’t work, of course, and I have to accept that either I’m too dim or the film-maker is too inept or too-clever-by-half. I think the latter description applies to Leos Carax, the auteur of Holy Motors, a film I raved about a few years back. I’ve since watched it again and endured the tedious Q&A session with Carax on the DVD and yet I’m still not much wiser. But I am sure it is strange, disturbing and surreal.

Maybe you find such films annoying but I’m sure you’ve occasionally reached the closing credits and wondered what you’ve just been watching. Tell us about them, whether or not you recommend them.

(This was actually a Song Bar – not an RR – topic, curated by sev earlier this year. It’s all the same to me.)

Loving Vincent

My eyes have just been treated to the wonderful experience of seeing Loving Vincent on the cinema screen and I feel compelled to urge you all out there to do the same for yours. Using the same idea as Richard Linklater’s rotoscope animation, Loving Vincent takes live-action film and turns it into a 95-minute van Gogh painting come to life by hand-painting it in his glorious colours and brushstrokes.

The plot is mildly interesting – how and why exactly did he die? – but the visual effect is gorgeously stunning (even the monochrome flashbacks). I know it’s been out for a couple of weeks already but, if you can, see it.

 

RR Films: Secrets

The murky secrets of the famous started oozing out a few weeks ago, and now those of the rich have added to the sludge. Let’s hope something good comes of it all. And that those who are very rich and very famous are all squeaky clean (I’m talking to you, Donny.)

Films about secrets, both kept and/or revealed; they’re not uncommon. I’ll stay close to the latest news story and pick Citizenfour, Laura Poitras’s film, made in secret, of Edward Snowden spilling the beans on the NSA et al. I believe there’s now a dramatised version of these events starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt; I can’t see how it could be more dramatic than the reality documented.

What films about secrets would you recommend?

Alphabet Sounds

I created a round for my local quiz last month that may keep some of you amused for a few minutes.

Teams were given this sheet and the following instructions:

Place 26 of the musical acts pictured in alphabetical order, alternating male and female artists.

When sequencing, ignore ‘The’ in group names and ignore forenames (but not titles) in solo artists’ names. For example, The Animals, Joan Baez, Captain Sensible is a correct sequence, as is Tori Amos, The Beatles, PetulaClark.

Be careful! There are 4 ‘wrong’ acts, where the gender does not fall into line with the other 26 (e.g. if all six acts in my two examples were shown, three would be ‘wrong’). Place the names of these four acts in the blank spaces at the foot of the answer sheet.

The answer sheet consisted of 26 lettered answer spaces and four unlettered ones at the bottom.

See how well you do but remember, you may only search your brain, not the internet. Answers HERE.

I presented the round as a slideshow with music by one of the acts playing this in the background. Any excuse, eh?

RR Films: Nature

Alongside the discovery that clams in the Baltic Sea are belching out methane like cows and the evidence that CO2 in the atmosphere in 2016 rose to a level not seen in 800,000 years, David Attenborough shows us more of nature’s wonders on TV. At least we’ll have a documentary record for future generations, if not the actual wonders themselves….

I was going to make this week about climate change but I had difficulty finding enough that weren’t simply depressing documentaries, so we’ll broaden it out to nature in general to allow in some more uplifting, even celebratory, films. Having said that, I’ll go for a climate-related one, Beasts of the Southern Wild. It’s a tad overdone but still has some wonderful visuals and a fantastic child lead played by Quvenzhané Wallis.

What films celebrating/hating/being desperately concerned about nature would you recommend?

RR Films: Afterlife

George Michael heading towards the top of the album charts is surely proof of an afterlife? No? I’m yet to be convinced, although people I credit with some sense keep telling me they’ve seen ghosts, so what do I know?

Believe in such a thing or not, the idea of an afterlife has cropped up a few times in films, from drama to horror with the occasional bit of humour thrown in. I’m nabbing A Matter Of Life And Death to kick off. It may be one of those films you’ve never got round to seeing – and it is terribly, terribly dated my dear – but I recommend you rectify that.

What films featuring an afterlife would you recommend ?