James Gill takes us through HOME’s cinema releases this week
Films opening at HOME this week:
Directed by Aleksandr Medvedkin – Rated 12A
Happiness comes in a variety of strange forms; here a peasant dreams of becoming Czar, eating his fill and spending his time doing nothing. With its bizarre satirical slapstick, Medvedkin’s film offers an unforgettable antidote to the socialist realist style that was developing within Soviet cinema at the time.
Directed by Tomas Alfredson – Rated 15
When an elite crime squad’s lead detective (Fassbender) investigates the disappearance of a victim on the first snow of winter, he fears an elusive serial killer may be active again. With the help of a brilliant recruit, the policeman must connect decades-old cold cases to the brutal new one if he hopes to outwit this unthinkable evil before the next snowfall. The latest thriller from Tomas Alfredson (Let the Right One In, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), The Snowman is based on Jo Nesbø’s global bestseller.
Directed by Sally Potter – Rated 15
Sally Potter’s (Orlando) latest feature is a comedy wrapped around a tragedy which unfolds in real time in an upmarket London house. Janet is hosting an intimate gathering of friends to celebrate her promotion to Shadow Minister of Health in the party of opposition. Her husband, Bill, seems preoccupied. As their friends arrive, the soirée gradually unravels. As people’s illusions about themselves and each other go up in smoke, along with the canapés, The Party becomes a night that began with champagne but ends with blood on the floor.
Directed by Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman – Rated 12A
Co-directors Kobiela and Welchman explore Vincent van Gogh’s most inspirational paintings to tell the story of his remarkable work, career and his untimely and controversial demise. A synthesis of painting and cinema, this is a lovingly crafted, intelligent and informative work.
Loving Vincent will also be screening as part of Manchester Animation Festival on 15 Nov 20:15.
Films continuing this week:
Blade Runner 2049
Directed by Denis Villeneuve – Rated 15
Thirty years after the events in Ridley Scott’s seminal sci-fi, a new Blade Runner, LAPD Officer K (Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Deckard (Ford) who has been missing for 30 years. Acclaimed director Denis Villeneuve (Sicario) delivers perhaps the most eagerly anticipated film of the year.
Directed by Peter Mackie Burns – Rated 15
Scottish filmmaker Peter Mackie Burns marks his transition into features with this tightly focused, remarkably authentic character study of brittle 31-year-old Londoner Daphne (Beecham). Daphne has ‘sort of given up on people’ as she goes through the motions of her busy life, working as a cook in a London restaurant and through a series of drug-fuelled hook-ups. She resists genuine intimacy in her few friendships and rejects her mother attempts to engage. When she witnesses a violent robbery, she’s thrown into chaos and finally begins to confront the person she’s become.
Cut from the same explicit, ironic, confessional cloth as Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s internationally successful BBC TV series Fleabag, Daphne offers us a female protagonist who can be as fiercely unlikeable as she is compelling to watch.
Directed by Maysaloun Hamoud — Rated 15
In director Maysaloun Hamoud’s remarkable feature debut, three Palestinian women sharing an apartment in the vibrant heart of Tel Aviv find themselves doing the same balancing act between tradition and modernity and citizenship and culture.
God’s Own Country
Directed by Francis Lee — Rated 15
Johnny, a young sheep farmer from Yorkshire, has sacrificed his own life choices to run the family farm. As lambing season approaches, much to Johnny’s initial resentment, migrant worker Gheorghe is hired to assist. Gheorghe proves he not only understands this farming life but more importantly, he understands Johnny.
October 14th – Tsar to Lenin
Directed by Herman Axelbank – Rated 15
First released in 1937, Tsar to Lenin ranks among the twentieth century’s greatest film documentaries. Using archive footage assembled over more than a decade, Tsar to Lenin presents an extraordinary cinematic account of the Russian Revolution – from the mass uprising which overthrew the Tsarist regime in February 1917, to the Bolshevik-led insurrection eight months later that established the first socialist workers’ state, and the final victory in 1921 of the new Soviet regime over counter-revolutionary forces after a three-year-long civil war. Tsar to Lenin bears witness to a moment in history when socialist ideals inspired the greatest twentieth century revolutionary movement.
This screening will be introduced by Chris Marsden, National Secretary of the Socialist Equality Party and writer for the World Socialist Web Site.
October 14th – The Overcoat
Based on the work of Gogol and directed by Kozintsev and Trauberg, leading lights in FEKS (The Factory of the Eccentric Actor), The Overcoat is a great example of the creative spirit present in 1920s Soviet cinema and fantastically showcases its directors’ delight in revelling in the grotesque.
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October 14th – New Babylon
Another strikingly original film from the FEKS duo of Kozintsev and Trauberg, New Babylon – named after the department store where its central character works – is a love story set amongst the events of the Paris Commune of 1871. Jay Leyda called it a ‘consistently magnificent climax to the silent films of Kozintsev and Trauberg’.
Please note, this print has no soundtrack.
October 15th – The End of St. Petersburg + Live Accompaniment
Directed by Vsevolod Pudovkin, Mikhail Doller – Rated PG
The End of St. Petersburg was planned to grace the 10th anniversary of the Revolution. The director’s plans were ambitious: Pudovkin wanted it to cover the two centuries of the city’s history. In the end, the film is a boots level narrative about a naïve youth who is forced to seek work in the city.
HarmonieBand have an international reputation for presenting specially composed scores for silent films. Paul Robinson’s score for this silent classic was presented in September in Eindhoven’s Plaza Futura and the Amsterdam ‘Eye’.
October 15th – Chapayev
Directed by Georgi Vasilyev, Sergey Vasilyev – Rated PG
Produced by the Lenfilm studio, this legendary account of the heroics of a Red Army Chapayev is both an intense story of sacrifice and a clear example of Soviet propaganda. Upon its release it became something of a cultural phenomenon and was described as a ‘genuine and very fruitful experiment in film art’ by the critic Roger Manvell.
October 16th – The Night of Truth
Directed by Fanta Regina Nacro – Rated 18
In her poetic and visually stunning feature debut, director Fanta Régina Nacro has no qualms about portraying extreme violence while leading her story to an unexpected bid for peace. Set in an unnamed country racked by a decade-long genocidal civil war, The Night of Truth tells the story of the efforts of the opposing community leaders to overcome their differences.
Come the Revolution is a collective of curators, programmers and creatives from Bristol and Birmingham committed to exploring and challenging black life, experience and cultural expression through cinema.
October 17th – Made in Hong Kong
Directed by Fruit Chan – Rated 15
This sensitive remastering of writer and director Fruit Chan’s landmark 1997 Hong Kong independent film retains all of its style and impact. With a career-making central performance from Sam Lee as Moon, a down on his luck teenager trying to make ends meet in the marginalised neighbourhoods of a Hong Kong on the cusp of great change, Made in Hong Kong offers a sobering alternative to the slick genre films the city was renowned for. Winner of Best film at the Hong Kong film awards.
October 18th/19th – My Pure Land
Directed by Sarmad Masud – Rated 15
This impressive first feature from Sarmad Masud is based on a remarkable true story. Told in told in partial flashbacks it reveals how a mother and her two daughters try to protect their remote Pakistan home, picking up machine guns to fight off a virtual army of armed men.
October 19th – Ordinary Heroes
Directed by Ann Hui – Rated 15
One of the most original voices to emerge from the Hong Kong new wave of the late the 1970s, Ann Hui is now a major figure in global cinema. Ordinary Heroes is one of her most engaging works, utilising a challenging formal style to explore the history of Hong Kong’s political activists since 1970s. Winner of Best Film at the Hong Kong film awards and at Taiwan’s Golden Horse awards.