The undisputable king of quirk, director Wes Anderson is quite the icon and for many, an auteur of the filmmaking world. The status he has achieved over the period of just ten years at the helm of only eight feature films is remarkable. If you’ve ever seen a Wes Anderson film, you’ll know exactly when you’re watching a Wes Anderson film. If you’re new to his oeuvre, be prepared to witness something unlike anything you’ve seen in a screwball comedy before. His work is unmistakably distinctive and as much as it is obvious in style it leaves me tongue tied for an adequate or definitive description.
Author Laura Shearer
Mark Cousins’ latest documentary offering is one of imagination and inspiration. The First Movie (2009) and The Story of Film: an Odyssey (2011) set Cousins up as a truly unique documentary filmmaker. He holds the passion for film viewing as much as any deserving cinephile, the knowledge of a discerning film studies graduate and the ability to direct documentaries like no other filmmaker around today. An array of wonderful books on film and its magical forms and impressive projects such as Cinema is Everywhere (2009) have shown, his devotion to the medium of film seemingly knows no bounds.
A very average melodrama of family affairs. Given the scope and celebration of director Asghar Farhadi’s previous film A Separation (2011) this was a huge disappointment. A man who abandons his wife in France to return to his life in Iran comes back when she requests a divorce. Ahamd’s wife Marie-Anne is now living with Samir, another younger Iranian man, and has set about redecorating the house they lived in. Samir’s young boy Fouad lives with Marie-Anne’s two girls, troubled teenager Lucie and wide eyed wonderer Lea.
A trio of determined, dramatic and destined young want-to-be punk rockers take on the perils of the everyday in 1982 Stockholm. Rarely do we see narratives that genuinely manage to interpret and showcase the mindsets of 12-13 year olds. Successfully achieving the world of the adolescent is a lot harder than representing that of a child. Many darker and heavier themed analogies of events through a child’s eyes are offered up by both mainstream and independent filmmakers on a pretty regular basis. Ranging from Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) with the Spanish civil war, to the Christmas classic Home Alone (1990) with an American boy left alone in his house. It takes a bold step forwards to remove that somehow essential moment of trauma and turn to everyday normal life situations. We Are the Best! allows three girls to develop their sense of identity through the mundane realities of their regular lives, in the midst of which they see creating a punk rock band as a way to escape.
Filmmaking documentaries are insightful and essayist, complex and fascinating. Filmmaking documentaries bring three key ideas into light; making a film about a film, showing a film within a film, and a film about film itself. The documentary format is perfect for demonstrating the realities of the filmmaking process, exploring the industry of film, and showing the rare moments that can give such depth to the material discussed. To hone in on this sort of genre as the short DVD extras features that now accompany most feature films, is cutting short the progressive works of those significant pieces that came before the DVD regulars and those that have since developed out of these ideas. The scope of this documentary sub-genre is as diverse as the sub-genre of say zombie narratives within the horror genre. My pick of the top ten filmmaking documentaries are as much of a mixed bag as them come, all impressive in their content and more often than intended, brave in their motives. If this little collection doesn’t inspire the idea that filmmaking is more complex and impressive than you might expect, nothing will.
Ari Folman wowed me again with his surreal and beautiful animation. His last animation Waltz with Bashir (2008) hailed him as a unique filmmaker and The Congress only serves to confirm these declarations. Living up to expectations is one thing, surpassing them is entirely another. With Folman’s animation style, his thought provoking narrative, and experimenting with the genre of sci-fi, The Congress is, in a nutshell, the most inventive film I’ve seen so far this year and has become an instant favourite.
Spanish director Manuel Martín Cuenca’s take on the cinematic cannibal character is a fresh one. Based on the novel by Humberto Arenal, it’s an odd tale about a skilled tailor in the small town of Granada who leads a very secret private lifestyle.
The band that should be been more than they were. After ten years apart Bad Brains reunited to tour the USA in 2007. This is one of those amazing music documentaries that reveal a sort of genius that’s been round all along but never got the recognition they deserved. It reminds me of the hugely popular recent features Searching for Sugar Man (2012) and Anvil: The Story of Anvil (2008). Documentary films in the same vein, that aim to expose something that not a lot of people know. These films are onto something incredibly influential in the music industry that just didn’t get the limelight it should have.
Luke Dodd and Michael Whyte’s documentary about British portrait photographer Jane Bown is impressively candid and intimate. Bown has photographed some of the world’s most famous faces over her career and developed a style that is still incomparable to her contemporaries.
This is the stand alone best thriller I’ve seen this year so far. The world of film industry raves about the subtly and skill of French films and this is no exception. It’s the type of slow burning thriller that reminds me of Tell No One (2006), or In the House (2012). The most admirable traits are the character development and of course the dexterity of the reveal, which is left so late in the film you’re left guessing and forming your own conclusions long before the credits roll. It’s a masterful film that I’m happy to compare to the great dizzying heights of a Hitchcock thriller.