Tuesday 12 December 2023

Defending Cinephilia Returns - The editor lists eight things about 2023...and a lot of lists therein....

Anna Magnani, The Golden Coach

 A return to Bologna’s Il Cinema Ritrovato….Old friends, new friends and one old new friend…and  restored copies of RIO BRAVO (Howard Hawks), THE DUPES (Tewfik Saleh), THE GOLDEN COACH (Jean Renoir), THE SUSPECT (Robert Siodmak) and LA CAPTIVE (Chantal Akerman) to name just five from forty.

Daisy Haggard, Paterson Joseph, Boat Story

Harry and Jack Williams ….
 prolific writers of TV crime. Catching up from some time back. ANGELA BLACK (2016) mercilessly pillaged GASLIGHT and STRANGERS ON A TRAIN but THE TOURIST (made in Australia) and BOAT STORY (made in the UK) were amusing and eccentric examples of the best TV writers’ ability to keep you guessing from ep to ep.

 Firebite (Dir: Warwick Thornton)

More great TV than you can jump over… (see Harry and Jack Williams for starters) but see also FARGO, SLOW HORSES, the BBC’s bizarre WOLF, BABYLON BERLIN, JUSTIFIED:CITY PRIMEVAL, FIREBITE, DARK WINDS, ESTERNO NOTTE, PAYBACK, KIN and FULL CIRCLE


Oz movies…not sure anything we made was as good as New Zealand’s UPROAR (Paul Middleditch and Hamish Bennett) which seems to have screened to complete critical indifference…  but heck it’s hard to know what’s been reviewed and what’s been ignored now. David and Margaret are long gone. Especially hard  to know if you don’t/wont buy Murdoch newspapers and barely read anything other than John McDonald in the Fin Review (thanks to John sending out a link to his reviews to his subscriber list  which you can join for free if you click onto his website https://www.johnmcdonald.net.au/ ). But if I had to pick the Best Oz movie I’d go with Ivan Sen’s LIMBO. Runners up WE ARE STILL HERE (Beck Cole, Dena Curtis, Tracey Rigney, Danielle MacLean, Tim Worrall, Renae Maihi, Miki Magasiva, Mario Gaoa, Richard Curtis and Chantelle Burgoyne), PETROL (Alena Lodkina), SHAYDA  (Noora Niasari), THE ROYAL HOTEL (Kitty Green) and SWEET AS (Jub Clerc).


Rhys Darby, Julian Dennison, Minnie Driver

Other good movies (new) seen in 2023… THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN (Martin McDonagh), THE OLD OAK (Ken Loach), TAR (Tod Field), HOLY SPIDER (Ali Abbasi), CLOSE (Lukas Dhont), REALITY (Tina Satter), BARBIE (Greta Gerwig), RETURN TO SEOUL (Davy Chou), SHOWING UP (Kelly Reichardt), FALLEN LEAVES (Aki Kaurismaki), KIDNAPPED (Marco Bellocchio) and HOW TO BLOW UP A PIPELINE (Daniel Goldhaber).


Other good movies (old but seen for the first time)…RINGS ON HER FINGERS (Rouben Mamoulian), ONE WAY PASSAGE (Tay Garnett), LARKS ON A STRING (Jiri Menzel), THE BAD SISTER (Hobart Henley), REMEMBER THE NIGHT (Mitchell Leisen) and I HIRED A CONTRACT KILLER (Aki Kaurasmaki)


Jeanne Moreau, Anthony Perkins, The Trial

Two very pleasurable moments from Cinema Reborn 2023…… Biggest crowds for Orson Welles THE TRIAL, notwithstanding the restored copy's availability on streaming channels and video on demand and probably every backchannels site in the world. Nothing like seeing a masterpiece on a big screen….and, thanks to a Radio National conversation between Jason Di Rosso and Margot Nash crowds for Kira Muratova’s THE LONG FAREWELL. Both beautifully restored by StudioCanal…


Blu-ray Box set of the year…. COLLABORATIONS: The Cinema of Zhang Yimou and Gong Li. Eight films supplied by four companies and all assembled by Via Vision for its (expensive) Imprint label. Beautiful copies but each title immeasurably added to by introductions to each film by Tony Rayns ranging far and wide across China’s history, politics, cinema, personal contact with the director and crucially the conditions of production of each of the films…

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