Saturday 5 December 2020

What to watch? The Great '20s Film List' in COVID-19 times - 3) The Party


 A fun and short dark comedy feature where a house party of a newly-appointed Shadow Health Minister of a political party slowly deteriorates to unravel into an unexpected and intelligent twist.

British filmmaker Sally Potter is certainly one of the big names of independent cinema. Known for a few experimental films, she takes a much sober and austere approach to tell the story of different people celebrating the appointment of Janet (a brilliant Kristin Scott Thomas) as Shadow Health Minister in a important political party. Shot in black and white with a stunning cast, the film is certainly one of the best films of 2017 though it has had quite a discrete performance at the box office. 

The brilliant script, between a borderline cinematic and theatrical experience, invites the viewer to explore these very different upper-class characters of British society where hypocrisy, greed and deceit is wonderfully hidden by courteous words and diplomatic to ridicule conversations. They say that the soul of a party are its people and the evening slowly deteriorates as each one of the characters start opening their souls and let their inner demons slowly possess the festive nature of the gathering. We are inevitably driven by the question as of what will happen at the end of the night, which will be bring a surprisingly good and intelligent twist.

 If you are looking for a short, entertaining and funny dark comedy supported by a great cast who have all joined under Sally Potter's wing, then we heartily recommend this film. Another one to add to your list! 



Tuesday 1 December 2020

What to watch? The Great '20s Film List' in COVID-19 times - 2) Matthias & Maxime

Here we recommend perhaps one of the greatest pearls we've discovered this year. The latest film from brilliant Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan is another bulletproof showcase of his talent and a poetic story between two lifelong friends who are torn by questions after they share a first kiss. 

Xavier Dolan has one of those unique qualities to make films that take the viewer in a cinematic journey not only as a viewer but to a certain extent, as a participant of it. Most scenes in this film are illustrations of what life is all about: intimate conversations with a loved one in the kitchen or with your lifelong friends around a drink or playing a drinking game in a house party. Not only we see these simple events taking place bur we feel part of them as well and accompany two lifelong friends Mathias and Maxime in these. Suddenly, there is a disruption and everything changes. The two young men voluntarily accept to act and kiss in a short-film scene for a young, snobbish and eccentric filmmaker. 

The tone of the film slightly changes to become a new film in itself: the love story between Mathias and Maxime. We are in a new vehicle and none of the two characters know where to drive to. They are confused and perhaps ashamed to admit to each other how they truly feel. However it is in the search of answers to a storm of doubts and questions that they are able to find themselves and that is the true beauty of this film. It might take several hard hits along the way to find the answers but at some point, even when thunderstorm hits, they come along like raindrops and we embrace the rain. 

A fantastic and beautiful LGBTQ+ film that is worth adding to your filmography. Supported by a solid script and a great soundtrack, Xavier Dolan reminds us that he is one of the greatest filmmakers of the 21st century.

Tuesday 10 November 2020

What to watch? The ''Great 20s Film list'' in COVID-19 times - 1) Winter's Bone

 Hello everyone! Thank you all for your personal messages asking us to get back onto Red Curtain Cinema. It is humbling and beautiful to see that after all these years, we still get messages of support around our blog. Even if we wished to write every single day, it has been definitely difficult - we do work besides watching films-  but here we are now! 

 As the world is still stuck with COVID-19 and we are being asked to stay at home, films are more important than ever. Not only can they be incredible vehicles to take us to far away lands and magical worlds but they can reveal brutal social realities and help us understand better the world we are living in. 

The power of Cinema lies in creating these emotional connections with characters - fictitious or not - going through a journey at a certain time and quite often, acting as mirrors of ourselves. Sometimes we feel so related to the characters that they could be representing us or a fantasy of what we want to be or achieve. Cinema is an emotional journey and certainly a powerful one. 

With that in mind, in honour of this pitiful and awful 2020, we pulled together a list of fantastic films worth watching while at home - ''The Great 20s Film List''. This is the first one on our list and it is brilliant:

          I) WINTER'S BONE (2010) by Debra Granik

This was the film that brought Jennifer Lawrence under the Hollywood spotlight with this gripping independent feature brilliantly directed by Debra Granik. She portrays a fatherless young woman living in low-income rural Missouri with caring responsibilities over her two young siblings. As her family faces eviction, she needs to find her father who was released from prison to find a solution to their dramatic situation. 

Not only we haven't heard of this film before but we were also surprised that this film doesn't appear in many 'Best Films of the 2010s' list. Filmed with natural light and quite a raw photography in most daylight scenes, it is a brutal testimony of the reality of many low-income families in rural America. With a documentary touch, Debra Granik takes us to Ree's (a fantastic Jennifer Lawrence) tough reality but whose inner strenght and determination for a better future for her family brings light into so much darkness. 

As it is quite difficult finding mainstream films directed by Women artists,  this one is a must on your list. We need to put great Women directors as Debra Granik under the spotlight as they deserve recognition as other great male directors. Interestingly, most of the lead characters in this film are women and they are the ones who keep chaotic homes in order. They are the ones who decide who their junkie or criminal husbands should speak to, they take care of the children, they take care of their rural gardens and animals. They are the ones who are the key to Ree's final resolution. A brilliant film!  




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