Re-considering Kazan (or how I was wrong about Elia K’s movies)

When my colleagues in the programming team at BFI Southbank decided to take up my suggestion that we should mount a retrospective of the films of Elia Kazan – the last one had been way back in the early 1970s – I thought it would be interesting to curate it myself and even, perhaps, to … Continue reading Re-considering Kazan (or how I was wrong about Elia K’s movies)

Stone and Sky: a new work by the great Víctor Erice

One of the world’s greatest living filmmakers, Víctor Erice is also, sadly, one of the least prolific. For various reasons, since first attracting attention in 1973 with The Spirit of the Beehive, he has made only two further features (1983’s The South – which he himself regards as incomplete – and 1992’s The Quince Tree … Continue reading Stone and Sky: a new work by the great Víctor Erice

My best movies, music and other moments from 2019

This time last year, in introducing the lists of my favourite films, music, etc, etc of 2018, I expressed the admittedly somewhat forlorn hope that 2019 would give us less reason to have to seek solace in such things, and that peace, tolerance and reason would prevail. Well, it didn’t quite work out that way, … Continue reading My best movies, music and other moments from 2019

Movies and music for Christmas 2019 (and beyond…)

In December 2017 and 2018, I posted brief pieces highlighting some of my favourites movies and music which had been released on disc during the previous 12 months; I hoped they might prove helpful for anyone wondering what to buy for Christmas presents. The posts seemed to go down quite well, so this year I’m … Continue reading Movies and music for Christmas 2019 (and beyond…)

Great Women Filmmakers: A Few Further Thoughts

The recent announcement of the results of two polls – one conducted by the BBC asking a bunch of critics for their favourite films directed women, won by Jane Campion’s The Piano, the other Sight & Sound’s annual look at the films of the year, won by Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir – got me thinking … Continue reading Great Women Filmmakers: A Few Further Thoughts

Hills, vales, plains: new photographic work by Cristi Puiu

A couple of years ago, while serving on the jury of the Transylvanian International Film Festival in Cluj, I had the good fortune to visit the first ever exhibition of photographs by Cristi Puiu, one of Romania’s finest filmmakers and, indeed, one of the most interesting writer-directors in the world today. (His best known work … Continue reading Hills, vales, plains: new photographic work by Cristi Puiu

The 2019 London Film Festival: My Tips

As in recent years, here are some recommendations for the upcoming BFI London Film Festival. (There are of course many films in the festival I haven’t yet seen, some of which I am greatly looking forward to.) The list below – ordered alphabetically – covers a dozen titles which are among my favourites of the … Continue reading The 2019 London Film Festival: My Tips

The 2019 Cannes Film Festival – My Favourite Films

A couple of weeks ago I embarked upon my 32nd (!!) visit to the Cannes Film Festival, and as usual set about watching all the films in the main competition, plus a fair number of films either out of competition or in the Salle Debussy's Un Certain Regard strand. (For various reasons I didn’t make it … Continue reading The 2019 Cannes Film Festival – My Favourite Films

Agnès Varda par…

Some hours after the announcement of the death of Agnès Varda, my friend Nick James – editor of Sight & Sound magazine – felt moved to tweet that his Twitter feed was so choked with tributes, it felt as if Varda was the Bowie of cinema. ‘Perhaps she was,’ he added. It was an intriguing … Continue reading Agnès Varda par…

My best of the 2019 Berlin Film Festival

In writing about my favourite films at last year’s Berlin Film Festival – which I confessed from the start was not in my opinion a vintage edition – I felt able to select 10 films to recommend you look out for. In retrospect, now that the 2019 edition has come to an end, selecting that … Continue reading My best of the 2019 Berlin Film Festival