Turning Tarkovsky into music: Nuit blanche

A confession: while I recognise the cinematic importance of the late Andrei Tarkovsky – his influence on certain filmmakers, and the high regard in which his work is widely held – I myself have never been a great admirer of his films. I like Ivan’s Childhood and Andrei Roublev well enough, but I have always … Continue reading Turning Tarkovsky into music: Nuit blanche

Back in Bologna: the forgotten films of Helmut Käutner

Now in its 31st year, the Cinema Ritrovato festival mounted by the Cineteca Bologna has become something of a pilgrimage site for cinephiles in search of restorations, rarities and rediscoveries. Indeed, some might argue that it is a victim of its own success; in recent years the number of attendees has increased so much that … Continue reading Back in Bologna: the forgotten films of Helmut Käutner

Of films and photos: more from Romania’s remarkable Cristi Puiu

A few months back, I received an invitation to participate as a member of the jury for the main competition of the Transilvania International Film Festival (TIFF) which takes place in Cluj-Napoca, Romania’s second largest city after Bucharest, in early June. Honoured to be asked, and keen to visit a country which has been giving … Continue reading Of films and photos: more from Romania’s remarkable Cristi Puiu

Cannes 2017: My personal best from the 70th edition

This year’s Cannes Film Festival – the 70th edition of the event, and my own 30th attendance at the gig – was far from remarkable; indeed, in terms of the films in the main competition, it was probably a little underwhelming. Yet Cannes is the world’s most famous film festival, and that arouses very high expectations … Continue reading Cannes 2017: My personal best from the 70th edition

70 years of Cannes… and this is my 30th. (A view from the queue.)

This piece was originally written for and published by BFI online at bfi.org.uk With thanks to Sam Wigley for editing. Though the Cannes Film Festival is undoubtedly the most famous event of its kind, it isn’t the oldest. That honour belongs to Venice. Still, 2017 does mark the 70th edition of Cannes – having been … Continue reading 70 years of Cannes… and this is my 30th. (A view from the queue.)

Jonathan Demme, Man from Long Island

I’m certainly not planning to write many memorial blogs for filmmakers, but at the unexpected and very saddening news of the death of the American director Jonathan Demme, aged 73 (portrait above by Peter Hapak), I felt moved to do so. I never got to know him well or count him as a friend, but … Continue reading Jonathan Demme, Man from Long Island

‘A Quiet Passion’: Terence Davies in fine fettle with a film about Emily Dickinson

Of the new films released in the UK this week, a surprisingly large proportion have a distinctly literary bent. Besides the adaptation of Julian Barnes' novel The Sense of an Ending – I read and greatly enjoyed the book, but haven't yet seen the movie –  there are no less than three films actually about real … Continue reading ‘A Quiet Passion’: Terence Davies in fine fettle with a film about Emily Dickinson

From The Colour of Pomegranates to the Armenian genocide: some notes on Tigran Mansurian

If you’ve ever seen Sergei Paradjanov’s remarkable and unforgettably odd film, you will probably recognise the striking tableau above as one from Sayat Nova, released in the West as The Colour of Pomegranates. However much I admire the movie for its bold originality and painterly beauty, I must confess that its radical, highly allusive style … Continue reading From The Colour of Pomegranates to the Armenian genocide: some notes on Tigran Mansurian

My Berlinale: the top ten movies of the 2017 festival

Here, briefly, is a list of the ten films I most admired and enjoyed at the recent Berlin Film Festival. There were others I liked, of course, and perhaps I could/should have included Sebastian Lelio’s A Fantastic Woman or Andres Veiel’s documentary about Joseph Beuys, but in the end I had to make some tough … Continue reading My Berlinale: the top ten movies of the 2017 festival

Remembering John Hurt

I was very sad, though not surprised, to learn this morning that John Hurt had died, aged 77. I first met him twenty years ago, when I interviewed him for Time Out about his role in Love and Death on Long Island, Richard Kwietniowski’s terrific adaptation of Gilbert Adair’s novel. John’s performance in that movie … Continue reading Remembering John Hurt