A Quiet Passion

A biopic of Emily Dickinson. This could focus on a number of aspects of Dickinson’s life but focuses on her spirituality and solitary inner life. Because she lived her entire life more or less in her family home, the whole film is basically Cynthia Nixon wandering round a house, greeting in every room.

The cast is excellent. Keith Carradine in his Victorian get-up – BANKED. Jennifer Ehle remains utterly beautiful, and risks outshining Nixon. All the events are small, tremulous and mundane, all the emotion is cacophonous and ecstatic. Lovely film.

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The Lure

A documentary about the treasure seekers scouring the Rockies for Forrest Finn’s hidden million-dollar treasure. There’s a computer programmer-turned-cowboy, a retired cop, a guy getting chemo, all tramping over the wilderness. The film kinda examines what each of them is looking for and how this treasure hunt provides them with an opportunity to find it. As for Forrest Finn who hid the treasure, he seems to view this as his way of becoming part of America, by becoming part of American legend, part of the story of its landscape and folktale. Good movie, lovely feeling and mood.

The Demons

Fuck me, I thought that would never end. Just saw The Demons. Boring as fuck.

I know you’re not supposed to say films are boring, in the same way that you’re not supposed to say people are ugly – they’re not ugly, they’re just not beautiful in the way you like – but fuck it! This film was boring! I was watching a shot about an hour and a half in, when I’d lost all patience, and was just like, “What is this for? What is this shot for? Huh?” It’s not even pretentious, self-indulgent filmmaking which can sometimes bore me but I get that the person thinks they’re making something entrancing because they’re in love with their own work. This just felt poorly made, aimless, flat and dull.

I can’t even tell you what it was about. I’m not sure it had a point. At first I was like, oh it’s a coming-of-age film, but I’m not sure anyone came of age or learned anything or grew. After a solid hour and twenty minutes, the film decides to have its first dramatic incident when a paedo kills a kid. Some might call that overdoing it. This incident floats disjointed like the rest of the mundane happenstances in the film, with no emotional resonance. This film is emotionally dead and it’s chronic sitting through it.

I Am Not Your Negro

Fuck. Just out of I Am Not Your Negro. Absolutely fucking excellent. It’s an attempt to finish on film James Baldwin’s final unfinished manuscript sketching a history of America by tracing the deaths of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King. What unfolds on the screen is a series of visual essays on the soul of America. It is personal, it is political, it is philosophical, it is a living and continuing history, it is both a prophecy and a warning. It is moving and it is vitally alive. I cannot say it is beautiful because it is ugly but it is necessary. A true accomplishment. Everyone should see it until they choke or grow.

Tickling Giants

A film about Bassem Youssef, who is inspired by Jon Stewart’s Daily Show to set up a satirical comedy show in the period between the military dictatorships of Mubarak and El-Sisi. The guy’s really funny and so is the film, it makes me want to see more of his stuff. While the events in Egypt might make for a disappointing context, the film is in fact hopeful, with a message of make a difference where you can, when you can.

Trespass Against Us

A film about a man trying to break away from his father who would rather see him dead than “go gorgi”.

During the Q&A discovered that everything in the film is based on a real family called the Johnsons, who are semi-outcasts in the travelling community in Gloucester for being such mad bastard rip-and-run fiends. They spent 12 years working with the Johnsons to show the story fairly and they apparently are really supportive of the film.

The film’s really good for showing the good and bad in both ways of life. Equally it shows the limitations for someone wanting to change when they’re an illiterate adult with a long arrest record and whose main skill set is being a legendary thief.

What I found really interesting was the language, which is really authentic and full of playful expressive vocab. It’s a voice you don’t often get to hear.

The cast were of course amazing, with Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleeson and Lindsey Marshal and Sean Harris. For being a movie that’s kinda focused on the main character’s introspection about his life choices, it’s actually action-packed and never lets up. Good movie. 

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