What with Cannes and everything, I feel I’ve let you down, leaving you bereft of some of the really good films around. So here’s a catch up:
Birds of Passage – an absolute belter of a film, which I reviewed from Cannes 2018, about the arrival of the drugs trade in Colombia, a film that plays like Scarface meets National Geographic. You can catch up, too, with my interview with Ciro Guerra, the film’s director, when I met him at the London Film Festival last year – he was in my London Film Podcast…
Sunset – another brilliant film from Laszlo Names, not with quite the sustained impact of his Son of Saul but nevertheless a whirlwind of technique and cinematic dazzle, capturing the confusion of a young woman returning to work in a hat shop in 1913 Budapest. Here’s a piece I wrote about the film, featuring interviews with Laszlo and his leading lady, Julie Jakab.
The Blue Angel is a belter of a classic, re-released in certain cinemas and on BFI Player, to match the BFI Southbank season of Weimar movies. This is one of the best, the debut of Marlene Dietrich as the cabaret singer Lola Lola, whose incendiary delivery of “Ich bin von Kopf bis Fuss/Aus leibe eingestellt” (Falling in Love Again – it became her signature song) brings about the ruin of respectable local teacher Professor Rath, played by the superb Emil Jannings. It’s directed by Josef von Sternberg and is comic, pathetic, witty, erotic and daring – a remarkable work for 1930, considering it was one of the first talkies, too. One of my favourite movies, and of course the forerunner for one of my favourite musicals, Cabaret.