Tuesday 23 March 2010

E-newsletter subscribers! Betty's Bath Prize Draw winner

Congratulations to Stanley Barten from Tenbury Wells who wins the Betty's Bath DVD from the prize draw in our last e-newsletter.

The Surprise Silent Film Programme introduced by Kevin Brownlow included the succinct Betty's Bath from this collection of playful and (by modern standards) fairly innocent erotic short films, made in after-hours Hollywood and unearthed next to a hand grenade in an air raid shelter in West Hampstead.

The DVD is available to purchase from our sponsor MovieMail who kindly donated the DVD for this and all the other competitions and prize draws exclusive to e-newsletter subscribers.

Monday 22 March 2010

Borderlines Film Festival: your favourite film

The films you the audience voted for turned out to be very different from those that proved popular at the box office.

While over 1,000 people came to see An Education, followed by large audience figures for Up in the Air and Nowhere Boy, when it came to our online poll it was two Japanese films that came out on top.

Departures, with its fresh take on life and death through the eyes of a young ceremonial corpse-washer,  won a resounding 18% of the vote with the understated meditation on family life, Still Walking, second with 13%.

Other films you rated highly were Nowhere Boy, The Limits of Control, Welcome, Tulpan, The Hurt Locker and Katalin Varga. All this indicates that there's a core audience at Borderlines that favours some of the more unusual and intriguing films on offer at the festival.

Monday 15 March 2010

Documentally and Ryan Bingham: what they have in common

Have noted before the beauty of festivals, that they generate random coincidences. I was reflecting on Christian Payne's envigorating keynote speech at Here Comes Everyone: Citizen Journalism in the Digital Age in Week 1 of Borderlines.

"What does that remind me of?" I thought. Then it clicked.
Travelling light.


Having everything you could possibly require a fingertip or two away.

It's all in the backpack.

It's Up in the Air!

Take my word for it or compare and contrast the trailer in which George Clooney as downsizing consultant, Ryan Bingham, delivers his presentation about the benefits of not weighing yourself down with material possessions or constricting relationships:

with this from Christian Payne, aka Documentally, at the event on Wednesday 3 March:

Both are driven, experts in their field, both are charismatic. Pie charts, networks, communications, it's all there.

Although I must add that Christian told us that family relationships figure high on his agenda; his son, Minimentally, had a web presence within seconds of being born or was it even in the womb? There's Granumentally too. He keeps in touch.

Rounding up/looking forward

All over for another year. Dates for Borderlines 2011: Friday 25 March to Sunday 10 April

Thanks to everyone who came to one of our 200 plus screenings for your support and we hope you enjoyed the film festival as much as we did!

Don't forget you have a week to vote for your favourite film on our online poll.

If you didn't get a chance to fill in one of our questionnaires you can still do this online.

A special thank-you to all projectionists and technicians without whom nothing would have appeared on the big screen, also to our volunteers including all of the dedicated Flicks in the Sticks promoters who bring cinema to all corners of the Marches the year round.

And just to bring everything full circle, here's the moment before the first screening of the Festival, Nowhere Boy in the Studio at The Courtyard in Hereford at 2pm on Friday 26 February.

And a snapshot from the auditorium just before the penultimate film, The Hurt Locker, 6.30pm on Sunday 14  March in the Main House, again at The Courtyard.

Saturday 13 March 2010

Cutting the cloth before Coco (Before Chanel)

Fashion and film collide: this evening's screening of Coco Before Chanel at the SpArC Centre in Bishops Castle has an added dimension.

For one, the promoters of the event, SpArClife, are under 25. The SpArC is the recipient of a Big Lottery Award for a project called Where's the Art in SpArC? The two year programme has just started  and will see a variety of arts activities led by and for 11-25 year-olds, culminating in the commissioning of a major piece of public art (worth up to £10,000) for the Centre.

For today the organisers have arranged a film-making and a textiles workshop to run concurrently from 12pm to 4pm. Participants in the Pretty Rubbish textile workshop have been asked to bring along old, unwanted clothes for a major revamp; the other group will film what they do and the results SpArClife: the Catwalk will be shown alongside the main feature this evening at 7pm.

SpArClife Facebook page

Thursday 11 March 2010

Sex and Drugs and Sunday Lunch

Mavericks sticker
By popular demand, we've put on another screening of the Ian Dury biopic with a "barnstorming, passionate performance" (Guardian) by Andy Serkis. This performance of Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll is at 4pm at The Courtyard, Hereford on the final day of the Festival, Sunday 14 March.

Hurry and book before this too sells out.

Call 01432 340555 or

Buy Courtyard tickets button

Wednesday 10 March 2010

And the surprise film is...

Showing at 6.30pm on Sunday 14 March, the closing day of the Festival, the low-budget, low-grossing indie film about the Iraq war that has blasted a trail though both Oscars and the BAFTAs, winning awards in 6 categories at each.

This is the first time in the 82 year-old history of the Academy Awards that the Best Director Oscar has been won by a woman. And though director, Kathryn Bigelow was at pains to minimise the significance of her gender, The Hurt Locker is a remarkable achievement: a taut and totally absorbing action film that puts you in the shoes of the foot-soldier rather than at the controls of expensive, hi-tech hardware.

This blog from The Pinocchio Theory gives an interesting and in-depth reading of Bigelow's work in general and, at the close, of The Hurt Locker in particular.

The screening will be popular so call The Courtyard Box Office on 01432 340555 or
Buy Courtyard tickets button

Contrasting Journeys at Ludlow Assembly Rooms

Sunday at Ludlow Assembly Rooms for Treeless Mountain, a tale of two little Korean girls offloaded by their mother, first to their reluctant aunt than to equally reluctant grandparents, a journey from a city to a town to a farm. Then an hour later The Road which I don’t have to prĂ©cis. The first a touching and delicate film seen through the eyes of a very young child, the second a bleak view of a journey in the hope of safety from a humanity stripped to the essentials for survival.

Both are about our journey through life and our capacity to adapt and survive; the first essentially optimistic, the second less convinced. Treeless Mountain has received little publicity; it is a ‘small’ film but a delightful one. I urge you to see it.

The Road is a fine film and I am a big fan of Cormac McCarthy, but he surely didn’t write the final scene (I haven’t yet read the book). An audience that has persevered through an hour and three quarters of bleakness deserves a better finale than a two-minute hosing down with corn syrup. The story ended when the boy took the gun from his father and chose not to use it. We didn’t need the mutt, which must have been a gift from a focus group in Peoria.

Tuesday 9 March 2010

Still walking; still talking

Still Walking is a film in which nothing happens and everything happens. I'm a sucker for Japanese films anyway, often because they undermine the stereotype we have of formality and reserve. Hirokazu Kore-eda's gentle and absorbing film about a day in the life of an extended Japanese family is a gem. We slowly comprehend the family history, and we begin to recognise the unspoken rules and the tiny signifiers that carry such enormous weight. Not to mention the dissonance between what is spoken and what is meant. And a lot of words are spoken. It was often difficult to keep up with the density of the subtitled dialogue and the on-screen action (not that the word 'action' is a useful word in the context of this film). But no matter as this is a film that merits a second viewing.

It was at once both Japanese and universal. It's one of the strengths of film that we can recognise ourselves in the lives of others, and one of the joys of Borderlines that we are given so many opportunities to do so.

Brilley Sleeps Furiously

We ventured out to Brilley on the first Saturday evening of the festival to find a packed village hall and only a few cushions left for hire. Their adventurous choice of film - Sleep Furiously - had brought in some local farming families for the first time ever, as well as Festival goers like ourselves from away. Anticipation was high, tinged with a little nervousness from the organisers. The film is an extraordinary mix of the fascinating, the banal and the arty. But, not to worry! The audience recognised so much that is relevant to them - the long static camerawork over the beautiful, empty landscape, the annual round of farm work, the mobile library, the village show, the dogs and the sheep, the wonderful comedy moments and a particularly poignant one. The village discussed the closure of its school and who owned the land. Brilley's school closed 3 years ago and still sits empty and boarded up next to the village hall.

What with this film and the screening of Anne Cottringer's Young Farmers (work in progress) at the Courtyard the same morning, the Festival feels really special - a rural festival, by and about the communities which live here. The Brilley ploughman's supper afterwards was delicious, the damson chutney (wow!) and more people arrived for the second film of the evening - The Grocer's Son. I remind myself how enjoyable and worth making the effort it is to go to the Borderlines Flicks screenings. And I return with pertinent comments about and praise for the Festival. For the lady who wanted to know more about the way Sleep Furiously looked - I asked the producer, Margaret Matheson, when she arrived for the Ross Flicks screening the following Monday. She said that the film was shot on 16mm film rather than video because the director, Gideon Koppel, thought it would look better that way. It was transferred straight to digital for editing. The look of the film is very important; it is best viewed on DVD on a very good television. Projected onto a large screen it can look soft, faded and thin which was not how it's intended to.

From Jane Jackson, Borderlines Board Member

Monday 8 March 2010

Vote for your favourite Borderlines 2010 film

N.B. You can only vote once from the same computer!

The poll closes one week after the end of the Festival, at 11pm on Sunday 21 March. The results will be announced here on the Festival blog and will feed through to News Updates on the Welcome page of the Borderline website.

Saturday 6 March 2010

Katalin Varga

This was an experiment. I didn’t really expect to enjoy it, but that’s what film festivals are for. In fact this is a very strong story, a tragedy which, as it unfolds, slowly reveals its inevitability. Classic stuff.

The tragedy plays out against the beauty of rural Romania which the cameraman clearly relishes. The soundtrack is particularly inventive without being intrusive and adds a lot to the experience. Dark and unflinching, but well worth seeing.

Friday 5 March 2010

44 Inch Chest

The opening scene is promising, the soundtrack a delicious contrast with the action. The cast could hardly be better, though if, like me, you last saw two of them playing together as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson in John Adams, it will take a while to adjust to the two East End villains you see here. And they enjoy themselves hugely, so we do too.

Unfortunately, while a torrent of obscenity can be funny – and I laughed loud enough - it can’t stay funny for long. Similarly the use of one set for almost all the action is a challenge. Combining that with the ironic opening music strongly suggests Reservoir Dogs, but there just isn’t Tarantino’s flair for using music to point up the darkness of the action here. The fact that they got Badalamente (Twin Peaks) to do the soundtrack suggests that they were trying, but it just doesn’t succeed.

Fatally, there is a loss of momentum well before the end, and even the irony of Ray Winstone’s paean to love and marriage, fine in itself, leaves it looking like a stage play that didn’t survive translation into film.

The White Ribbon

Haneke says the purpose of art is to ask questions, not to give answers and he does his best to live up to that here. It takes a lot to keep my attention for 2 hours and 25 minutes and in this case I was rapt.

What happens is a series of cruel events, all the more disturbing for occurring off screen. The overt question is ‘who is doing it?’ But that question is just the narrative. The real question is why? And beyond that, where will it lead and who is responsible? There is a lot more going on here than a whodunnit. The whole point of the film is to provoke you to ask questions so I’m not going to venture any answers. It is easy enough to construct a hypothesis about the historical and political context, but it is the psychology that Haneke is exploring. The actions and omissions of the people whose roles are the spiritual leader, the healer and the teacher are surely not happenstance.

Beautifully shot, perfectly paced, deeply disturbing, I'll see it again, and soon, though I doubt I’ll get any answers.

Thursday 4 March 2010

James Price on Shell Shock: Leinthall Starkes on big screen tonight

Tonight at 6.15pm, the only chance to see Shell Shock, shot in Tokyo, London and Leinthall Starkes, North Herefordshire, at Borderlines. It's the debut feature of James Price, a 33-year-old director with roots in the Marches farming community. James remembers his art lessons with Jane Wells in Leintwardine, his two years at Art College in Hereford and his formative cinema experiences, "I'm very pleased to be showing my first film at Borderlines in Hereford. Some of my earliest memories of cinema are of going to see Octopussy at the Hereford Odeon and The Return of the Jedi at the Regal in Tenbury."

The subject of Shell Shock is highly topical: a young veteran of an unknown war suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder that renders him unable to cope with everyday life and normal relationships. “My film is about the effects war can have on anyone,” says James, “I want it to make people stop and think about what’s going on. And I want them to ask questions.” 
 “We forget that war has got more psychological today. You no longer know who the enemy is. They’re not in uniform. They attack and then melt away. You no longer know who is going to shoot you.” 

As the debate over the Iraq War rumbles on, the director refuses to commit publicly to one side or the other. “My film is apolitical. I do have a view on the Iraq War and Afghanistan, but it’s not for me to agree or disagree with the war in Iraq. It’s too late to say whether Tony Blair was right or wrong (to send the troops in). It’s happened. And people are losing limbs, seeing their friends die.”

“It’s very difficult for someone who has not been involved in military conflict, who’s not been in a war situation, to comprehend what’s going on. And OK, it’s a tiny percentage of soldiers who suffer from stress disorders. But the consequences can be devastating.”

James’ advisors included a psychologist who had worked with the Territorial Army and a former paratrooper, a guy, he says, “who could not sleep at night.” He based his film on the experiences of servicemen involved in conflicts in Northern Ireland and Bosnia. 

Working on a tiny budget (Shell Shock cost £18,000, self-financed from working as an Art Director on films as diverse as Bullet Boy, Grow Your Own and Miss Austen Regrets) James, who comes from an agricultural background (his father Robert Price farmed Barn Farm at Leinthall Starkes), used his uncle’s farm for location shots of the battle zone. 
 The Marches landscape, bleak and rugged in March when filming took place, was ideal. “I simply wanted to portray the experience that could be any soldier’s, in any country, in any conflict, in any place in history. It’s important for us, for the public, to comprehend what war is like, and what the consequences are for what soldiers have seen and done in the theatre of war. I want them to ask  questions - because I don’t have the answers.”

The screening at Borderlines is backed by The Producers’ Forum whose CEO, Shrewsbury-based, BAFTA-winning producer, Natasha Carlish will conduct a Q&A with James.

Here Comes Everyone

Fascinating afternoon yesterday, with the debates around citizen journalism and the various speakers. If you haven't caught Christian Payne yet, I urge you to seek out his websites 'Documentally' and/or 'Our Man Inside'. Better still...catch him in person. I thought I was tech-aware, but that half hour made me feel like a dinosaur! Not too late to catch up with exciting developments in networking. Do it now!

44" Chest

I came out of this believing it is definitely number one in the rankings so far for, to use the film's own language, the Borderlines Crock of S-i-e 2010 award. But this morning I have calmed down. We can all chuckle and titter like naughty boys and girls at scatology reminiscent of Gilbert and George in their turd period, but does it add up to anything? Other than a C of S? As for the performances, definitely award winning stuff at the Ham School of Acting final year shows. And most of it seemed to be a reprise of performances in other films, now tarnished with over use. Whatever happened to the Stately Homo of England? Someone please write JH a part worth playing. That's two bad 'uns in one festival. If the film was saved by anything it was its tantalising beginning, before any actor turned up on screen, and the performances by the dog and the waiter. Both deserve an Oscar or BAFTA just for putting up with it all. The blessed release from brown noise during the conversion from violence to forgiveness made that scene the best, with its almost pieta quality. But it only just beat the dog. Then to cap it all the whole sorry business ended with a camera move straight out of the BBC crane department. When will these people ever learn? But as I say, I am now calmer. I am no longer shouting obscenities at the night sky.

Wednesday 3 March 2010

The Director's Cut

There have been complaints. Several regular Borderliners have commented that the burning issue for them is the state of David Gillam's hair. They are shocked that he has been sporting a pony tail and are of the opinion that this is just not good enough. The fans want the biggest hairdo available to humanity; they want it here and they want it now!

I could've been a Beatle....

An Education and Nowhere Boy are both set in the dark days of the late 50s and early 60s. Remarkably both films were in colour, which is not how I remember the time. My hometown was grey, I was grey, even the dog was grey. This was partly as a result of post war economics and the transfer of vast sums of money to our gallant allies the USA, who supported us financially during the war, but then wanted all the cash back. But the dullness of the time was also because our parent's generation had had rather too much excitement over the previous twenty years and were happy to settle for a little light boredom in exchange for a lack of bombs.

I can't blame them (though I did at the time) but I do remember the stultifying dreariness and the yearning for glamour and excitement. And jazz clubs. Because jazz was cool and sophisticated and pop had come over all Cliff Richard and Marty Wilde and was safely in the clutches of Tin Pan Alley and the BBC Home Service. An Education portrayed this desperation for escape beautifully, with some fabulous performances, although Peter Sarsgaard was surely miscast.

Nowhere Boy begins slightly earlier, when there was still a rough edge to Rock and Roll and even Elvis had not yet turned into a pudgy warbler of dreary ballads. John Lennon's first performance was as leader of a skiffle group. The shambolic recruitment of the band took me back to a day when, as a shy 15 year old I stood at the back of my local youth club. There was to be a festival of youth at the Civic Hall. A skiffle group was to be formed and could anyone play the guitar? To my mounting horror, I raised my hand with a show of bravado. I was in. My only niggling doubt was that I was neither able to play, nor did I own a guitar. But my Uncle Jack did. I cycled over. "Could I borrow your guitar and can you teach me to play it by Saturday?" And somehow he did, or at least well enough for us to perform in front of an audience of several hundred. And for that one evening I was overwhelmed by the glamour of show biz.

So as I watched Nowhere Boy, observing that 'The Quarry Men's' efforts were little better than those of the glorious but ephemeral Saint Anne's Youth Club Skiffle Group, I enjoyed for a brief moment the illusion that 'I could've been a Beatle.........'

Tuesday 2 March 2010

The White Ribbon

Anyone can tell you that what a successful thriller needs most of all is tension. And, appropriately enough for a rural-set film, The White Ribbon has it in spades.

Right from the off, I was unsettled. It’s likely that this stemmed from what I knew of the film’s plot (focusing on a series of sinister incidents in a German village), and my previous encounters with the work of Michael Haneke (specifically Hidden and Funny Games, both of which should be on your must-see list if you enjoyed this). Anyway, it is this tension that elevates certain scenes from being a black-and-white Lark Rise to Candleford.

Speaking of black-and-white, the film is beautifully shot. Every frame is a perfect photograph, and Christian Berger (the film’s cinematographer) deserves every award available for his efforts. Haneke also deserves plaudits for his scriptwriting ability, particularly for raising sympathy for a character that turns out to be an utter bastard.

Without giving too much away, the conclusion of the plot may be too open-ended for some, especially considering the film’s running time of 144 minutes (I agree that this may be 30 or so minutes too many) Considering the script was originally envisioned as a three-part television series, this may explain the rigid three-act structure and slow (but no less gripping) pace.

A truly great thriller then, but one that may be more comfortable viewing on DVD.

"This could change your child and change you"

poster for Man with a Movie CameraIf you love cinema and you haven't seen Man with a Movie Camera I just have to urge you to go and see it. Not only because it's a classic silent film playing  with introduction and piano accompaniment by perennial Borderlines favourite, Paul Shallcross. Made by pioneer soviet film-maker and poet Dziga Vertov (real name: Denis Kaufman 'Dziga' from the noise the crank of a mechanical camera makes) it's an exuberant and stimulating city symphony, full of tricks and surprises.

Perhaps the most persuasive way of getting across why everyone, young and old, should see it is to quote one of the best writers on cinema, David Thomson:
 You may very well not know the history: how Dziga Vertov (also known as Denis Kaufman) was an inspiring spirit  and innovator in the field of newsreel in the Bolshevik era. You may not know or be excited by the Soviet urge that film could show the new country to itself as a mechanical marvel. Most important, let's say that you have young children who are monopolized by the screens that convey television, the Internet, and video games. You want to show them something that says "movie" and you have come to realize that "movie" is not really of your child's world. It's not quite like madrigals or belles lettres. But it's changed. Try The Man with a Movie Camera.
You will find that the child's lack of contet or narrative guilt accepts easily Vertov's conceit of the cameraman as everyman - the proletarian hero who has the powere and the camera knowledge to show us not just ourselves , but visibility itself. Of course, the film is full of tricks and editing but they are all as candid and innocent as someone warning you that he's going to cheat you. I have never found a child who was not sad whe the film ended , who did not have hundreds of questions about the world being filmed and a new exhilaration with the whole process.
I will go further. This is only a very partial record of Russia in the 1920s, so filled with hope and beauty as to be out of its mind with poetry. In being out of its mind, the camera makes a first step towards story.  In truth, this film is a utopian vision - it never was or will be as free from friction and other problems. Like I am Cuba, looking at Cuba in 1964, it is far less about the real place that the profound desire to sing or shout out.

This could change your child and change you. With The Passion of Joan of Arc it is, I believer, the only silent film that needs no qualification or apology. It is perfect. It is new still. And it makes you love the world...
from David Thomson 'Have You Seen ...?'

Chris Atkins at greater length

For those who attended the stimulating Starsuckers screening (bit of a tongue-twister there!) with Q&A last night, you may be interested to read an extended interview with Chris Atkins in the current issue of Films & Festivals, aptly devoted to subversive documentaries. We have several of these in the Borderlines programme this year and if you found the questions raised in Starsuckers and Taking Liberties of interest,  I can particularly recommend The Yes Men Fix the World and We Live in Public alongside.

Turn to p. 40 for the interview.

And our special thanks to BAFTA and Screen West Midlands for making the series of events with Chris possible.

Monday 1 March 2010

Chris Atkins' Starsuckers Event

Just got back from a very successful evening at the Courtyard where Chris Atkins, the director of Starsuckers, was in attendance for a showing of his film. A lively Q&A followed with Chris highlighting the many hurdles he faced bringing this brave film to the screen. The movie will premiere on UK TV in the near future, following it's showing at the London Film Festival last year. This, in itself, is somewhat of a triumph as distributors were less than keen for the film to find an audience - being complicit in the celebrity 'merry-go-round' as they are. Unsurprising, as the more obvious 'targets' are joined in the finale by the organizers of 2005's Live 8 concert, who are exposed as naive at best. Not a populist view, to be sure. This is a film that should be seen as an education for media-hungry youngsters and Chris Atkins is keen to promote media studies in general as cautionary rather than celebratory. He is working tirelessly to promote the piece around the country and tonight's showcase at Borderlines was received enthusiastically. Be sure to catch it on TV if you weren't there tonight. You won't regret it. Unmissable!


The contrast between Seraphine and her German patron was beautifully done. I am left with images of her glowing face, the sounds of her mutterings and the steel heels of her boots on the cobbles, and his quiet concern for her. The part of the his sister was also a gem, with hints to Otto Dix's portrait of Sylvia von Hauden. Yet another great choice from the festival director.

Snap it!

Borderlines is such a difficult event to pin down we thought we'd throw out the challenge - in the form of a photography competition - to our audiences to capture the spirit of the festival, not an easy undertaking as most events take place under low light conditions. You can either submit images via Flickr to the Group Borderlines snapped! or e-mail your entries with Borderlines snapped! in the subject line. But no more that 1 photo per person per day, please!

The competition will be judged by Hereford Photography Festival and the prize (in addition to the kudos) is Riviera Cocktail, a film about the Edward Quinn, photographer of the 1950s glitterati, DVD courtesy of MovieMail. Deadline for entries is Tuesday 16 March, two days after the close of the Festival.

Katalin Varga

A true Revenger's Tragedy. Furies chasing a Fury in a landscape to match. An extraordinary sound track. And just as you are wondering how it is all going to end, it suddenly does, and you are left wondering whether there is hope for those who survive, or whether the circle of revenge will resume in the future. Again and again successive festivals show us that you don't need a big budget. In fact there might well be an inverse law of budgets that matches the inverse law of hype. All you need is a story, some actors, a camera and some film, and the passion and commitment to see it through. It all sounds so simple, but of course it isn't. Look on all you aspiring film makers and be impressed.

!!Stop Press!! Sleep Furiously producer in Ross tonight

Mid-Wales landscape, lakes and hills on a sunny daySleep Furiously director Gideon Koppel is currently in the US but the film's producer, Margaret Matheson, will introduce tonight's screening at St May's Church Hall, Ross, 7pm.

More Thanks for 'Welcome' and I hear 'Seraphine' is a Must See too

I would like to second 'Captain Finborough's' comments regarding Welcome. I went to it not knowing what to expect and came out of the cinema moved by the story, the subtle performances, and the quiet way it took us through a fraught and current human predicament -- immigration/migration. Thanks to Borderlines for bringing this to our screens. I've also heard that Seraphine is another one not on the mainstream awards lists, but that a gem nevertheless. So time to go order another ticket...

The Limits of Control

Oh dear. Pseuds' corner or what. I think we may have found the Borderlines Golden Turkey of 2010 with this one. This looked to me like the work of a first year film student with far too much money. There some striking images, the contrast between the chiselled features of the protagonist and the soft delights of his temptress being one of them, but it is easy to light and edit tableau. The final fortress may have been entered just by using the imagination, but I needed more than that to enter this film, and I found nothing. At almost two hours, it certainly touched the limits of my control.


The true delight of the festival is that every so often we are treated to a gem, and this is one of them. I approached it with some trepidation as other films on this issue have been heavy handed and clumsy, but not this one. Indeed it is an example of what good film making is all about. A compelling story, unobtrusively lit and edited, with strong performances and assured direction. Thank you Mr. Gillam

The Cove

Five minutes to go, and I walk into an empty auditorium. A woman enters who has a seat next to mine, then two more people follow her. That was Friday. On Sunday I am told that no more than twenty people attended the screening. You Animal Liberationistas, you Greenies, you Tree Huggers, shame on you all. This is a classically constructed, gripping documentary, about an annual event that obviously Hereford activists either know nothing about or do not care about, that should have been packed out. The one underwater shot as the 'harvest' began is on its own worth going for, and is certainly worthy of any horror film. If it gets it, the film will deserve its Oscar.