Friday 6 April 2018

Borderlines and the Snow Show

After all the grumbling about the snow and the films we missed, we thought it would be good to say something about some of those we did manage to see and so here goes:

Custody by Xavier Legrande was as unsettling as it was compelling. Comparisons to the Dardenne Brothers are certainly apt, especially their earlier works such as The Child. We agree with the review in Little White Lies that it is a film of two halves and the second half built to a fraught and nail-biting conclusion with the precision of the most effective of thrillers but not at the expense of its social commentary.
Lucrecia Martel's existentialist tale of colonial displacement, Zama, was beautifully framed. It made us think of Werner Herzog, especially Aguirre, The Wrath of God (definitely a good thing) but unlike Klaus Kinski's Conquistador, the central character sits as a relatively rational being which contrasts with the levels of crazy going on around him. A flawed character, yes, but Zama just wanted to return home to his wife and family but could not grasp how to be or what to do to achieve this whilst others, apparently being punished, seem to reap the rewards Zama seeks for himself.

The Shape of Water
The Shape of Water is not so much a remake of Jack Arnold's Creature From The Black Lagoon but more a second attempt at a sequel after Arnold's own Revenge of The Creature but it also so much more than that. A magical love story, set in the immediate post-Joe McCarthy era during which Hollywood produced many great films, Westerns, Melodramas and of course Film Noir with the screenwriters and directors un-credited and the anti-McCarthyite message cleverly cloaked. Conversely in The Shape of Water, nothing is hidden, and shows everything Guillermo del Toro and his team intended. It is a fable, a fairy tale about the beauty of otherness and as such reminds us of Cocteau's Beauty and The Beast, a mythic and stunning creation to which we would compare The Shape of Water. Guillermo del Toro, recently interviewed on Radio 4's Film Programme with Francine Stock, explained how he showed Sally Hawkins many silent films to study the use of expression in place of the spoken word, which she did brilliantly, and let us not forget that this is the woman who couldn't stop talking in Mike Leigh's Happy Go Lucky.

And thank you for showing Behind The Door - it was so worth seeing.

We came to The Wound, directed by John Trengrove, without any preconceptions but quickly found ourselves immersed in its questioning of what is manhood and why does it need to be publicly proven to other men via the traditional rites of circumcision? The principal character is gay and, if it were known, would not be treated as a man within the society he inhabits, and yet he submitted to the tradition in which he now oversees teenagers as they go through the same ritual. His treatment by his 'annual' lover, whom he has known and cared about for many years, is difficult to watch as we see the price paid by gays within deeply entrenched traditional communities. Some critics have questioned the ending and whether it was a mis-step but we felt his final action was still to protect the man he loves from being 'outed' rather than for his own safety. We found it both absorbing, educational and upsetting.

Lean on Pete, based on the book by Willy Vlautin, a great American storyteller in the vein of Raymond Carver and Denis Johnson, and a musician par excellence, was beautifully realised and so well researched as were the perfectly drawn performances from Steve Buscemi and Chloe Sevigny, who last appeared together, as Robin has pointed out, in Buscemi's directorial debut Trees Lounge from 1996 which we know he is not fond of but what can we say, we kinda love it.

Is Loveless a film where the message is also cloaked? It is certainly an important work from Andrey Zvyagintsev, a powerful and searing indictment of Russia under Putin where no lessons are learned as we watch the two main protaganists recycle their bitter and unhappy experiences together with new partners. The missing child, an innocent, is not even worthy of investment of time by the Police and it is left to volunteers to try and trace him. There are no questions about why he would go missing and this is in a country which is happy to erase people from its history in one way or another with no conscience on show.

And has the mobile phone ever been as prevalent as it is in Loveless? The lead female character is certainly obsessed with hers, constantly taking selfies and gazing longingly down into its screen. It is reflected in the windows of their apartment and in the windshield of the car. It is often the only source of light when it is dark but none of this is about communication which all fail to do face to face. It is the era of having many contacts and few friends.

We will see you next year.

Christine and Mark Renney from dull and flat Bedfordshire.

Sunday 4 March 2018

Hail to thee Borderline spirits

Sweet Country
We browsed the brochure, we picked and booked our films, we booked b&b and self-catering accommodation out in 'the sticks' and we were all set to arrive in Hereford on 1 March. Only we didn't because of, yes, the snow.

Our first film was to be Sweet Country the second fictional work by director Warwick Thornton since his debut Samson and Delilah in 2009, followed by Loveless by Andrey Zvyagintsev, both directors whose work deserves to be seen on the big screen. Our first film now will be Custody directed by Xavier Legrand, the winner of the Silver Lion at the Venice International Film Festival. Our second film to view will be Zama directed by Lucrecia Martel whose work The Headless Woman, which was screened at Borderlines in 2017 is one of our favourites of the last decade and which speaks of lies and the power to avoid punishment endemic in the wealthy classes.
However, we managed to get into Cambridge today to see Greta Gerwig's film Lady Bird which is funny and touching and was one on our list of bookings. We now hope to see Free and Easy by Geng Jun as we are intrigued by the comparisons to Keaton, Beckett and Kaurismaki - we are big fans of all three.
Free and Easy
In our local supermarket on Thursday we were able to pick up copies of The Party and The Death of Stalin - we watched and enjoyed both but were unable to recreate the Borderlines experience of a convivial viewing alongside other film enthusiasts in a drafty village hall with, possibly, a tea and biscuits pause half way through. But at least we were warm, watching films and safe.

We must thank the Borderlines Team, particularly Naomi, as it was agreed that we could either find other films to see using the tickets we could not take up or hold them over until next year. It is this love of film and appreciation of its audience that makes Borderlines an incredibly friendly experience and we appreciate the gesture very much.

We remain loyal supporters of the event and will see you tomorrow.

Christine and Mark Renney
from flat and dull Bedfordshire

Saturday 3 March 2018

A Distorting Lens of Directors

You Were Never Really Here
In one piece in Confessions of a Cineplex Heckler: Celluloid Tirades and Escapades (2000), Joe Queenan waits in the lobby of a multiplex, fully prepared to hand actual money to any member of the public who can name the director of the movie they have just watched. It did not cost him much. Even the ‘name’ directors didn’t register. I suspect that most other people recall their visits to the cinema in order of preference.

One pleasure of a new Borderlines programme is looking for work by directors who have delivered the goods in the past. They all have of course or they wouldn’t be in the schedule. When a former Borderlines selection is screened on Film4 I know it’s going to be worth catching. If someone made a Super Size Me for watching every new release, six hundred in the UK alone last year, I wonder which part of mind & body would fold first? There are many directors whose body of work I don’t know – but I do know that online reviewers rave about every single one. Here are my ravings.
Jeune Femme
There was some excitement among film society types in 1999 when Lynne Ramsay’s first feature Ratcatcher was released. Here was a new, young, female Scottish director who could really put a film together. In 2002 this excitement spread to the review sections of selected broadsheets when she followed it with Morvern Callar: Samantha Morton’s portrait of a modern woman sans archetype to a 'hold the zeitgeist' soundtrack. It was Generation X’s Lady Bird (2017) sans box office, leur Jeune Femme (2017) de l'époque. Since then Ramsey’s rate of output makes Stanley Kubrick look like Takashi Miike. To give you some idea of how long it’s been, Morton’s characters are still low-waged but they’ve moved beyond casual sex in the Costa del Sol. She played the cook in August Strindberg’s Miss Julie (2014). After Morvern Callar Ramsey spent two years adapting an early draft of The Lovely Bones – and then Alice Sebold’s novel was completed, published and became a best-seller. Peter Jackson directed the movie version in 2009; it stars a 14-year old Saoirse Ronan. Source: The Guardian 

It was another 9 years until Ramsay’s third feature, another adaption of a novel, the uncompromising We Need to Talk about Kevin (2011). The next person to describe Lynne Ramsay’s work as “uncompromising” or "long-awaited" could have clichés in their copy. By way of comparison, Michael Winterbottom directed 13 features between 2002 and 2011. Since 2011 Ben Wheatley has directed 5 films without surpassing his work on BBC3 Johnny Vegas sit-com Ideal. The long-awaited You Were Never Really Here (2017) is Lynne Ramsay’s fourth picture.
The Third Murder
You may have seen Nobody Knows (2004) by Hirokazu Kore-eda at Borderlines 2014. You may still be recovering. In modern day Tokyo four abandoned siblings are left to look after themselves. Kore-eda played me like an accordion for 141 minutes. His latest is at Borderlines 2018: The Third Murder.
During Borderlines I seek out depressing Eastern European movies that my local picture palaces would never dream of screening. So I’m always in the market for the latest by Andrey Zvyagintsev. His Elena (2011) was particularly bleak; I want to see how Loveless (2017) portrays today’s Russia. The plot also sounds a bit close to a notorious Christopher Morris sketch, Unflustered Parents, from his BBC Radio 1 show Blue Jam (1997 to 1999).
A Fantastic Woman
Billy Wilder watched Brief Encounter (1945) and wondered about the unseen character who lends Dr. Alec Harvey (Trevor Howard) his flat. What was his story? Then he made The Apartment (1960). Sebastián Lelio’s Gloria (2013) was inspired by Laura Branigan’s disco classic of the same name (1982). All together: “Will you marry for the money? Take a lover in the afternoon? Feel your innocence slipping away; don’t believe it’s coming back soon. And you really don’t remember? Oh, was it something that he said? Are the voices in your head calling, ‘Gloria?’ Gloria, don’t you think you’re falling? If everybody wants you, why isn’t anybody calllllling?” Now that’s a character description. It’s a Film4 regular. Lelio returns with A Fantastic Woman (2017), a big winner at the Berlin Film Festival. There have been many, many movies about gender identity. There are the ones you’ve heard of and the rest are plotted against deranged and exploitative, scattered beyond the Psycho (1960) to Dressed to Kill (1980) trend-line.
Lean on Pete
Andrew Haigh directed 45 Years (2015) – in my opinion the smartest British movie this century – so I am looking forward, quietly, to Lean on Pete (2017). I notice that it stars Steve Buscemi and Chloë Sevigny. Before her name grew an umlaut Chloe Sevigny’s second movie, Trees Lounge (1996), was Steve Buscemi’s first movie as director. He was an alcoholic who worked an ice cream van; she wore leggings and hung out. In 1994 Jay McInerney took seven pages in The New Yorker to call Sevigny “the coolest girl in the world”. Buscemi was still a bit cool because he’d played Mr. Pink in Reservoir Dogs (1992). Trees Lounge wasn’t that great – it took me two goes to realise I’d already seen it – but it was the mid-1990s, the internet was coming closer and the World was getting ready to party like it was 1999. Lean on Pete will be their second movie together.

Talking of the 1990s, spotting Claire Denis in the Borderlines 2018 brochure made me smile. I am very fond of the Nenette et Boni (1996) OST by Tindersticks, a Nottingham band who contributed to or composed six of her soundtracks. Nine of these numbers were compiled on a cover-mount CD free with the May 2011 issue of Sight & Sound (Volume 21 Issue 5). I was also reminded of screening the superb Beau Travail (1999) at Worcester Film Society, a few years before art house film societies were scuppered by, erm, Film4, the internet and a flood of cover-mount DVDs.
Let the Sunshine In
Seeing Juliette Binoche and Gérard Depardieu cast together gave me the giggles. Let the Sunshine In (2017) will be the first film to star both but it will not be their first memorable co-production. An entertaining little tiff began when Depardieu opined (2010): “Please can you explain to me what the secret of this actress is meant to be? I would really like to know why she has been so esteemed for so many years. She has nothing. Absolutely nothing! She is nothing. Compared with her, Isabelle Adjani is great even if she's totally nuts. Or Fanny Ardant - she is magnificent, extremely impressive. But Binoche? What has she ever had going for her?”

La Binoche responded in a dignified fashion: which is to say she landed a few digs whilst responding in a dignified fashion. They put on a great show. Recently, Depardieu starred in Marseille (2016), a Netflix series that garnered frenzied reviews in France. The rest of the World quite liked it however and he’s making a second series. He was also in Valley of Love (2016) with Isabelle Huppert. His gut dwarfed Death Valley. Binoche’s previous Borderlines appearance was last year’s surreal comedy Slack Bay (2016). Opinion was divided: I enjoyed it. The local linguists were in hysterics every time Inspector Malfoy spoke. And one-eighth of the audience left long before the end.

Sight and Sound (December 2017) observed that Happy End (2017), “Michael Haneke’s most interesting film since Hidden (2005), and also superior to his back-to-back Palme d’Or winners The White Ribbon (2009) and Amour (2012)” was his first feature since 2003 not to win a prize at the Cannes Film Festival. To the magazine’s own surprise it did not feature in their ‘Best Films of 2017’ poll. The Borderlines 2018 selections Zama, Western, Faces Places, Loveless, 120 BPM, You Were Never Really Here, God’s Own Country, The Shape of Water, Lady Bird and Let the Sunshine In all made the Sight and Sound Top Twenty. Such slips are relative. I really enjoyed The Lobster (2015) and so did many others. I could not find a cinema screening Yorgos Lanthimos’ follow-up, The Killing of the Sacred Deer (2017), nearer than Bristol. Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell are in it! Some movies just disappear.
Journey's End

Finally, Journey’s End (2017) adapts R. C. Sheriff’s 1928 play of the same name. It was first filmed in 1930 and has been made for television at least five times since then. The BBC’s 1954 version, probably live to air, starred Bryan Forbes, whose The L-Shaped Room (1962) is part of this year’s Borderlines programme. The book Hollywood’s World War I Motion Picture Images (Bowling Green State University, 1997) notes that the public appetite for war films waned after World War I – until The Big Parade (1925), a $10 million making hit for MGM, found “a kind of perfect neutrality between embarrassing flag-waving and noxious despair”.

It was followed by What Price Glory? (1926), based on a long-running Broadway play, All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), Journey’s End (1930), The Road to Glory (1936), The Road Back (1937), Three Comrades (1938) and many more depictions of life and death in the trenches. As many movies again were set among ‘the young Knights of the air’. In 1929, one of these, Wings (1927) was the first winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture. It might be worth watching a few of these for context then revisiting The Marx Brothers’ war movie Duck Soup (1933): “You're a brave man. Go and break through the lines. And remember, while you're out there risking your life and limb through shot and shell, we'll be in here thinking what a sucker you are.” This was before The Great War was re-made with a more convincing bad guy.

Journey’s End (1930) is of particular interest because it was directed by James Whale. Whale was born in Dudley, Worcestershire in 1889, the sixth son of a blast furnace man and a nurse. During World War I he served as a second lieutenant in the Worcestershire Regiment. He spent the final year of the conflict as a Prisoner of War. It was at the Holzminden POW camp that he first became involved in theatre. Ten years on he directed the premiere of Journey’s End, casting the little known Laurence Olivier in the lead role. Journey’s End soon transferred to the Prince of Wales Theatre where it ran for two years. In 1929 Whale was called to Broadway to direct Journey’s End there. It ran for a year. In 1930 he directed the movie version. In 1931 he directed the definitive Frankenstein. Well, how do you picture the monster?

Robin Clarke

Thursday 1 March 2018

Human Flow

Tuesday’s 1.30 screening of Human Flow at The Courtyard, alas the last of three, was all but sold out. Remarkable, for a 2hr 20 min doc that can at times feel unrelenting. But entirely appropriate. We all know, or think we know, the story - but the scale of it - 65 million displaced people across the globe - alone justifies the length of the movie. Ai Wei Wei’s documentary, however, is far more than an exhausting catalogue of suffering. Duncan Wardlaw’s BFF notes and multiple laudatory reviews make that very clear. But what’s less noticed is the scale of the effort that both Ai Wei Wei and his crew - over 200 people worldwide, a dozen of them, including Ai himself, cinematographers, sixteen additional cinematographers, thirteen drones and one steadicam operator. An extraordinary but wholly justified camera department that produced some stunning results - including two aerial shots that alone are worth the price of admission.

Ai Wei Wei’s mobile phone footage features throughout, as does Ai Wei Wei, cutting hair, swapping passports, respecting, investigating, collaborating, witnessing. The editing of 1,000 hours of footage had at its helm Niels Pagh Andersen, best known for Joshua Oppenheimer’s Academy Award nominated documentaries about Indonesia, The Act of Killing and The Look Of Silence. Anyone who wants more should go to the comprehensive press kit.
The Courtyard projection team at work

Even if you stuck around for the credits, there’s plenty more there, but what it won’t have is a big shout out to Simon Nicholls and the projection crew at The Courtyard. Pin sharp pix, beautiful sound - they produce excellent results day in, day out. Not easy. Anyone spurred to action by Human Flow found People In Motion at the door with flyers about their work with refugees. In a country whose proud record includes the Kindertransport, they, and Ai Wei Wei’s film, are more than deserving of our support.

Stephen Hopkins

Tuesday 27 February 2018

Shorts Selection

Journey’s End (2017), as I’ve mentioned in another blog, first opened as a play in 1928. It was directed in the theatre by James Whale. It ran for two years in London and, concurrently, one year on Broadway. Whale continued to direct Journey’s End in New York and, subsequently, directed the movie version in 1930. The following year he gave Frankenstein (1931) to posterity. James Whale was a gay man from Dudley.

Whale’s final days were fictionalised in the bio-pic Gods and Monsters (1998) starring Ian McKellen, Brendan Fraser and Lynn Redgrave. Lynn Redgrave died of breast cancer, aged 67, in 2010. This month Brendan Fraser gave the most revealing celebrity interview by any movie star for many years. The toll that his acting roles have taken on his health is interesting enough. Then he explains how #metoo includes men too. Please check out Zach Baron’s interview with Brendan Fraser in GQ magazine.

Ian McKellen is in one of the shorts being shown – free of charge, gratis and for nothing - by Borderlines 2018 tomorrow at 2.30pm, Wednesday 28 February.

He is the narrator of Edmund the Magnificent (2017, 14 minutes) which stars David Bradley, Rebecca Front and Mark Bonnar. It was written and directed by Ben Ockrent. The comedy, set in a picture-book version of the countryside, concerns a country show, a farmer and his pig. The pig is having problems in the bedroom. Here’s the trailer:
Edmund The Magnificent - Trailer from HAUS Pictures on Vimeo.

The Full Story (2017, 8 minutes) was written by Daisy Jacobs and directed by Daisy Jacobs and Christopher Wilder. Her previous animation, and her graduation film, The Bigger Picture (2015), won a BAFTA and was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Animated Short Film. In The Full Story (not a title made for search engines) a man, selling his childhood home, recalls its tense history. It is animated using various techniques. The film is in English but it was made in France, a major centre in animation. Here’s the trailer:

Submissions ÉCU 2015 - The Bigger Picture TRAILER from ecufilmfestival on Vimeo.

Remora (2016, 19 minutes) was written and directed by David Schofield. Filmed in Rhyl and Towyn on the North Wales coast, in November 2015, the story begins with a loan shark, his debt collectors and those vulnerable people, addicts and the mentally ill, who provide their bread and butter. Events happen. Here’s the trailer:

Remora Trailer from David Schofield on Vimeo.

And here’s the soundtrack, written by William Morris and performed by William Morris and The Didsbury String Quartet:
This is the film’s own website.

Ramona and The Chair (2016, 12 minutes) was written and directed by Dominique Lecchi. Ramona talks to her therapist but – don’t ask me how because I haven’t seen any of these – an empty chair in the room gets involved. You may recognise the empty chair from its work alongside Clint Eastwood.

I could not find a clip. The director discusses her film here:
The short has its own website.

Lecchi’s previous, and debut, short Balsa Wood (2014, 10 minutes) in its entirety:

Balsa Wood from Dominique Lecchi on Vimeo.

Fifth and finally, the comedy Some Sweet Oblivious Antidote (2017, 15 minutes). The title comes from ‘the Scottish play’, Act 5 Scene 3:

Cure her of that.

Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased,

Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow,

Raze out the written troubles of the brain

And with some sweet oblivious antidote

Cleanse the stuffed bosom of that perilous stuff

Which weighs upon the heart?

“Official synopsis: Exasperated by her daughter Ivie’s refusal to converse in anything other than Shakespearean verse, Esosa resorts to psychoanalysis for a cure. The psychiatrist and her therapist struggle for a solution until a full-on Shakespearean quote-off on a theatre stage uncovers the reason for Ivie’s affliction.” Source.

Another article.

It was written by Moya O’Shea, directed by Christiana Ebohon, has “a largely female crew” and a mostly British/Nigerian cast. Wunmi Mosaku is Esosa, Fatima Koroma is Ivie and Sir Lenworth George Henry, CBE plays the therapist.

Hence, three of these five shorts get a F-Rating and two of them are triple F-rated.

Ebohon has directed 96 (ninety-six) episodes of the beloved BBC1 dinner-time serial Doctors and a couple of the international smash-hit Father Brown as well as instalments of Emmerdale, Eastenders and Hollyoaks. Mark Williams, who plays the title role of Father Brown, was born in Bromsgrove.

I used to plough through scores of short films 15 years ago and, a few stand-outs aside, the quality of film-making and standard of story is far higher these days. Believe me.
Thirsting for more? Go mad.

Lenny “Lenny Lenny Len, Lenny Lenny Len, Lenny Henry Show” Henry is a Shakespearean actor from Dudley. As Stan Laurel didn’t say: All roads lead to Dudley but a pencil must be led. And we’re done. Enjoy the flicks.

Robin Clarke

Sunday 25 February 2018

I Still Hide To Smoke

I’d be surprised if this Borderlines came up with a film as relevant, shocking, courageous and timely as the one I saw last night at The Courtyard in Hereford. I’m sure I won’t see one for which, in its first incarnation as a play, the director was doused with petrol and had a lit cigarette flicked at her in a mercifully failed attempt to burn her to death. Rayhana Obermeyer’s I Still Hide To Smoke, set in a hammam in Algeria, is more than a revelation - it’s an urgent and necessary film about women, freedom, religion, sexuality, men and liberty. It has the backing of Costa-Gavras, echoes of Nell Dunn’s ‘Steaming’, and the lineage of Aristophanes ‘Lysistrata’ - not inappropriate for a film, through force of circumstance, mainly shot in Greece. The strikingly passionate performance of Hiam Abbas, an Israeli Palestinian actress most recently seen in Blade Runner 2024, brings to mind Brecht’s Mother Courage, whilst the final images of the film - countless black headscarves floating away on the wind - are a more than timely prophecy of the hijab protest we are now seeing in Tehran. Alas, last night’s screening of I Still Hide To Smoke was the only BFF screening, and the official YouTube trailer -

- isn’t, in my view, all that good. Anne Cottringer’s excellent BFF programme notes are available online, but for anyone who’s interested - and that should mean everyone - the French distributors press kit is a very thorough and beautifully produced summary of the film and its principal players. You can find it here. I urge you to seek out this brave and important film.

Stephen Hopkins

Saturday 24 February 2018

The Subliminal Strand

Phantom Thread

One delight of a new Borderlines programme is the search for strands the team may not have known they had. A 'Phantom Thread’ if you like. It is usually a good idea to set a story in a time and place. A background of civil unrest or civil war forces each character’s personal credo into sharp relief; a milieu between the war movies and tales of the defiant dispossessed. Unlike The Death of Stalin (2017) here’s a place where people can represent competing political ideologies with only the occasional threat of sudden violent death. There’s a 'There’s a Riot Going On' season: Milou en Mai (1990; France 1968), I Still Hide to Smoke (2016, Algeria 1995), The Nile Hilton Incident (2017, Egypt’s Arab Spring 2011).

Borderlines 2018 boasts a rich seam for art lovers. Ai Weiwei is best known to occasional browsers of Sunday supplements as the artist behind the 'Sunflower Seeds' sculpture at Tate Modern, London, in 2010: millions of individually hand-crafted, porcelain, sunflower seeds. Weiwei directed Human Flow (2017), a documentary about the 65 million refugees currently displaced around the World. I predict, like Steve McQueen or Anton Corbijn before him, that the framing is impeccable.
Loving Vincent

There are two bio-pics of artists: Loving Vincent (2017, Vincent Van Gogh) is animated in his Post-Impressionist style. His paintings are brought to life. Find out what 'Sorrowing Old Man (At Eternity's Gate)' was really like! Maudie (2016, Maud Lewis) is a big favourite of Toyah Willcox: “I love films! I have an expensive DVD library! One of the joys of where I live is that I'm 50 yards away from an arts centre that shows a film every Monday morning. I was blown away by Maudie with Sally Hawkins. It's about the naive artist Maud Lewis. Sally Hawkins’ performance in this is one of the best technical character journeys I have ever seen.” The Guardian
JR and Agnes Varda in Faces Places

Sally Hawkins’s last four movies are Paddington (2014), Maudie (2016), The Shape of Water (2017), Paddington 2 (2017). That is strong form. They all feature plenty of water. Agnès Varda’s latest documentary Faces Places (2017) was made with the artist JR. They are a good fit. He photographs the people they meet on their travels around France and turns these images into murals. His approach brings to mind Turner Prize winner Gillian Wearing’s 'Signs That Say What You Want Them to Say and Not Signs That Say What Someone Else Wants You to Say' (1993) on the scale of Turner Prize nominee Mark Titchner’s poster campaigns. Having found JR’s website –  – I’m reasonably wrong. His humour is much sillier. This is what JR displayed on a wall in Bethlehem.
The Nile Hilton Incident

Followers of Swedish cinema should note the five Ingmar Bergman films and three other Swedish directors. Look out for the acclaimed thriller The Nile Hilton Incident and the very enjoyable comedy A Man Called Ove (2017). Give the latter a go if you enjoy a swooping character arc but couldn’t stomach Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017). Borderlines 2018 opens with Ruben Östlund’s Palme d’Or winning The Square (2017), a study of ‘the art game’. Östlund’s previous film - Force Majeure (2014), an account of a family holiday at a ski resort that reveals a stark home truth - looked good and was good. The design left no shadows for the disgraced father to hide in.
The Square

The Square
 is a big favourite of Laurie Anderson: “There are not enough comedies now, so I was relieved to see this. It’s hilarious. It skewers the art world, which is long overdue: that whole scene is pompous and ready for satire. The film looks at what happens when people step out of their social structures in Stockholm, and it makes you realise how isolated people are within their scenes. Elisabeth Moss is fantastic in it.” The Guardian

I only pay attention to the film recommendations of female solo artists who had big hit singles during 1981. It has never let me down.

Robin Clarke
Festival Volunteer