Last month I was fortunate enough to see some good films rather than having to cherry pick from the usual blockbusters. Next year I shall definitely clear my diary for local film festivals. I give brief descriptions of each below but, as I don’t like to know much about a film before I see it, I have kept story and plot to a minimum.
I, Daniel Blake (2016)
Directed and written by Ken Loach, starring Dave Johns and Hayley Squires
This modern day drama set in Newcastle shows how people can fall on hard times, through no fault of their own, being let down by the bureaucracy of the benefit system.
Trying to maintain their dignity, forced to tick boxes which don’t always apply and a sense of frustration, it made me realise than anyone could find themselves in a similar situation. This film is the Cathy Come Home of today.
Keep Quiet (2016)
Directed by Sam Blair and Joseph Martin
This film tells the story of Hungarian politician Csanád Szegedi, who became vice-President of Jobbik, Hungary’s far-right party and an MEP. Played by himself, this vocal antisemite and Holocaust denier then discovers that he is in fact Jewish and his grandmother survived Auschwitz. We follow him as embarks on his search for self-discovery.Interestingly, there was a young Hungarian, Jewish student in the audience. She was able to answer our questions and told us that this story was not unique and that a good proportion of the relatively few Jews who survived the camps returned to Hungary and preferred to “Keep Quiet
Here is Harold (2014)
Directed by Gunnar Vikene
This Norwegian tragic-comedy follows the decline of Harold, the furniture shop owner, as an IKEA store opens opposite his and his journey to Sweden to kidnap the IKEA founder. The plot contains plenty of twists and turns.
Directed by: Jim Jarmusch, tarring: Adam Driver, Golshifteh Farahani
This gentle and almost hypnotic story, without an ending as such, revolves around the man Paterson who lives in Paterson, New Jersey. His humdrum life as a bus driver is only enlivened by his poetry writing, whereas his eccentric wife is forever dreaming of what might be.
The first two films were thought provoking, whereas the second two just took me along for the ride. What I liked in all of them was the lack of pretension of the appearance of both the actors and the sets that are evident in most of the films from UK and US. We can watch Disney for perfection and happy endings, if that’s our thing.
I would just like to mention a wonderfully acted series on TV called Moving On. Easy to miss as they are shown in the afternoon (I record them), there have been at least three series and each episode presents a different dilemma, leaving you wondering how you would have reacted in such a situation.
If I have read a book which is then made into a film, I have no desire to see it. If it is on the TV, I might dip in out of curiosity to see how the lead parts have been cast. This reminds me of the time when I was in a shop and, on spotting the book Pride and Prejudice, a customer turned to her friend and said “Look, they’ve brought out the book”!
What films have made an impression on you?