May to September

18 05 2010

Louis Malle 'Milou en mai'

'Milou en mai'

When I was fifteen

It was a very good year

A very good year for foreign films on Channel 4…


In The Wasteland TS Eliot famously wrote that ‘April is the cruellest month’. Well, I have to say, I’ve never really much agreed with him. Perhaps its the sight of the first butterflies and housemartins of the year, perhaps its the budding and blossoming of the trees, or perhaps its just that my birthday falls on the 28th of the month, but for me April’s always seemed to be a time of year full of hope; a time to start looking forward to the long hot summer ahead, or, if you’re not going away to the Med., at least to bank holiday weekends and fresh strawberries in the supermarkets.

But if April is a time of renewal then May is doubly so. May is bluebells in shady woodland groves and tentative visits to the seaside. May is fresh asparagus and cherries and that first barbecue of the year. For cinéastes May is also the month of the Cannes Film Festival: a time to be intrigued and excited by a whole new batch of fresh, nutritious world cinema.

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Chris Morris – The Movie

7 05 2010
Chris Morris Four Lions

'Four Lions'

It’s no exaggeration to say that Four Lions, released in UK cinemas today, is one of the most eagerly-anticipated films of the year. For a whole generation of twenty- and thirty-something viewers, its director Chris Morris is something of a counter-culture hero, the aggressively playful satire of Brass Eye, Nathan Barley and The Day Today still representing a high watermark for television comedy, much imitated but never bettered.

No less impressive is the pedigree of Morris’ co-writers Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain, best known for their work on Peep Show, Channel 4’s exquisitely uncomfortable and very funny exploration of modern social mores. And the subject matter of Four Lions promises great things too. The story of a group of blundering British-born jihadis who hatch a plot to bomb the London Marathon, it tackles a subject that has long been ripe for darkly comic treatment.

Everything seems to augur well then for a rip-roaring, taboo-busting satirical storm. And yet still, as I wait nervously in line to buy my ticket, I find myself strangely worried that what should be an important and entertaining British film might turn out to be, in the end, not actually that good.

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