We’re a long way from Phuket, Toto

19 11 2010
Apichatpong Weerasethakul

'Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives'

If a passing stranger with too much time on his hands were to ask me to make a list of the ten most important film-makers at work in the world today, then the name of the Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul would be somewhere near the top.

Unfortunately, as I’ve discovered from bitter experience, the opinions of a semi-employable film ‘blogger count for little in this cold, hard world of ours. So it’s gratifying to see that Apichatpong (or Joe to his friends) is finally starting to receive the international recognition that he deserves for his work, with a Palme d’Or win at this year’s Cannes Festival and his latest film set to represent Thailand at next year’s Oscars.

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Another Year – A Review

11 11 2010

Another Year Mike Leigh

I’ve always had mixed feelings about the films of Mike Leigh. On the one hand, the 67-year-old director’s work is unique, intelligent and ambitious in a way that other British films often struggle to be. On the other, in films like Happy-Go-Lucky (2008), High Hopes (1988) and Abigail’s Party (1977) there always seems to be an uncomfortably thin line between characterisation and caricature, a line which the director, with his famous, semi-improvised approach to performance, seems too often to stray across.

So it was with bated breath that I settled down to watch Another Year, Leigh’s latest film, and a contender for the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Another Year tells the story of a year in the life of Tom and Gerri (Jim Broadbent and Ruth Sheen), a happily-married, middle class couple drifting slowly and contentedly towards retirement. He works as a geologist, she as a counsellor; weekends are spent tending their allotment and cooking for friends and family.

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