Most popular posts of 2010

4 01 2011

 

… And if you’re still game for pointless lists, here are the 5 posts that proved most popular on this ‘blog with you, the readers, in 2010:

'Paranormal Activity'

1

Location, Location, One Location December 2009
2 comments

Luis Buñuel

Buñuel on set

2

The Luis Buñuel Film School February 2010
1 comment

Christoph Waltz in 'Inglourious Basterds'

3

Mind Your Language September 2009
2 comments

Mad Men

Draper thinks about smoking a fag

4

At The Movies with Don Draper March 2010
1 Like on WordPress.com,

Bad Santa? Michael Haneke

5

Happy Haneke November 2009
3 comments

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The Luis Buñuel Film School

22 02 2010
  

Luis Buñuel

Buñuel on set

Despite a fondness for cigarettes and bone-dry Martinis, the Spanish-born film-maker Luis Buñuel lived to the reasonably advanced age of 83. Had he gone on for 27 years longer, the director of Un Chien Andalou, Los Olvidados and Belle de Jour would be celebrating his 110th birthday today.

Buñuel’s work is still much admired by cineastes around the world, but its influence on wider film culture can be harder to pin down. His style of storytelling, in which dreams, memories and fantasies are taken at face value, and in which the church and ruling classes are ruthlessly satirised, is so distinct that it would be almost impossible to emulate. In fact, it’s hard to think of a single contemporary director whose work could be convincingly described as ‘Buñuelian’. The Swede Roy Andersson perhaps comes closest; his Songs From The Second Floor (2000) and You, The Living (2007) are both episodic, satirical and dreamlike in a way that recalls the Spanish director. And then there’s David Lynch of course, whose own insistence on ‘catching’ and running with intuitive ideas is close to the approach of Buñuel and his fellow surrealists.     

These exceptions aside though, it’s perhaps best to accept that the director’s lasting influence on cinema will have more to do with method and tone than content or style.

So, what can film-makers today learn from Buñuel’s work? And how can the old master inspire and challenge a new generation of directors?

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An Introduction to…

5 02 2010
Joseph Cotton

"Hello, Film Advice Hotline?" Joseph Cotton in 'Shadow of a Doubt'

For a long time, I resisted getting into The Fall. The band were on the John Peel show a lot during my impressionable teenage years, and I was always rather taken with their brand of angry Manc ranting. But, at the same time, I was aware that The Fall had been going since 1978 and had averaged at least an album a year, not to mention a whole mess of live recordings, bootlegs and rarities. If I started buying their records now, I thought, I’d have a whole lot of catching up to do. So, for some years, I did everything I could to ignore them. Then one day, out of the blue, I thought ‘fuck it’ and bought a CD or two pretty much at random. 

The cinema can be a bit like that too. Many of the most famous and influential directors of yesteryear have back catalogues that, to a newcomer, can be a little bit intimidating. You may have heard of Bergman or Hitchcock or Ozu and have a vague idea that their work is important in some way, but as a novice where do you start? Bergman made 44 films, Ozu more than 50, Hitchcock 57. Knowing which ones you should watch first, to get a sense of the director’s style and preoccupations, can be nigh on impossible.

Here, then, are my suggestions for the two or, at most, three films that might best introduce you to some of the most prolific Big Beasts of the cinema. 

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