Friday, 6 December 2013

Entretien avec R. J. Cutler

On a rencontré le réalisateur du documentaire The September Issue, R.J Cutler, qui nous a parlé de son film et sa rencontre avec Anna Wintour.

Image: Getty Images

The War Room, American HighBlack. White. et maintenant The September Issue. Votre filmographie révèle un intérêt persistant pour la culture américaine et son fameux way of life. Montrer le visage des Etats-Unis a-t-il toujours été votre ambition ?

Non, ce n'est pas vraiment mon intention première. Ma volonté est avant tout de raconter des histoires sur des être humains. Ce sont les gens qui éveillent ma curiosité et qui me procurent de l'énergie. Je n'irai pas jusqu'à me considérer comme un sociologue, mais je suis heureux que mon travail laisse cette impression.

Qu'est-ce qui vous a inspiré pour réaliser un documentaire sur le milieu de la Mode et sur Anna Wintour ?

La Mode est un monde fascinant à explorer mais ce qui m'intéressait vraiment, c'était avant tout la personnalité d'Anna Wintour. Voici une femme dont le monde entier connaît le nom, mais ignore la méthode de travail, une femme que personne ne connaît vraiment. Si on lit les ouvrages écrits sur elle, on remarquera qu'ils tournent tous autour de sa façon de travailler avec les gens, mais jamais de son travail sur le terrain.

Aviez-vous des préjugés à son endroit, avant de tourner ? Votre opinion a-t-elle changé par la suite ?

Je n'avais pas vraiment de préjugés avant de tourner ce film. J'étais juste curieux de connaître sa façon de travailler, son but, sa foi absolue en son propre instinct, avec cette totale absence de doute lorsqu'elle prend une décision. Elle ne pense pas une seule fois : "mon Dieu ai-je bien pris la bonne décision ?", pas une seule fois, à aucun moment. Mais, en même temps, elle s'entoure de gens doués. Cela ne l'effraie pas d'avoir autour d'elle des gens volontaires qui ont du caractère et qui sont obstinés. En réalité, elle sait qu'elle a besoin d'eux.

Etait-ce l'idée d'Anna de réaliser un documentaire sur l'exemplaire de Vogue du mois de septembre ?

J'ai d'abord dit à Anna : "Ecoute, Je veux avant tout savoir comment tu travailles" et elle m'a répondu : "Si tu veux vraiment le savoir, tu devrais dans ce cas faire un film sur la création de cette édition, car tout ce que je fais, je le fais pendant la préparation de cet exemplaire."

On a tendance à comparer facilement Anna Wintour avec Meryl Streep, qui l'incarne dans "Le Diable s'habille en Prada". Pensez-vous que le succès de votre documentaire soit lié à ce film ?

Oui, mais en même temps il y a tellement de caricatures de cette femme dans la culture populaire. Regardez une série comme Ugly Betty, ou Les Indestructibles des studios Pixar. J'ai même entendu dire que Johnny Depp s'était inspiré d'elle pour interpréter Willy Wonka dans Charlie et la chocolaterie de Tim Burton ; vous savez, avec ses cheveux lisses et ses énormes lunettes. En revanche, ce qui me désole un peu est d'entendre des gens dire qu'elle n'a rien de Meryl Streep. Il faut que le spectateur comprenne qu'il ne s'agit pas ici d'un personnage de fiction mais d'une personne réelle.

Certains critiques ont tant aimé le film qu'ils ont affirmé qu'il aurait dû faire l'objet d'une série TV. Avez-vous envisagé cette possibilité ?

J'y ai pensé en effet, car je connais bien le monde de la télévision. Mais je souhaitais avant tout faire un vrai long-métrage. Ce sujet se devait d'être un documentaire pour le cinéma car tout y est très cinématographique : Paris, New York et la mode sont tous des personnages de films. C'est ça le cinéma, aussi. Si vous faites de la télévision, c'est différent ; la télé, on ne la regarde pas vraiment.

FG (pour AlloCiné)

An Interview with R. J. Cutler

Image: Getty Images

We at Fohnhouse might like to think of ourselves first and foremost as connoisseurs of film, but that's not to say our interests don't extend outside the cinema screen. That's right, we're well rounded types who also take pleasure in things like art, music and popular culture, so, naturally, back when we were Screenrush interns, we were delighted to have the opportunity to sit down for a chat with the director of The September Issue, R. J. Cutler, to find out about the process of getting behind the dark glasses of Vogue's steely Editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.

The War Room, American High, Black. White, The September Issue. With all of your films there seems to be a theme running through them of American life and culture. Would you say that showing slices of the American society is something you're trying to do?

I would certainly say that that's what the work does. There's also the movie ‘Thin' which is about an eating disorder clinic in South Florida and many other TV series.

Is it just a coincidence that the focus is American?

No, I'm very proud that the body of work represents America in different slices but it's not my intention. My intention is to tell stories about people. It's the people who spark my curiosity and motivate me. I don't see myself as a sociologist or a chronicler of my nation, though I'm glad my work does that, I just see myself as someone who tells stories about people who strike me as fascinating, and Anna Wintour is the most recent among them.

From politics to teenage angst and now to fashion, what inspired this film?

Again, it's more that here's someone about whom I was curious. The landscape is very rich, certainly, but it's not that I thought, "Oh fashion is such an important subject, I want to explore it". It is a fascinating landscape, but it's the person. What stuck me about Anna was here's somebody who the entire world has heard of, but so little is known about her and, certainly, nothing is known about her work. If you were to look in the books, and the few things that have been written about her, there's very little information about her work style. There's maybe a bit on her conflicts with other people, but I was curious. She's great at what she does, and while you can disagree with the way she does it, you can't argue with her success. I like telling stories about people who care a tremendous amount about what they do, and do it incredibly well under high-stake circumstances. That's very interesting to me.

Did your opinion of her change throughout the making of the documentary, if you had a certain perception of her initially?

I didn't have a lot of preconceived notions about her going in; I really was just curious about her. But a number of things stuck with me in making the film, all of which are evident in the film - in the way that the film is my answer to the question. That's the movie. That's all the movie really is. Among things that are striking about her is the scope of her influence, which is enormous, the way in which she works, the decisiveness, this complete faith in her instincts and a complete lack of self-doubt once she's made a decision; she doesn't think "Did I do the right thing?", not once, not for a moment. Yet at the same time she surrounds herself with really talented people; she's not afraid to surround herself with willful, strong-minded, opinionated people. In fact, she knows she needs them, and that's a good combo-platter as we say.

And it's fascinating to see the relationship between Grace Coddingwood (creative director) and Anna, as they started at Vogue at the same time. 

Of course. The movie is about their relationship.

We hear it was difficult to get Grace on board the project, although she goes on to become an integral part of the story. How did you convince her?

First I had to realise that this was the film I needed to make, because generally if somebody says I don't want to have anything to do with you, I say ok, goodbye. But Grace didn't mean it. Grace didn't want anything to do with who she thought I was, but she really wanted to have something to do with me, she just didn't know.

For me, the breakthrough moment was when I realised her entire life's work is about collaborating with photographers and storytellers. That's what she does and that's who we are, and even though for many months she was adamantly opposed to being in the film, I realised there is no other movie I want to make, except a movie about Anna and Grace. I tried to think of something else but this was the film I needed to make, so I went to her and I told her that, and I also explained that if you do spend time with us, you'd see that you're going to really enjoy it. I asked her for just one hour and we filmed that and it went well.

Was it Anna's idea to make the documentary about the September issue?

I said to Anna, "look, I what to see how you do what you do", and she said if you want to see how I do what I do, you should make a movie about the making of the September issue, because everything I do, I do while making the September issue. I asked her how long it took and she said 7-8 months, and I said good, that's a lot of time.

So the September issue is the catalyst for what's to come throughout the rest of the year..

Well it is and it takes so long. For me, access over a lengthy period of time and money are all I need to make a movie. It's a lot but it's really all I need, and here was access.

Do you think The Devil Wears Prada is a factor for the film's success, because we started to see the humoristic side of her behaviour as a result of Meryl Streep's supposed impersonation?

Yeah I accept that but there are so many caricatures of Anna Wintour in popular culture. The show Ugly Betty has two, there's one in The Devil Wears Prada, in the Pixar film The Incredibles there's one, I'm told that Johnny Depp based his performance of Willy Wonka on Anna Wintour, and if you go and look at a picture you'll see the hair and the glasses, and those are the ones that come to mind. So there is a cultural familiarity with this caricature of Anna.

Do you think that has enabled people to appreciate her demeanour a lot more?

Maybe, and if so, very good; if it raises awareness, good. I love this movie so I want people to come see it regardless of what sparked their interest. If it's the fact they like Meryl Streep's performance in The Devil Wears Prada - fantastic. Sometimes what confuses me is if somebody says to me "well she's nothing like Meryl Streep", and I say ok, that makes sense. Why would you expect her to be anything like Meryl Streep? Meryl Streep's playing a fictional character in a fictional movie, and Anna's a real person; this is in fact what she's like. But other than that, I think it's wonderful.

Could part of the reason also be that people in society aren't generally as frank, so on the one hand we're in disbelief but on the other, we're able to live vicariously through her?

Sure, but I do think those who know Anna well would tell you although she's a straight shooter, she presents here opinions graciously, respectfully and diplomatically. There's no question for me that people project things onto Anna Wintour. I won't make this movie, but while I was filming I thought I'd like to make a movie called ‘Tell Me Your Dream About Anna Wintour', because in the fashion world I think almost everybody has had a dream about Anna Wintour because they think about her so much. She just sits there with her arms and her legs folded with her sunglasses on, staring straight ahead, and everyone thinks, "oh she's staring at me, she thinks my clothes are bad, she thinks I'm too fat". That's why it is so wonderful when Bob (cinematographer Robert Richman) is in the movie.

But you weren't in it?

Oh we're in it. The whole shoot is about the crew but I was relieved it was him and not me because then I could put it in the film. Are you kidding, If it were me you'd never see it; I wouldn't do that to myself! But it was a perfect opportunity for me as a filmmaker to break the fourth wall in a way that would accomplish what I really wanted to accomplish, which was for you the viewer to experience what it's really like when Anna turns to you and says "You better get to the gym", because Bob is really a stand-in for us, and she's looking right into the camera; she's talking to you as well as to him.

How did he feel?

He's a sport. He's been to the gym a lot, but he is generally a very fit man who had been working very hard on a movie for very long and, you know, you eat poorly, you don't get a lot of rest, you don't get a lot of time at the gym, you don't spend your Saturday in the park with your daughter. You spend it running around shooting and eating crappy food, and so this is almost 8-months into shooting a film and so he'd grown a bit of a belly. But he looks very good today.

As the film is getting positive reviews, some are saying it should have been a TV show because the 90-minute running time is too short. Did you toy with that idea?

I did think of doing it as a TV series and, as you know, I have a lot of experience in TV, I have wonderful relationships throughout the TV world, I've done a lot of work, these are people I know and I have a big company that produces a lot TV series, so originally that's how I thought of it. It wasn't until I thought, "oh I want to do a movie" that I realised what the full potential is. This subject deserves cinema and the movie is very cinematic: for Paris to be a character the way it is in the film, for New York to be character, for fashion to be a character the way it is. It's cinema. If you're doing television it's different; we don't really watch television, we just co-exist with it.

And for a big personality such as Anna Wintour...

Yes. Listen this movie is wonderful for television, and when it's on TV I'm confident it will do very well but I'm so grateful to have made a 90-minute, uninterrupted piece of cinema, and I thought a great deal about that while I was making it.

FG

Monday, 2 December 2013

Un Entretien avec Moby

Découvrez l'interview qu'on a fait avec Moby quand on était stagiaires, qui était en ville pour promouvoir son nouvel album, Wait for Me. Cliquez ici pour l'entretien en anglais. (R.I.P. screenrush.co.uk)

Comment êtes-vous devenu ami avec David Lynch, qui a signé le clip du premier single de votre nouvel album ?
David Lynch est l'un de mes réalisateurs américains préférés de tous les temps. En plus d'être fan de ses films, j'ai toujours apprécié son processus de création, car s'y côtoient des éléments conventionnels et des choses très expérimentales et singulières. On est devenus amis il y a deux ans, et on a réalisé quelques projets ensemble. Puis vint pour moi le moment de sortir le premier single de mon album. Habituellement, pour un artiste bien établi chez une grande maison de disques, le premier single est le plus commercial. Mais comme je suis actuellement un artiste indépendant, j'ai voulu que le premier morceau soit le moins commercial que j'ai jamais fait sortir. J'ai donc choisi Shot In the Back of the Head. C'est un instrumental bizarre qui ne peut être diffusé à la radio. Je l'ai envoyé à David Lynch en lui demandant s'il avait des images qui traînaient. Cinq jours après, il m'a envoyé le clip, qu'il a animé lui-même, et ça a chatouillé mon vieux côté punk-rocker – l'idée d'avoir un premier single qui ne peut être diffusé à la radio et un premier clip qui ne peut être diffusé sur MTV !

Êtes-vous fan d'autres réalisateurs, compositeurs, ou de leurs musiques de film ?

J'ai travaillé pour beaucoup de réalisateurs différents : Michael Mann, Oliver Stone... Certains sont prêt à expérimenter des choses nouvelles avec la musique, et le résultat est souvent intéressant. Je pense que Michael Mann s'oblige vraiment à utiliser des musiques intéressantes, de façon non conventionnelle. Lui et Oliver Stone sont très ouverts de ce point de vue. Les réalisateurs qui ne m'intéressent pas sont ceux qui utilisent la musique en suivant les règles. En fait, j'ai du mal à comprendre pourquoi ces derniers demandent des musiques originales, puisqu'au final cela sonne toujours pareil. En 1973, ils auraient dû enregistrer cinq heures de musique et les sauvegarder ! Il y a de la musique joyeuse, de la musique triste, de la musique effrayante... Mais de temps en temps, la musique d'un film lui devient consubstantielle, la musique et le film sont inspérables, et elle est plus stimulante. C'est le cas pour Blade Runner ou Le Parrain. Quand Francis Ford Coppola tournait Le Parrain, la Paramount, je crois, a essayé de renvoyer le compositeur – ils pensaient que la musique était trop ethnique, trop sombre. Mais ils ont aussi pensé à remplacer Al Pacino par Robert Redford... En vain, heureusement.

Quels sont vos réalisateurs préférés ?

Hormis David Lynch, mon réalisateur préféré est Takeshi Kitano. J'adore ses films, ils sont incroyables. Danny Boyle devient un réalisateur très intéressant. Mais pour Slumdog Millionaire, c'est bizarre... J'ai trouvé que le travail fait dessus était phénoménal, mais je n'ai pas tellement aimé le film lui-même. J'ai seulement éprouvé de l'admiration pour l'auteur qu'il est devenu, parce que quand il a commencé, j'avais l'impression qu'il était une sorte de savant en pleine expérimentation, qu'il ne savait pas très bien ce qu'il faisait. Mais maintenant, il a l'air d'avoir pris confiance en lui comme réalisateur. Je m'intéresse beaucoup à ce qu'il va faire prochainement, car il peut faire ce qu'il veut. Et puis avec la franchise 28 jours plus tard et 28 semaines plus tard, il est devenu quelqu'un qui peut trouver des financements pour faire un film. Sa prochaine réalisation sera soit confuse et commerciale, soit phénoménale et passionnante.

Plus on rapporte d'argent, plus on a de libertés ?

C'est un compromis. Si on a du succès, cela suscite beaucoup de pression, de confusion. Il y a des gens qui savent très bien gérer cela – les gens qui veulent obtenir du succès et qui ensuite savent quoi en faire. Moi, je n'ai jamais anticipé le succès, donc quand mes disques ont commencé à cartonner, j'étais paumé. C'est bien d'avoir des auditeurs, mais quand on cherche le succès, il faut trouver un compromis, et à ce moment de ma vie, ce n'est pas que je ne voulais pas l'obtenir, mais ce n'était pas mon point fort, contrairement à d'autres.

Vos chansons ont été utilisées dans plusieurs films, comme "Porcelain" pour "La Plage" de Danny Boyle...

C'est tiré de l'album Play. Quand cet album est sorti, ce fut un échec. Peu d'exemplaires vendus, les critiques étaient mauvaises, et personne n'est venu aux concerts. Puis certaines choses ont amené un public plus large à ma musique, dont Porcelain et La Plage. Le film n'a pas été un si grand succès au final, mais à ce que je sais, c'était le premier grand film de Danny Boyle après Trainspotting et le premier film de Leonardo DiCaprio après Titanic, donc quand il est sorti, tout le monde est allé le voir. Porcelain était un élément essentiel du film et esthétiquement, ça marchait très bien. Plus égoïstement, cela a aussi empêché l'album de tomber dans l'oubli. J'ai eu de la chance.

Vous avez aussi travaillé sur le James Bond "Demain Ne Meurt Jamais"...

À vrai dire, je n'ai jamais été très fan de James Bond. J'ai vu tous les James Bond, mais je suis davantage fan de Star Trek et de SF. Une de mes plus grandes déceptions reste le fait que J.J. Abrams a failli utiliser une de mes chansons dans le nouveau Star Trek... En tant que "sci-fi geek", j'aurais juste adoré, mais au final ça ne s'est pas fait. Pour ce qui est de James Bond, le thème original est parfait. C'était une mauvaise idée de le refaire, donc je n'étais pas très content de ma version de la chanson.

Êtes-vous fan de cinéma européen, et plus particulièrement de cinéma français ?

Le cinéma français est particulièrement remarquable, parce que je n'arrive pas à savoir ce qu'il dit du caractère de ce pays. L'industrie du film d'un pays reflète vraiment son caractère, et quand je regarde le film français, je me demande ce que cela dit de la France, car quelques films français sont très perturbants, comme Baise-moi – il me faut des antidépresseurs ensuite. Mais une chose que j'apprécie dans le cinéma français, c'est sa volonté de faire réellement de l'art, d'accomplir une production intellectuelle. C'est assez impressionnant de voir que même un réalisateur comme Luc Besson, qui a beaucoup de succès, tourne toujours des films comme Leon, un blockbuster qui a fait un carton, mais qui avait quelque chose d'étrange. Même pour ce qui est des grosses productions comme celles-là, les films français sont toujours un petit peu différents. La manière française, à mon avis, peut surtout se comparer à celle du cinéma de Hong Kong, au sens où on y retrouve une convention qui a du sens, mais aussi des éléments singuliers, déconcertants, au bon sens du terme.

Souteniez-vous des films à Cannes ?

Le truc avec Sundance et Cannes, c'est qu'il n'y a plus de films indépendants. Quand on voit qu'un nouveau film de Jim Carrey est dévoilé à Sundance, on comprend que quelque chose va de travers ! Donc, c'est ce qui fait qu'on s'intéresse aux festivals de Tribeca, de Berlin, ceux qui sont restés fidèles au film indépendant. Je comprends que les gens qui dirigent Sundance et Cannes se doivent d'avoir de grands films pour continuer à faire venir les vedettes, la presse et l'argent, mais je m'intéresse personnellement aux festivals qui soutiennent le film indépendant.

FG & MP (pour AlloCiné)

An Interview with Moby

Check out the interview we cats did with Moby when we were interns, who was in town to promote his new album, Wait for Me. Lions and Lynch and Boyle, oh my! Click here for the French interview(R.I.P. screenrush.co.uk) 



How did your friendship with David Lynch come about? 

David Lynch is one of my favourite American film directors of all time. In addition to loving his movies, I've always appreciated his creative process because there are a lot of conventional vernacular elements in his films, but they're also deeply experimental and very idiosyncratic. We became friends a couple of years ago, and we've worked on a few things, and when it came time to put out the first single for this album, normally for an established artist on a major label, your first single is your most commercial, but as I'm now an independent artist, I wanted my first single to be arguably the least commercial single I've ever put out so I picked the song Shot In The Back of the Head, which is a strange instrumental that can never get played on radio. I sent the music to David and I asked him if he had any footage lying around and five days later he sent me the video, which he had animated himself, and it really did appeal to the old punk-rocker in me - the idea of having a first single that can't get played on radio, and a first video that can not get played on MTV!

Your song Porcelain was is in the Film The Beach, which was scored by David Lynch's collaborator Angelo Badalamenti. Are you a big fan of his work, specifically his work with Lynch, as you have sampled a theme from the TV series Twin Peaks in your song Go

I only know his work with David and I'm a little embarrassed by my ignorance. I don't know what Angelo has done outside of working with David but the Twin Peaks and Fire Walk With Me soundtracks, and the Julee Cruise album are phenomenal. They're some of my favourite records ever made. It seems like just a remarkable partnership. He clearly understands what David's trying to do because David is a great sound designer, but he doesn't want to be a musician. He loves music, he loves working with musicians but I think he likes the idea of being more of a listener than a musician. My favourite thing that they've ever done is on the Fire Walk With Me soundtrack. It's a song called Pink Room and it's a cello and a drum and some guitar. It has so much space and atmosphere to it.

And Fire Walk With Me is a very idiosyncratic film, following Twin Peaks, which in itself is very unique... 

Yes I actually liked Fire Walk With Me more than Twin Peaks because it's a lot darker. When it came out it really disappointed a lot of people, as with Lost Highway, and then Inland Empire is one of the weirdest commercial movies he's ever made. I saw it four times in the theatre because I loved it so much, and so it's almost this inverse thing where the less other people seem to like his movies, the more I invariably end up liking them.

Are you a fan of any other directors, composers, or their work on a particular film score? 

I've done music for a lot of different directors: Michael Mann, Oliver Stone... and some are really adventurous with their use of music and do really interesting things. I think Michael Mann really pushes himself to use interesting music sometimes in very unconventional ways. Sometimes in quite conventional ways but him and Oliver Stone are people who are open to anything. The directors that I have no interest in working with are the people who just use very conventional score. At this point, I honestly don't even know why they commission new score because it all sounds the same. In 1973 they should have just recorded five hours of stock score... there's happy score, there's sad score, there's scary score, you know, but every now and then music is used in a film, and it becomes such an integral part of the movie and invariably it's more challenging, like the score for Blade Runner, or even the music for The Godfather. When Francis Ford Coppola was making The Godfather, Paramount, I believe, tried to fire the composer - they thought the music was too ethnic and too dark. I think they also wanted to replace Al Pacino with Robert Redford, but luckily the studio was not able to implement it.

Do you tend to visualise as you compose? 

No. I mean I like music, like the music on this album Wait For Me. One of the reason I like this album is because it creates almost a visual tabula rasa; it doesn't seem like it's imposing anything on the listener. It kind of just clears the slate and lets the listener project upon it.
But as far as director, apart from David Lynch, my favourite working director would be Takeshi Kitano, the Japanese director. I love his movies; I just think they're amazing. Danny Boyle is becoming a really interesting filmmaker. Slumdog Millionaire, it's strange... I thought the craft behind it was phenomenal, but I didn't like the film that much. I was just kind of in awe of what an auteur he's become, because when he started out, I got the sense that he was sort of a savant, like he didn't 100% know what he was doing and now he seems like such a confident director. I'm really interested to see what his next project is because now he can do what he wants. There was also the 28 Days/28 Weeks Later franchise, and so he's established himself as someone who can raise a lot of money to make a movie. He's next movie will either be confused and commercial or phenomenal and interesting.

It seems as though the more money one makes for a studio or record company, the more creative license he or she is given on future projects. 

It's a trade off. If you make success, it can create a lot of pressure and confusion. There are some people who are really good at dealing with success - people who want success and then when they get it they know what to do with it. For myself, I never expected to have any success, and so when I've had records that have sold well, I've just been confused by it. It's nice having an audience, but when you pursue success you have to compromise, and at this point in my life, it's not that I don't want to compromise, I'm just not good at it. There are some people who are great at artistic compromise; I'm just not one of those people.

You set up the site mobygratis.com for independent filmmakers. Why did you set up a project to help filmmakers as opposed to struggling artists? 

There isn't much I can do to help up and coming bands and DJs apart from maybe setting up a volunteer legal service or something, because everyone needs legal advice.
The university I went to is called SUNY Purchase and it's mainly a performing arts school, and they had a huge film programme. I think they're actually the last school in the United States to have a major in experimental film, and so since going there, I've just had a lot of friends in the world of indie film. Their biggest recurring complaint is that licensing music for movies is really difficult, and I've watched my friends making small indie films. Someone sits down to write a book, it's a difficult undertaking but it's basically just him or her with a computer. I sit down to write music, again, it's not an easy undertaking but there's not a huge time and financial investment in it. To make an indie film is the most time intensive, money intensive, artistic undertaking I can think of. My friends make indie films, they mortgage their house, they sell everything they have, they take out ten credit cards, loans and all these things just to make an indie film, so mobygratis.com is my way of trying to make their lives a little bit easy. It's like saying here's one part of the film making process that isn't going to cost anything.

On the big budget side of the industry, your songs have been used in many movie. Could you give us your thoughts on the following collaborations:

Porcelain/The Beach 


When the album it was off of, Play, first came out, it was kind of a failure. It didn't sell well, didn't get good reviews and no one really came out to the live concerts. Then a few things happened that brought my music to a bigger audience, and one of the big things was Porcelain and The Beach. The movie didn't do all that well long term, but as far as I know, it was the first big Danny Boyle movie after Trainspotting and the first Leo DiCaprio movie after Titanic, so when it first came out everybody went to see it, and Porcelain was such a centre piece of the movie, and aesthetically it really worked. There's this beautiful shot of the island and then the song plays and it works really well. Selfishly it also helped save that record from obscurity. I got really luck.

James Bond Tomorrow Never Dies remix 

If I'm honest, I've never really been a big James Bond fan. I've seen all the James Bond movies but I'm more into Star Trek and science fiction. One of my big disappointments is that J.J. Abrams almost used one of my songs in the new Star Trek movie, and just for pure sci-fi geek status I would've loved that; however, at the last minute they didn't. But the original James Bond theme is perfect. It felt wrong to redo it so I wasn't really happy with my version of the song.

Your video We Are All Made of Stars has you in a space suit against a lot of bleak images from Hollywood. Are you critical of the Hollywood machine? 

It's hard for me to generalise because percentage wise, I would say there are just as many good indie films as Hollywood films. I live in New York and within a 10-minute walk from my house there are probably 10 or 11 theatres that play nothing but indie films, so I see a lot of them. A lot are really bad but there are also some amazing ones. The same thing is true of Hollywood so I think the success rate of Hollywood and indie films is about the same. Cleary indie film needs more support and indie filmmakers need to be given more carte blanche to experiment, because I think that when indie film doesn't work is when it's trying to be too conventional. My favourite indie films are the ones where the director really lets himself or herself do something really strange and idiosyncratic.

Like Eraserhead

Or even one of my favourite movies last year, Let The Right One In. It's an indie film, it's very unconventional but it really works. It's just an amazing film. I think I'm more critical of the institution of fame because it's a waste of time. I mean it's entertaining, it's a great spectator sport, I just think it's sad that so many people aspire to be famous, and so many famous people make themselves miserable trying to remain famous. The only happy famous people I've ever met are dumb famous people. Anyone with a degree of intellect or character who becomes famous is slaughtered by it.

FG & MP

Friday, 29 November 2013

Snowpiercer (2013)


Trains and philosophy have a long history – from the apparently faultless argument for the existence of a god which posits the illogicality of an endless series of carriages with no driver, to the juicy anti-determinism argument which detests the idea of humanity’s journey as being one that merely moves along predestinate grooves (alright, that was a tram, but the idea’s the same). Snowpiercer, the new film from director Bong Joon-Ho, adapted from Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette’s cult-y French BD (graphic novel) Le Transperceneige, takes a rather more literal approach to train-based philosophy.

Set in the near future after a The Day After Tomorrow-style environmental catastrophe (albeit one with slightly more sci-fi overtones) has made the world a frozen and uninhabitable wasteland, the film sees the last remnants of the human race living aboard a supertrain travelling constantly across a worldwide rail network, powered by a perpetual motion machine. The people up front lie in the lap of luxury while those in the rear live in squalor, eat slimy nourishment bars and dream of a fairer world. Under the reluctant leadership of Curtis (Chris Evans), a group of these tail-enders set out towards the engine.

Evidently, the journey at the centre of the film, the rise of the outcast against the oppression of the ruling classes, follows a well-worn path. Very much like the titular train itself, Snowpiercer is cosmetically sleek but underneath the surface we find that the clanks and rattles are very familiar. Logic is also an outside consideration, and there are some glaring errors and oversights. This isn’t to say that the film isn’t enjoyable, however. It is. Very. If anything the simple plot helps the film along, letting the weight rest on the direction and the performances, both almost faultless. There is a sense that nobody has been constrained here, that no limits were imposed on the artists.

I only know Bong Joon-Ho from his sweet, inventive and emotionally engaging monster picture, The Host. The visual mastery is once again present, as is the refreshing ingenuity. As with The Host, no scene unfurls quite as you expect it to, and even the blandest of character moments are brought to glorious life under Bong’s playful eye. There are one or two moments where the budget doesn’t quite match the ideas, and the view from the train never looks like anything more than green screen, but this disjunction only serves to remind us of the visual nature of the narrative.

Every performance has its own special timbre, with each actor seemingly approaching the script as a monologue, and yet they all somehow mesh into a beguiling harmony. Tilda Swinton’s monstrous Northern ambassador to the lower classes is perhaps the most adventurous and (as a result?) the most successful. Swinton chews, slurps and caresses the scenery in equal measure, and draws the eye in her every scene. Chris Evans’s hero is weary and driven, but likeable enough to carry us through the formulaic moments and, crucially, believable enough to support the more outlandish ones (though, this being Bong, one never quite knows how funny the dark bits are supposed to be, and vice versa). The Host’s father and daughter, Song Kang-ho and Go Ah-sung, are back here in matching familial roles and as wonderful as ever, affecting and sweet. Jamie Bell as chirpy sidekick and John Hurt as wise old sage do well with the little they have, and Ed Harris gets to ham it up while eating beef. While there might not be any career-best performances herein, everyone (with the possible exception of Harris) is at the upper end of their game.

With its focus on class division above race, this film feels somehow timely, a fable for the credit-crunch generation. It certainly has the timelessness of a parable, which just might tell us something depressing about ourselves. Humans oppressing humans, classes imposing themselves and power being misused are all cyclical occurrences, like the fluctuating temperature of the planet. That good must always fall to bad, and bad to good, is something Bong Joon-Ho understands, and Snowpiercer neatly rides this dichotomy.

While it lacks enough originality to be called a masterpiece, Snowpiercer has a distinct personality and it won’t be surprising to see it listed among the top films of the year. Smooth, comfortable and with some stunning scenery, this is a train everyone should take.

4/5

MP

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Doctor Who at 50: The Top Ten

Here we are, at last, at the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. I have loved this programme since I was five years old and caught part of a repeat of Revelation of the Daleks on BBC 2, completely by accident (by brother liked The Man from UNCLE, which was repeated beforehand). So much has already been said about the series and why it has lasted so long, but I wanted to add a few of my own thoughts. First up, that traditional fan pastime – the top ten list!

For true Doctor Who fans, however, picking favourite stories is something of a Sophie’s Choice – out of over 200, how to pick just ten? This list, then, is not supposed to be exhaustive or perfect or definitive. These are simply the stories that, at this moment, I feel sum up just why Doctor Who is so magical. In no particular order!

The Seeds of Doom



Doctor Who at its most adult, and its most stylish. The Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith (to my mind the greatest Doctor/companion pairing there has ever been) are in Steed and Peel mode, dashing off to Antarctica to deal with a suspicious pair of alien pods in a taut and claustrophobic riff on The Thing from Another World, and then returning to England to face the fruit of one of said pods, along with an eccentric maniac who is desperate for a greener world. People who claim that the Doctor is never violent might want to check out the gleeful manner in which he punches a lackey’s lights out here! The delicious villainy of barmy botanist Harrison Chase (Tony Beckley, also known as The Italian Job’s Camp Freddy and the chilling psychopath in When A Stranger Calls) puts him amongst the cream of Doctor Who villains, ably matched by John Challis (yes, Boycie!) as his nasty henchman Scorby. Extra points for Amelia Ducat, a supporting character who wrenches the scene from anyone she plays against.

Enlightenment




Coming at the end of the so-called ‘Black Guardian trilogy’, Enlightenment stands head and shoulders about the previous instalments in offering a tale that is original, profound and superbly well-acted (by almost everybody). The Doctor and his companions end up in a space race (in period sailing ships, of course), with the prize being the mythical Enlightenment. Their fellow competitors are Eternals, beings who exist outside of time. For them, ephemeral human beings are almost meaningless playthings, though one of them takes a liking to companion Tegan. Indeed, Enlightenment has a surprisingly emotional dimension that is absent from much of classic Doctor Who. Tremendous performances from Keith Barron and Christopher Brown more than make up for the more pantomime villainy of Lynda Baron and Leee John. A pity that the final showdown between good and evil is marred by the representatives of both camps wearing birds on their heads, but you can’t have everything.

An Unearthly Child



This is where it all began, of course, but this story is fascinating and wonderful in its own right, quite apart from its place in the show’s history. Two schoolteachers, Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright, follow an odd student home, only to find out that her home is a police box in a junkyard. Forcing their way in, they find that all is definitely not what it seems, and end up on the adventure of a lifetime with the unearthly child Susan Foreman and her equally unearthly grandfather, the Doctor. Episode One functions almost as a standalone episode, but the following dark adventure with a tribe of cavemen still stands up well, with William Hartnell’s grouchy Doctor never more alien and the companions never more genuinely terrified.

City of Death



It is sometimes hard to find enough superlatives for this story. Written, at least in part, by Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy scribe Douglas Adams, filmed in Paris and featuring a villain who has since been a baddie in Indiana Jones, Star Wars, James Bond and Harry Potter, City of Death is an utter treat. It was one of the first stories I watched, and based on this I had no idea that Doctor Who was a low-budget affair. The location work is glorious, Paris filmed at a mad dash looking more chic than ever, and the special effects are highly effective. One effects sequence (the dry-run Louvre heist) is almost indecently good. The dialogue sparkles like crème de menthe, and the Doctor and companion exude cool – no doubt helped by the real life romance between Tom Baker and Lalla Ward. Endlessly quotable (‘I say, what a wonderful butler – he’s so violent!’), City of Death is better than bouillabaisse from Maxim’s.

The Curse of Fenric



Chilling, deep and dark. After years of hard science and campy supervillains, Doctor Who went back to horror and didn't pull its punches. A rare foray by the series into true vampirism, it is the background tale of the Doctor as an elemental force for good, fighting the awful creatures which live in the outer darkness, which makes this a particularly powerful adventure. Equally rare is the focus on the companion, with Ace the first assistant to really receive special attention from the writers (something which would, of course, become de rigeur post-2005). Her relationship with Captain Sorin is very sweet, and the scene in which she breaks down as the Doctor claims not to care about her features some of Sophie Aldred’s very best acting. A roomful of vampire secretaries, a tense attack on a church and the chillingly simple sight of a dead man’s eyes opening underwater – this story is jam-packed with memorable images. Excellent acting work too from Just A Minute host Nicholas Parsons as the vicar who loses his faith – his reading of the line ‘I wish to God he never had…’ still sends shivers down my spine.

Rose



This is the episode that marked the triumphant return of the series after a nine-year absence from our screens (and 16 years since it was on as a proper series). It’s a bit CBBC, and the music is wildly over the top, but it was exactly what the series needed to get it back into the mainstream. Billie Piper makes for an excellent audience identification figure, while Christopher Eccleston is a wonderfully mysterious and charismatic Doctor. It leaves in just enough of the old Who magic to please die-hards, but adds a bright, glossy modernity that, while it might be seen as pandering to the reality-TV generation, was actually a canny move on the part of new showrunner Russell T. Davies. While previous attempts to resurrect the show had delved deep into its convoluted mythology (the TV Movie, Death Comes to Time, Scream of the Shalka), the 2005 return put the show firmly back into its rightful place as a teatime family show with levels accessible to every generation. The only real criticism is the oddly coy approach it takes to death, hitherto an important aspect of the show. This would, however, be rectified as the series continued.

Blink



Written by current showrunner Steven Moffat at the time when he could really do no wrong, Blink is a standalone episode with barely any Doctor but spades of chilling atmosphere. In years to come, this is the one that people will remember. Just as people still talk about ‘the one with the giant maggots’ or ‘the one with the Yeti in the underground’, so future generations will talk in awed whispers about ‘the one with the statues that come alive when you’re not looking’. The twisty plot works beautifully, the monsters are truly creepy, and Carey Mulligan is marvellous in the lead (it is little wonder that she is now all over Hollywood).

Ghost Light



A deliciously barmy and well put-together piece, the very last story made in the series’ original run shows just how much the programme had improved before it was sadly taken off the telly. Exploring themes of identity and evolution, Marc Platt’s literate script contains a barrage of in-jokes relating to Victorian literature (and one lovely Douglas Adams reference). The set design is among the best we've ever seen on the show, and the supporting cast is a delight. Ian Hogg’s blackguard rules the roost, every bit the horrible cuckoo, Michael Cochrane takes great pleasure in playing mad, while Sylvia Sims and Katherine Schlesinger are by turns touching and terrifying. Altogether now...♫That's the way to the zoo, that's the way to the zoo!♫


The Web of Fear



Recently rediscovered almost in its entirety, this story is a perfect example of the brand of very British weirdness Doctor Who does so well. Robotic Yeti with deadly web-guns, under the control of an evil, disembodied force called the Great Intelligence, patrol the London Underground, beneath a deserted city. A deadly fungus is spreading through the tunnels, smothering everything it encounters. A rag-tag band of soldiers and scientists are holed up down there too, desperately seeking a solution to the menace. Into this potent brew come the Doctor and his young friends, drawn there by the revenge-seeking Intelligence. The template this story draws up – the ‘Yeti on the loo’ scenario, as Jon Pertwee described it – would go on to define the show for the next five years.

The Caves of Androzani



Script editor Andrew Cartmel has since claimed that a Doctor who is like a leaf in the current is wrong for the series, but this story perhaps works so well because that is exactly what it gives us. The Doctor is completely at the mercy of other characters, and only wants to save his friend. Stunningly directed by Graeme Harper – it isn't for nothing that he’s the only old-school director who has been brought back post-2005 – and blessed with a gloriously uncompromising (and uncompromised) script from Robert Holmes, this is as bleak as the series ever got. Ending with a bloody, bruised Doctor dying to save his companion, it reaffirms the character as a hero, one who will do anything for his friends.

But this is far from all – we haven’t even mentioned Jon Pertwee’s superior dandy, Paul McGann’s wonderful turn in his one-off TV movie (and triumphant return in this recent gem), or Matt Smith’s clown-with-a-frown. We said this list wasn't going to be easy…from these Doctors you might want to watch Day of the Daleks (Pertwee in a Terminator-style adventure with future guerrillas), aforementioned TV movie which is a fascinating glimpse at how an American-produced series might look, and Neil Gaiman’s The Doctor’s Wife, which gives a new perspective on the Doctor’s relationship with his best ‘old girl’.

MP  

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Doctor Who at 50: The Villains

As the good Doctor himself once said, you can always judge a man by the quality of his enemies, and the villains are certainly one of magic ingredients that have helped to make Doctor Who such an enduring success. However, while pages and pages are devoted to the glory of his most alien adversaries (Daleks, Cybermen, Weeping Angels), what stands out most for me are the more human villains (or human-ish, at least), those smooth talking psychopaths who are all the more chilling for the fact that they could be sat across the room from you at this very moment.

We had the pleasure of talking with two very memorable guests stars, David Collings and Maurice Roëves.

David Collings


Image: Martin Parsons/Fohnhouse

David Collings first appeared on the show as the villainous Vogan Vorus, under some knobbly prosthetics, in 1974 adventure Revenge of the Cybermen.

Tom Baker – we got on terribly well. He was fairly outrageous and quite naughty! We spent a lot of time in the pub. He just made me laugh, and I think I made him laugh too.

His next appearance was in 1977 with The Robots of Death, and we won’t spoil the whodunit plot by saying whether or not he’s a baddie in this one! This was directed by Michael Bryant, who had also made Revenge. The BFI Screened The Robots of Death in April 2013 for the 50th anniversary…

Did they? They must be mad! Tom Baker was a very good Doctor Who, wasn’t he? Louise Jameson [who played companion Leela] and I are still very good friends. She’s a sweet, sweet lady.

It has a very interesting Art Deco design, and costumes.

I think I was dressed in a very camp way…

Michael Briant has said that he didn’t think the script was up to much…

No-one ever thought the scripts were up to much, whether they were or not!

Had Tom Baker changed by this point?

No, he was completely the same. Totally mad. Totally off the wall! He still is…I worked with him not long ago, actually.

Collings’s final Doctor Who story on television was the title role in 1983’s Mawdryn Undead.

Oh yes, that was a hoot!

One memorable cliffhanger sees him with his brains exposed.

That was pretty embarrassing, I can tell you! Going for lunch in the BBC canteen with a plate of spaghetti on your head!

Collings as Mawdryn

Did you know what was going on in the scripts?

No, of course we didn’t! The rehearsals for that one were hilarious, because the director [Peter Moffatt] was a terrible giggler. He said ‘the producers are coming in today, we must be serious, don’t send it up, please!’, so we played it terribly seriously. That seems to have been another popular one. I’ve not seen it, I have to be honest!

Collings has also done work with Big Finish, in both Doctor Who and Sapphire and Steel audio plays, though he admits that he doesn’t remember much of the ones he’s done.

It only takes a couple of days…they’re great fun to do! It’s a lovely little studio, lovely lunches.

The first story he did with them, Full Fathom Five, saw him playing a darker version of the Doctor, one who believe that the ends justify the means.

The evil Doctor! I was apparently, at some point, one of the favourites for playing the Doctor.

Collings as The Doctor

As a final question, I asked Collings why he thinks the show has achieved such longevity.

Well, the kids like it, I suppose. Well, it’s not just kids who like it. It is quite bizarre…the queues that you get at these Doctor Who conventions! Some of them are a bit sad, but most of them are perfectly alright. And the ones who are sad, it’s giving them pleasure. I just think it gives pleasure, that’s all. It’s amusing. As Noel Coward said, it’s a talent to amuse. Nothing wrong with that!


Maurice Roëves

Image: Martin Parsons/Fohnhouse

Maurice Roëves only appeared once on the show, playing nasty gunrunner Stotz in Fifth Doctor Peter Davison’s swansong, and firm fan favourite, The Caves of Androzani.

I was the first British actor to do Doctor Who and Star Trek. Nobody else had ever done it! The Doctor Who was Graeme Harper [director of several Who stories, both classic and new], wonderful guy. You have a scene where the gang fall out with me, Stotz, and I go ‘are you coming, are you not coming?’, and they say ‘no, we’re going to stay here’. I had to say ‘I’m going to count up to ten’ or something like that. I said to Graeme, ‘this is old hat! Let’s just shoot them!’ He said ‘you can’t do that!’, I said ‘why not? Just shoot them!’ Some of it was banned in Australia because it was too violent! Especially the bit with the knife and the guy on the cliff top...So I walk out of shot, and there’s a shot of me leaving, but then I come back in and I do it.

With a horrible grin!

It’s great! The kids love it! I get letters now from children whose parents taped it, and they say they love that one, and that it’s better than the modern ones.

Roëves as Stotz

It’s so brutal, for what is effectively a kid’s show.

Well, the so-called monster (the Magma beast) was terrible! Glove puppet! Fortunately you didn’t see much of it…I think it was because it was so adult. Apparently Caves of Androzani is still voted as the best episode of the series [in 2009, out of 200 serials, it was voted best story].

Were you surprised by Robert Holmes’s script, which was quite dark?

No, not really, I just thought it was a good role.

Do you think playing the villain is more fun?

Well, in some ways. I don’t know how I started getting villains, because I wasn’t playing villains. I used to play romantic roles! For the good guys, I always look to see if there’s anything bad in their character, and for the bad guys I always look to see if there’s any good in them. The bad guys are really interesting to play.

Maurice’s appearance in one of Doctor Who’s greatest cliffhangers:



Click here for Part I of our full interview with Roëves

MP

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Au Bonheur des Ogres (The Scapegoat) (2013)


After a bit of a delay (the film was initially announced for release in April), this month finally saw the release of Nicolas Bary’s Au Bonheur des Ogres in France. Based on the novel of the same name by French author Daniel Pennac, the film introduces us to Benjamin Malaussène, professional scapegoat and de facto père de famille. Already far from normal, Malaussène’s life becomes extremely complicated when he is implicated in a series of explosive murders at the luxury Parisian department store where he works. With the help of perky journalist ‘Aunt Julia’, he attempts to prove his innocence and expose the truth behind the attacks.

Translating Pennac’s bizarre and wonderful work to the screen was never going to be an easy task, but it should be said straight off that Bary (also one of the co-screenwriters) makes a fair go of it. The quirky tone of the book is upheld, and the direction is on the whole sprightly without being too showy. There are one or two moments where the enhancement of the fantastical elements from the novel actually reduces the potency of the magical-realist atmosphere (the giraffe), but in general the film feels pleasantly abnormal, just like the book. Top marks for filming in Paris’s long-closed La Samaritaine store, recently seen as a palace of faded glory in Leos Carax’s Holy Motors.

A few changes have been made to the original storyline, for better or worse. The setting of the film in the present day entails a certain amount of tweaking of the backstory, which actually serves to make the dark heart of the narrative more believably horrific. The changing of the antagonist makes sense as it keeps the film focussed, but means that we lose some of the nicer character moments from the novel. A few character omissions might spell problems for screenwriters if they get round to working on the sequel, but make little impact in this instalment.

In terms of the cast, Raphael Personnaz does a sterling job incarnating Pennac’s most famous creation, lending Malaussène the perfect air of slight desperation and amiable uselessness. Bérénice Bejo, Jean Dujardin’s ravishing co-star in The Artist, is equally good in the role of his partner in crime-solving, ‘Aunt Julia’. The Malaussène family, keystone to the entire series, are a definite highlight, the standouts being Mélanie Bernier as caring older sister Louna and Adrien Ferran as the eager-to-please but slightly unhinged Jérémy. We also get a final, uncredited treat in the form of a well-known French actress who lights up the closing minutes. I have to admit to never having considered who might play the role, but the person they chose gets it spot on.

This film will not be everyone’s cup of tea, and its oddness is almost a guarantee of commercial failure, but this is a film that deserves some love. It will be a great pity if we don’t get to catch up with the Malaussène family again in the near future. I’d love to see Nicolas Bary and the cast take on Pennac’s sequel La Fée Carabine (The Fairy Gunmother).

3.5/5

MP

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

57th BFI London Film Festival: Final Thoughts

Image: Disney

After 10 days of the 29 bus, Leicester Square and fast food, the 57th London Film Festival is over. Over the past few days, we’ve laughed and cried, and enjoyed some of the finest films the festival had to offer, and we‘ve got the low down on what films to look out for over the next few months.

The second half of our festival experience kicked off with Labor Day, the new film from Juno and Up in the Air director Jason Reitman. Starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin, Labor Day tells the tale of a mother and son who take in a strange man who appears in front of them bruised and bleeding. As the film unfolds, the family realises there’s more to the stranger’s story than meets the eye. Labor Day is another solid film from the director. Winslet is as reliable as ever as single mum Adele, and Brolin possesses the charm and the culinary skills to convince anybody of anything, but, while enjoyable, it didn’t quite light our fire in the same way Reitman’s previous films have.

Next up we saw Philomena, starring Judi Dench as the titular character who, after 50 years, enlists the help of journalist Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan) to help her track down her long lost son. A poignant true story about a mother’s quest to reunite with her child and a convent’s attempt at masking its involvement, Philomena is already garnering Oscar buzz, particularly for its leading lady.

Another film tipped to take the rest of the glory at next year’s ceremony is Steve McQueen’s latest oeuvre, 12 Years a Slave. Now that we’ve had a few days to dry our eyes, we can agree that early predictions may well turn out to be spot on. Based on the autobiographical novel of the same name, 12 Years a Slave stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup, a free black man who is kidnapped and forced to work as a slave. With an all star cast, including outstanding newcomer Lupita Nyong’o as slave Patsey, 12 Years a Slave was the best film we saw at the festival. This time last year it was all about the great Django. A completely different tone, but equally as powerful, this time around it’s all about Solomon and those 12 years.

From tears to laughter we moved on to Saving Mr. Banks, the feel-good movie of the year starring Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as P. L. Travers, the woman behind Mary Poppins. Chronicling the two weeks Travers spent in Los Angeles trying to be persuaded by Disney to give him the rights to her novel, Saving Mr. Banks, while not necessary completely accurate is – in true Disney fashion - a charming, funny and very uplifting film, and is guaranteed to melt the hearts of kiddies and adults alike when it’s released around the joyous Christmas period.

The last two films we went for to complete our final evening were Gone Too Far and Locke. Centring around the streets of South London, Gone Too Far is a funny look at what happens when British, Nigerian, Caribbean and Asian cultures collide when a black British boy’s Nigerian brother comes to stay. Adapted from Bola Agbaje’s play, the film has yet to find a distributor, but as Agbaje and the director pointed out at the Q&A, if enough people tweet about it, we could see it break out of the festival circuit and get a general release date. No pressure then, folks!

Finally, we caught Tom Hardy’s new film Locke. Starring only Tom Hardy and a few voices at the end of a phone, Locke is a one-man-and-his-car-type-tale in which we see a man’s life slowly fall apart as he drives from, I imagine from his accent, Wales to London. Thank goodness Hardy is a charismatic character otherwise this could have been a disaster. However, Ivan Locke’s story does grip you as we’re simply shown shots of lights, his BMV and the midnight sky. Locke isn’t as glamorous as some of Hardy’s previous roles, but Hardy is no less committed. The director doesn’t do the best job at wrapping up and resolving every narrative strand, but it’s still a highly watchable ninety minutes with Hardy at the wheel.

That’s it from the festival for another year. We didn’t get to see all the films on our list, namely Only Lovers Left Alive, but there wasn’t one disappointment among our selection. We’ve loved what’s been on offer over these past two years since Clare Stewart took the reins, and we look forward to seeing what she has in store for us next year, her third year. Hopefully there'll be a few charms!

FG