UK RE-RELEASE REVIEW: NAPOLÉON

The Film: ★★★★   The Score: ★★★★

On 11th November 2016 the British Film Institute will release a new digital restoration of Abel Gance's stupendous portrayal of the early years in the life of Napoléon Bonaparte. Ahead of the official release, I was fortunate enough to attend the first of several concerts at London's Royal Festival Hall in which the film was presented with a live performance of Carl Davis' score – a moving and thrilling cinematic experience that simultaneously transported its audience through time to the French Revolution and to the heyday of silent cinema.

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London Film Fest Reviews 2016

Ahead of the FOEC podcast special on the 60th London Film Festival, here are some short (and not so short) reviews of seven films that I caught during the first few days of the fest, including the critical favourite from Cannes, Toni Erdmann, the latest film from Terrence Malick and a double dose of Isabelle Huppert.

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UK RELEASE REVIEW: THE LOBSTER

★★★★★

Greek writer-director Yorgos Lanthimos’ first film in English serves up the richest, most heartily enjoyable kind of black comedy – one with genuine observations to offer on human nature, constant deadpan absurdity and the occasional punch in the head to keep the audience on their toes.

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LONDON FILM FESTIVAL 2015 REVIEW: EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT

★★★★★

Colombian director Ciro Guerra delivers a truly mind-bending tale of the quest for knowledge in the Colombia’s Amazonas region. After the stunning power of his magic realist fable The Wind Journeys (2010) my anticipation could not have been higher in the lead-up to the UK premiere at LFF and, suffice to say, Maestro Guerra did not disappoint.

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LONDON FILM FESTIVAL 2015 REVIEW: A BIGGER SPLASH

★★★

Director Luca Guadagnino and star Tilda Swinton follow up their astonishing, sensual tour de force of I am Love (2009) with a vibrant, sexy distillation of the rock and roll lifestyle and the pitfalls of emotional rescue.

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CHICHESTER FILM FEST 2015 REVIEW: A GIRL AT MY DOOR

★★★★★

Coming to British arthouse screens this September, A Girl At My Door provides a rare opportunity for Western audiences to see a Korean female director in action and in so doing become entwined in the unforgiving machinations of small-town Korean society. Bae Doona and Kim Seo-ron each deliver a knock-out performance in another stick of quiet dynamite for 2015, which I'm sincerely grateful to have seen in my old haunt, Chichester's beloved New Park Cinema

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BBC2 REVIEW: THE SCANDALOUS LADY W

★★★★

Natalie Dormer distinguishes herself with her first leading role in BBC2's wilfully lurid exploitation of the beloved British costume drama. Even more notable than Dormer's confident performance is the film's ability to be the most lavish, luscious and fetishistic of period dramas, whilst gracefully exemplifying the subjugation of women permitted by British law not 300 years ago.

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EEFF 2015: THE STRANGE COLOUR OF YOUR BODY’S TEARS RE-SCORED BY BLANCK MASS

The Film: ★★★   The Score: ★★★★★

10th July saw the album launch of Blanck Mass’ freshly cut original score for Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani’s second passionate riff on the twisted pleasures of Italy's beloved horror sub-genre, Giallo. Though Cattet & Forzani's eccentric sex-horror ultimately falls short of satisfaction, the exceptionally tight score from Blanck Mass and his collaborators delivered sexy thrills with every beat at the 15th East End Film Festival.

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