Andrea Arnold is without a doubt cinema’s leading creator of stories depicting the trials and tribulations of working class women, with an entirely non-judgemental eye. Translating her social realist style across the Atlantic, keeping the inherent themes relevant to the lower classes intact, would seem close to impossible, although due to an unfortunate stroke of luck, the Presidential election has made the general idea of class in an overwhelmingly middle class country relevant yet again. Many audiences have been so transfixed by the way Arnold and her long-term cinematographer Robbie Ryan have captured the sweeping vistas of America, a world completely alien to the council estates of earlier films Red Road and Fish Tank, that they have seemed to ignore the fact this is unmistakably a distinctive piece of work.
Director Lee Kirk is just about to release his sophomore effort, Ordinary World. The film is about an former rockstar, played by Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, reflecting on the “path not taken”- of committing to his rock-god dreams, instead of settling down in the suburbs and raising a family. Alistair Ryder spoke to the filmmaker about the autobiographical nature of the film and how his love of music helped bring the screenplay to life.
In 2013, Ken Loach seemed destined to enter the pantheon of filmmakers who bow out with a movie that was, at best, inconsequential to the hard hitting filmography that came before. His proposed final film was 2014’s Jimmy’s Hall, a film about the tensions between the Catholic Church, local government and the vibrant youth culture of 1930’s Ireland. For one of the most important British filmmakers of all time, bowing out with a period piece that paid more than a little narrative debt to Footloose ensured underwhelming results.
A midlife crisis is roughly defined as a period of anxiety and disappointment reflecting on your past as you approach middle age. Those going through a midlife crisis are noted to act irrationally compared to their previous behaviour in a need to get out of a self-perceived rut. It has often been noted that no two people react to the dawning of maturity in the same manner, even if the cause of the anxiety is always the same.
It is easy to see how The Girl With All The Gifts could have been toned down and transformed into a generic YA movie in its cinematic adaptation. In the 2014 best-selling novel, the story is told from the point of view of all five central character. Here, director Colm McCarthy focuses on the titular tween character Melanie, exploring this plague-ravaged world from her point of view.
Thought the buddy cop movie formula was tired? Well, it is a cinematic breath of fresh air in comparison to the “bad cop” movie. These movies are tiresome depictions of lawmen (and make no mistake, they are always men) who break every rule in the book whilst trying to enforce it – and even though there have been solid entries into the genre in recent years, it can’t help but feel worn out.
Preservation of the environment shouldn’t be a political issue, let alone a controversial one. Yet the right wing governments of the western world are frequently abandoning environmental and climate change issues, even building entire grand-standing platforms on how the entire act of climate change is a mere myth. The masses no longer trust “experts”, no matter how many facts they have on their side about the devastating realities of our changing environment.
In two months time, the world could have already adjusted to the news that Donald Trump has been named the 45th President of the United States. Trump’s entire presidential platform has been built on two things: the first is a disrespect for taste and decency, building an entire campaign around gaffes that would see any other politician deemed unfit to be a part of the establishment, let alone be crowned leader of the free world.
When the BBC polled an international array of critics, producers and filmmakers for their greatest films of the 21st century, there was naturally an outpouring of frustration on social media. The list was naturally derided for being elitist, not featuring any comedies and for featuring few works by female directors; textbook stuff when it comes to polls of greatest films. When the list was announced earlier this summer, the Film Inquiry team initially agreed on doing our own gigantic top 100 to rival the BBC’s official findings.
*Editorial Note: This documentary short won the Best Documentary prize at the first Drunken Film Fest, organised by Film Inquiry’s Jax Griffin. The documentary selections were hand picked by Arlin Golden, another contributor to the site* Every American community is home to countless strange pastimes and traditions, but many of these events don’t fully adapt to modern American life.