Feature trailer

The Rover

Film life

"...film for us was just a great escape; for an hour-and-a-half you could just sit down and forget about your own life and live a parallel life in a parallel world completely different from your own"
Pedro Almodovar

Cannes 2014 Winners

And the Palme d’Or goes to…  Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s drama Winter Sleep.

Here's a full list of the winners:

Palme d’Or
Winter Sleep (directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan)

Grand Prix
The Wonders (directed by Alice Rohrwacher)

Jury Prize
Mommy (directed by Xavier Dolan) and Goodbye to Language (directed by Jean-Luc Godard)

Camera d’Or
Party Girl (directed by Marie Amachoukeli, Claire Burger and Samuel Theis)

Best Director
Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher)

Best Screenplay
Leviathan (directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev)

Best Actress
Julianne Moore (Maps to the Stars)

Best Actor
Timothy Spall (Mr. Turner)

Short Film
Leidi (directed by Simón Mesa Soto)

Film 16: Labyrinth

Dir: Jim Henson
Production: 1986, UK
Cast: David Bowie, Jennifer Connelly, Toby Froud

"Dance magic dance. Jump magic jump. Put that baby's put a spell on me" 

It’s so bad, how could I not post a short review. This film was screened as part of Bowiefest, at London’s ICA – celebrating 40 years of David Bowie’s work in film.

In brief: 15-year-old Sarah is left home alone by her parents and she has to babysit her little half-brother Toby. However, Sarah accidentally wishes Toby away to the Goblin King Jareth (David Bowie), who brings him to his castle in the middle of a Labyrinth. The Labyrinth is a fantasy world filled with goblins, ghouls and wrong turns at every step. Sarah has to rescue Toby before midnight (within 13 hours), or the baby will became a goblin. Like all good fantasy stories, the ending has a very predictable ending. 

I originally saw this film as a kid, so it was interesting to revisit this now in my more mature years. Lets just say, it’s not how I remember it, but somehow also a cult classic. 

The acting is terrible. Sarah seems to have one permanent facial expression through the film. As for Bowie, well it’s about THAT codpiece and not much else. There is a lot of energy to the film, mainly channelled through THAT codpiece but it didn’t put a spell on me. The songs are beyond cheesy and the surrounding soundtrack is a mix of classic late 80’s electro.

On a positive note the puppetry is excellent, that only of a Henson production team could achieve. Goblins and ghouls vary in size and character, adding the much needed dynamics to the film. I did get the feeling that the production team had more fun making the film, than the audience watching it! 

By the end of the film, the conversation turned to whether this film was intended for children or adults? There is some serious sexual undertones between Sarah and Jareth during the ballroom scene. Or is it just trying to please everyone – maybe trying too hard, you can be the judge. 

Trailer: "The excitement of David Bowie"


26th BFI London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival

Festival Preview & Highlights

Late March sees the return on the BFI’s Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. Now in its 26th inauguration, this year’s event will be the first set within the BFI’s new role as the lead film organisation for the countries cinematic output – a tall order non-less. So with the added extra government funding and Lottery money, can we expect to see great things from this year’s programme?

Well, possibly. Compared to last year’s festival, which shrank to just 6 days due to budget cuts, this year the programme has increased by 30% with 53 features and 67 shorts. Good news so far. Plus the festival takes place over two weekends. But be the judge for yourself - here’s a quick run down of the programme and what not to miss.

Gala Performances

Cloudburst. Dir: Thom Fitzgerald.
A road movie quite unlike any you’ve seen before as two septuagenarian lovers leave their hometown in Maine and head to Nova Scotia, picking up an unlikely ally along the way, Prentice, a dancer from New York trying to get home to his sick mother. 


North Sea Texas. Dir: Bavo 
Defurne An assured and beautiful story about the passionate longing of adolescence. 



Weekend. Dir: Andrew Haigh 
It’s been the surprise smash hit of 2011, so if you missed it here’s your chance to find out what all the fuss has been about.


Girl or Boy, My Sex is Not My Gender. Dir: Valérie Mitteaux 
Profiles four people each on the female-to-male gender spectrum who are reinventing and questioning the border between ‘man’ and ‘woman’. 

Jobriath A.D. Dir: Kieran Turner 
A hymn to the enigmatic, cult glam rocker Jobriath, 'I am the true fairy of rock'. Also see the Glam Rock event below. 

Mommy is Coming. Dir: Cheryl Dunye 
A sex-filled romp through queer Berlin. Dylan and Claudia have hit a stand-off in their relationship. Their sex life is both imaginative and active but Dylan wants to push it to a place Claudia isn’t sure she wants to go. 

Speechless. Dir: Simon Chung 
This is an assured thriller which builds slowly to gain a strong momentum and offers a fascinating view of gay life in contemporary China. 

Archive, Shorts & Experimental 

Spartacus. Dir: Stanley Kubrick 
It’s a classic homoerotic film, lovingly restored so that the men running round in tunics have an even more suggestive nature to them. 

Because We're Worth It 
It’s all about empowerment, with cats, orphans, genderbusters and transsexual dominatrix. 

Domestic Revolutions 
Diasporic stories taking in comedy, coming of age, romance, period drama, animation and experimenta. Features the humorous short What You Looking At? 

Radical Constitution 
Experimental shorts that showcases the best in contemporary queer artist's film and video work 


LLGFF and Little Joe Present: The Erotic World of Peter de Rome
If you haven’t experienced the pleasure that is Little Joe Magazine, then you’re missing a treat. Join Peter de Rome for a three screen projection of his most famous works, plus unseen films from his own collection, accompanied by a live DJ set. 

Transgender Representation - Are We Nearly There Yet? 
An evening of debate and discuss about the contemporary condition and future direction of transgender representation. 

Glam Rock 
A short illustrated lecture on the fascinating history of the Glam Rock phenomenon in Britain and America. Presented by historian, novelist and co-founder of the House of Homosexual Culture Rupert Smith. 

The festival runs from 23 March – 1 April 2012. A full programme is available on the BFI's website. Booking opens on 1 March for members and 8 March for everyone else. I’ll be there to cover the festivals highs and lows with reviews of the films I’ve seen.

Film 15: Unrelated

Dir: Joanna Hogg
Production: 2008, UK
Cast: Kathryn Worth, Tom Hiddleston, Mary Roscoe, David Rintoul, Henry Lloyd-Hughes, Harry Kershaw, Michael Hadley, Emma Hiddleston

During a sticky patch in her marriage, forty-something Anna spends a summer holiday with her friends Verena and George at their Tuscan villa. Rather than spend her time in the company of the adults, she hangs out with the couple's teenaged children and their cousin Oakley. Anna goes skinny-dipping and sight-seeing, spending hours specifically talking to Oakley. Anna takes a liking to the attractive Oakley, flirting and passing affirmative compliments his way. When the youngsters prang a borrowed car and Anna tells George how it happened, causing a huge scene with his elder son, the kids turn against her.

This results in Anna feeling isolated from the teenagers (rejection) and also from the adults due to her action of ignoring them. As an outsider - unrelated - Anna realises that she should be grateful for her relationship with her husband.

Oakley and Anna discussing sex
I’d describe this film as a simmering essay based on the links between family and those friends that intertwine. The cast consists of mother (Verena) and father (Charlie) and their three teenage children (Jack, Badge, Archie), the mother’s cousin (George) and his son (Oakley) and mother’s best friend (Anna). The two families have obviously known each other for sometime and the power balance between them is established from the moment the film begins. There is a clear divide between the adults and the teenagers, with leaders in both camps. However, with the arrival of Anna, this accepted balance is reset by her choice to spend her time in the teenage camp. Frustrating the mother and the simmering sexual tension between Anna and Oakley ultimately leads to a stand off, arguments, upset and eventually reconciliation between the two camps.

Anna snubed by the family
 Set in the rolling Tuscan landscape, the story is film in an attractive villa. For the most part of the film, the camera is locked in a fixed position with the actors moving in amongst the scenery. We are either presented with a full wide shot where we can absorb everything on screen or the scene will be cut to one side of the shot, leaving us with a limited understand or a viewpoint from one specific actor(s).

This technique is used to dramatic effect and adds intrigue to the plotline. One particular scene where this works especially well is when Anna is seated for breakfast at a long table. Initially she is on her own, but is shortly joined by the teenagers. Oakley sits beside Anna. By this point the camera has focused solely on this couple, cutting the rest of the action off to the left of the screen. Oakley leans over Anna several times, reaching for various food items. The expression on her Anna’s face is one of excitement as her dream young boy bushes past her. Whether Oakley knowingly performs his actions to achieve this reaction is left unexplained; however he certainly seems to be teasing Anna.

This is a slow burning, human interest film that would appeal to all. You can watch the film for FREE via blinkbox and add your own reviews and comments below.

The film won the Guardian First Film Award in 2008.


Film 11: If….

Dir: Lindsay Anderson
Production: 1968, USA/UK
Cast: Malcolm McDowell, David Wood, Richard Warwick, Christine Noonan, Robert Swann

What was your school like? Did it have an armoury? Did it have a guy dressed in a ‘Richard the lion heart’ slash ‘Knight of the round table’ outfit? Or what about a neurotic ex-army general as a teacher? Fortunately for Mick Travis – our anti hero of sorts – has got it all and more.

In an indictment of the British boys school, we follow Mick (Malcolm McDowell) and his friends through a series of indignities and occasionally abuse. Mick is one of three non-conformist boys among the returning class. They are watched and persecuted by the "Whips", senior boys given authority as prefects over juniors. The prefects are entitled to the services of "Scum", who are first-year boys assigned to run errands, make tea and generally act as unpaid servants. When Mick and his friends rebel, violently, the catch phrase, "which side would you be on" becomes quite stark.

The first half of the film shows the pupils returning at the start of a new school term and the rituals that accompany. For instance, in one scene the Whips process a line of Scum with questions such as “Ringworm? Eye-disease? VD? Confirmation class? Next!”

The second half of the film focuses solely on Mick and his friends as they set about their rebellion.

Mick Travis
“There's no such thing as a wrong war. Violence and revolution are the only pure acts.”
The narrative is filled with references to the British stiff upper lip, Latin lessons, sexual confusion and endless debating. Hierarchy, conformity and strict abidance to the rules are the flavour of the day. Ignorance of any of these leads down a path to a beating from the Whips.
Mick Travis
“What stands, if freedom falls? Who dies, if England lives?”
At the films narrative heart is the story of a boy fighting against the oppressive school authority. This comes in various forms, whether it is a smile and wink at the Whips after a beaten, stealing a motorbike from a showroom, to the films violent conclusion. The storyline is very brutal and filled with ideals of war. The acting in parts resembles that of a primitive society.

By the end of the film you’re left feeling unsure who’s side your suppose to take? Join Mick and is rebel gang or, through feelings of delusion, step over the line and stand with the majority. Don’t expect an answer to this puzzle; the director wants you to make your own mind up (or not).

Upon the films release in the UK it received an X certificate, but looking back on it now and the film still holds its own. Original and innovative of all British movies of the 60s, a must see for all those that love and hate the British class system with equal measure.


The Apocalypse has arrived!

Well, maybe not quite yet, so the 35th edition of Little White Lies will have to do in the mean time.

Here’s some cover shots – it’s shiny!

"I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' dink body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like... victory. Someday this war's gonna end..."

Apocalypse Now is showing at the BFI Southbank from 27 May until 9 June. Here’s a trailer to wet your appetite.

Film 3: Inception

Dir: Christopher Nolan
Production: 2010, USA
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page

Christopher Nolan new sci-fi drama bends the divide between reality and dreamscape so far that you’ll be perplexed as to whether the whole film was a dream or not. Nolan forces us to ask question such as when is a dream not a dream? When does a dream become reality? Have you ever been awaken to the sound of the song entitled non, je ne regret rien? No me neither.

Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a skilled thief, the absolute best in the dangerous art of extraction, stealing valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious. Cobb's rare ability has made him a coveted player in this treacherous new world of corporate espionage, but it has also made him an international fugitive and cost him everything he has ever loved.

One last job could give him his life back but only if he can accomplish the impossible-inception. Instead of the perfect heist, Cobb and his team have to pull off the reverse not to steal an idea but to plant one. If they succeed, it could be the perfect crime. But no amount of careful planning or expertise can prepare the team for the dangerous enemy that seems to predict their every move.

It goes without saying that the production values and the overall effects of this film are superb. Complex, fast moving and with more twists that a corkscrew, the same can be said of the plot, which is of an equally high quality. As the film unravels it flips from an espionage thriller, to a love tale, to a story within a story. Attempting to keep up with the plotline seems hopeless, so a second viewing is essential.

Leonardo DiCaprio displays a superb performance as the tough guy with a hidden and potentially deadly past. This is supported by Joseph Gordon-Levitt who plays the member of Cobb’s team who researching the targets. Ellen Page as Ariadne, a graduate student of architecture who is recruited to construct the various dreamscapes, finalises a stellar line up.

Of course there are lots of unanswered questions at the end of the film and at times the film’s own science doesn’t quite match that of the storyline. However, when compared to the likes of The Matrix, Inception holds its ground well – a true blockbuster.


Film 2: Breakfast at Tiffany's

Dir: Blake Edwards
Production: 1961, USA
Cats: Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard

So here how I’d sum up Breakfast at Tiff’s - “Divine daaahrling, simply divine” followed by a crooning rendition of Moon river, wider than a mile / I'm crossing you in style some day.

Paul Varjak

“I don't think I've ever drunk champagne before breakfast before. With breakfast on several occasions, but never before, before.”

Struggling writer Paul Varjak moves into a New York apartment building and becomes intrigued by his pretty, quirky neighbour Holly Golightly. Holly's lifestyle confuses and fascinates Paul; in public she flits through parties with a sexy, sophisticated air, but when they're alone she changes into a sweetly vulnerable bundle of nerves. Holly is totally madcap. She owns a cat with no name, gets rid of the "mean reds" by visiting Tiffany's jewellery store, and is forever misplacing her door key, much to the dismay of her upstairs neighbour.

So who is Holly? I think all of the below and maybe more if you look deep enough:
• a floozy
• a girl about town
• the social butterfly
• a gigolo
• a one night stand
• a scared and lonely childlike adult

“I've got to do something about the way I look. I mean a girl just can't go to Sing Sing with a green face.”

Holly’s partially furnished apartment also echoes her character; there’s the signature sofa made formed from a bathtub complete with taps, old wooden boxes for tables, shoes in the pot plants and clothes scattered across the apartment, the kitchen cupboards are bare and her letterbox is home to a bottle of perfume. 

I completely respect that this adaptation of Trumen Capote’s novel is not exactly true to the original storyline, but as the film stand in isolation, it is a riot of fun.

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