Nomadland, Mogul Mowgli, Akira and others – Screen Time May 2021

May 2021 will forever be remembered as the month when cinemas re-opened. So perhaps it was fitting that the first post-lockdown release I enjoyed on the big screen was Nomadland, Chloe Zhao’s much-lauded meander through the unsettled lives of the USA’s itinerant ‘community’, as seen through Frances McDormand’s complex, loveable central character. All films should be watched within the magical space of a picture house, but this is particularly true when it comes to movies such as Nomadland, which convey so much of their power through long shots lingering on gaspingly open spaces. Whether this very curious, idiosyncratic take on modern Americana will stand the test of time remains to be seen, but it was certainly a moving way in which to resume what will hopefully be a permanent return to one of my favourite places in the world.

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2019 Film Reviews – 42: Late Spring [dir. Yasujirô Ozu; 1949]

You watch a film like Late Spring – Ozu’s characteristically quiet, unforced account of the pressure placed on a young woman to get married and leave her stable existence with her father – and you’re struck by how distant the world it portrays appears to be. And then you realise that 1949 was seventy years ago! Plenty of time for social mores and attitudes to … Continue reading 2019 Film Reviews – 42: Late Spring [dir. Yasujirô Ozu; 1949]

2019 Film Reviews – 23: Shoplifters [dir. Hirokazu Koreeda; 2018]

It’s interesting to consider whether Japanese social-realist cinema is currently at the same stage as the kitchen sink dramas of 1960s Britain. As he did in Nobody Knows, director Hirokazu Koreeda certainly displays a commendable willingness to take the veil off the refined exterior of modern Japanese life with this tale of a poverty-stricken band of thieves who one day adopt a neglected child. But … Continue reading 2019 Film Reviews – 23: Shoplifters [dir. Hirokazu Koreeda; 2018]

Film Review: Departures / Okuribito [dir. Yôjirô Takita; 2008]

If you ignore the sentimental moments (of which there are several), the lapses into broad characterisation and the creakiness of certain sections of the plot, what remains is a moving examination of modern attitudes to death, a subject conspicuous by its absence in modern cinema (see Uncle Boonmee). The plot revolves around a frustrated cellist’s attempts to earn a living away from the pressures of … Continue reading Film Review: Departures / Okuribito [dir. Yôjirô Takita; 2008]