2019 Film Reviews – 71: The Two Popes [dir. Fernando Mereilles; 2019]

If theatre is better at exploring ideas than film is, perhaps that’s why The Two Popes feels as though it would have been slightly more comfortable at The National. Or maybe it’s because it consists of little more than conversations between Pope Benedict and the soon-to-be Pope Francis as they wrestle with their differing views on the role of the Catholic Church. But it would … Continue reading 2019 Film Reviews – 71: The Two Popes [dir. Fernando Mereilles; 2019]

2019 Film Reviews – 39: Inquiring Nuns [dir. Gordon Quinn & Jerry Temaner; 1968]

In late 1960s Chicago, directors Gordon Quinn and Jerry Temaner decided it might be interesting to give two young nuns a microphone and tell them to ask passersby outside a church a very simple question: “Are you happy?” The result is this documentary, which has just been reissued and is available in the UK through Curzon’s On Demand service. Fascinating on several levels, it offers … Continue reading 2019 Film Reviews – 39: Inquiring Nuns [dir. Gordon Quinn & Jerry Temaner; 1968]

Film Review: Brighton Rock [dir. Rowan Joffe; 2010]

I suppose this new adaptation of Graham Greene’s 30s novel deserves some credit for having ambitious intentions. It shifts the action to the early 60s, thereby placing it against the backdrop of the Mods and Rockers conflicts. It features heightened, starkly lit visuals. And it attempts to draw intense performances from its actors. But somehow, the disparate elements never gel. For a start, the pacing is poor. Once the … Continue reading Film Review: Brighton Rock [dir. Rowan Joffe; 2010]

Spouting Utter Nonsense

Last week, a fair amount of publicity surrounded a speech made by Baroness Warsi at Leicester University. If you’ve got a few minutes to spare, it’s an interesting read and it highlights what I’ve long considered to be a growing problem in UK society. Sadly, I’m not sure how we’re going to solve it. When reasonably well-educated, middle class people feel comfortable spouting utter nonsense … Continue reading Spouting Utter Nonsense

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A few days ago I caught the tail end of a Radio 4 discussion on images of light and darkness in major world religions. Apparently all our faiths make heavy use of light=good, dark=bad symbolism, although there are a few interesting exceptions and ‘twilight areas’. At the end of the programme, the interviewer asked his panel what they would do if they had to devise … Continue reading Listen