Ai Weiwei Never Sorry

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (2012)

Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry first published by Film4, 24 July, 2012 Summary: Alison Klayman’s all-access documentary profiles China’s most famous artist provocateur. Review: At the beginning of Alison Klayman’s excellent documentary we learn that there are some 40 cats living at Ai Weiwei‘s Beijing studio, but that only one of them has learnt to let itself out….

Connect

Connect (2022) + Miike TV sidebar

Connect first published by Sight and Sound, March 2023 Review: Ultra-prolific Japanese director Takashi Miike is also a disruptor, with the titles on his extraordinarily lengthy filmography typically adopting a punkishly transgressive approach to genre. So if his latest offering, Connect, comes as something of a surprise, this is not because of its subversive motifs…

Soulmate

Soulmate (2020)

Soulmate screened at London Korean Film Festival 2023. This is a longer version of my on-stage introduction (plus my programme note) What is in a picture? A person’s portrait can trigger a flood of memories and fancies. It can reflect who we are and how we feel, and offer, through its image of the other,…

A Wounded Fawn

A Wounded Fawn (2022)

A Wounded Fawn first published by SciFiNow A Wounded Fawn opens with a quote from Leonora Carrington about the sudden realisation of her embodied vulnerability – and later we will see a copy of Susan L. Aberth’s book Leonora Carrington: Surrealism, Alchemy and Art (2010), while a (long-dead) character (played by Katie Kuang) from the…

Petrov's Flu

Petrov’s Flu (Petrovy y Grippe) (2021)

Time’s tricks: fantasy and reality in Kirill Serebrennikov’s Petrov’s Flu first published by Klassiki Time moves in mysterious ways in Petrov’s Flu, written and directed by Kirill Serebrennikov (The Student, 2016; LETO, 2018). It opens – as indeed it ends – with a smiling conductress (Irina Vybornova) on a Yekaterinburg trolleybus in the build-up to…

Deep Red

Deep Red (Profondo Rosso) (1975)

Deep Red (Profondo Rosso) first published by Little White Lies, as entry 139 in my Cinema Psychotronicum column A sweet children’s song, a Christmas tree in a cosy domestic setting, silhouettes on the wall showing one person viciously stabbing another, and then a blood-stained knife falling to the floor, by the shoes of a standing…

37 Rebirth

8:37 Rebirth (2021)

8:37 Rebirth opens with a bang that will reverberate throughout the film. In a Turkish-owned corner store in the City of Halifax, Nova Scotia, we see nine-year-old Sergei Radic (Benjamin Walker) staring in horror, and 18-year-old, bloody-faced Jared Peters (Kylar Johnson) holding a gun. At first the incident itself is not shown, just its immediate…

Blind Beast

Blind Beast (Mōjū) (1969)

Blind Beast (Mōjū) first published by Little White Lies, as the 134th entry in my Cinema Psychotronicum column “My name is Aki Shima,” Aki (Mako Midori) says in voiceover at the beginning of Blind Beast (Mōjū). “I was never very popular as a fashion model.” This narration is accompanied by black-and-white images of Aki taken…

Dark Stories

Dark Stories (2019)

Dark Stories first published by Through the Trees Single mother Christine (Kristanna Loken, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, 2003) comes under attack from a psychopathic Chucky-like semi-animated doll that has just been delivered to her home. Bound to a chair in the basement, she tells the knife-wielding mannequin a series of five ‘scary stories’…

Manji

Manji (aka Swastika, aka Passion, aka All Mixed up) (1964)

Manji (aka Swastika, aka Passion, aka All Mixed Up) first published by Film4 Summary: An artfully lurid melodrama of illicit desire, excessive obsession and ritualised death, directed by Japanese New Wave fave Yasuzo Masumura. Review: The late Yasuzo Masumura was a protean figure in the world of cinema. Though Japanese, in the early 1950s he attended Rome’s…