The Beast

The Beast (La Bête) (2023)

The Beast (La Bête) seen for the BFI London Film Festival 2023 The Beast (La Bête) opens as it intends to go on, with a head-on shot of its protagonist Gabrielle (Léa Seydoux), whose face will remain a constant map modulating the film’s otherwise unstable narrative coordinates. Here, in a moment of pure metacinema, Gabrielle…

Birth/Rebirth

Birth/Rebirth (2023)

Birth/Rebirth seen for the BFI London Film Festival 2023 Birth/Rebirth opens with two extremes of life in a single sequence. After a pregnant woman experiencing a medical emergency is raced to hospital, her tiny premature baby is delivered by Caesarean, while she herself dies. These extremes – birth and death – allow for the dual…

Vincent Must Die

Vincent Must Die (Vincent doit mourir) (2023)

It would seem that the protagonist (Karim Leklou) of Stéphan Castang’s feature debut (scripted by Mathieu Naert) is rather like Romeo…, John Tucker…, The Beast…, Babysitter…, Suicide Girls…, Stupid Teenagers…, Horny Teenagers…, Nerdy Prudes…, Surf Nazis…, All Strippers…, All Superheroes…, All Critics… and indeed Everyone… before him, in that, at least according to the film’s…

Red Rooms

Red Rooms (Les chambres rouges) (2023)

Red Rooms (Les chambres rouges) first seen at the BFI London Film Festival 2023 She sees him through a screen. While in Red Rooms (Les chambres rouges), Kelly-Anne (Juliette Gariépy) sits in a Montréal courtroom, with a prominent crucifix around her neck, watching a criminal trial – and a cause célèbre – unfold, the defendant…

LFF Cult 2022

Primal scenes and personal perspectives: LFF Cult 2022

Primal scenes and personal perspectives: LFF Cult 2022 first published by BFI Includes capsules of: You Won’t Be Alone, The Origin (retitled Out of Darkness), Attachment, The Kingdom Exodus, New Normal, Linoleum A film’s cult status is normally defined by a peculiar kind of audience reception (repeat viewings, fanatical audiences) that has been acquired over…

Misfit

Misfit initiations: Preview of BFI LFF 2017’s Cult Strand

Misfit Initiations first published by Sight & Sound Of all the strands that make up the London Film Festival, programmer Michael Blyth’s Cult section is perhaps the hardest to define. For it offers refuge to precisely those titles that defy categorisation, transgress boundaries, and sit uncomfortably with the viewer. It is where the weird, the wonderful…

woods

LFF Cult 2016 Round-Up: woods, morgues and madness

LFF Cult 2016 Round-Up: woods morgues and madness first published by Sight & Sound See also In the Cu(l)t: More from LFF 2016’s Cult Programme  Those seeking to be awed, alarmed and unnerved at the 60th London Film Festival should convert to the Cult strand. This year’s selection is disparate, although sylvan settings and psychological…

Observance (2015)

Longer version of piece published by Sight & Sound as part of coverage of the Cult programme at the London Film Festival 2015 “Just watch and report back. That simple.” Still grieving the death of his son after a prolonged illness, and the dissolution of his marriage in the aftermath, Parker (Lindsay Farris) takes on a…

become

What We Become (2015)

Longer version of piece published by Sight & Sound as part of coverage of the Cult programme at the London Film Festival 2015 Sorgenfri, the municipality of Greater Copenhagen which is both the setting and the original Danish title of writer/director Bo Mikkelsen’s feature debut What We Become, translates literally as ‘Carefree.’ It is an etymology…

Don’t Grow Up (2015)

Longer version of piece published by Sight & Sound as part of coverage of the Cult programme at the London Film Festival 2015 “My future? I dunno.” Although it starts and ends with video testimonies from a group of young adults about their interdependence and prospects, Thierry Poiraud’s Don’t Grow Up is no documentary, instead locating…