birds orphans and fools man

Esther Harper reviews Juraj Jakubisko’s ‘Birds, orphans and fools’ (1969)

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Birds, Orphans and Fools, released in 1969, is both a prime example of the Czechoslovak New Wave and a product of the slackening of government censorship during the Prague Spring of 1968. The months of the Prague Spring had provided Juraj Jakubisko and directors like him with the ideal environment in which to create radical…

Esther Harper | 27/06/2014
joanna mother and child (2)

Jesse Kirkwood reviews Aneta Kopacz’s ‘Joanna’ at Open City Docs Fest

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                ‘What is your world like? Are you satisfied in it? Are you safe in it? Are you happy?’ Thought-provoking questions, posed by Joanna to her son Janek, to the readers of her widely followed blog, and now to the viewers of this short Polish documentary directed by Aneta…

Jesse Kirkwood | 26/06/2014

Cath Day reviews David Schneider’s ‘Making Stalin Laugh’ at JW3.

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David Schneider is probably most recognisable as BBC commissioning editor Tony Hayers in I’m Alan Partridge, cruelly denying Alan Partridge his second series and being invited, somewhat rudely, to smell Partridge’s cheese. Although most famous for his comedy writing and performing, Schneider is also a playwright. Making Stalin Laugh is his second play and was…

Robin Ashenden | 25/06/2014
little crushes

Jesse Kirkwood reviews ‘Little Crushes’ at the East End Film Festival

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Early in Little Crushes (Małe Stłuczki, 2014), the latest offering from filmmaking duo Aleksandra Gowin and Ireneusz Grzyb, an old man accidentally steps on and breaks a tiny trinket in his home. We see a wave of recognition and pain cross his face, and then the camera frames, in close-up, the reactions of the other characters…

Jesse Kirkwood | 25/06/2014

Sam Turner reviews ‘The Agreement’ (Karen Stokkendal Poulsen, 2014) at Frontline Club

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The Agreement is a unique and engaging documentary in which Danish director Karen Stokkendal Poulsen provides rare insight into the fascinating world of diplomatic negotiations. It follows the recent talks between Kosovo and Serbia to reach a viable agreement over disputed territory, something on which Serbia’s access to EU membership depends. The 60-minute narrative charts the talks in Brussels from beginning…

Sam Turner | 24/06/2014

Robin Ashenden reviews ‘Bloody East Europeans’ by Uilleam Blacker and Molodyi Teatr

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In Warwickshire a year ago, a fish-farmer was reported in the newspapers as putting a sign up by the side of his lake: ‘No Eastern Europeans.’ Attacks on Polish immigrants, the Guardian tells us today, have risen tenfold since 2004, and in May Nigel Farage felt at liberty, in an interview, to say that he…

Robin Ashenden | 11/06/2014
sun in a net hands

Esther Harper reviews Štefan Uher’s ‘The Sun in a Net’ (1962)

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Stefan Uher’s 1962 ‘The Sun in a Net’ (Slkno v sieti) shines an important light on a national cinema which is often overlooked. Slovak cinema finds itself dwarfed and overshadowed by the Czech variety, the geographical and historical proximity of the two countries often making it difficult for Slovak cinema to distinguish its own identity.…

Esther Harper | 07/06/2014
illumination bw picture

Krysztof Zanussi’s ‘Illumination’ (1972) reviewed by Stephen Mason

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Illumination follows the story of a young student physicist named Franciszek Retman (Stanislaw Latallo) as he struggles to find his place in the world. Coming of age in the 1960s, Franciszek is an intelligent young man whose career as a physicist looks bright. However this is put on hold early on when his girlfriend, Malgorzata (Malgorzata Pritulak),…

Stephen Mason | 31/05/2014