LFF review: 12 Years a Slave

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From Netribution

The third feature from artist-turned-director Steve McQueen needs little introduction.

It’s a visceral, unpredictable tale of life as a slave in 1840s America, based on the true story of Solomon Northup (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, who, as ever, disappears effortlessly into the demanding role), who was born a free man in New York.

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Gypsy, Roma, Traveller season on Community Channel!

GRT highlights page 1

Highlights from Community Channel‘s Gypsy, Roma, Traveller season, which I’ve been working on for the past few months! It started on Monday 6th May.

Starting in May and continuing on into June, Community Channel is proud to dedicate a season of programming designed to raise the profile of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities both in the UK and beyond. will celebrate the unique arts and customs specific to Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, as well as explore some of the most pressing social, economic and political issues they face in modern Britain and across Europe today.

We’ve been working hard on getting in titles for the season, such as four documentaries from the excellent Mundi Romani series, The Pied Piper of Hutzovina with Eugene Hutz of Gogol Bordello, a range of titles from the fantastic Jasmine Dellal and, of course, Lunik IX, by our very own Artur Conka.

We’ve also been filming the GRT360 news bulletins for UK and EU, as well as an Agony Aunt show with Travellers’ TimesViolet Cannon. They’ll will be shown around 9pm and 11pm on weeknights. I wrote and edited some of the scripts, and sat in on pretty much all of the filming to mark up the scripts. Behind-the-scenes pics below…

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LFF Preview: Argo and Midnight’s Children

From Netribution

These two films each take an unflinching look at the damage wrought when countries have change imposed upon them, but leaven the tone with helpings of ridiculousness.

Midnight’s Children (in a nicely streamlined screenplay by the novel’s author Salman Rushdie) sticks with the magic realism of the novel, such as when India is actually plunged into a permanent midnight during Indira Gandhi’s State of Emergency in the mid 70s, known as the country’s “darkest hour.”

The novel’s sense of the absurd is woven throughout the film, mirroring the the attempts of the narrator, Saleem Sinai, to create a coherent narrative out of all the strange things that have happened to him and to the newly independent India, since both were born on 15th August 1947.

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LFF Preview: No and Grassroots

From Netribution

Grassroots and No are both political films based on real events that concentrate on the competition: to win a local election in the former film, and to win a regime-changing plebiscite in the latter.

The fact that No succeeds as an engaging film to such a greater extent than Grassroots shows that political races on film need to be contested by sharply-outlined protagonists. Furthermore, while there can be laughs, playing the whole contest for laughs kills the anticipation.

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The 56th BFI London Film Festival opens tonight with Frankenweenie

From Netribution

The 56th BFI London Film Festival will open tonight with Frankenweenie, a stop-motion take on the Frankenstein story, directed by Tim Burton. It will close on 21st October with Great Expectations, starring Burton’s partner, Helena Bonham Carter.

The Festival has a new director, Clare Stewart, who’s shaken things up a bit. Here’s what she has to say about the next 11 days:

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55th BFI London Film Festival programme revealed

From the British Film Institute:

We’re excited to announce the line-up for this year’s BFI London Film Festival, which will showcase 204 feature films and 110 shorts over 16 days.

In addition to our previously announced opening and closing night films, Fernando Meirelles’ 360 and Terence Davies’  The Deep Blue Sea [pictured above, starring Rachel Weisz and Tom Hiddleston], Gala highlights include George Clooney’s The Ides of March, Alexander Payne’s The Descendants, Lynne Ramsay’s We Need to Talk About Kevin and David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method. This year’s Archive Gala title is the BFI National Archive’s restoration of Miles Mander’s The First Born with a new score by Stephen Horne.

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The London Film Festival closes tonight with 127 Hours

From Netribution last Thursday…

Danny Boyle’s take on the true story of climber Aron Ralston, 127 Hours, will close the London Film Festival tonight.

The 127 hours in question entail the 5 days that Ralston spent in a crevice in Utah’s Blue John Canyon. He had been climbing on his own and hadn’t told anyone where he was going. When he falls and finds his arm trapped under a boulder, he has to make a terrrible choice in order to survive.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

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