Wes Craven 1939 – 2015

Wes Craven

2nd August 1939 – 30th August 2015

“I believe the cinema is one of our principal forms of art. It is an incredibly powerful way to tell uplifting stories that can move people to cry with joy and inspire them to reach for the stars.”

52 Tuesdays – Film Review

52 Tuesdays

Set and filmed over a year’s worth of Tuesdays this remarkable directorial debut from Sophie Hyde follows young teen Billie (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) as her mother (Del Herbert-Jane) transitions into a man. While undergoing hormone treatment and adapting to life as a man James asks Billie to move in with her father but they agree to meet up for one day every week to ensure they stay in each others lives. Over the course of this year it is not just James that undergoes a dramatic change as while he tries to become the man he always wanted to be Billie explores her own sexuality and finds herself transitioning from a girl into a woman.

You’ll have to excuse me, I think I am about to gush.

52 Tuesdays is a special film. The performances are supremely and convincing and result in naturally flawed characters I really believed in. Despite the potential for the film to get preachy considering the subject matter there was more emphasis on authenticity than getting any particular message across. Potentially heavy issues were dealt with using a refreshing lightness of touch; not trivialised as much as they are humanised.

The film is as much an exploration of young female sexuality as it is about transitioning gender. It looks at the notion of identity, maturity, and love. There is even an exploration of the ideas Men, Women & Children was toying with but there is no sense that the audience is being bashed about the head with them. 52 Tuesdays is simply a well-considered and well made film which succeeds in normalising a niche experience.

52 Tuesdays 2

What more do you want me to say?

Each Tuesday is introduced with a few seconds of news footage from the week it was filmed giving the film a real sense of time and place. The relationship between Billie and James is at once the strongest on-screen familial relationship I’ve seen in a long time and on the verge of breaking down at any moment. The progression of time leaves the two characters changed from the start of the film to its end and the question becomes whether the two individuals at the film’s close can have the same relationship they shared at its start.

52 Tuesdays is sweet, sexy, and painful. 52 Tuesdays wears its heart on its sleeve and while not perfect it is made with love, determination, and authenticity. 52 Tuesdays is a special film.

52 Tuesdays is in UK cinemas from today.

Priced Out of Indie Cinemas

Picturehouse Central

The Cineworld in London’s Trocadero near Leicester Square was a grim place; mice scuttled across the floor and every surface was sticky. When the lights went down and a film started to play it was a sweet release to be lost in a fictional world but when the final credits rolled the horror of the surroundings dragged you back to reality with a bump. A sticky, slightly squelchy, bump. Thankfully the dark days of the Trocadero Cineworld are behind us and the era of Picturehouse Central is here.

 

Picturehouse Central is a beautiful temple to cinema with exposed brickwork, a grand staircase, and an inefficient but effective use of light-bulbs. While the Cineworld was an ugly duckling the site has now grown into a gorgeous Picturehouse swan. What films do they show you ask? Why only the finest selection of mainstream and art house films of course! (And Ted 2.) So why did I go to book tickets last week and balk at the idea?

£18 a ticket is why.

This combined with a £1.50 booking fee makes the new Picturehouse Cinema more expensive (for a standard adult ticket) than going to the country’s biggest screen at the BFI IMAX. Admittedly a closer look at the ticket prices does reveal discounts for Picturehouse members and £8 tickets until 2016 for a select group of screenings including Picturehouse DOCS, Discover Tuesdays, Vintage Sundays and Culture Shock. Sadly no sign of the £7 tickets on a Monday as mentioned when the cinema first opened last month.

The independent cinema chains (an oxymoron surely?) do tend to be a bit pricier but even the Curzon Soho, just up the road from the Trocadero, only charges £14 and the truly independent, and truly spectacular, Price Charles Cinema clocks in at £11 at peak times.

I love films and I love Picturehouses, Greenwich and Hackney Picturehouses have been graced with my presence on multiple occasions, but I struggle to justify spending more than £15 on a single cinema ticket. Call me cheap or call me sane but prices this high will simply make most screenings at an otherwise fantastic cinema inaccessible to those below a certain salary band. My main point is that I really, really want to go to Picturehouse Central. I want to eat organic snacks in tastefully upholstered seating but don’t have enough disposable income to do so.

To put the £18 ticket fee in context, and to find a more affordable place to spend time in the dark, I have taken a look at all the cinemas you can find in central London to see how much they charge. I’ve even put them all on a map for you. Clicking on each cinema on the map shows the price of a single adult ticket for a Thursday evening 2D screening with no concessions or membership deals taken into account. Booking fees are shown in brackets where available.

If you are looking for a mainstream movie your best bet is to visit one of the not too sticky smaller Odeons and for smaller films the Prince Charles Cinema is always worth a look. When you’re feeling a bit more flush then maybe you’ll want to give Picturehouse Central a try. Take me with you when you go, I’ll buy dinner if you get the tickets.

For updates on events, offers, and openings in and around London sign up to The Slice from Metro.

Still the Water – LFF Review

Still the Water

On the subtropical Japanese island of Amami two young teenagers find themselves struggling to deal with their parents while awkwardly taking their first romantic steps together. Kyôko (Jun Yoshinaga) lives with her parents in a house shaded by a 400-year-old banyan tree. Her mother, a shaman, is sick and dying and all Kyôko and her father can do is try to make her comfortable and savour the time they have left together. Kyôko’s friend Kaito (Nijiro Murakami) has moved to the island with his mother. They have left a city life in Tokyo and Kaito’s tattooist father behind. As Kyôko must come to terms with losing her mother while surrounded by a large extended family, Kaito is forced to adjust to life with just his mother on an island cut off from civilisation and his heritage. Through sadness, anger, heartbreak, and companionship Kyôko and Kaito are bonded together and a sweet teenage romance blossoms.

Spread out over two hours Still the Water is not a film of thrilling action and explosive stunts but one of quiet emotions and the slow development of characters and relationships. Rather than follow the traditional three act structure made up of scenes that service a simple plot and drive towards its conclusion Still the Water instead takes on a more fluid pace. Scenes flow from one to the next in slow, lyrical fashion with mood and tone more important than exposition and function.

Still the Water 2

Kyôko’s journey through the film is one tinged with sadness. Much as the impending death of her mother casts its shadow over events she remains a positive presence and could never be said to have wallowed. Moments featuring Kyôko and her parents just sitting around their house and talking are tender in their simplicity. These authentic moments of a family enjoying each other’s company, teasing and joking with one another, are what make the film sing. Kyôko’s story is so painfully sad because the audience believes in her family and the love they share. There is an innocence to be found in the story of a young girl and her sick mother, a fable told through numerous Studio Ghibli films, and upon losing her mother this girl finds her strength within the sadness.

Kaito’s story is just as painful for him but tinged more with anger than sorrow. Wrenched away from his previous life in the bustling metropolis of Tokyo and struggling to deal with the separation of his parents Kaito turns his mother into his own personal antagonist. Kaito’s pain is at once completely understandable and totally unreasonable. His upset comes not from a logical place but from a deep instinctive sense of betrayal. Despite both having trouble in their families when Kaito and Kyôko are together they retreat into childish playfulness and happiness. Theirs is such a tender, tentative romance. One that flashes into maturity when emotions and events come to a head and Kyôko shows her strength by putting aside personal grief to try to control her young love’s rage.

If what I have said so far sounds like waffle then it is only because Still the Water is so hard to justify using words. This is a film that expresses itself best through stunning visuals, quiet moments of contemplation, and a gentle rocking pace. Writer & director Naomi Kawase has created a film that feels truly organic. A natural phenomenon that talks of the loss of innocence and subtle power that love can bring.

A quiet film about love, life, and death Still the Water will make you smile through your tears.

Still the Water is on limited release in the UK now..

BFI LFF 2014

52 Tuesdays – Trailer & Poster

52 Tuesdays

I’m not a huge fan of posting trailers but I will make an exception for a film that really got me in the gut.

52 Tuesdays comes from debut director Sophie Hyde and follows one year in the life of Billie (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) as her mother (Del Herbert-Jane) transitions from woman to man. The film was shot one day every week for a year and as a result brims with authenticity.

A full review will come nearer the release on 7th August but for now let me just say that it is a beautiful and tender film that tackles issues of gender, identity, and growing up and handles potentially heavy issues with a lightness of touch. You can tell it’s going to be five stars already can’t you?