Ethel & Ernest (dir: Roger Mainwood, 2016, cert 15)
Raymond Briggs’ graphic novel about his parents life is brought to the screen in a similar style to his other work about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances, ‘When The Wind Blows’. The story of ‘Ethel & Ernest’ is beautifully told and the magisterial meaning to be found in the mundane is heartbreakingly rendered. Brigg’s ability to capture the essence of ordinary life has always made his work fascinating and ultimately more painful when tragedy strikes. We can all see ourselves in the story. We strongly recommend you bring along a pack of tissues, you will need them.
Mon 14 Nov to Wed 16 Nov various times at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk/
American Honey (dir: Andrea Arnold, 2016, cert 15)
A first foray into film-making outside the UK for the supremely gifted English director Andrea Arnold. American Honey is a film that follows its own narrative rules as the viewer drifts lazily in and out of the lives of teenage misfits on a somewhat nebulous road trip to the nowhere of an uncertain future. Beautifully shot, sumptuous blue skies framing the action throughout. The teenage ennui reminded us of Antonioni blended with Larry Clark, but without the voyeurism of course. Superior film making and worthy of your attention.
Mon 14 Nov to Thu 17 Nov various times at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk/
Departure (dir: Andrew Steggall, 2016, cert 15)
As debut features go this is some effort by Andrew Steggall. The beautifully evocative coming of age tale stars an excellent Alex Lawther as bundle of teenage insecurities and grandiose confusion Elliott and the versatile Juliet Stevenson as his mother Beatrice. Both are awakening. One to his sexuality and the other to her dissipating marriage. The juxtaposition between their respective epiphanies is fascinating and told with a restrained delicacy of touch. Screening as part of the Shout festival. Read more here.
Mon 14 Nov 6pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk/
Whites Vs Blacks: How Football Changed a Nation + Q&A
It seems extraordinary now but in 1979, as part of West Bromwich Albion player Len Cantello’s testimonial, an all white team took on an all black team, whites against blacks. This documentary, specially commissioned by the BBC for their Black and British season and screened here as part of the BFI Black Star season, follows lifelong Albion fan Adrian Chiles as he attempts to unravel the meaning behind the game for the players involved. Seen as light hearted banter by the white team the black team’s perception was much different. The screening will be followed by what promises to be a fascinating Q&A with four of the players involved, including one third of Albion’s famous ‘Three Degrees’ Cyrille Regis. Essential viewing.
Tue 15 Nov 8.20pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk/
Creature From the Black Lagoon 3D (dir: Jack Arnold, 1954, cert PG)
One of the greatest and most fun creature features to appear during the 1950’s. Iconic and crowd pleasing, Creature from the Black Lagoon set the template for every genre film that followed and contains some extraordinary, for the time, underwater photography. It’s certainly our favourite piscine amphibious humanoid monster movie by a country fathom. Wack on your 3D specs and marvel as the hideous Gill-man wreaks aquatic terror on our heroes and stalks the beautiful Julie Adams. ‘Not since the beginning of time has the world beheld terror like this!’ You have been warned.
Tue 15 Nov 8.30pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £9.30 www.theelectric.co.uk/
Girls Lost (dir: Alexandra-Therese Keining, 2016, cert 15)
A unique Swedish film and meditation on gender identity. Girls Lost follows three teenage girls being bullied who find a mysterious plant which, when consumed, turns them all into boys. This is not some twee body swap comedy and there is a genuine air of dark Scandinavian foreboding throughout. Not only have the girls altered genders but they have accrued the masculine power that this provides. How each handles their ‘power’ is fascinating and may surprise. A profound and complex film. Screening as part of the Shout festival. Read more here.
Tue 15 Nov 6pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk/
Goonies (Dir. Richard Donner 1985 Cert. 12)
Is it possible to ever tire of Chunk doing the truffle shuffle? I doubt it. Rollicking high jinks in one of the greatest teen adventure yarns ever filmed. Expect a nostalgia overload and the urge to go rummaging for treasure maps in the attic to overwhelm you.
Wed 16 Nov 8pm at Mockingbird, Custard Factory, Gibb Street, Birmingham B9 4AA £5 www.facebook.com/
The Magic Cinema at Cafe Ort
The Birmingham based micro cinema not only screens a dizzying array of no budget short films; but if you take along your own film, as long as it’s under 15 minutes long, they will screen that too. Cafe Ort is one of the best alternative arts venues in Birmingham and is really worth a visit.
Wed 16 Nov 7pm at Cafe Ort, 500-504 Moseley Road, B12 9 Birmingham FREE www.facebook.com/
Jackie Brown (Quentin Tarantino, 1997, cert 15)
In which Tarantino’s poplar culture riffing machine reached Blaxploitation. Not meant as a criticism, no one can pull together so many disparate genre threads as eloquently and knowledgeably as Quentin. A master stroke from the director was casting Foxy Brown herself, Pam Grier, as the eponymous hero. The opening scene as a knowing Grier paces confidently through Los Angeles Airport to Bobby Womack’s ‘Across 110th Street’ is cinematic perfection. There’s lots of cool walking in Tarantino movies. An incredible cast with the ubiquitous Samuel L Jackson, an off the charts sexy Bridget Fonda and a shambling Robert De Niro. “When you absolutely, positively got to kill every motherfucker in the room, accept no substitutes.” Oh yes.
Thu 17 Nov 8pm at Mockingbird, Custard Factory, Gibb Street, Birmingham B9 4AA £5 www.facebook.com/
Will You Dance With Me? (dir: Derek Jarman, 1984, cert N/A)
Recently discovered by filmmaker Ron Peck, if you haven’t seen his Nighthawks then track it down immediately, is Derek Jarman’s fascinating production which is essentially just footage shot in 1984 by Jarman in Benjy’s, a gay night club in London’s Mile End, for a film Peck was working on. A compelling snapshot of a different time and the unedited journey through an eighties evening is remarkable for the inclusivity on display, a sanctuary from the pernicious divisiveness of rampant Thatcherism. This is more than a simple screening and as the evening progresses a dance floor will emerge along with DJs and film loops. Before the screening there will be a discussion on the film’s themes. Screening as part of the Shout festival. Read more here.
Fri 18 Nov 8pm at Grand Union, Minerva Works, Fazeley Street, B5 5RS Birmingham £3 www.facebook.com/
Queen of Katwe (dir: Mira Nair, 2016, cert PG)
Whilst the Disney production juggernaut pummels the viewer with its ubiquitously violent and saccharin sentimentality, what saves the film is the true story upon which it is based managing to shine through the unnecessary Hollywood sheen. Phiona Mutesi is a Ugandan chess champion who became the first titled player in Ugandan chess history. That she managed to achieve this whilst growing up in the rampant poverty of the Kampalan slums is nothing short of extraordinary. Newcomer Madina Nalwanga is excellent as Phiona and there is some beautiful footage of Kampala and its surroundings.
Fri 18 Nov to Thu 28 Nov at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 macbirmingham.co.uk/
Daisies (dir: Věra Chytilová, 1966, cert 15) with live music accompanied by Matthew Edwards and the Unfortunates
One of the most memorable entries in the Czech cinema canon. Daisies is an exhiliratingly capricious film as two bored girls engage in all manner of anarchically surreal and comic adventures. Instantly recognisable to most, even if they haven’t seen the film, as the astonishing imagery has been copied and used across the counter cultural zeitgeist for four decades. Beautiful, unique and a cinematic experience like no other. Playing alongside the film will be Matthew Edwards and the Unfortunates. A son of Birmingham who has worked with some of the most revered musicians in the business. A huge slap on the back from us to the Behind the Curtain Film Festival organizers for this event. Read more about the festival here.
Sat 19 Nov 8pm at Centrala, Unit 4, Minerva Works, 158 Fazeley Street, B5 5RT Birmingham £5 behindthecurtainfestival.uk/
Published on: Sun 16 Oct 2016