Notes on Blindness (dir: Pete Middleton, James Spinney, 2016, cert n/a) After John Hull went blind in 1983 he began keeping an audio diary to try and understand his condition. John recorded 16 hours of material on audio cassette to produce ‘a unique testimony of loss, rebirth and renewal, excavating the interior world of blindness.’ To incorporate John’s words the directors, Middleton and Spinney, have played with the documentary form to create a new kind of vision from John’s lack of sight. A special transformation of perception and identity. Highly recommended.
Mon 25 Jul – Wed 27 Jul various times at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 and Mon 25 Jul – Thu 28 Jul various times at Lighthouse Media Centre, Chubb Buildings, Fryer Street, Wolverhampton WV1 1HT £7.90

When Marnie Was There (dir: Hiromasa Yonebayashi, 2014, cert. PG) There are rumours that this will be the last Studio Ghibli film. If that is the case it is a stunning achievement with which to bow out. Hayao Miyazaki’s influence looms large on this enchanting, almost genteel ghost story, and while it never quite reaches the heights of Spirited Away’s magical imagination, it is still leagues ahead of the competition.
Fri 29 Jul – Sun 31 Jul mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8 (mac are screening the dubbed version and the original language version so check beforehand which one you wish to book)

Black Atlantic Cinema Club: Dutchman + Q&A (dir: Anthony Harvey, 1967, cert 18) The rarely seen and still shocking Dutchman is uncomfortable viewing. Essentially a filmed recreation of the Everett LeRoi Jones play on which it is based, it tells the story in the same way. Shirley Knight is wonderfully calculating as Lula tormenting Al Freeman Jr.’s Clay. Horribly claustrophobic, the action all takes place in a subway car. Just what is the message the film wishes to convey though? Fascinating but uncomfortably dated in several respects and we look forward to unraveling its 21st century meaning in the subsequent Q&A.
Sun 31 Jul 8.20pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £8

Jaws (dir: Steven Spielberg, 1975, cert 12A) The film that heralded the arrival of the summer blockbuster and still as sharp as shark teeth as it was on release. If you need a preview of this it’s about time you left that underwater cave of yours. Our favourite scene you ask? Quint’s fingernails scraping down a black board. Be honest, who doesn’t think about Jaws when paddling in the sea? Terror embedded in the human psyche for generations to come by Mr Spielberg and a malfunctioning mechanical shark called Bruce. There will be a brief introduction to the film from Wolverhampton University lecturer Ed Jackson.
Sun 31 Jul 3pm at Electric Cinema, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £8.70

True Romance (dir: Tony Scott, 1993, cert 18) The film that elevated Quentin Tarantino from video store clerk to Hollywood hot shot. His whip cracking script gave bravura director Tony Scott enough ammo to produce one of his trademark kinetically high explosive pictures. More stars and cameos than you could shake a shitty stick at and the worst Jamaican patois ever committed to celluloid by Gary Oldman. “He musta thought it was white boy day…it ain’t white boy day is it?” Relentlessly entertaining if a little shallow and silly at times, never less than good fun.
Fri 29 Jul 8pm at The Mockingbird Theatre, Custard Factory, Digebth, Birmingham B9 4AA £5

The Intent + Q & A (dir: Femi Oyeniran, Kalvadour Peterson, 2016, cert 15) All English cast and locations, The Intent explores the well travelled ground of young black men attempting to survive the trials of gang culture in the capital. More thoughtful than the usual entries in the genre and filmed with a gritty realism that never glamorises the violence shown. Following the screening there will be a Q&A with director Femi Oyeniran, producer Nicky Slimting, and lead actors Dylan Duffs and Tayo “Scorcher” Jarrett.
Thu 28 Jul 8pm at Everyman Cinema, The Mailbox, Birmingham B1 1RS £13

My Neighbor Totoro (dir: Hayao Miyazaki, 1988, cert U) What a summer of Ghibli it’s been in Birmingham and on it goes. This is possibly the perfect sunshine Miyazaki film as he seems to be more relaxed (in holiday mode?) and a little less grandiose than usual, as he recounts the story of Satsuki and Mei’s summer visit to their ailing mother. Charming and delightful, Totoro is one of the greatest animated characters to ever appear in a film. Who spotted the Totoro cameo in Toy Story 3? As perfect as a film can be!
Wed 27 Jul 2pm at Artrix, Slideslow Drive, Bromsgrove B60 1PQ £6.30

The Breakfast Club (dir: John Hughes, 1985, cert 15) Growing up in the 80’s meant a lot of things; Thatcher, big hair, the miner’s strike, loadsamoney and of course an ingrained nostalgic affinity with the Brat Pack movie classic The Breakfast Club.  Revisit your baby faced heroes and learn that friendship and love can be found in the most unexpected of places and individuals cannot be defined by stereotype. If you want to stand at the end and raise your fist with John, and maybe shed a tear, then please do because we will! Who are you? A brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal.
Thu 28 Jul 6pm (screening 8pm) at The Mockingbird, Custard Factory, Digbeth, Birmingham, B9 4AA £3

Chinatown (dir: Roman Polanski, 1974, cert 15) The 70’s produced two of the greatest neo-noir films ever made, Robert Altman’s incredible The Long Goodbye (1973) and Polanski’s imperious Chinatown. A labyrinthine mystery as private dick Jake (Jack Nicholson) digs deeper and deeper into into places his investigative nose shouldn’t go, and believe us his nose pays the price. Nothing is what it seems and the noir bleakness deserves its own genre category, triple-noir maybe? Superior film making. ‘You may think you know what you’re dealing with, but, believe me, you don’t.’
Sat 30 Jul 12pm at Electric Cinema, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £10.50

Mon 25 Jul - Sun 31 Jul
Giles Logan
Published on:
Tue 12 Jul 2016