Bugs (dir: Andreas Johnsen, 2016, cert n/a)
With Planet Earth facing a hunger crisis of epic proportions the answer for Danish documentary filmmaker Andreas Johnsen is obvious, start eating insects. In Bugs he explores the possible benefits of industrial scale insect food production, battery farmed creepy crawlies if you will. Screened as part of the ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ season, read our full preview here.
Mon 8 May 6pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £9 macbirmingham.co.uk
The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki (dir: Juho Kuosmanen, 2017, cert 12A)
Winner of the Prix Un Certain Regard at Cannes, Kuosmanen’s charming comedy is based on the true story of Finnish boxer Olli Maki’s one shot at the big time in 1962. Shot in gorgeous black and white and tinged with just a hint of Scandinavian melancholy, it’s a beautifully told tale of enjoying life’s pleasures whilst overcoming its difficulties. Sweet, good natured and heart warming.
Mon 8 May to Thu 11 May at Lighthouse, The Chubb Buildings, Fryer St, Wolverhampton WV1 1HT £8.15 light-house.co.uk
A Silent Voice (dir: Naoko Yamada, 2016, cert 12A)
Yamada’s poignant anime is an emotional jackhammer as shy deaf girl Shoko is bullied relentlessly at school by the delinquent boy Shoya until she is transferred elsewhere. Bully and bullied reunite later in an extraordinary tale of realisation and redemption; there are tears, lots of them. Filmed with an unusual reserve its gaze lingering on awkward shuffling feet and hands, a stylish peek into the abstruse world of the teenager.
Mon 8 May to Thu 11 May at Mockingbird, Custard Factory, Gibb St, Birmingham B9 4AA ticketing.eu.veezi.com
Mindhorn (dir: Sean Foley, 2017, cert 15)
If you missed this at Flatpack now’s your chance to catch up with the Isle of Man’s most famous detective Mindhorn. The familiar Julian Barratt (Mighty Boosh, Nathan Barley) is the titular hero, he also co-wrote with Simon Farnaby, in the cringe inducing adventures of possibly cinema’s most deluded crime fighter. Being bereft of any self-awareness and oblivious to the crushing embarrassment of one’s actions is a familiar trope of British comedy, think Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan cameo’s), but here it is played to perfection. ‘See the truth’.
Mon 8 May to Sun 14 May at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £9.50 www.theelectric.co.uk
Mulholland Drive (dir: David Lynch, 2001, cert 15)
Any experience of Lynch’s psychologically unsettling surrealist masterpiece is dependent on the mental state of its audience. No two viewings are ever the same, it’s a film that picks relentlessly at the subconscious and contains so many ‘did I just see that’ moments you will question your very sanity. Actively annoying several critics leading to reviews such as “a load of moronic and incoherent garbage” Mulholland Drive is a lesson in multi layered, imaginative and challenging film making.
Mon 8 May to Thu 11 May at Mockingbird, Custard Factory, Gibb St, Birmingham B9 4AA £1 ticketing.eu.veezi.com
Dark Victory (dir: Edmund Goulding, 1949, cert PG)
One of Bette Davis’ greatest performances, she missed out on an Oscar to Gone With the Wind’s Vivian Leigh, Davis’s journey from carefree society girl to terminally ill cancer patient is a masterclass in acting range and emotional subtlety. Dark Victory was famously dubbed ‘a three hanky hit’ at the time but we recommend you bring four, you will need them for the film’s final moments. Screened as part of the ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ season, read our full preview here.
Tue 9 May 5.30pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £9 macbirmingham.co.uk
Lady Macbeth (dir: William Oldroyd, 2017, cert 15)
Oldroyd’s debut feature is a daring deconstruction of the genteel language and repressed sexuality of the stuffy period drama genre. The black heart of Lady Macbeth traduces expectation as sedate and at times almost narcoleptic pacing is punctured by searing outbursts of sex and violence. An astonishing and beautifully realised piece of cinema that is not easily forgotten.
Tue 9 May to Thu 11 May at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £9.50 www.theelectric.co.uk
Fri 12 May to Thu 18 May at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £9 macbirmingham.co.uk
Departures (dir: Yôjirô Takita, 2008, cert 12A)
A beautifully lyrical film exploring the mysterious taboos that surround our perceptions of death and the inevitable mortality of life. There is a light wit throughout as Daigo (Motoki Masahiro) sadly relinquishes his dream of becoming a renown cellist and stumbles into a career in the refined art of “encoffinment”, better known in the west as undertaking. Incredible cinematography rife with symbolism throughout and a gentle poignancy about the biggest journey we all have to take. Won Best Foreign Language Film at the 2009 Acacdemy awards. Screened as part of the ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ season, read our full preview here.
Wed 10 May 5pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £9 macbirmingham.co.uk
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (dir: Milos Forman, 1975, cert 15)
Still the greatest English language film about mental health and it has lost none of its mordant potency in the four decades since its release. Briefly uplifting but ultimately heartbreaking, the battle of wills between Jack Nicholson’s Randle McMurphy and Louise Fletcher as the terrifying Nurse Ratched plays out compellingly but there can be only one winner. A gut wrenchingly harsh conclusion from the Czech New wave director Milos Forman.
Fri 12 May to Sat 13 May at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £9 macbirmingham.co.uk
Princess Bride (dir: Rob Reiner, 1987, cert PG)
A film that couldn’t fail. A William Goldman script, Rob Reiner directing and a great cast including Christopher Guest and Robin Wright, look out for Peter Cook. An anti-fairytale full of hilarious dialogue, grotesque characters and positively dripping with a knowing post-modern satirical glaze.
Sat 13 May 2pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £9 macbirmingham.co.uk
Stairway To Heaven (dir: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, 1946, cert U)
One of the great joys of cinema are the films of Powell and Pressburger; magnificently staged productions that exude style, class and a unique visual flair. Their 1940’s canon is without compare and the three films on which they collaborated with legendary cinematographer Jack Cardiff are as close to cinematic perfection as it’s possible to get. RAF pilot pilot Peter Carter, David Niven at his dashing best, impossibly survives a parachute plunge (without a parachute) into the sea and a heavenly conductor is dispatched to escort him to the afterlife. A wonderfully moving film filled with unexpected and imaginative flourishes, it demands to be seen on the big screen and now’s your chance. Screened as part of the ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ season, read our full preview here. (N.B. mac have listed the film as ‘Stairway to Heaven’ which is the US title, the original UK title is of course ‘A Matter of Life and Death’.)
Sun 14 May 2pm at mac, Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham B12 9QH £9 macbirmingham.co.uk
Ikuru (dir: Akira Kurosawa, 1952, cert PG)
A beautifully studied reflection on the fragility and all too fleeting nature of human existence from one of cinema’s greatest director’s. Newly diagnosed with cancer Kanji Watanabe, played with a quiet subtlety by Kurosawa regular Takashi Shimura, ponders the meaningless life he has led and the mistakes he has made. Watanabe’s despair and subsequent redemption are inspirational, a truly classic film that possesses the power to radically change its audience’s thinking. Screened as part of the ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ season, read our full preview here.
Sun 14 May 2pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £9.50 www.theelectric.co.uk
Midnight Cowboy (dir: John Schlesinger, 1969, cert 18)
A bittersweet lesson in stupidity, tragedy and despair. Jon Voight’s hopelessly naive would-be hustler brings his dreams to New York looking for easy pickings but becomes just another maggot in a rotten Big Apple, taken advantage of at every ill-judged turn until Dustin Hoffman’s wily Ratso eventually takes pity on him. If Schlesinger had added just one more layer of sadness to Midnight Cowboy we would go into an irretrievable emotional meltdown. As it is, the inevitable ending and Harry Nilsson’s iconic ‘Everybody’s Talkin’, will not so much tug at your heart strings as mercilessly shred them. Screened as part of the ‘A Matter of Life and Death’ season, read our full preview here.
Sun 14 May 5.30pm at Electric, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DY £9.50 www.theelectric.co.uk
Published on: Fri 5 May 2017