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Looking back over these lists of films I’ve watched this year, the context in which I watched them is as often memorable as – if not more so than –  details from the films themselves. This was something that my former colleague Annette Kuhn found in her research into cinema-going in Britain in the 1930s; people she interviewed often remembered the circumstances in which they went to watch films more vividly than the films themselves, which were often a backdrop to or pretext for social encounters.  Kinshasa Symphony and Paa Joe and the Lion were both screened at the Afrika Eye North festival I helped organise at Lancaster University where I had the chance to participate in fascinating Q-and-A sessions afterwards. I saw the only known 35mm print of the obscure 1980s thriller Enemy Territory in the community-owned Royal cinema in Toronto’s little Italy area, presented as the fortnightly choice of the Laser Blast cult film society, while Wan Pipel was screened at the Powerplant arts centre on the shore of Lake Ontario. I watched Atomic Blonde on the flight back to Manchester although, because this was the budget airline, Air Canada Rouge, and the planes had no screens, I had to watch it through the aircraft’s glitchy wifi system on my phone. More memorable still, I was fortunate enough to see Haifaa Al-Mansour’s recent, moving feminist biopic, Mary Shelley in the eccentric Cinema Utopia in Avignon with my teenage daughter – the auditorium had a well in one corner – and a week later, I watched the remarkable Disobedience in La Ciotat, in the oldest cinema in the world, the Eden theatre in La Ciotat.

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La Ciotat was the summer retreat of Auguste and Louis Lumiere and one of the cineaste’s treats of the trip was arriving in La Ciotat station on the platform where the Lumiere brothers shot their most well-known film, the film that Christian Metz suggested was cinema’s primal scene.

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‘L’arrivee d’un train en gare de la Ciotat’, August, 2018.

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‘L’arrivee d’un train en gare de la Ciotat’ (Lumiere, 1896)

Withnail and I is a film I’ve seen a number of times since first watching it in the wonderful Hyde Park Picture Place in Leeds when I was studying fine art at the university there. Although it’s set in London in 1969, at the time it seemed like an extraordinarily accurate account of the squalor of student life in a northern post-industrial city in the late 1980s, several years before Tony Blair’s New Labour government set about replacing student grants with loans, taking the first regrettable, culturally devastating steps towards privatising higher education in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The film has become a family favourite and we even paid a snowy visit one freezing winter to the location outside Shap where they shot most of the film, breaking into the boarded-up farmhouse and taking pictures like many other cinephile pilgrims had done before us; the building was like a shrine to the film, covered with graffitied lines from the film and memorabilia left by visitors. Touchingly, our son wanted to watch the film with us the evening before I drove him down to London to begin studying on a two-year MA course at UCL, since it was a film we’d watched together a number of times, although watching it in this context this nostalgic film about landscape and driving, intimacy, departure, and loss took on a different complexion.

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2/7/18 – Trouble Every Day (Denis, 2003)

6/7/18 – Kinshasa Symphony (Wischmann, Baer, 2010)

7/7/18 – Paa Joe and the Lion (Wigley, 2016)

9/7/18 – Wind River (Sheridan, 2017)

10/7/18 – Histoire(s) du Cinema, 1b) Une histoire seule (Godard, 1998)

13/7/18 – Cairo Station (Bab el Hadid) (Chahine, 1958)

Plein Soleil (Clement, 1960)

15/7/18 – Transformers: The Last Knight (Bay, 2017)

18/7/18 – Enemy Territory (Manoogian, 1987)

19/7/18 – Wan Pipel (de La Parra, 1976)

20/7/18 – Atomic Blonde (Leitch, 2017)

Convict 13 (Cline, Keaton, 1920)

22/7/18 – Busy Bodies (French, 1933), Helpmates (Parrott, 1932), Our Wife (Horne, 1931)

24/7/18 – Un Flic (Melville, 1972)

25/7/18 – Mission: Impossible – Fallout (McQuarrie, 2018)

30/7/18 – Diary of a Lost Girl (Pabst, 1929)

5/8/18 – The Night of the Hunter (Laughton, 1955)

9/8/18 – Outrage Coda (Kitano, 2017)

10/8/18 – Mary Shelley (al-Mansour, 2018)

18/8/18 – How it Ends (Rosenthal, 2018)

19/8/18 – Boy (Waititi, 2010)

Disobedience (Lelio, 2017)

20/8/18 – Le Cercle Rouge (Melville, 1970)

23/8/18 – Sanshiro Sugata (Kurosawa, 1943)

27/8/18 – Knightriders (Romero, 1981)

28/8/18 – Sorcerer (Friedkin, 1977)

29/8/18 – It comes at night (Shults, 2017)

2/9/18 – The Meg (Turteltaub, 2018)

5/9/18 – You Were Never Really Here (Ramsay, 2017)

9/9/18 – Sanshiro Sugata, part 2 (Kurosawa, 1945)

14/9/18 – Withnail and I (Robinson, 1987)

17/9/18 – Histoire(s) du cinema 2a) Seul Le cinema, 2b) Fatale Beaute (Godard, 1998)

18/9/18 – Cold War (Pawlikowski, 2018)

20/9/18 – Surviving Desire (Hartley, 1991)

23/9/18 – Histoire(s) du cinema 3a) La monnaie de l’absolue, 3b) Une vague nouvelle (Godard, 1998)

27/9/18 – Histoire(s) du Cinema 4a) Controle de l’Univers (Godard, 1998)

28/9/18 – Histoire(s) du Cinema, 4b) Les Signes parmi Nous (Godard, 1998)

29/9/18 – Days of Youth (Ozu, 1929)

‘I graduated, but…’ (Ozu, 1929) – fragment

30/9/18 – Where now are the Dreams of Youth? (Ozu, 1932)

Blackkklansman (Lee, 2018)

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Looking back at this list of films watched between April and June, there are rather more titles than would be normal for this busy time of year, but the combination of the strike over pensions and several weeks of illness meant that I had more time than usual for watching films.

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1/4/18 – Isle of Dogs (Anderson, 2018)

2/4/18 – Fantomas V: The False Magistrate (Feuillade, 1914)

5/4/18 – Taskafa: Stories of the Street (Zimmerman, 2015)

11/4/18 – Macbeth, RSC live cinema stream

18/4/18 – Manhunt (Woo, 2017) 

22/4/18 – I Wish (Koreeda, 2011)

27/4/18 – The Third Murder (Koreeda, 2017)

4/5/18 – Anti-Clock (Arden, Bond, 1979)

Vibration (Arden, Bond, 1975)

Conspirators of Pleasure (Svankmajer, 1996)

Shogun Assassin (Houston, 1980)

5/5/18 – Ikiru (Kurosawa, 1952)

6/5/18 – Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (McKay, 2004)

7/5/18 – Deadpool (Miller, 2016)

8/5/18 – The Cameraman (Keaton, Sedgwick, 1928)

The Goat (Keaton, St Clair, 1921)

The Love Nest  (Keaton, 1922)

A Generation (Wajda, 1955)

9/5/18 – Oh, Doctor! (Arbuckle, 1917)

Mindhorn (Foley, 2016)

10/5/18 – JCVD (El Mechri, 2008)

Aaltra (Delepine, Kervern, 2004)

One plus One (Godard, 1968)

11/5/18 – Dr Mabuse, the Gambler, parts 1&2 (Lang, 1922)

14/5/18 – The Florida Project (Baker, 2017)

16/5/18 – Wittgenstein (Jarman, 1993)

The Untouchables (De Palma, 1987)

17/5/18 – Cold Fish (Sono, 2010)

The Disaster Artist (Franco, 2017)

26/5/18 – The Square (Ostlund, 2017)

27/5/18 – Murder on the Orient Express (Branagh, 2017)

13/6/18 – Letter from an Unknown Woman (Ophuls, 1948)

14/6/18 – Lek and the Dogs (Kotting, 2018)

18/6/18 – The Duke of Burgundy (Strickland, 2014)

20/6/18 – The Kings of Summer (Vogt-Roberts, 2013)

Histoire(s) du Cinema, 1a (Godard, 1998)

30/6/18 – Playtime (Tati, 1967)

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Quite often when people find out what I do for a job they ask me what films I’ve seen recently and much of the time I struggle to name a title.  I think one of the reasons is that I watch films for several reasons – it may be a matter of teaching preparation, research for an article, book chapter or conference paper, looking for film-making ideas, curiosity, obligation, collective family viewing choices, and just pleasure. Out of interest, I decided to keep a list of what I’m watching this year. I’ve done this before, although not for a while, and it’s always intriguing to see what patterns – if any – emerge.

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1/1/18                 The War Game (Watkins, 1969)

2/1/18                 Grass (Cooper, Schoedsack, 1925)

3/1/18                  A Matter of Life and Death (Powell, Pressburger, 1946)

4/1/18                  Jabberwocky (Gilliam, 1977)

10/1/18              Hue and Cry (Crichton, 1947)

13/1/18              Songs from the Second Floor (Andersson, 2000)

15/1/18              The Grey (Carnahan, 2011)

17/1/18              Tout va Bien (Godard, Gorin, 1972)

19/1/18              Terra Formars (Miike, 2016)

20/1/18              Kanal (Wajda, 1957)

21/1/18              Darkest Hour (Wright, 2018)

25/1/18              Robocop (Verhoeven, 1987)

1/2/18                 The Greatest Showman (Gracey, 2017)

2/2/18                 You, The Living (Andersson, 2007)

3/2/18                 Under the Skin (Manskiy, 2015); Welcome to Leith (Nichols, Walker, 2015)

4/2/18                  Touki-Bouki (Mambety, 1973); Blue Steel (Bigelow, 1989)

9/2/18                  The Wall (Die Wand) (Polsler, 2012); Baby Driver (Wright, 2017)

11/2/18              Now You See Me 2 (Chu, 2016)

19/2/18              The Crucible (Hytner, 1996)

22/2/18              The Death of Stalin (Ianucci, 2017)

23/2/18              Black Panther (Coogler, 2018)

24/2/18              Sparrow (To, 2008)

25/2/18              The Business of Fancydancing (Alexie, 2002)

28/2/18              Strike (Eisenstein, 1924); Punishment Park (Watkins, 1971)

6/3/18                 Eisenstein in Guanajuato (Greenaway, 2017)

7/3/18                 Blades of Glory (Gordon, Speck, 2007)

8/3/18                 Hail, Caesar! (Coen, 2016)

12/3/18              La Silence de la Mer (Melville, 1949); Bend it like Beckham (Chadha, 2002)

15/3/18              Fantomas: In the Shadow of the Guillotine (Feuillade, 1913); Estate, a Reverie (Zimmerman, 2015)

17/3/18              The Falling (Morley, 2014); Annihilation (Garland, 2018)

19/3/18              Fantomas II: Juve vs Fantomas (Feuillade, 1913)

22/3/18              Fantomas III: The Murderous Corpse (Feuillade, 1913)

24/3/18              Bridget Jones’s Diary (Maguire, 2001)

25/3/18              Lady Bird (Gerwig, 2017)

27/3/18               Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh, 2017)

30/3/18              Fantomas IV: Fantomas vs Fantomas (Feuillade, 1914)

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Afterwords is the latest short film I have made with my friend, Brian Baker. A poetic dystopian narrative fragment, it is a sequel of sorts to the short film University: a New Way of Life, and will be the fourth film in a projected series.  Afterwords is set at some point in the near future, when a scarcity of oil has led to social collapse. It follows a young woman scavenging for survival and navigating her way across this deserted landscape following the obsolete and meaningless infrastructure of pylons and power lines. Half-remembered images from infancy blend with dream images and the intermittent recollection of her mother’s voice, to guide her on her journey.

The film is saturated with references to a diverse body of apocalyptic science-fiction film and literature that includes Octavia Butler’s Parables of the Sower, John Christopher’s The Death of Grass, Russell Hoban’s Riddley Walker, and Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker. Like the previous film, it is a meditation upon landscape, engaged with the project of reframing the geography around us, viewing familiar spaces through an alienating lens. Principal reference points included the films of Andrew Kotting, Chris Marker, and, most importantly, Derek Jarman, whose cinematic landscapes are imbued with symbolic meaning, historical resonance, folk mysticism and intense, oscillating emotion.

The film was shot on Super8 film, using a Braun Nizo 561 (as used by Jarman) and a Soviet-era clockwork camera. The premise was that the visually degraded image that resulted – scratched and unstable, with variable image quality from one reel to the next – effectively conveyed the sense of social and cultural collapse that the film hints at. Indeed, the film was shot with a technology that would have been available within the post-electricity diegesis of the film: photochemical film stock and hand-wound camera. The score, which blends acoustic and electric instruments, field recordings, and voices, was intended to parallel the visual textures of the film with an aural aesthetic that is similarly characterised by distortion, glitches and scratches.

Brian has written a short commentary on the film for his own blog here.

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On Sunday morning I visited a new installation by Polish artist, Krsysztof Wodiczko in a disused cotton mill in Lancashire. The piece, a work from 2009 called Guests, consists of eight arched windows projected onto a wall, and through the semi-opaque windows we can see the silhouettes of a variety of people talking, standing around in groups or by themselves, dancing, or doing menial jobs such as operating a leaf-blower or washing the windows. They are life-sized, so that the initial uncanny impression as you walk into the dark space is that there are people walking back and forth on the other side of the wall, occasionally reaching out to the screens or leaning against them. IMG_7442.jpgIMG_7434 2.jpgOn the soundtrack, as well as a little background noise, we hear the conversations of some of the figures, discussing their situation and their experiences. Behind one window a Romani man complains about the refusal of the Italian government to recognize the Roma as a distinct ethnic group, suggesting that if the murder of 600,000 Roma people by the Nazis was recognized as a ‘Gypsy holocaust’ their official status might be different.IMG_7446.jpg

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In another window a woman talks about the situation of Vietnamese refugees in Communist Poland. A man reads poetry from a book in one window, while another discusses being interviewed by immigration officials. In a slapstick moment, a figure abseiling down behind one window slips and falls to the ground on his backside.

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It is a beautiful, formally simple and thought-provoking piece that invites the viewer to think about the visibility and marginalization of migrants, the barriers and screens that we are constantly erecting around ourselves, as well as the inadvertent bravery of people forced into migration; the windows are flanked with a quote from Hannah Arendt: ‘Refugees driven from country to country represent the vanguard of their peoples…’

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While I was keen to see Wodiczko’s work, in truth I was even more keen to visit the venue itself. The colossal textile Mill in Brierfield, which was built over four decades from 1838 sits alongside the Leeds-Liverpool canal and is just a few hundred metres from the terraced house my late grandmother lived in. Like many members of that side of my family, she was a mill-worker and had been employed in that mill for part of her working life. When we visited her one summer holiday, perhaps 30 years ago, she took my brother and me for a tour of the mill when it was still owned and operated by Smith & Nephew, manufacturing bandages and sanitary towels, and I have a vivid memory of the noise of the looms. It was closed in 2010, the machinery sold for scrap or transferred to factories abroad, and it now stands as an empty shell.

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IMG_7466.jpgAt first it seems an odd location for an exhibition by a major international artist. It is poorly signposted and the mill entrance is down a steep back street, behind a vacant lot and a compound piled with old tyres and wrecked cars.

IMG_7458.jpgIMG_7460.jpgThe show wasn’t designed to be displayed in this location – it was premiered at the Venice Biennale – but at the same time it couldn’t be more appropriate since Wodiczko’s piece is an invitation to reflect upon the ubiquity of migrant experience. The setting gives the work a greater historical richness. Like other industrial centres, Lancashire mill-towns depended upon migrant labour. Vast numbers of people travelled within Britain looking for work – members of my family originally travelled north from the tin mines of Cornwall to Lancashire in search of employment – and, particularly in the post-war period, people travelled to Lancashire from other areas of the Commonwealth such as Pakistan or the Caribbean. It is appropriate that the other building that dominates modern Brierfield is a mosque; in different ways both buildings are architectural symbols of mass migration.

The title of the work, ‘Guests’, is an invitation to treat refugees with hospitality, to take responsibility for these visitors who have found themselves separated from their families and communities. It also invokes the common term for immigrants, ‘guest workers’, a term which reminds us of the debt owed to this vanguard for their labour and hardships. However, it has another meaning that interrupts or subverts this othering tendency to see refugees as visitors to a place that belongs to us, since it also suggests that we too are guests, invited into the impromptu gallery space to study the figures behind the screens, and invited into this extraordinary building.

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Displayed in the context of Brierfield mill, the work is an invitation to think about ghosts and vanishing industrial histories. The shadows on the screens are spectral reminders of the thousands of women, men and children who once came to build and work in such buildings, which were the centre of thriving communities but which also destroyed the health and shortened the lives of many of the people who worked in them, including my grandfather, who died young, years before I was born. The empty building, one of over 2500 Lancashire cotton mills, now stands as a monument both to the scale of European industrial capitalism, and to the devastation of Britain’s manufacturing industry in the late twentieth century, but Wodiczko’s piece prompts us also to think about the complex global trade networks in which the Lancashire towns were embedded. Manufacturing textiles from imported cotton and exporting the resulting fabric, they were entirely dependent upon the international circulation of raw materials, goods, capital and people; this interdependence was demonstrated visibly in 1931 when Gandhi was invited by mill-owners to the nearby town of Darwen to witness the impact on Lancashire mill-workers of the Indian boycott of British cotton products as part of the Indian independence campaign. In this respect, although the installation of this artwork is infused with melancholy, it is far from nostalgic. More broadly this work that is about mobility, impresses upon the viewer a powerful sense of transience, that we are all just guests in this moment in history, temporary occupants of these structures, fleeting shadows who will leave nothing behind us but after-images and disintegrating material traces.

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A recent, pleasingly positive review in the December 2016 edition of the online Film Studies journal, Senses of Cinema, here of Teaching Transnational Cinema: Politics and Pedagogy, the book I edited with my friend, Katarzyna Marciniak, which deals with issues around teaching and researching transnational cinema.

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This is a short blog post I wrote for the Sociological Review blog on the satirical coverage of  Donald Trump’s presidential election campaign. This is obviously partly influenced by Roland Barthes’s essays in Mythologies – ‘The face of Garbo’, for example – but also by a frustration with the lacklustre and inadequate response by satirists to the rise of the far right across Europe and the vicious xenophobic and fascist discourses we have seen entering the mainstream of British political culture over the last two years with little resistance, reaching a head with the campaign to leave the EU in the referendum this summer. Confronted with figures like Trump, Farage, Orban, Erdogan, Le Pen, Wilders, Duterte or Putin, it seems that satire may be worse than useless.

A new short film I made with my friend and colleague Brian Baker. This is assembled from a test reel of Super-8 colour film that we shot in order to get the feel of our beautiful Braun Nizo 561 camera (a classic design by Dieter Rams manufactured in the late 1970s). It incorporates fragments of text adapted from Franz Kafka’s 1919 short story, ‘In the Penal colony’, and is inspired by Imogen Tyler’s current research on systematic, deliberate processes of social stigmatisation as a means of producing inequality and governing populations.

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This is a short film I recently made with my friend and colleague, Brian Baker, about the neoliberal assault upon the university system. It is a documentary fiction, and is the product of conversations we have had about our experience of the destructive changes that have taken place within higher education in the UK since the 1980s, and also of the work that I have done recently on pedagogy and the politics of teaching Film Studies in universities. The film is a melange of influences including the novelist J.G. Ballard, Peter Greenway’s early films, Patrick Keiller’s documentaries, and dystopian cinema of the 1970s and 1980s including films by John Carpenter, Michael Crichton and Alan J. Pakula.

The film is posted on the Youtube channel of the journal, Sociological Review, and also features on the journal’s blog with a short commentary. It is also posted on vimeo.

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I have finally got around to watching Takeshi Kitano’s latest film, Ryuzo and the Seven Henchmen (2015), which was released last year, but, like a number of his recent works, has not been as widely distributed as the films such as Sonatine (1993) and Hana-bi (1997) that established him in the 1990s as an internationally significant film-maker. The film, which was written and directed by Kitano and in which he acts in a minor role as a detective, has received rather ambivalent reviews, dismissing it as ‘slight’ and over-long, but it is a very enjoyable film and an interesting development of themes that run through his work.

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Ryuzo and the Seven Henchmen tells the story of a group of elderly, retired and incorrigible yakuza who decide to form a new ‘family’ to confront the young gang, Keihin United, that now operates in the area of Tokyo they used to control. In an invocation of The Seven Samurai (Kurosawa, 1954), and The Magnificent Seven (Sturges, 1960), and with echoes of films about ageing characters revisiting their past glories, such as The Wild Bunch (Peckinpah, 1969), Robin and Marian (Lester, 1976), Space Cowboys (Eastwood, 2000), or Stand Up Guys (Stevens, 2012), the protagonist Ryuzo assembles a group of old friends each of whom possessed signature skills that are now more or less redundant – especially in the wake of anti-yakuza laws introduced from 2011 onwards. The henchmen include Mokichi ‘the toilet assassin’ whose revolting modus operandi of hiding inside a pit latrine and stabbing the user through the opening is of no use in the age of flushing toilets, Mac ‘the quick shooter’, a Steve McQueen obsessive who can no longer hit anything, Hide ‘the 6-inch nail’ whose skill was throwing nails, but is similarly incapable of hitting the target, and Taka ‘the razor slasher’, who is now unable even to shave his own face without slicing it up.

 

Although it eschews the more uncompromising experimentation of Kitano’s recent films such as Glory to the Filmmkaker! (2007) and Takeshis’ (2005) or the systematic formalism of Kitano’s earlier films, such as the static framing and tableau shots of A Scene at the Sea (1991) or Kikujiro (1999), or the repetitive tracking shots of Dolls (2002), the film is nevertheless as crisply photographed and colourful as any of the director’s films. The film’s simple score recalls the pristine music of Jo Hisaishi, who composed the music for Kitano’s most well-known known films, as well as some of the most successful Studio Ghibli films, and the foregrounding of an accordion is a reminder of Kitano’s interest in the films of Jean-Luc Godard and the nouvelle vague.

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The film is a fusion of a generic gangster film with farce and crude physical humour, an element of Kitano’s films (and his TV programmes or the uncompletable video game he designed for Nintendo) that has never translated very well. The ageing yakuza, who call themselves the Dragon One League – named after the dragon tattoo on Ryuzo’s back, but unfortunately also the name of a local restaurant – are described by the young gangsters as old farts, and in a running gag, Ryuzo farts repeatedly at inappropriate moments, such as when he undresses to display his impressive tattoos to an old flame. Casio Abe has suggested that the key film within Kitano’s oeuvre is Getting Any? (1994), a bizarre, incoherent and self-reflexive comedy about a young man who is fixated on acquiring a car in the belief that this will finally enable him to have sex. Getting Any? is far less well known internationally than any of his other films, and is hard to reconcile with the minimalism of a yakuza film such as Brother (2000). Nevertheless, comedy plays a crucial role within all of the films by this former stand-up comedian, highlighting more or less indirectly the absurdity of the protagonists and the situations they find themselves in. In this respect – in the systematic use of comedy to undermine the earnest self-importance and futile heroism of their protagonists – Kitano’s films are consistently engaged with a critical examination of Japanese masculinity, and Ryuzo and the Seven Henchmen is a particularly interesting example, since it eschews the nihilistic monumentalism of Brother or the fetishistic stylised violence of the yakuza thrillers, Outrage (2010) and Beyond Outrage (2012).

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Ryuzo, the boss of the family, is played by Tatsuya Fuji in a performance that is almost an impersonation of Kitano’s own impassive acting style. Fuji is best known outside Japan for his role as one of the two protagonists of Nagisa Oshima’s notorious film of an obsessive affair, In the Realm of the Senses (1976). In that film, which has been interpreted as a critique of the martial ethos of Japanese masculinity, Fuji’s character, Ishida, is ultimately strangled and castrated by his lover, and so the casting of Fuji inevitably invites us to read this film as a critical reflection upon (cinematic) masculinity. Kitano’s relationship with Oshima is significant given that it was Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence (Oshima, 1983) that established Kitano as a serious screen actor, while Kitano also featured in Oshima’s final film, Gohatto (1999), and both films explore the relationship between male homosexuality and military or martial cultures. Incidentally, given the self-reflexivity with which Kitano’s films are shot through, the fact that Ryuzo is missing two fingers and is ready to slice off another at any moment in order to save face, may well be a comic reference to the conclusion of Oshima’s film. Although they have sometimes been marketed as slick exercises in genre film-making, from Violent Cop (1989)his debut as a director – onwards, the films Kitano has directed (and usually written) have been preoccupied with issues of mortality and purpose, illness and injury, ageing, the male body, and the loss of physical strength. In that sense, rather than a slight comedy, this is a key film within Kitano’s cinema, a summary of and reflection upon his films to date. The comedy is often unsubtle and scatological – the film concludes with a car chase during which Hide ‘the 6-inch nail’ shits himself when the gang use their senior citizen passes to commandeer a bus – but as a film about ageing men by an ageing man, now 69, the film has a poignancy that is absent from some of his earlier films.

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