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Manchester film reviews
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Manchester film reviews

The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life at Cornerhouse

Reviewed by Anne Ryan July 2011

 

Fans of the work of Terence Malik have to be blessed with patience - enduring years between films and then whilst watching the films themselves. His films are characterised by the use of voiceover, over achingly beautiful visuals and an attempt to tackle themes of existence and transcendence. The Tree of Life won this year's Palme d'Or, but has since divided critics - even over the scenes they like!

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Manchester film reviews

H3 screening at Writing on the Wall festival

Reviewed by Denis Joe May 2011

 

The 30th anniversary of the Irish Hunger Strike was excuse, if excuse were needed, for a showing of the excellent Les Blair film H3, written by former Hunger Striker Laurence McKeown and ex-prisoner Brian Campbell, and filmed in the H Blocks of the Maze prison in the North of Ireland, screened at the Writing on the Wall festival with Séanna Walsh.

 

H3 was made nearly a decade before Steve McQueen’s Hunger (though McQueen was ignorant of the existence of H3 - at the premier of Hunger it was believed that Hunger was the first time that the Hunger Strikes were the subject of a film, as Seanna Walsh pointed out after the screening). Whilst McQueen’s film is the more celebrated of the films, H3 is in many ways the superior - there were also two other films made about the Hunger Strikes before Hunger: Some Mother's Son directed by Terry George in 1996 and Il silenzio dell'allodola, by Italian film director and scriptwriter David Ballerini in 2005.

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Manchester film reviews

Gordos (Fat People)

Gordos viewed at Cornerhouse, Manchester

Dir Daniel Sanchez Arevalo, ES 2009, 120 mins

Reviewed by John Hutchinson April 2011

 

Undoubtedly, the most interesting of the sophisticated films and perhaps the “winner” overall of this year's Spanish and Latin American Film Festival at the Cornerhouse, is Gordos (Fat People). This has won many accolades, including the best supporting actor at the Goya awards in 2009, and has been a huge box office success in Spain.

 

The film takes as its central premise the subtitle “todos llevamos uno dentro” - loosely translated as “there is a fat person waiting to get out in all of us”, and is sophisticated as it explores this concept in often hilarious and satirical detail. I use the term concept rather than narrative here for although there is a bewildering interweaving of the dramas and crises of many lives, all united under the bursting umbrella of obesity, one way of responding to the film is at a conceptual level rather than to an individual story line.

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Manchester film reviews

Octubre (October)

Octubre (October) viewed at Cornerhouse, Manchester

Dirs Daniel Vega Vidal & Diego Vega Vidal, PE 2010, 93 mins

Reviewed by John Hutchinson April 2011

 

The 17th Spanish and Latin American Film Festival at the Cornerhouse showed its final film on 27th March ending a 3 week fiesta of films, talks, discussion, educational events and an art exhibition. This annual event has become a permanent feature of the Manchester cultural landscape to the extent that at the Café Cervantes, the conversational cafe run by the Cervantes Institute (the Spanish equivalent of the British Institute) a number of Spanish speaking veterans revealed they had been attending since its inception.

 

The general consensus was that this year has not been quite of the same vintage as past festivals but then veterans usually take pride in saying that and the impressions of some films grow over time as their details fade. This author would nevertheless like to explore some of the films critically and suggest that there were tastes on offer that appealed to sophisticated and raw palates alike in specific cultural contexts.

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Manchester film reviews

Of Gods and Men

'Of Gods and Men' and 'Biutiful' 

viewed at the Cornerhouse

Reviewed by Anne Ryan April 2011

To mark the bank holidays and the long weekends which some of us are enjoying, the Cornerhouse has been showing some of its recent greatest hits - two of which are the most successful foreign language films of 2010, 'Of Gods and Men' and 'Biutiful'.

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