NEW FILM: FROM UP ON POPPY HILL
The name Miyazaki adorns the latest animation from Japanese masters Studio Ghibli, but it’s not Hayao, veteran genius behind My Neighbour Totoro, Spirited Away, etc, but rather his son Goro. Miyazaki Jr.’s second feature eschews fantasy for an intimate, 60s-set youth drama, in which Yokohama teens fight to save their school clubhouse. Modest drama, perhaps, compared to Ghibli’s magical spirits and flying castles; yet, in its quiet insistence at cherishing the past in times of change, is imbued with the studio’s familiar warmth, wit and wisdom.
Now showing at UK cinemas
OLD FILM: MONSTER WEEKEND
The BFI’s upcoming ‘Gothic’ season is launched in fine style – and location – with three 1950s vintage British horror at the British Museum: Jacques Tourneur’s Night of the Demon; and Hammer classics Dracula and The Mummy, both directed by Terence Fisher and starring Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. Demon continues Tourneur’s understated, insinuating style (see also Cat People), while the Hammer pair are a fascinating contrast to modern, FX-heavy retellings of the legends and still easily hold their own, particularly Lee’s chilling Count. Classic soundtracks will play before each performance and joint weekender tickets are available for all three films.
Showing August 29, 30, 31 at The British Museum
NEW DVD: A BAND CALLED DEATH
Buena Vista Social Club, Searching for Sugar Man… the feature documentary as musician’s revival vehicle is a welcome recent tradition, continued here with the fascinating story of punk’s forgotten first band – all the more remarkable for its members being teenage black Christian brothers from Detroit, Motown’s soul cradle. Death were founded, and foundered, in the early ‘70s, their uncompromising, jagged riffs (and moniker) unable to break the mainstream. Thankfully their legacy is picked up thirty years later, to the incredulity of their own sons, adding a wonderful family vibe to an original rock legend.
Now available on Blu-Ray & DVD
Her afro and name may be iconic, many people today may not realize just how infamous radical young college professor Angela Davis became during the Civil Rights struggle, especially when wrongly implicated in a botched kidnapping / murder case (The Rolling Stones’ "Sweet Black Angel" is in her honour). Shola Lynch’s insightful, nuanced documentary is a long-overdue primer, in which Davis and her contemporaries speak eloquently about their past experiences while still, as the film’s title suggests, seeking to shed light on all similar miscarriages of justice.
Available on DVD Tuesday August 20th
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