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MUBI FILM: A ZED AND TWO NOUGHTS
A car hits a swan outside Rotterdam Zoo, killing two of its passengers - the wives of twin zoologists. The beautiful driver has to have her leg amputated. The widowers, stricken by grief, embark on an affair with her, and become obsessed with watching animals decay. British auteur Peter Greenaway (best-known for The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover) is famed for his mind-bendingly strange, meticulously composed visual extravaganzas. His sumptuously costumed and coloured A Zed and Two Noughts - influenced by Dutch Baroque painting - certainly measures up, and is a 1985 classic not to be missed. Available to watch on MUBI.
OLD FILM: MYSTERIOUS SKIN
A teen obsessed with alien abductions (Brady Corbet) seeks out a former teammate from his small-town Kansas little league baseball team, who's now an emotionally detached New York hustler (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). Both are haunted by a childhood experience involving their coach. US indie director Gregg Araki based his 2005 Mysterious Skin - which is less sensationally wild as his younger work but more profoundly haunting - on a novel by Scott Heim, and enlisted the Cocteau Twins' Robin Guthrie and Harold Budd for its superb dream-pop soundtrack. Screening at London's ICA on Tuesday 24 September.
NEW DOCUMENTARY: ONLY THE YOUNG
Playing out with an engaging intimacy that's more often the domain of fiction, this debut documentary from US directors Elizabeth Mims and Jason Tippet gets close in with the lives of three teens in a recession-hit South California town as they near graduation. Christian skaters Garrison and Kevin and Garrison's ex Skye (raised by her grandpa due to her mother's heroin habit) are disarmingly candid as they face dating hurdles and the disheartening realities of the adult world with both the naivete of youth and moments of startling wisdom. The film's low-key dreaminess, tinged with melancholy, forms a surprisingly irresistible hook. Screening at the Cambridge Film Festival on Saturday 21 September.
NEW FILM: HANNAH ARENDT
Margarethe von Trotta's biopic of Hannah Arendt is a warm, elegant portrait of the daringly original German-Jewish thinker. It focuses on Arendt's hugely controversial coverage of the 1961 trial of SS war criminal Adolf Eichmann, who managed the logistics of deporting Jews to extermination camps. Seeing him not as a monster but a bland bureaucrat crucially unable to think for himself, she hatched her concept of the Banality of Evil. As hard as it is to show the life of the mind, Hannah Arendt is far from dry. It flashes back from the chain-smoking intellectual's lively Manhattan cocktail-party sparring to her romance with her teacher, the philosopher Martin Heidegger, problematised by his joining the Nazi party. The fairly conventional telling lets the glinting brilliance of Arendt's ideas stand out - an effective introduction for anyone who hasn't read Eichmann in Jerusalem. Screening at the Cambridge Film festival on 21 and 22 September, and out in the UK on 27 September.
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