Odd Man Out (1947)

“I remember. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I thought as a child, I understood as a child. But when I became a man, I put way childish things. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels and have not charity, I am become a sounding brass or…

The Thief of Bagdad (1924)

“Praise be to Allah – the beneficent King – the Creator of the Universe – Lord of the Three Worlds!” ‘The Thief of Bagdad’, directed by Raoul Walsh in 1924, is a silent American historical adventure produced by and starring Douglas Fairbanks. Fairbanks plays Ahmed, the titular thief, a man who lives selfishly by his…

In the Heat of the Night (1967)

“Now, look. I got no wife. I got no kids. Boy, I got a town that don’t want me. And I got an air conditioner that I have to oil myself, and a desk with a busted leg. And on top of that, I got this, uh… place. Now, don’t you think that’d drive a man to takin’ a few drinks? I’ll tell you a secret. Nobody comes here. Never.”

The Sorrow and the Pity (1969)

“Some people are resistant by nature. In other words, some people are naturally headstrong. Others on the contrary, try to adapt to the circumstances, and get what they can out of it. If you are a resistant over everything and nothing, you’re exaggerating. But if you accept everything, you’re lying.”

The Gleaners and I (2000)

“I have two hands. One has a camera — the other one is acting, in a way. I love the idea that with these handheld cameras — these new numeric things — very light, but, on the other hand, very “macrophoto.” You know what is macro? You can approach things very near. I can, with…

Two Women (1960) and A Special Day (1977)

This review of ‘Two Women’ and ‘A Special Day’ on DVD first appeared on We Are Cult on the 6th of November 2016 CultFilms, a new independent label specialising in world cinema, have released restored versions of two award-winning Sophia Loren movies: ‘Two Women’, from 1960 and ‘A Special Day’ from 1977 on DVD and…

Bob le flambeur (1956)

“Locks are like pretty ladies. You need to practise to know them.” ‘Bob le flambeur’, directed by Jean-Pierre Melville in 1956, is a French crime drama starring Roger Duchesne as Bob, an aging ex-con and professional gambler, down on his luck, who plans one final heist. Bob lives in Montmartre and spends his nights attending…

London (1992)

“Life is a hospital where every patient is obsessed by the desire of changing beds. One would like to supper opposite the stove another is sure he’d get well beside the window.” ‘London’, directed by Patrick Keiller in 1992, is the first of a trilogy of documentary films that include ‘Robinson in Space’ and ‘Robinson…

Arrival (2016)

“Come back to me.” ‘Arrival’, directed by Denis Villeneuve in 2016, is an American science fiction movie starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner. Adams plays Louise Banks who is recruited by the US military when mysterious pods the size of skyscrapers appear in twelve locations around the Earth. With the help of theoretical physicist Ian…

A Journey Through Early Almodóvar

This review of ‘The Almodóvar Collection’ DVD boxset first appeared on We Are Cult on the 21st of September 2016 The critical success of ‘Julieta’, released this summer, makes this boxset of newly restored versions of Pedro Almodóvar’s early movies all the more timely. The collection, available on DVD and Blu-Ray from StudioCanal, includes six…

Good Morning, Night (2003)

“We are soldiers. Show some revolutionary spirit!” ‘Good Morning, Night’, directed by Marco Bellocchio in 2003, is an Italian film set in 1976. It tells the real story of the kidnapping of Aldo Moro, the former prime minister of Italy and leader of the Christian democracy party in Italy. The film is told from the…

Adam’s Rib (1949)

“Lawyers should never marry other lawyers. This is called in-breeding; from this comes idiot children… and other lawyers.” ‘Adam’s Rib’, directed by George Cukor in 1949, is an American courtroom comedy starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn. The two actors play a husband and wife who are both lawyers. When a woman almost kills her…

Bringing up Baby (1938)

“Well, I followed George around for three days. I dug holes with him, and he dug holes with me, and I found your bone!” ‘Bringing up Baby’, directed by Howard Hawks in 1938, is an American screwball comedy. Katherine Hepburn plays Susan Vance, a free-spirited agent of chaos who latches on to a palaeontologist David…

La Grande Vadrouille (1966)

Released on its 50th Anniversary by StudioCanal, ‘La Grande Vadrouille’, directed by Gérard Oury in 1966, is a French comedy set during the Nazi occupation that stars Louis de Funès, André Bourvil and Terry Thomas.

Out of the Past (1947)

“You can never help anything, can you? You’re like a leaf that the wind blows from one gutter to another.” ‘Out of the Past’, directed by Jacques Tourneur in 1947, is a film noir starring Robert Mitchum as a private investigator in hiding whose past catches up with him when a businessman tracks him down…

Journey to Italy (1954)

“They say all Neapolitans are indolent. But you tell me, can you call a castaway indolent? In a way, we’re all castaways. We have to fight so hard just to stay afloat.” ‘Journey to Italy’, directed by Roberto Rossellini in 1954, is an Italian drama starring Ingrid Bergman and George Sanders. Bergman and Sanders play…

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974)

“We’ll be rich, Ali, and we’ll buy ourselves a little piece of heaven.” ‘Ali: Fear Eats the Soul’, directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder in 1974, is a German drama focusing on the romance between a 60 year-old German woman and a much younger Moroccan man. Brigitte Mira plays Emmi, a lonely widow who takes shelter…

Robinson in Ruins (2010)

“Before Keiller’s (or Robinson’s) prophetic gaze, the English countryside is a monument to itself, and ripe for revolutionary appropriation.” ‘Robinson in Ruins’, directed by Patrick Keiller in 2010, is a British conceptual documentary that examines the history and landscape of locations around Oxford. In essence it’s a ‘found footage’ movie: Vanessa Redgrave plays the narrator,…

Youth (2015)

“Children, don’t know their parents ordeals. Sure, they know certain details, striking elements. And they know what they need to know to be on one side or the other. They don’t know that I trembled the first time I ever saw you on stage. All the orchestra behind my back were laughing at my falling…

Blackmail (1929)

“You and your Scotland Yard. If it weren’t for Edgar Wallace, nobody’d ever heard of it.” ‘Blackmail’, directed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1929, is a British thriller and one of the first British ‘talkies’. Alice White, played by Czech actress Anny Ondra, is the girlfriend on a police detective, Frank Webber, played by John Longden….

The Invisible Man (1933)

“We’ll begin with a reign of terror, a few murders here and there, murders of great men, murders of little men – well, just to show we make no distinction. I might even wreck a train or two… just these fingers around a signalman’s throat, that’s all.” ‘The Invisible Man’, directed by James Whale in…

Day for Night (1973)

“In eighty movies I’ve died twenty-four times – electrocuted twice, hanged twice. I’ve been knifed, committed suicide, died in accidents, but never a natural death. Anyway, I don’t think death is natural.” ‘Day for Night’, directed by François Truffaut in 1973, is a French comedy drama about the lives of the cast and crew during…

Monty Python Double Bill

“Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.” ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’, directed by Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones in 1975, and ‘Monty Python’s Life of Brian’, directed by…

The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

“I’ll organize revolt, exact a death for a death, and I’ll never rest until every Saxon in this shire can stand up free men and strike a blow for Richard and England.” ‘The Adventures of Robin Hood’, directed by Michael Curtiz and William Keighley in 1938, is an American historical drama starring Errol Flynn as…

The Kid with a Bike (2011)

“Don’t be upset if it’s not the way you dream it’ll be.” ‘The Kid with a Bike’, directed by Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne in 2011, is a Belgian drama telling the story of a twelve year old boy, Cyril, played by Thomas Doret, who is abandoned by his father and is placed in a foster…

Paris is a Playground

In 1955, Guy Debord coined the term ‘psychogeography’, a way of seeing urban spaces as cultural playgrounds that, through wandering, can collapse time and space together, connecting the rich histories of locations with the contemporary experience of exploring them. Paris was an ur-text for this new way of seeing space and time, the history, mythology…

Steamboat Bill Jr (1928)

 “I’ll run on this river if I’m the only passenger on the boat.” ‘Steamboat Bill Jr’, directed by Charles Reisner in 1928, is a Buster Keaton comedy about a ‘Romeo and Juliet’ romance between the son of a failing paddle steamer captain and the daughter of a luxury riverboat owner. Keaton plays the son, William…

Tabu: A Story of the South Seas (1931)

“I must go. Hitu is here and waits for me. You will die if I do not obey. I will go so that you may live. The tabu is upon us. I have been so happy with you far more than I deserved. The love you have given me, I will keep to the last…

The Barbarian Invasions (2003)

“Contrary to belief, the 20th century wasn’t that bloody. It’s agreed that wars caused 100 million deaths. Add 10 million for the Russian gulags. The Chinese camps, we’ll never know, but say 20 million. So 130, 145 million dead. Not all that impressive. In the 16th century, the Spanish and Portuguese managed, without gas chambers…

Doctor Strange (2016)

“You’re a man looking at the world through a keyhole. You’ve spent your life trying to widen it. Your work saved the lives of thousands. What if I told you that reality is one of many?” ‘Doctor Strange’, directed by Scott Derrickson in 2016, is a fantasy adventure and is an instalment in the Marvel…