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Bong Joon Ho was already one of the world cinema’s most accomplished filmmakers before the success of ‘Parasite’. Part of a new generation of Korean directors to emerge at the beginning of the 21st century – a group that also includes Park Chan Wook (‘The Handmaiden’) and Lee Chang Dong (‘Burning’) – director Bong’s work has often focused on social issues, but also played with genre conventions. If ‘Barking Dogs Never Bite’, ‘Memories of Murder’ and ‘Mother’ unfold, like ‘Parasite’, in a recognisable reality, ‘The Host’, ‘Snowpiercer’ and ‘Okja’ take a flight of fancy into speculative fiction, where monsters, genetically modified farm animals and environmental disasters prompt us to question the way we regard our own world. ‘Snowpiercer’ presents a dystopian portrait of class conflict aboard a train that is a microcosm of the world, while ‘Barking Dogs Never Bite’ explores the oddball lives of residents in tower block, and ‘Parasite’ gives us horror in the home. In all, drama is undercut with humour, resulting in a body of work that is both funny and unsettling – often at the same time.
Film Noir describes many thrillers made throughout the 1940s and 1950s. Most shared elements ranging from an emphasis on the contrast between light and shadow to femme fatales and morally compromised protagonists. They were stylish, violent in tone and gripped you like a vice. This season of films, drawn from the rich archive of the Cohen Film Collection, shows how noir influenced the British crime thriller as well as offering an earlier film, ‘Alibi’ (1929), which displays the hallmarks of later noir classics. A good place to start is ‘Sudden Fear’ (1952) a classic US noir starring Joan Crawford, Jack Palance and Gloria Grahame that plays out as a taut exercise in betrayal and conniving. Crossing the pond, in ‘Another Man’s Poison’ (1951) Bette Davis reunites with ‘Now Voyager’ (1942) director Irving Rapper for a thriller set in the north of England. Popular British actor Eric Portman is the star of ‘Wanted for Murder’ (1946) and ‘Corridor of Mirrors’ (1948), while Dirk Bogarde is a malevolent presence in ‘Cast a Dark Shadow’, and Richard Attenborough joins a gang in ‘Dancing with Crime’ (1947).
Over the course of a 50-year career, Stephen Frears has proven himself one of this country’s most versatile directors, moving with ease between television and cinema, and taking on any genre, as comfortable handling the tension of a taut thriller as he is the jinks of a knockabout comedy. But his work has also shone a light on injustice, at both a state and personal level. After graduating from Cambridge University, Frears was an assistant director on the controversial ‘If….’ (1968) Before embarking on his own career in television, directing acclaimed dramas throughout the 1970s. He also made his feature debut ‘Gumshoe’ (1971) during this period, followed by the crime drama ‘The Hit’ (1984). But it was his first collaboration with playwright Hanif Kureishi on ‘My Beautiful Laundrette’ (1985) that his film career really took off. Starting with that acclaimed film, this collection focuses on Frears’ feature career over the course of the last four decades. Later films highlight Frears’ collaborations with some of our finest screen actresses, including Meryl Streep, Judi Dench, Helen Mirren and Michelle Pfeifer.
Here are just some of the brand-new, critically acclaimed films we've been releasing over lockdown, exclusively on Curzon.
Before she took on the iconic role of Scarlett O’Hara in ‘Gone with the Wind’ (1939), Vivien Leigh was one of the brightest talents in British cinema. By the time she moved to the US, she had already proven herself a gifted actor and dazzling screen presence with a series of roles. Nowhere is this more evident than in 'Fire Over England' (1937), one of the treasures screening in this selection of films from the Cohen Collection that puts a spotlight on a number of British screen stars. In addition to Leigh, there was Margaret Lockwood, who had shone so brightly in Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Lady Vanishes’ (1938). She became a scandalous villain in Gainsborough studio’s borderline bawdy period romps ‘The Man in Grey’ (1943) and ‘The Wicked Lady’ (1945), and convinces here as a suspected killer in ‘Bedelia’ (1946). And there’s Anna Neagle who, like Leigh, transformed her British success into US stardom playing the title role of ‘Nurse Edith Cavell’ (1939).
Thrilling, audacious, witty and emotional, the award-winning ballets of award-winning ballets of celebrated choreographer Matthew Bourne arrive on Curzon Home Cinema. After screenings in our Curzon venues, discover three of his finest productions at home, including the iconic Swan Lake, the production perhaps still best known for replacing the female corps-de-ballet with a menacing male ensemble, which shattered conventions, turned tradition upside down and took the dance world by storm.
There is no one in cinema quite like Pedro Almodóvar. One of the world’s most celebrated filmmakers, his body of work bridges popular and arthouse cinema. He has frequently challenged taboos and mores – not without controversy at times – whilst entertaining us with his tales of jealousy, guilt, obsession and desire. His dramas run the gamut from sexy to demented, exploring our baser instincts as well as our virtues. And is there any other contemporary filmmaker who understands so completely the seductiveness of colour in cinema? Almodóvar emerged out of La Movida Madrileña, the Madrid art scene that rapidly expanded following the death of Spanish dictator General Francisco Franco in 1975. Initially evincing a punk aesthetic in his work, Almodóvar’s style developed in sophistication and verve, just as his name became a byword for excellence in European cinema. Today, he is almost as much of a household name as Hitchcock and like that master of suspense, Almodóvar has long delighted in the thrill of cinema. This collection spans the last three decades and offers the perfect introduction to this filmmaker’s sensual, occasionally provocative world
As the must-see Make Up, from first-time filmmaker Claire Oakley, opens in our cinemas and exclusively on Curzon Home Cinema, we've curated 8 of the best homegrown debuts of the past decade.
Films opening soon on Curzon Home Cinema.
Register for free on Curzon Home Cinema and have a free film on us. Choose one of these films and then apply the voucher code linked to your welcome email to enjoy a film for free. For more info please visit: welcome.curzonhomecinema.com