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To celebrate the release of Viggo Mortensen’s affecting father-son drama ‘Falling’, we have gathered together a collection of recent films by actors who have stepped behind the camera. For some actors, directing is a chance to bring a personal project to the screen. For others, it marks a distinct career change. Although Xavier Dolan (‘It’s Only the End of the World’) started out as an actor, he is now better known as a director, having helmed eight features and one TV series. And he’s only 31!) Likewise, Sarah Polley (‘Stories We Tell’) has shifted gear completely to directing. Craig Roberts (‘Eternal Beauty’) is currently shooting his third film, but continues to act. As does Simon Bird (‘Days of the Bagnold Summer’). Brady Corbet (‘Vox Lux’) still appears in the odd film by European auteurs, but he’s also embarking on his third feature as director. Whereas directing for Paul Dano (‘Wildlife’) and Joel Edgerton (‘The Gift’), though having proven their skill at it, remains for now a role they make room for amongst a prolific career in front of the camera.
To celebrate Black Friday we've curated this collection of our best value films in Black and White, featuring both classics and modern masterpieces in marvellous monochrome
In Zeina Durra’s intoxicating ‘Luxor’, the brilliant Andrea Riseborough’s Hana returns to the ancient Egyptian city to recharge after working on the frontline of a humanitarian crisis. It’s a compelling portrait of a woman seeking a balance between her personal and public life. It’s also a feature shared amongst all the films in this collection. From the other side of the Iron Curtain during the Cold War (‘Barbara’) and the globalised world of corporate life ('Toni Erdmann') to the demands of public service (‘The Queen’) or deep rooted faith (‘Lourdes’). From the perspective of a gender-fluid history (‘Orlando’) and a lonely battle to save the environment (‘Woman at War’) to life in captivity (‘Lion’s Den’), under pressure (‘Two Days and One Night’) or fighting for your rights (‘Aquarius’). These dramas find their characters at a crossroads, deciding on the way they want to live their lives.
Horror has been a staple of cinema since it first began. This collection of horror films, culled from the last 20 years, shows just how resilient and diverse the genre has become. Visionary fantasist Georges Méliès started the trend for horror movies in 1896 with his short ‘The Haunted Castle’. But it was the German Expressionist films ‘The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari’ (1920) and ‘Nosferatu’ (1922), and the Universal Studios horror and monster movies in the 1920s and early 1930s, which cemented the genre’s popularity with audiences. There have been landmarks along the way, from ‘Psycho’ and ‘Eyes Without a Face’ (both 1960) to ‘Night of the Living Dead’ (1968) and ‘The Exorcist’ (1973), and the genre has run the gamut at the box office. But the last 25 years has seen the form go from strength to strength. Not just in English-language cinema. Asian horror has enjoyed spectacular success around the world, with Japanese, Korean and Thai chillers proving equally popular with audiences in the East and West. And if the Internet threatened the future of cinemas generally, for horror filmmakers it has provided a new lease of life, with films like the recent ‘Host!’ not only showing what can be done via Zoom, but also highlighting that even during lockdown things still go bump in the night!
There’s no better remedy to the cold and darkening days of winter than a feel good movie. But don’t expect this collection to offer up the superficial lift of the latest romantic comedy. The films we’ve brought together in this collection are here to soothe the soul. There’s romance. And it’s funny. But Claire Denis’ ‘Let the Sunshine In’, starring Juliette Binoche at her best, is richer than anything Richard Curtis could offer. While ‘Summerland’ will take you back to the languorous days of summer in the English countryside. There’s wit and history with Armando Iannucci’s peerless take on Charles Dickens’ ‘The Personal History of David Copperfield’, with Dev Patel a human dynamo of energy, charging through his eponymous hero’s life with vigour. Channing Tatum exudes no less energy in ‘Magic Mike’ but you won’t see his life story – or anything like it – amongst the pages of a Dickens novel. Before he became an actor, Tatum was a dancer at an all-male strip club in Miami and Steven Soderbergh’s film revels in the flesh and fantasy of that world. You can head off into the wilds of New Zealand, join the song’n’dance in Hollywood or just stay in suburbia. Either way these films offer a welcome escape.
It's impossible to ignore the US Presidential election. The last 20 years alone has shown how the outcome of five elections has not only radically shaped US policy at home and internationally, it has had ramifications for generations to come. It's importance has filtered down into popular culture, with features and documentaries highlighting key factors involved in the race. This collection of films looks at the issues at stake, from the functioning of the governmental system, through its separation of powers between the executive, legislative and judicial branches, to portraits of figures who have shaped the US political landscape – for better or worse.
A filmmaker who has directed – and mostly written – 19 features over the course of the last two decades, François Ozon is the very definition of prolific. His films run the gamut from nerve-jangling thriller and outré comedy to relationship dramas and intimate character studies. To celebrate the release of his latest film, the nostalgia-tinged ‘Summer of ‘85’, Curzon Home Cinema has selected six Ozon films that highlight his extraordinary range. ‘By the Grace of God’ channels the director’s anger at the Catholic Church’s failure to deal with decades of systemic child abuse within its organisation, as seen through the eyes of three grown men haunted by abuse. In the visually dazzling ‘Frantz’, shot in stunning black and white, a young woman attempts to come to terms with the death of her fiancé in the First World War and in doing so uncovers a mystery. Isabelle Carré gives a riveting central performance in ‘Le Refuge’, which features one of Ozon’s most complex characters. Marine Vacth takes centre stage in both ‘Jeune et jolie’ and ‘L’Amant double’, both of which find Ozon exploring the limits of sexuality. And in ‘Ricky’, an outlier amongst Ozon’s film, a loving couple find life takes a strange turn when their baby sprouts wings. Surreal it may be, but ‘Ricky’ perfectly highlights Ozon’s ability to constantly surprise and entertain.
With the release of the documentary portrait ‘Being a Human Being’ and his upcoming final film ‘About Endlessness’, Curzon Home Cinema celebrates the cinema of Swedish auteur Roy Andersson. There is nothing quite like the films of Roy Andersson. They would be bleak if they weren’t so funny. And that humour might seem misplaced if it wasn’t so integral to the way that Andersson views the world. In his home country, he built his reputation on a successful career in advertising, skewering everyday life as he sold products or delivered public information announcements. (Even Ingmar Bergman made TV ads at one point in his career – for Bris soap in the 1950s – but they feel disconnected from his film work, whereas Andersson’s career forms a cogent whole.) He had success with his feature debut ‘A Swedish Love Story’, a realistic portrait of young love. But it was the arrival of ‘Songs from the Second Floor’ in 2000 that Andersson’s international reputation was cemented. It forged the style that has informed his subsequent work: mordantly funny, sometimes hilarious, often surreal and otherworldly. Yet through its series of vignettes and beautifully composed tableaux, Andersson’s work says more about the way we live our lives than most other contemporary directors.
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.
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.
The Cohen Collection presented on Curzon Home Cinema bring together archival treasures of handpicked vintage and contemporary classics. In this introductory collection, you can discover noir masterpieces, iconic musicians and a documentary about cinema. Each film in this collection has undergone an extensive digital restoration ensuring they will be enjoyed by generations to come. In addition to their historic significance, these movies feature stories that entertain, universal themes that resonate and craftsmanship that continues to inspire today’s leading filmmakers
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