Portraits of stars, stories of roles turned into burdens. Pains, gains and self expression through art.

Germany never took Austrian screen queen Romy Schneider to heart during the adult phase of her career, and the entire nation seems to have been atoning for this cruel oversight ever since. For her fifth feature 3 Days in Quiberon, the Berlin-born, French-Iranian-American writer-director Emily Atef channels this collective guilt into a good-looking chamber drama based around a revelatory interview that Schneider gave to Stern magazine at a French health-spa hotel in 1981. It was one of her final media profiles, and one of her most emotionally raw. Just over a year later, she was found dead in her Paris apartment, killed by cardiac arrest at just 43. An uncanny dead ringer for Schneider, Viennese actress Marie Bäumer has turned down previous offers to play the tragic diva, but Atef persuaded her with a juicy plum of a lead role. 3 Days in Quiberon gives Bäumer ample room to play
Screenings
In the faded-legend biopic Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, [Annette] Bening has been able to re-access [film star Gloria Grahame’s] legacy and flesh it out with three subsequent decades of dwindling, smouldering stardom. Having paid homage to Grahame in her prime, she plays her at the fag end here of a fast-burning life. It’s a dreamy comeback for Scottish director Paul McGuigan, who showed such dangerous promise back in the Gangster No. 1 (2000) days. […] [The] film truly lights up when its leads [Bening and Jamie Bell] are circling each other. Their age gap is unspoken until the moment it isn’t […]. Their first few dates – a Saturday Night Fever-style dance-off in Gloria’s lounge, a trip to see Alien – are […] tentative and disarming […]. It’s no surprise that Bening is in her element here, following a run of performances whose tiny flickers of wit and
Screenings

Memoir of Pain (2017)

Melanie Thierry leaps toward the front echelon of current French actresses with her riveting turn as Marguerite Duras in Emmanuel Finkiel’s slow-burning Memoir of Pain (La Douleur). A […] movie about a prodigious polymath whose own filmmaking exploits were groundbreaking, even scandal-stoking in their radicalism, it absorbingly dramatizes certain key episodes from the legendary writer’s private life in Paris during 1944-45. A highly successful novelist, memoirist and screenwriter – Oscar-nominated for Alain Resnais’ classic Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959) – Duras was also a philosopher and intellectual of daunting reputation. Director Finkiel, himself a Cesar winner for best short and best debut feature (for 1999’s Voyages), sets himself the tough task of adapting her 1985 collection of texts later translated into English as The War: A Memoir. Thierry is utterly convincing and compelling from first to last, in a deglamorized but sensual performance of tautly controlled severity and uncompromising rigor. […]
Screenings

A Paris Education (2018)

A mélange between [Philippe] Garrel’s Regular Lovers (with which it shares a gorgeous black and white cinematography, courtesy of DP Pierre-Hubert Martin) and Mia Hansen-Løve’s Eden (of which it echoes the same affection for deranged, self-destructive loners), [writer-director Jean-Paul Civeyrac’s cinephile coming-of-age story] A Paris Education follows the solipsistic journeys of a few film students whose only real concern in life seem to be whether or not they’ll ever join the ranks of the auteurs they binge-watch before reality catches up with their dreams. […] [W]hile A Paris Education is on its surface an unmistakably narcissistic Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man, it is also a subtle critique of the toxic self-importance that makes that image possible. But even when the critique feels most explicit, the camera retains the nostalgic and endearing gaze of a movie lover resuscitating a ’60s arthouse-bubble. Watching Etienne and his mates pursue their
Screenings

Rooted with Wings (2018)

Dance is my attempt to understand human nature and its many manifestations – friendship, love, the power of the spirit. With my dance, I try to reach the unspoken, the unexplained, the unnamed. I believe in dance that touches, dance that speaks for itself. Tero Saarinen Rooted with Wings is a visual dance documentary that explores the work of internationally acclaimed choreographer and dancer Tero Saarinen, granting the viewer a unique impression of this extraordinary artist’s creative process. Featuring stunningly captured dance sequences and behind-the-scenes material from around the globe, the film brings to light how Saarinen’s dance works evolve from an idea or concept into a finished performance. The film follows Saarinen over a five-year period from 2014 to 2018, through several premieres of new works and tours in Finland, France, Korea, Kenya and the US, while bringing to light his approach to his life as a global nomad
Screenings

Searching For Ingmar Bergman (2018)

Margarethe Von Trotta’s many personal connections to Ingmar Bergman lend a fresh, distinctive flavour to Searching For Ingmar Bergman. The documentary explores and champions Bergman’s artistic legacy but also captures a very human portrait of a complex man. Released in the year that marks the centenary of Bergman’s birth, the film is essential viewing for cinephiles […]. Von Trotta begins her search by recalling a cold, grey Paris in 1960 when she was dragged along to the cinema to watch Bergman’s The Seventh Seal. It was to prove formative in shaping her own aspirations as a filmmaker and marked the beginning of a lifelong connection to Bergman and his work. She came to know him during his time in Germany in the 1970s. When Bergman chose his eleven favourite films for the Goteborg Film Festival in 1994, alongside La Strada, Rashomon and his beloved The Phantom Carriage was Von Trotta’s
Screenings

The Wife (2017)

As the apparently-perfect wife of a Nobel prize-winning writer, [Glenn] Close gives arguably her best ever performance […]. ”There’s nothing more dangerous than a writer whose feelings have been hurt.” The speaker is Joan Castleman, the charming, enigmatically discreet and supportive wife of world-famous author and New York literary lion Joe Castleman. It is a fascinating and bravura performance from Glenn Close, in this hugely enjoyable dark comedy from director Björn Runge, adapted by Jane Anderson from the novel by Meg Wolitzer. Perhaps it’s Close’s career-best – unnervingly subtle, unreadably calm, simmering with self-control. Her Joan is a study in marital pain, deceit and the sexual politics of prestige. It’s a portrayal to put alongside Close’s appearances in Dangerous Liaisons and Fatal Attraction. This is an unmissable movie for Glenn Close fans. Actually, you can’t watch it without becoming a fan – if you weren’t one already. Jonathan Pryce is
Screenings