Great movies you can watch through FILMCLUB based on ideas, themes and events.
This is a true story at the start of the 20th century, the Australian government forcibly removed Aboriginal children from their families if they were mixed race. These kids were taken to Anglican education camps and trained as domestic servants. The government talked about this appalling project as being for the good of the families and their children but the reality was they didn't want mixed-race families. It was a devastating act that still haunts the country today.
In 2002, Phillip Noyce made Rabbit-Proof Fence, about three of these abducted Aboriginal kids escaping their camp and walking 1,500 miles back home. Noyce has said that "real stories can touch us in ways that fiction can't" - and his film is a haunting reminder of an uncomfortable historical truth.
Many of the films made about Aboriginal life are desperately moving. Samson & Delilah follows the love affair between a young Aboriginal man and woman in a bleak community in Alice Springs. Samson is addicted to abusing solvents Delilah helps her grandmother produce folk art paintings that are sold on to a white dealer who makes a vast profit. They elope in a stolen car to the city, where they live in poverty. That they survive is astonishing that their love survives is a miracle.
Back in 1971, Nicolas Roeg made a breathtaking film called Walkabout about two young children abandoned in the Australian outback by their father. They meet, befriend and are ultimately saved by a young Aboriginal boy, played beautifully by David Gulpilil. In 1976, Gulpilil played a wandering Aborigine in Storm Boy, the story of a lonely boy who befriends a pelican. Despite his success, Gulpilil went onto struggle with depression as an adult - like many Aborigines who leave their community and either face racism or simple struggle to assimilate.
As recently as 2006, Jindabyne told the story of a group of men fishing in a river who find the body of an Aboriginal woman and fail to report it till the next day - their motives are initially unclear but the suggestion is deeply ingrained racism. Yet, for all that the shadow cast by Australia's treatment of Aborigines is long and dark, films such as Samon & Delilah give the community a voice - and, in the case of 2006's folk-myth drama Ten Canoes, do it in the indigenous Australian language.
For around 50 years from the 1920s to the 1970s, the London-born movie
director Alfred Hitchcock kept cinema audiences entertained like no
other filmmaker before or since. The man himself became a brand, lending
his name and well-fed hound dog image to a TV show, a magazine and
several series of books.
It's not surprising then, that Hitchcock has had a big impact on other
directors. Sometimes, they are openly paying tribute - in 1998, Gus Van
Sant surprised and puzzled a lot of people when he remade Hitchcock's
1960 classic Psycho using almost exactly the same script and camera
angles as the original. A less bizarre tribute is the very funny and
very accurate spoof, High Anxiety, made by and starring Mel Brooks,
which parodies many of Hitchcock's great scenes.
The title of that film gives a clue to what we're looking for in films
that might be influenced by Hitchcock. Because Hitchcock loved making
audiences anxious - although he made a wide range of films, almost all
of them rely on suspense. He said the greatest mistake of his career was
a scene in which, after a long build-up, a bomb goes off. After the
explosion had happened, the audience were no longer on the edge of their
seats and the film was ruined.
The Korean thriller Mother picks up on many Hitchcock trademarks -
obsession, characters on the verge of madness, and ugly things going on
beneath the surface of society, and very dark humour. He also liked long
chase scenes, and people whose deaths might have been faked, both of
which crop up the excellent recent French movie, Tell No One, about a
man who isn't quite sure his 'murdered' wife is really dead - and who
then goes on the run after being falsely accused of a crime. It
certainly keeps your nerves jangling just as the Master would have
liked. The French loved Hitchcock - although he was British and worked
much of his career in America, it was in France he was first treated as a
serious figure. Director Francois Truffaut wrote a book about
Hitchcock, and made his own entertaining attempt at a film in his hero's
style called Finally, Sunday.
Truffaut started off as a film critic, and one of the people who wrote
alongside him at the influential French film magazine, Cahiers du cinema
was Claude Chabrol. Many experts have claimed that the whole of
Chabrol's impressive career as a director was one long tribute to
Hitchcock. Then again, Hitchcock himself said he was envious of
Chabrol's dark thriller Le Boucher.
There is another aspect to Hitchcock's style: his films were often
elegant and witty, with good-looking casts. That's why Charade is
probably the closest thing to Hitchcock film not made by him. It stars
one of Hitchcock's favourite leading men - Cary Grant - along with
Audrey Hepburn. She plays a widow discovering her late husband had a
mysterious past. He's the man telling lots of lies who offers to protect
her. They wear beautiful clothes and get chased around Paris at its
But if many directors borrowed from Hitchcock, who did Hitchcock learn
from? When he was starting out in the 1920s, if you liked creepy films,
you were paying attention to Germany and directors like FW Murnau - who
made the vampire masterpiece Nosferatu - and Fritz Lang - who made M.
Hitchcock himself directed his first two films in Germany. So that is
where this whole story starts, with the anxiety-inducing long shadows
that inspired Hitchcock, who went on to make films that other directors
continue to draw on to this day.
Inner cities have a bad reputation. Residential areas set in the middle of cities they are known for high unemployment and being stuck in a cycle of poverty, causing a life of crime, violence, gangs and drug use.
A growing problem of the 21st century, contemporary British films such as Kidulthood (15), Shifty (15) and Bullet Boy (15) all focus on the dangers of inner city London. The realism of these films highlights the run-down landscape as the stories reveal the gritty lives of teens in areas where crime is the norm.
Unfortunately, films about the inner city are sometimes content rely on stereotypes of wannabe gangsters rather than telling the stories of individuals. Ticking this box is Save The Last Dance (12) in which a white would-be ballerina new to an inner city American school discovers a taste for hip-hop. However, although it relies on stereotypes it also challenges them by showing an inspirational black lead male not impressed with the gangster lifestyle.
Where Save The Last Dance gives inner city life the glossy Hollywood treatment, Boyz N The Hood (15) was one of the first films to provide a more realistic view. A coming-of-age story about a group of boys growing up in South Central LA, it is a grim account of a community dogged by gangs, guns and drugs. A similarly powerful representation of inner city life can be seen in Precious (15) - through the eyes of an overweight girl growing up in a poor, abusive family, we see the struggles of living in a New York.
Viewed as the French Boyz N The Hood, La Haine (15) confronts the harsh reality of inner city Paris. Shot in black and white, it follows a day in the life of three friends, angered by the abuse of another friend at the hands of the police. In doing so it reveals a violence bubbling under the surface of the picture-perfect version of Paris we more often see in films like Amelie (15). Likewise, through its very real depiction of two teenagers involved in a turf war in their slum, the Brazilian film City of Men (15) does exactly the same for the ‘favelas’ (shantytowns) of Rio de Janeiro.
Turning the inner city stereotype on its head, Tsotsi (15) - set in the shantytowns of Johannesburg, South Africa - explores how a young gangster copes with a newborn baby. British film Attack The Block (15) pokes fun at the stereotype by showing “hoodies” becoming heroes, when a group save their tower block from invading aliens. Very different again, experimental film The Arbor (15) reveals life on a tough Bradford council estate, but follows few of the conventions usually associated with the subject matter. For example instead of using traditional dialogue, the actors lipsynch to recorded interviews with real people.
With the Olympics taking place in London in 2012, we've decided to illuminate that special experience even further by highlighting some of the very best, diverse and inspirational Olympic and physical pursuit-related films on our catalogue.
Our two resources give you the lowdown on some remarkable films - providing a synopsis, critical reviews, background on how the film began and talking points to discuss at your clubs.
FILMCLUB Guide to...The Olympics
From sunny Jamaica’s unlikely bobsledding efforts in much-loved comedy Cool Runnings to the aggressive rivalry of Paralympian wheelchair rugby-players in Murderball, we take a closer look at five great Olympics-related films to get your club in the mood for the Games.
FILMCLUB Guide to...International films for the Olympics
From a group of children in Rwanda determined to make it to the World Cup in the uplifting Africa United to tough lessons learnt by school kids about the need to co-operate in urban life in Beijing Bicycle, we bring together films about people connecting through physical pursuits.
There are lots of ways for a film to make it onto FILMCLUB’s LGBT Role Models list. Some tell the story of historical figures who stood up for LGBT rights (Milk) or suffered discrimination because of their sexuality (Wilde, Before Night Falls). Others are about fictional characters with a relevant experience (Philadelphia, My Beautiful Launderette, Tomboy). Some, like Cry Baby, Independence Day, Little Man Tate and Volver were directed by talented gay people in the film industry. In some LGBT issues are at the forefront (The Kids Are All Right, Ma Vie En Rose), but more and more we’re seeing films where the sexuality of the characters just isn’t a big deal (Scott Pilgrim Vs The World). We hope that’s a sign that society at large is finally cottoning on to Stonewall’s brilliant message: “Some people are gay. Get over it!”
1. Milk (2008), 15
Sean Penn won an Oscar for this inspiring portrayal of gay rights campaigner, Harvey Milk.
2. Wilde (1997), 15
The life of gay, brilliantly witty writer Oscar Wilde is the basis for this film, in particular his disastrous relationship with Lord Alfred Douglas.
3. Before Night Falls (2000), 15
The moving and finely-crafted tale of the Cuban Poet and novelist Reinaldo Arenas who suffered severe persecution because of his sexuality.
4. The Kids Are All Right (2010), 15
Modern family relationships are examined with delicious honesty in this smart and sassy comedy-drama.
5. Ma Vie En Rose (1997), 12
Charming and sharp French film about a little boy who likes dressing as a girl.
6. My Beautiful Laundrette (1985), 15
Pioneering British drama about two outsiders setting up business during the Thatcher years.
7. Philadelphia (1993), 12
Powerful drama made in 1993 when it was daring to make a Hollywood film about AIDS, about a top lawyer sacked when his firm learns he has the disease
8. Gods & Monsters (1998), 15
Sir Ian McKellen, a co-founder of the lesbian, gay and bisexual rights charity Stonewall, stars in this tender and melancholic account of the last days of gay Frankenstein director James Whale.
9. Frankenstein (1931), PG
Based on Mary Shelley's classic Gothic horror novel, about a misunderstood monster hounded through Transylvania's foggy graveyards. Directed by the openly gay James Whale.
10. The History Boys (2006), 15
This excellent film about the value of education launched the career of many a contemporary British actor, including out-and-proud Being Human star Russell Tovey.
11. Cry Baby (1990), 15
Cult classic musical comedy in which a moody tough guy falls for a clean-cut girl, setting the Drapes subculture against the Squares.
12. Independence Day (1996), 12
Big-budget, futuristic film with state-of-the-art CGI about a hostile alien invasion of earth.
13. Little Man Tate (1991), PG
Engaging drama in which a working-class woman strives to get the best for her six-year-old genius son, getting help from a child psychologist
14. A Taste of Honey (1961), 15
A memorable drama that involves a pregnant teenage girl who shares a flat with an openly gay man.
15. Tomboy (2011), U
A beautifully understated, naturalistic drama about childhood gender identity confusion that’s both touching and gently humorous.
16. Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World (2010), 12
Full of rock music, computer-graphics and hilarious supp
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