Mainstream filmmakers face a tricky balancing act when it comes to tackling the climate crisis and portraying those who are fighting to avert eco-catastrophe. An approach that is either too light or too po-faced risks undermining the efforts of real-life activists. Even Kelly Reichardt’s generally solid thriller Night Moves (2013) went down a hackneyed route, in which paranoia tore its characters apart.
In contrast, the electric, forthright How to Blow Up a Pipeline excels as both truly riveting entertainment and an energizing call to action, in part through the cleverness of its genre conceit: what could be a better fit for a story about collective action and fighting the system than a heist movie…
Full review for Total Film
After a metatextual excursion with Bergman Island, writer-director Mia Hansen-Løve takes a more conventional approach with her latest feature, One Fine Morning. Channelling a recent personal tragedy into another masterful, humanist drama, the great French filmmaker is very much back in the mode of Goodbye First Love and Things to Come.
The autobiographical element refers to a neurodegenerative disease that’s taken hold of university professor Georg (Pascal Greggory), prompting daughter Sandra (Léa Seydoux) – a widowed single mother to eight-year-old Linn (Camille Leban Martins) – to try securing a respectable and affordable nursing home place, while also attempting to salvage her father’s immense personal library. During all this, she reencounters an old friend, Clément (Melvil Poupaud), with whom she begins having an affair.
Ahead of One Fine Morning’s UK cinema release, The Skinny caught up with Hansen-Løve on the festival circuit to discuss the film, shooting on celluloid, and trying to make audiences forget they’re watching a movie…
Full interview for The Skinny
Partly shot on 16mm with a Bolex camera, Andrew Legge’s resourceful sci-fi LOLA blends time travel with found footage to engaging effect. It begins with a framing device set in the modern day: the film we’re about to see is in fact a broadcast recorded in 1941.
At this point in the Second World War, two sisters, Thomasina (Emma Appleton) and Martha (Stefanie Martini), have created a large machine, LOLA, that can intercept future audiovisual broadcasts, allowing them to document the music of as-yet-unborn musicians such as David Bowie and Bob Dylan – and to receive Nazi telecommunications. Realising the machine’s potential for the Allied war effort, the sisters send anonymous warnings about imminent bombings, earning them the moniker ‘the Angel of Portobello’; they’re quickly recruited to assist the military…
Full review for Sight and Sound
When it comes to the International Feature Film category at the Academy Awards, the somewhat archaic submission process involves a country nominating just one feature from the year’s filmmaking output. Regarding eligibility criteria, international co-productions are in a tricky spot, whereby factors such as how much funding came from a specific country, or what per cent of the dialogue is in a certain language, determine which nation can most justifiably claim it as their own in the pursuit of an Oscar.
Awards season rumours suggest director Hlynur Pálmason’s darkly comic epic Godland fell victim to those eligibility debates. While some funding came from France and Sweden, the film was also backed by Icelandic and Danish production companies, is set mainly in Iceland after a Denmark-set prologue, and follows a Danish character’s attempted assimilation in Iceland. There’s a roughly even split between Icelandic and Danish dialogue, but in the end, neither territory submitted the film.
Godland may have been not Icelandic enough, but also not Danish enough. But then, this is a quite fitting outside-the-film circumstance for a story in which cultural clash and notions of societal belonging are explicitly part of the text; a film that includes separate title cards in both Icelandic and Danish at its open and close…
Full review for Little White Lies