In Ray & Liz, artist and photographer Richard Billingham makes his feature debut as a writer-director. A vignette-based portrait about a family falling apart, it’s inspired by his own childhood growing up in the Thatcher-era West Midlands.
It’s a period that he documented in the photo project that first brought him fame in the late ’90s. Titled Ray’s a Laugh, the series featured striking images of his parents (the titular Ray and Liz) as well as younger brother Jason, often in scenes of squalor reflecting the deprivation and isolation in which Billingham grew up. The film, however – which has since been nominated for a BAFTA – goes even deeper.
“A film I was very interested in is The Terence Davies Trilogy , which I saw in my 20s. A lot of that was shot from lived experience,” he explains…
Full interview for HUCK
As an indication of its ever-growing stature on the international film festival circuit, the current artistic director of Switzerland’s Locarno Festival for many years, Carlo Chatrian, has been snapped up to help programme the bigger Berlin Film Festival from 2020. As such, the 71st edition of Locarno seemed to have a bittersweet quality for the talkative festival veterans, as things might be very different next year. Even so, 2018 lived up to expectations of the event as an exciting space for new arthouse fare and as a celebration of older cinema that takes more offbeat choices in terms of paying tribute. We were particularly touched by the inspired choice to give the honorary Vision Award to title sequence designer Kyle Cooper (Se7en, among many credits), and not just because it gave programmers an excuse to screen Sam Raimi’s first Spider-Man film from a 35mm print.
Our personal highlight was the wealth of delights in the festival’s extensive retrospective of American filmmaker Leo McCarey, particularly a screening of The Awful Truth (1937) that had a packed audience in hysterics. That said, the new films on offer were hardly lacking in quality. In an unranked order, here are nine premiering feature highlights, plus one short. We should mention we were sadly unable to catch Mariano Llinás’ 14-hour La Flor, perhaps the most publicised title in competition this year…
Full feature for Little White Lies