GENRE#001 – Comedy

Hello and welcome to the first in a string of new podcast extras looking at genres of film.

In this first episode we take a look at comedy, a genre that can be divisive as one person’s taste can be radically different to the next, this is certainly the case amongst the podcast crew. Robert, for one, was not looking forward to doing an episode on comedy as it is his least favourite genre.

The next podcast will be the main podcast and will take a look at A Hologram for the King, Room and Highlander.

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REV#0002 – Evolution

Directed by Lucile Hadzihalilovic
Written by Lucile Hadzihalilovic, Alanté Kavaïté and in collaboration with Geoff Cox
Stars Max Brebant, Roxane Duran, Julie-Marie Parmentier
Released 6th May 2016
Language French with English subtitles

We were given the chance to preview an interesting little film called Evolution, and Robert and Marc were happy to accept the invitation.

Marc writes:
A curious French horror noted for the beautiful way it was shot, I found this film pleasingly sinister from the start. It follows the life of 10 year old Nicolas who appears to live in a small village on an island with his mother. Nothing odd there until you realise that all the other inhabitants of the village are also boys of the same age and living with their mothers too. No men, no fathers. Filmed on the stark lava based island of Lanzarote (although not necessarily based there), there is another world quality throughout. This is heightened by the appearance of the mothers – almost identical with similar clothing and hairstyles, and dark alien like eyes. They live stark lives in bland square houses, with the paint peeling off the walls and bedrooms that contain simply a bed, a desk and chair. Nicolas’ Mother (her name is never revealed) feeds Nicolas a daily diet of what looks like worms in mud and gives him medication of an untold illness. She then meets up with all of the other mothers at night while the boys are all asleep for a walk down to the moonlit coastline to indulge in….well, it’s hard to say what they indulge in! They appear to eat seaweed then writhe naked amongst the rocks clutching starfish.

Nicolas, having possibly seen a dead boy whilst swimming in the sea one day begins to question his existence, especially his illness and his trips to the only other building we see in the village – a tatty hospital with all the other boys. Nicolas likes to draw too, simple sketches in a notebook. One of the nurses in the hospital takes a liking to him because of this and helps him escape the island to free him from odd operations that appear to impregnate the boys before they die.

That is as clear as I can be about the story and it is hard to put into words the pace and the feeling of the film. Co-writer and director Lucile Hadzihalilovic studied art history and film in Paris and it shows. This is an artful film, with some truly breathtaking shots, most notably when swimming under the sea, and some very memorable scenes which did remind me of so much more. The whole thing could’ve been an episode of The X Files, I was especially reminded of this during the operation scenes on the boys. The mother’s behaviour reminded me of The Stepford Wives and the scenes between Nicolas and Stella the nurse conjured up images of The Innocence for me. There is so much intrigue to this film it is a joy to watch until the last quarter when you begin to realise that there may not be an explanation to what the hell was going on and, alas, that is what happens. It finishes and you step outside feeling let down and confused. Now, of course, art doesn’t have to explain itself and many a film has ruined itself by the reveal at the end but some sort of help here would have been nice!

So it is a film of 2 parts: It is quiet, brooding, a thing of grace to look at. The dialogue is sparse and so is the barely there music (the sea acts as a soundtrack for most of the film). The performances of all involved are tip top and the sense of the unknown and of menace are palpable throughout but, ultimately, because of the lack of explanation the whole thing comes to a shuddering and disappointing end and that is a rather major fault.

Perhaps there is something I have missed and it is all very obvious, and the starfish, prevalent throughout the film, or the marks on all of the mothers’ backs represent something that simply flew over my head and another watch might reveal more.

Would I watch it again? Yes! Would I buy it? Possibly, because I want to really enjoy this film and try and understand it but at the moment it is just a bit of an enigma.

Robert adds:
There isn’t a lot I can add to Marc’s review as I agree with it whole-heartedly. When we left the screening room, neither of us were quite sure exactly what it was that we had just watched. There is no getting away from the fact that the cinematography in this film is superb and a joy to watch. However, sat alongside this beauty is a very intriguing story and, like Marc, I can’t help but feel a little let down by the lack of an explanation at the end.

If you are looking for a film to kill some time and not have to think too deeply about then this is not the one for you. The film, ultimately, is a challenging one but one that definitely deserves to be seen and I will certainly watch it again if I have a chance.

 

BTTF#018 – Victoria, Victor Frankenstein, Die Hard

In the 18th edition of the main podcast the crew take a look at the cinema release of Victoria, the home release is Victor Frankenstein and the classic film is Die Hard.

Victoria is an interesting film for many reasons, the most prominent of which is the fact that it was all filmed in one take. I believe they actually filmed it three times and it is the middle take that was actually used. The film is set in Berlin and follows a party-loving Spanish girl who is quickly befriended by four Berlin men. Things take a darker turn when she agrees to get involved in a bank heist as the getaway driver. The film was directed by Sebastian Schipper, who co-wrote the screenplay along with Eike Schulz and Olivia Neergaard-Holm. The film stars Laia Costa (Victoria), Frederick Lau (Sonne), Franz Rogowski (Boxer), Burak Yigit (Blinker) amongst others.

Next up is Victor Frankenstein, which is a film that follows the well-known story of Frankenstein, although told from the perspective of Dr Frankenstein’s lab assistant, Igor. The film was directed by Paul McGuigan and written by Max Landis. It stars Daniel Radcliffe (Igor), James McAvoy (Frankenstein), Andrew Scott (Inspector Turpin).

The final film is the much-loved action classic Die Hard. New York Cop John McClane flies into Los Angeles to visit his wife and kids after the wife moved there for a top job at the Nakatomi Investment Bank. After landing, he is taken to his wife’s offices where he meets her as the office Xmas party is going on and, whilst there, terrorists take over the building but McClane manages to avoid capture before going on a one-man mission to stop the crime and save his wife. The film was directed by John McTiernan and was based on the novel Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp, with the screenplay being written by Jeb Stuart. Stars include Bruce Willis (McClane), Bonnie Bedelia (Holly Gennero McClane), Alan Rickman (Hans Gruber) and Reginald VelJohnson (Sgt Al Powell). This film started a franchise and spawned four sequels.

The next podcast special will be in a new line that takes a look at movie genres, with comedy first up. The next main podcast at the end of May will look at the new Tom Hanks film, A Hologram For The King, the home release of the well-received Room and the classic film will be Highlander.

Website: backtothefeaturepodcast.com

Email: backtothefeaturepodcast@gmail.com

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Twitter: @BTTFPodcast