The Battle of Algiers

In the 1950s, fear and violence escalate as the people of Algiers fight for independence from the French government.

When there’s very obviously an agenda to a film, watching it can be difficult. Because there’s no way of assessing what kind of base knowledge you’re required to possess before the film begins. In my case, Algeria was declared independent thirty years before I was born. It’s a country that crosses my mind almost never. I knew that it had a history of conflict – I didn’t know much else. Continue reading “The Battle of Algiers”

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind

Warrior/pacifist Princess Nausicaä desperately struggles to prevent two warring nations from destroying themselves and their dying planet.

As Miyazaki’s second feature film, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind was made two years before Studio Ghibli opened its doors in 1986 – but in all likeliness, it’s this film that made such a move possible. We have a lot to thank Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind for. Continue reading “Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind”

Jurassic Park

During a preview tour, a theme park suffers a major power breakdown that allows its cloned dinosaur exhibits to run amok.

Jurassic Park is the film that, for many of my generation’s film-lovers, can be identified as the start of their obsession. Unfortunately for this 1992-born film-lover, I didn’t see Jurassic Park until I was twenty-two, and films had already been cemented as something I love. What it did do for me, however, was act as a reminder: I love films. Continue reading “Jurassic Park”

Mary and Max

A tale of friendship between two unlikely pen pals: Mary, a lonely, eight-year-old girl living in the suburbs of Melbourne, and Max, a forty-four-year old, severely obese man living in New York.

Mary and Max is a recipe for cult status. A unique and inherently funny animation style is the foundation for a story about two isolated, lost souls who become friends from different sides of the world. It ticks all the emotional boxes someone like me needs to love a film – it’s funny, bleak, uplifting, deflating… It’s a tough spectrum to experience in ninety minutes, but I managed. Continue reading “Mary and Max”

Prisoners

When Keller Dover’s daughter and her friend go missing, he takes matters into his own hands as the police pursue multiple leads and the pressure mounts. But just how far will a desperate father go to protect his family?

Despite that synopsis, Prisoners barely has time to establish its whodunnit foundation before screenwriter Aaron Guzikowski pulls the old bait-and-switch. Any hope of finding the girls is dismissed by one character incredibly early on: “No-one took them. Nothing happened. They’re just gone.” And I breathed a sigh of relief, because Prisoners then became quite unlike its crime/mystery peers. Continue reading “Prisoners”

The Elephant Man

A Victorian surgeon rescues a heavily disfigured man who is mistreated while scraping a living as a side-show freak. Behind his monstrous facade, there is revealed a person of intelligence and sensitivity.

The Elephant Man isn’t a feel-good movie. I’ve never seen a David Lynch film before, but I had expectations. I understood him to be rather surreal, and perhaps a little bleak. My suspicions were confirmed in The Elephant Man. Continue reading “The Elephant Man”