Criterion have released a stunning restoration of History is Made at Night (1937), Frank Borzage’s startlingly unpredictable mixture of romantic comedy, melodrama, noir and horror, which climaxes as a full-blown disaster film. Production began with only half a script and much of the film was improvised on the fly, yet it emerged as a wonderfully entertaining, continuously surprising testament to Borzage’s belief in the redemptive power of love.
Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s early television series Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day (1972-73) is a real discovery, a warm, funny, richly layered melodrama depicting the lives of a working class family navigating personal relationships in the context of economic and political constraints in post-war capitalist Germany.
It’s remarkable that it’s still possible to discover a previously unknown yet major film from the silent era, but the BFI’s new release of Anthony Asquith’s first feature, Shooting Stars (1928) is a revelation; a fresh, self-aware film about filmmaking and the intersection of real and imaginary lives.
One of the things I like about Criterion’s Eclipse series is the lack of snobbery in their choices. Yes, there are serious selections like the early Ozu films and Naruse’s silent works, Louis Malle’s documentaries, Jean-Pierre Gorin’s trilogy of essay films and the early Bergmans … but the people behind the line have shown a […] Read More
You could make an interesting double bill out of Daniel Barber’s Harry Brown (2009) and Joe Cornish’s Attack the Block (2011). Both are set in crime-ridden British housing estates where residents are terrorized by youth gangs, both have a gritty tone which strives to create a sense of relevance and immediacy. But while they have […] Read More