Category Archives: Classic Films

Courtroom Drama

The newest Criterion Collection Blu-Ray, Sidney Lumet’s 12 Angry Men, hits the shelves in the UK on 15th May. Fiona Pleasance joins the jury.

The premise of 12 Angry Men could hardly be simpler. Almost all of the film takes place in a single room in a New York City courthouse in the mid-1950s, where the members of a jury deliberate on the trial of a young man accused of murdering his father.

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Boyz N The Hood

Jesse Bernard casts a modern eye back at early 90s Compton

In 2012 a young rapper from Compton released his inimitable debut studio album good kid, m.A.A.d city a coming-of-age story centred on the lives of a group of young black men navigating teenagehood. The eternal evasion of gang culture, peer pressure, poor social conditions appear to be a common rite of passage for African-Americans from low-income areas. In 1991, it would’ve been difficult to imagine that Kendrick Lamar would address the same issues John Singleton critically addressed in cult classic film, Boyz n the Hood. Particularly in a country that posits itself as one of the most socially advanced nations in the world. On it’s 25th anniversary, the themes explored in Boyz n the Hood are particularly pertinent in today’s sociopolitical climate. In addition, Boyz n the Hood’s understated success sparked a wave of black coming-of-age films.

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Stormy Weather

Sarah Slade considers if Stormy Weather has weathered the storm.

stormy-weather

There is a school of thought that maintains that musicals of the Hollywood Golden Age were at the forefront of social commentary. Look at Carousel, with its depiction of domestic violence, single parenthood and walking on through the wind and the rain. Or Oklahoma in the light of Judd’s mental illness. Let’s skip over the message behind Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and look at Showboat, which has actual people of colour singing songs about rivers and takes a sideways look the trials of being mixed-race in the Deep South.

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El Sur (The South)

Susan Patterson watches Victor Erice’s Spanish classic

“Can it be that an unfinished film is one of the best in Spanish cinema history? Yes it can… 95 minutes of emotions so intense that you’re left breathless. I cry every time I watch it.” Pedro Almodóvar

Estrella (Icíar Bollaín), is close to her doctor father, Agustin (Omero Antonutti) but mystified by his past, and how it has made him the slightly distant man he has become.

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