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Film round-up

Filmworker (15)

Directed by Tony Zierra



WHEN British actor Leon Vitale, the filmworker of this documentary's title, saw A Clockwork Orange, he made a vow to work with its director Stanley Kubrick.


He realised his ambition and Tony Zierra's film is the untold story of Vitale who, according to the blurb, “gave up fame and fortune to serve for two decades as Stanley Kubrick’s right-hand man.”


But this off-beat documentary, ostensibly concentrating on Vitale’s contributions to the Kubrick oeuvre, ultimately emerges as yet another hymn of praise to a time-honoured auteur.


Vitale sacrificed his burgeoning acting career — his performance as Lord Bullington in Barry Lyndon was rightly praised — to become something of an ill-used serf to Kubrick’s egotistical demands, something that US actor and film-maker Matthew Modine more than hints at in an occasionally acid interview.


In one sense, Vitale’s rise in the ranks of those helping Kubrick to bring his films to fruition proves that he was considerably more than simply just a willing dogsbody for the dictatorial film-maker.

He was deeply and valuably involved in their making and, after Kubrick’s death, in the restoration of his key films.


But it came at considerable cost to his family life and, often, to his health.


Alan Frank

A Love That Never Dies (12A)

Directed by Jimmy Edmonds and Jane Harris



FILM-MAKERS Jimmy Edmonds and Jane Harris embark on a fact-finding road trip across the US in their search to uncover the meaning of grief and loss in this powerful and heartbreaking love letter to their 22-year-old son Josh, who died in a road accident in Vietnam in 2011.


His parents have been trying to make sense of his death ever since and so they travelled across the US to talk to other bereaved couples who have lost a child.


The end result is a raw and brutally frank and honest discussion, with insights into a very personal and difficult subject which as a society we tend to shy away from.


“I became defined by my bereavement ... I didn't know what to do with that,” Jane states, while, seven years on, her husband says it has become “harder and harder” to mention his son's name in public.


It's painful to see and listen to these people's grief, but the film is also a celebration and homage to their children's lives.


Maria Duarte

The Sound of Music (U)

Directed by Robert Wise



OSCAR-WINNING director Robert Wise’s legendary film version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s enduring musical first hit cinemas in 1966.


Now it returns to the big screen where it belongs with all its sugary, sentimental charm and music intact — 50 years later, it still looks and sounds wonderful, unlike so many Hollywood big-hitters of the period.


The fairy-tale narrative, based on a true story, showcases Julie Andrews who exudes charm and credibility in her deservedly Oscar-winning role as the singing Austrian nun who becomes governess to the seven children of a widowed naval officer (Christopher Plummer).


She wins all of them over with her magical charisma and beautifully performed songs and joins them in escaping the nazis.


It rightly won five of its 10 Oscar nominations, including for best picture. Editor William Reynolds summed its success up perfectly when, accepting his award, he said: “When in doubt, cut to Julie Andrews. You can’t lose.”


Still true.



Deadpool 2 (15)

Directed by David Leitch



THE FOUL-MOUTHED, fast-talking and ineffably annoying mutant mercenary Deadpool is back in a sequel that is just as irreverent and as gag-filled as the original. It lampoons the superhero genre, the DC universe and even has a pop at Disney.


The good news is that it is less smug and less up its own posterior than the first film as Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds on top form) recruits a team of rogue mutants for the gender-neutral X-Force to protect a young mutant boy (Julian Tennison) from time-travelling villain Cable (Josh Brolin).


To reveal any more would spoil the fun and could lead to me being talked to death by Deadpool himself.


Co-written and produced by Reynolds, who really works it, though his character is an acquired taste, the film retains the intimate look and feel of the original but with more intricate stunts and action scenes. Punctuated by a killer music soundtrack and some painfully funny moments along with some fun blink-and-you-miss cameos, this proves a much needed anti-superhero film which doesn't pull its punches.


However, you won't be able to get Frozen's Do You Want to Build A Snowman out of your head. Damn you, Deadpool.



A Cambodian Spring (15)

Directed by Chris Kelly



SHOT over the course of six years, this eye-opening film charts the growing wave of land-rights protests that led to the “Cambodian Spring” and what followed, as seen through the eyes of people caught up in the chaotic violence.


The film focuses on two former friends, neighbours and activists Srey Pov and Tep Vanny, and Luon Souvath — aka the multimedia monk — who was hounded by the religious authorities for helping and supporting villagers in protests over forced evictions at Boeung Kak Lake around 2009.


Unforgettably, there are heartbreaking and striking images that documentarian Chris Kelly captures of people screaming and fighting the ruthless authorities and developers to stop them demolishing their homes and confiscating their lands.


Kelly pulls no punches in showing footage of elderly women as well as men being brutally beaten and sent to prison for defending their homes, with the reported blessing of the ruling party.


It is a very long and complex fly-on-the-wall documentary which could have done with some historical context. But it provokes reflection on how much you would sacrifice to fight for what you believe in, because these people sacrificed everything.




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