London Film Festival 2019 – Part 3

Imperialism, breaking up, and ending one’s life   Waiting for the Barbarians (2019) Director: Ciro Guerra. Featuring Mark Rylance, Johnny Depp, Robert Pattinson Allegory, it’s all allegory. At least, that has been an interpretation of the 1980 novel Waiting for the Barbarians by JM Coetzee, who is also this film’s screenwriter. And although the 2003 […]

London Film Festival 2019 – Part 2

MI6 v. democracy, FBI v. democracy, community self-defence, cultural tourism, and buddies   Coup 53 (2019) Director: Taghi Amirani. Featuring Walter Murch, Taghi Amirani, David Talbot Close involvement with the coup that toppled Iran’s democratically elected prime minister Mossadegh in 1953 has never been acknowledged by a UK government. Taghi Amirani’s documentary lays out the […]

London Film Festival 2019 – Part 1

US prisons, news manipulators, and Dickensian London   Clemency (2019) Director: Chinonye Chukwu. Featuring Alfre Woodard, Aldis Hodge, Danielle Brooks There is a cost to human beings working within a barbaric system. And in a system as barbaric as the USA’s prison estate the fallout is considerable. Chinonye Chukwu’s unsentimental portrayal of the state killing […]

Crime & punishment

A creature of a nadir in UK politics, the new minority Conservative government under Boris Johnson is now in full election campaigning mode. A major plank in the policies its wonks have seen fit to promote in recent weeks concerns substantial changes in the criminal justice system. Headline announcements have promised 20,000 more police ‘on […]

I Do Not Care If We Go Down In History As Barbarians (Îmi este indiferent daca în istorie vom intra ca barbari)

Romanian fascist leader Ion Antonescu was an enthusiastic and active anti-Semite responsible for the deaths of up to 400,000 Bessarabian, Ukrainian, and Romanian Jews and Romanian Roma. I Do Not Care If We Go Down In History As Barbarians (directed by Radu Jude) tells of a present-day Romanian theatre director Mariana Marin (Ioana Iacob) producing an […]

Happy New Year, Colin Burstead

Quite possibly striking a chord with anyone who has attended a family reunion, Happy New Year, Colin Burstead shows how the modern family can falter. Truly, it is impossible to return to the golden (or not) past except in memory. It is also true that social units behave predictably, despite initial best intentions. The eponymous […]

Twin Flower (Fiore gemello)

Imaginative and poignant, Twin Flower unites two young people despite differences of language (Italian and French) and background. Anna (Anastasyia Bogach) is fleeing a traumatic experience and its cause – people-trafficker Manfredi (Aniello Arena) – through a magnificent Sardinian landscape. Undocumented Basim (Kalilil Khone) from Ivory Coast stands up for her against young thugs and […]


  In Manto, Nandita Das directs a moving and spirited account of Saadat Hasan Manto and his ideas, as expressed in his rightly praised stories of real people. Manto (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) himself excels at digging out truths of daily existence, whether in pre-independence Bombay in 1946 or after he has moved to Lahore, in the post-partition […]

Consequences (Posledice)

Andrej (Matej Zemljič) and his parents are in a Slovenian court: he is 18, refusing to go to school or work, and found guilty of assaulting a young woman at a party. Sentenced to live weekdays at a youth detention centre, Andrej is tested by and then links up with inmate leader Željko (Timon Šturbej). This […]