The holiday period usually means something of a lull in quality cinema, with the focus firmly set on family-orientated adventure romps and action blockbusters to shore up studio bank balances before the all-important end of year reports. However, breathing space for a plucky art-house contender or surprise indie hit can sometimes be found within this bustling arena, and this December looks to hold a fair few well worth your time…
A sparse and slow yet rigorous and engrossing road movie from first time Argentine director Pablo Giorgelli. Fans of touching, personal films focusing on the intricacies of human relationships (and, as Mark Cousins says, ‘that focus on the human face’), like Central Station or Mid-August Lunch, should take note.
Another foray into the subconscious wonder-realm with cinema’s most ardent surrealist (and one of our personal, long-time favourites), Jan Švankmajer, Surviving Life uses cut-out and stop-frame animation combined with filmed footage to explore the boundaries of dreams, desire and reality. It’s the best kind of weird there is.
A harrowing drama about guilt somewhat strong-armed into life as a philosophical sci-fi, this debut feature from writer-director Mike Cahill has drawn comparisons with the luminous films of Kieslowski and Tarkovsky. Despite dividing critics over its message, style and delivery, those two references alone should certainly make it one to watch…
Mysteries of Lisbon
A stunningly lavish period drama of epic proportions, this Viscontian pot-boiling melodrama seems to have bowled anyone willing to sit through its six hour running time completely over. It’s been hailed by many as the crowning moment of the late director Raul Ruiz’s career, topping even his seminal adaptation of Proust’s Time Regained.
Come on now. You’ve heard of this. I don’t need to explain it to you. It’s going to win some Oscars and spur loads of publications to run articles pointlessly considering the plausibility of silent film as a major future genre. It is also going to be very, very good indeed.