Unfortunately the film world is still languishing in the throes of the awards slump, focusing all its efforts on bombarding the public from every angle with George and Meryl’s grimacing countenances and the constant inane whittering about Horses, Helpers, Hoovers and a certain canine whose name I’m frankly fed up of hearing. This market saturation means that there are only really three new releases out this month that should really be worth your time, none of which have had the slightest sniff of Oscar glory, but all of which should prove far richer, readier and downright entertaining. At least certainly more so than Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (derp). The others three wonderful releases listed here are all courtesy of the seemingly ever-suffering BFI. Get your hands off, Cameron!
Martha Marcy May Marlene (from 3rd February)
The most exciting theatrical offering this month is an indie festival circuit fave from Sean Durkin, one third of the consistently brilliant Borderline Films collective (whose previous outings include Two Gates of Sleep and the hugely underrated Afterschool). A murky psychological thriller focusing on the convalescence of a severely damaged cult escapee in a sinister rural community, this mesmerising and mysterious film should throw its star, Elizabeth Olsen (yes, of the Mary-Kate and Ashley clan) into the Hollywood major league.
Of course the BFI’s wonderful Lynch season is cause for celebration and you should probably go and see as much as you can. But for the purposes of this post I’ve decided to just pick one. Whilst Wild at Heart may not be the greatest of David Lynch’s achievements (artistically, intellectually or formally), it holds a special, almost ineffable place in my heart. This violently romantic road movie channels Deep South folklore and The Wizard of Oz into something completely absurd, totally compelling and indescribably Lynchian. It also features Nicolas Cage as a thrash metal-loving, martial artist Elvis. I find it hard to describe why I love it so much, but I think that this is perhaps the reason I do.
A Dangerous Method (from 10th February)
One of my all time favourite filmmakers returns with another of his signature investigations into control, desire and perversion, this time about the bizarre ménage-à-trois between Freud, Jung and their patient Sabina Spielrein. Whilst reviews haven’t been totally favourable, the stellar cast and luminary director should surely make it worth your while. It’s a dead cert for me, anyway.
Whilst I’m not usually one to insist on celebrating festivities invented solely for the ongoing promotion of Clinton Cards, if it throws up an excuse to catch one of the greatest love stories ever committed to celluloid on the big screen I’ll gladly jump on to the Forever Friends bandwagon. ‘Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship’ is also the perfect time to give the popcorn trick a shot. #romance
Hadewijch (from 17th February)
Another strange outing for France’s leading iconoclast, Bruno Dumont, sees a young nun kicked out of her convent for her blindly and ecstatically devoted faith. From there she moves back to her Parisian home and down a strange and dangerous path, balancing all the while between rage and grace, madness and enlightenment. This is an incredibly bold, daring and shocking film whose difficulties have left it shelved for the last two years. However, it was one of my picks of the 2009 London Film Festival – along with the brilliant Dogtooth – so comes highly recommended here.
Another great re-release from the BFI this month is Otto Preminger’s callous, masterful film about the murder of a beautiful young advertising executive and the complex web of deceit, jealousy and erotic obsession that surrounded her. As cool and witty in its dialogue and satire as it is taut and thrilling in its tortuous plot, this is one of the crowning moments of 40s Film Noir.