After the madness of Christmas and the Oscars the film world has finally calmed down and relinquished some screen space to allow the lustre of some 24 carat screen gems to shine. Unfortunately such a relinquishment means that every independent distributor and his dog has picked the next four weeks to release their films, resulting in a nauseatingly insurmountable glut of excellent offerings (and a slightly reduced description of the contents therein). Let’s not complain though. Let’s just begin.
Michael (from 2nd March)
The influence of contemporary auteur par excellence Michael Haneke is readily apparent in this incredibly subtle, restrained and considered portrayal of the cold, calculated behaviour of a predatory paedophile. Having won worthy praise from some of the country’s leading critics Michael announces director Markus Schleinzer, Haneke’s long-time casting director, as a major figure in modern art-house cinema.
In Darkness (from 16th March)
This tale of a sewer worker who hides a group of Jews under the streets of Nazi-occupied Lodz is emotionally fraught, nail-bitingly intense and utterly compelling. Closer to the claustrophobic intensity of Wajda’s stunning Kanal than the maudlin saccharinity of Schindler’s List, this is another example of the ongoing brilliance of Polish cinema.
Once Upon A Time In Anatolia (from 16th March)
Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s new prize-winning film is a hallucinatory, mesmerising and totally engrossing neo-noir tale of a police procedural gone wrong that displays his awesome visual flair and rigorous dramatic intent. It’s a fantastic addition to his already impressive canon.
The Kid With A Bike (from 23rd March)
As with Ceylan’s Anatolia, the Dardennes brothers’ new picture comes laden with critical acclaim and supported by the flawless mark of its brilliant creators. Poignant, touching and quietly astounding in its heartfelt yet totally unsentimental humanism, this is the greatest example of contemporary Bressonian cinema.
Corpo Celeste (from 30th March)
A beautifully shot insight into the mysterious world of a young girl’s religious development, this elliptical film is a challenging look at the structures of belief, individuality and the search for truth in a complex, ineffable world.
This Is Not A Film (from 30th March)
Under house arrest since September 2010, Iran’s leading and most influential filmmaker, Jafar Panahi, has held up a banner to the ruling party by creating a film that constitutes none of the criteria set out in his cinematic sanctions. Celluloid protest at its most raw, powerful, original and personal.
Carl T Dreyer’s magnum opus is rightly hailed as one of the greatest achievements of one of cinema’s brightest leading lights. Beguiling, enigmatic and daringly original, Ordet’s influence has stretched throughout the history of film, most notably in Carlos Reygadas’ Silent Light.
Kusama’s Self-Obliteration (at the Tate Modern until 5th June)
One of the crowning moments of psychedelic cinema, Jud Yalkut’s portrait of the life and work of the visionary Yayoi Kusama is an astute depiction of a conceptual artist’s work and an incredible insight into the spirit of the 1960s. You can watch the first part of the film below, but head over to Tate Modern to experience her work in full (it’s well worth it).