By Peter Bradshaw | The Guardian
There’s a tremendous human warmth to this love story from writer-director Clio Barnard, a social-realist tale that you might compare to Ken Loach’s Ae Fond Kiss (though Loach might not have made the landlord the good guy). It’s a drama of autumnal love conquering the divisions of race, the disillusionments of middle age, the discomfort of parenthood and grandparenthood, and the tensions of class.
Adeel Akhtar is Ali, a likable, happy-go-lucky British Asian in Bradford whose family is well-off. They own properties and insofar as Ali has a job, it is going around collecting rent, and he is a genial friend to the tenants and their families. Ali sees himself as a frustrated DJ and a musician: his house has a converted basement “mancave” where he keeps his extensive vinyl collection. But Ali has a terrible secret: his wife Runa (played by the excellent Ellora Torchia) has outgrown her puppyish husband intellectually and they are separating. Rather than confess this shaming fact to his family, the couple are still living together.
The UK’s best-known film critic, Mark Kermode offers up 50 personal viewing recommendations, from great classics to overlooked gems.
The Arbor (2010)
Director Clio Barnard
Artist Clio Barnard’s moving film about the late Bradford playwright Andrea Dunbar (Rita, Sue and Bob Too) is no ordinary documentary. Mixing interviews with Dunbar’s family and friends (seen lip-synched by actors), scenes from her plays performed on the estate where she lived, and TV footage of her in the 1980s, the film makes intriguing, inventive play with fact, fiction and reminiscence.
Mark Kermode says: “Somehow the disparate elements form a strikingly cohesive whole, conjuring a portrait of the artist and her offspring that is both emotionally engaging, stylistically radical and utterly unforgettable.”
Bad Timing (1980)
Director Nicolas Roeg
Seen in flashback through the prism of a woman’s attempted suicide, this fragmented portrait of a love affair expands into a labyrinthine enquiry into memory and guilt. One of director Nic Roeg’s finest films, starring Art Garfunkel, Theresa Russell and Harvey Keitel.
Mark Kermode says: “Roeg himself reported that a friend refused to talk to him for three years after seeing the film. Today, Bad Timing still divides audiences: monstrosity or masterpiece? Well, watch it and decide for yourself.”
La Belle et la Bête (1946)
Director Jean Cocteau
With its enchanted castle, home to fantastic living statuary, and director Jean Cocteau’s lover Jean Marais starring as a Beast who is at once brutal and gentle, rapacious and vulnerable, shamed and repelled by his own bloodlust, this remains a high point of the cinematic gothic imagination.
Mark Kermode says: “Personally I think Mexican filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro, the maestro of the modern screen fairytale, said it best when he declared La Belle et la Bête simply to be the most perfect cinematic fable ever told.”
Film4 is partnering with film distributor Park Circus on a campaign to entice Brits back to the cinema. Under the deal, the duo will offer UK cinemas a season of six classic features from the Film4 library, including Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting and Jonathan Glazer’s Sexy Beast.
The films will initially screen in Picturehouse, Everyman, Odeon, Vue, and Showcase theaters across the country from the start of July, with other venues joining the initiative in the coming weeks. It follows cinemas reopening in the UK on May 17 after the most recent coronavirus lockdown.
The four other films in the Film4 season are Mark Herman’s Brassed Off, Stephen Frears’ rom-com My Beautiful Launderette, Bill Forsyth’s Local Hero, and Bhaji on the Beach, from director Gurinder Chadha.
Film4’s parent Channel 4 will support the season with an advertising campaign across its TV channels, as well as online. The ads will be created by in-house creative agency 4Creative.
Film4 director Daniel Battsek said: “Film4 have a long history of producing films for theatrical exhibition. We felt we should do something to help the sector’s recovery from the pandemic and remind audiences that cinemas remain the best places to experience movies.”
Park Circus CEO Mark Hirzberger-Taylor added: “We’re incredibly proud of our long-standing partnership with Film4, and are delighted to be collaborating with them on this special programme this summer, comprising six of their very best classic films, back on the big screen for audiences to enjoy.”
It is not the first time iconic titles have been brought back to the big screen in the UK to tempt audiences. Disney re-released the likes of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back when restrictions lifted on theaters last year.