The In-Your-Face Films of Alan Clarke – The New York Times

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The Trip to Spain feasts upon its stars’ fear of obsolescence

Once more, into the brie — or, in this case, the manchego. For the third time, now, for Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, it’s the feast as improv proving ground, the sumptuous meal as arena of competitive discernment: Who can better parse and parody the particularities of some beloved British film actor? And, most crucially, Michael Winterbottom’s The Trip to Spain is a breezy study of aging men afraid they’ve lost their potency, their command of life, their once-certain enshrinement in the culture. It is at once a desperate echo of long-gone glories and a glory itself.

Source: The Trip to Spain feasts upon its stars’ fear of obsolescence | L.A. Weekly

Paul Robeson in Wales

Paul Robeson’s interactions with Wales were shaped by the violence of mining life: the everyday hardship of long hours and low wages, but also the sudden spectacular catastrophes that decimated communities. In 1934, he’d been performing in Caernarfon when news arrived of a disaster in the Gresford colliery. The mine there had caught fire, creating an inferno so intense that most of the 266 men who died underground, in darkness and smoke, were never brought to the surface for burial. At once, Robeson offered his fees for the Caernarfon concert to the fund established for the orphans and children of the dead – an important donation materially, but far more meaningful as a moral and political gesture.

“There was just something that drew Welsh people and Paul Robeson together. I think it was like a love affair, in a way.” And that seemed entirely right.” [ . . . ] Read More – The Guardian

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The snarky improvisers continue to one-up each other in The Trip to Spain 

In which Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon continue their joint sojourn through the eateries of Europe, this time taking Coogan’s Range Rover from London to the coast of España and further south.

Once again, this team of rivals is working on tasks relating to food and travel, with Coogan again positioning himself as the senior partner.Actually, I should say that about Coogan’s character, as well as Brydon’s, who only happen to be named after the stars. The frequent references to Philomena and other past projects are real enough. But domestic scenes and phone calls with Brydon’s wife and young children, as well as Coogan’s current (and married) girlfriend, are invented, as is a subplot about Steve losing his agent and being asked to share his new script with an up-and-coming writer. “I’ve already up-and-come,” complains the two-time Oscar nominee [ . . . ]

Read Full story: The snarky improvisers continue to one-up each other in The Trip to Spain | Georgia Straight Vancouver’s News & Entertainment Weekly

How we made Brassed Off 

‘I spent months learning the flugelhorn – and I didn’t even have to play it’

Pete Postlethwaite, who was playing my father, took me down to Grimethorpe a week before filming to talk to locals and let them know this was their story. The miners were reticent at first. Not long before, a TV crew had stitched up the town, getting kids to throw stones at derelict buildings and making it seem as if it was a regular occurrence, as if Grimethorpe had become a wild west town. [ . . . ]

More at source: How we made Brassed Off | Film | The Guardian

Richard E Grant Never Met The Real Withnail – But Tonight He Met His Brother

he character of Withnail, played by Richard E Grant, in the seminal movie classic Withnail And I, was based on a man called Vivian MacKerrell, with whom the movie’s writer and director Bruce Robinson once shared a flat.Grant never met MacKerrell – he was discouraged from doing so by Robinson. MacKerrell died over twenty years ago and tonight [ . .  . ]

More: Richard E Grant Never Met The Real Withnail – But Tonight He Met His Brother – Bleeding Cool News And Rumors

Why British film needs to form a countryside alliance

Out on Friday, new British film The Levelling is a breath of fresh air from its very first shot of a country lane. Why? Because this is a film that has escaped the cities with which British filmmakers are so obsessed – and not only that, offered an authentic depiction of our nation’s countryside for once.Our film industry has an awful habit of regurgitating successful movies until way after the dead horse has been flogged. Guy Ritchie’s Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels led to a plethora of cheap East End gangster film replicas. As we laughed and cried at Four Weddings and a Funeral, producers Working Title were busy starting a conveyor belt of upper-middle-class metropolitan comedies. Merchant Ivory created a cottage industry around [ . . . ]

Read Full Story: Why British film needs to form a countryside alliance

The female screenwriter hidden from history

I saw Diana Morgan’s film Hand In Hand in grade school. It was one of the few non-Disney movies the Sisters of Mercy allowed for us to see on the rare and exciting Movie Day in the school cafeteria. The film is about the friendship between a Jewish and a Roman Catholic child, and their attempts to understand each others’ faith. I believe our parish also presented an “encore” presentation of the film one evening for parents to see, and I remember later discussing the film with my dad. Hard to believe, but Morgan’s film was somewhat controversial in some households, though not with Dad who loved it. Miss you Dad.
– Johnny Foreigner


Just as in other aspects of British life, women were at last getting a chance to do jobs that had for decades been the sole province of men.Women are working lathes making munitions; land army girls bring in the harvest; female pilots deliver spitfires; female crews work canal boats and at least one woman is writing the scripts of patriotic comedy films.I had heard that the inspiration for the new film was screenwriter Diana Morgan, who was one such woman and that the part of Catrin Cole in Their Finest was modelled on her. [ . . ]

More: Morning Star :: The female screenwriter hidden from history | The People’s Daily