- Wednesday, 12 September 2012
THE TRIAL (StudioCanal). Orson Welles always used to say it was the best film he had ever made. Anthony Perkins is the bureaucrat in a totalitarian state who is arrested and indicted for an unspecified crime. Alan Bennett’s claustrophobic TV version was always truer to the Kafka original, but Welles 1963 film, abstract, Baroque, surreal, paranoid, prophetic and with spectacular sets, vast crowds, voracious women and sinister men, works well on its own large scale pretentious terms.
THE OBSCURE OBJECT OF DESIRE (StudioCanal). Luis Bunuel’s last film, a dark, masochistic, absurdist comedy, and one of his best, describes the lust of a wealthy middle-aged Spaniard (Fernando Rey) for a 19-year-old girl and his frustration when she plays games with him in which he is always the loser and farcically so. The tantalising girl is played by two actresses, Carole Bouquet and Angelina Molina, and thus constantly changing, one minute hot and eager, the next cold and mocking. The comedy is punctuated by acts of terrorism.
NOSTALGIA FOR THE LIGHT (New Wave) is a remarkable documentary by Patricio Guzman. An observatory and a former concentration camp share the same desert landscape in Northern Chile. The camp housed Pinochet’s political prisoners in the 1970s. They were tortured, murdered and buried in mass graves which were later opened by the military and the human remains were scattered. The military were determined they would never be found again, hoping that the genocide would be forgotten and Chile could start afresh.
THE BFG FEATURE (Fremantle Media). The adaptation of Roald Dahl’s 1982 children’s fantasy, The Big Friendly Giant, was seen on television on Christmas Day 1989 and won an award for Best Children’s Programme. The DVD is released to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the publication of the book. There are better Dahl films to see. The big surprise for many will be that the Queen (voiced by Angela Thorne) plays a leading role in the story. Steven Spielberg is remaking it.
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