My Top Ten Films of 2015.

Another year has passed and I have seen more films than I can count, here are my favourites of the year that came out in UK cinemas in 2015!

1. A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

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Directed by Ana Lily Amirpour, this Iranian, vampire-western (yes, what a combination) was absolutely brilliant. Shot all in black and white it still manages to be visually interesting with compelling, surprising characters. It’s funny, it’s dramatic and there is a huge cat in it. What’s not to love?

2. Girlhood (Bande de filles)

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Directed by Céline Sciamma, this powerful french drama is honest yet non-judgemental. It follows Marieme, a working class, black girl trying to find her place in the world.  The film is structured in an interesting way and the cinematography is bright and colourful amidst often bleak settings.

 3. Inside Out

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This is the best Pixar film I’ve seen in years, funny and clever yet hard hitting at times. Plus some of my favourite TV actresses Amy Poehler and Mindy Kaling lend their voices to the film. You can read my review of it here.

4. Whiplash

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Directed by Damien Chazelle in his first feature film. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so tense in a film, it was exhausting to watch in the best possible way.

5. Carolcarolll

Directed by Todd Haynes and shot in 16mm, this glamorous, beautiful love story set in 1950s New York at Christmas time was stunning. Amazing performances by Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.

6. Selma

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This moving, powerful film directed by Ava DuVernay about the Civil Rights Movement is brilliant and heartbreaking. With David Oyelowo giving a great performance as Martin Luther King Jr. You can read my review of it here.

7. Macbeth

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Directed by Justin Kurzel, Macbeth has stunning cinematography and captivating performances by Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard. You can read my review here.

8. The Tale of The Princess Kaguya

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This beautiful animation by Studio Ghibli was incredibly unique in it’s style and is very different to anything i’ve seen from the studio before. You can read my review here.

9. Mockingjay Part 2

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The final part in The Hunger Games franchise, featured some amazing acting by Jennifer Lawrence and rounded off the series brilliantly.

10. Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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I just saw this last week and it has knocked off the film I had originally intended to take the number 10 spot. It’s fun, dramatic and engaging. Full of well developed female characters and I really enjoyed it.

I look forward to seeing more in 2016! I am particularly looking forward to seeing JoyThe Danish GirlThe Revenant and Room.

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Make More Noise! Suffragettes in Silent Film Review.

On the 29th of October there was a special screening at HOME in Manchester of the BFI’s Make More Noise! Suffragettes in Silent Film with a live piano accompaniment by Lillian Henley as part of Britain on Film.
morenoiseMake More Noise! inspired by the words of Emmeline Pankhurst featured 20 short silent films that were a mix of newsreel footage (Including the death of Emily Wilding Davison at the 1913 Derby) and comedic shorts from the time period. There was a brief description of the clip before it played giving some context and history to what we were about to view, the newsreel footage playing chronologically depicting suffragettes meeting in 1910 right through to women munition workers in 1917.

Although, not always picturing suffragettes explicitly the funny short silent films broke up what could have been a long series of factual information. My personal favourites were the funny Tilly shorts which pictured two mischievous sisters and were released between 1910-1915 (One of which can be partly seen below).

I really enjoyed this event! Lillian Henley’s live piano soundtrack was great, and if you get the chance to see this whilst it is touring you should check it out.

Suffragette (2015) Review.

Finally, I was able to see the film I have been excited for since mid-2014 when I stumbled upon them filming outside the Houses of Parliament. Suffragette Directed by Sarah Gavron (Brick Lane, This Little Life) and starring Carey Mulligan (An Education, Far From the Madding Crowd, The Great Gatsby), Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speech, Sweeny Todd, Les Misérables) and briefly Meryl Streep (Into the Woods, The Hours, Sophie’s Choice).

Suffragette followed Mulligan’s character Maud as she slowly starts to fight back against the systematic oppression of women. The film is definitely a slow burner and I think it does a good job of building up the tension and anger felt by the protagonist as well as developing her character with Mulligan’s terrific performance. I also really enjoyed Helena Bonham Carter’s character as well as Anne Marie-Duff’s (Before I go to Sleep, Nowhere Boy).  They were really great believable supporting characters that added depth to the story.

The film does play out as more of a history lesson and I feel that it fails in some ways to stir up emotion especially if you are already familiar with the Suffragette movement. Nothing was particularly surprising or shocking to me, in fact the most heart wrenching moments were about the life of the ficticious Maud rather than the more historically based areas of the film. However, I think that to someone new to the history that it would be very educational despite being a fictional story because I know that I personally, knew nothing of the suffragettes until my optional GCSE History classes at school meaning that a lot of people that see this film may be shocked by some of the treatment of the suffragettes.

I do feel that perhaps the cast was a bit too small sometimes, you didn’t really feel the scale of the movement. However, I really loved the ending in which they blend the film with real life footage of the suffragettes, it’s the only time in the film it feels like the movement is bigger than the few on screen. I did however, have an issue with the rolling list of dates that stated when suffrage was won for women in different countries right before the credits of the film, because it stated that it was 1920 for the U.S.A. which is forgetting the fact that black women were not able to vote until 1965, I think it’s a shame that they did not clarify this.

I think the film does a good job of telling an important story without glamourising the struggle for women in Britain to get the vote, it also does a good job of not making you feel like the fight for women’s rights is over. I did really enjoy the film and definitely recommend you give it a watch!

Suffragette (2015)

IMG_1620cropWhen I was in London yesterday I stumbled upon the set of the film “Suffragette”.

They were filming outside the Houses of Parliament, the film stars Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter who were present there for the filming and I saw them coming out to start filming.

IMDB describes the film’s plot as “The foot soldiers of the early feminist movement, women who were forced underground to pursue a dangerous game of cat and mouse with an increasingly brutal State.” I think that it’s fantastic that a film is being made about the struggle these women faced to get the vote. “Suffragette” is fictional but inspired by the suffrage movement and real events.

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Taken from BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-26993271

Interestingly, this is the first time the Houses of Parliament have been used for filming a commercial film. All previous films and television shows have used sets.

More information can be found here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-27000118