April Cinema at An Lanntair

  • Published on: 25th March 2016
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This month at An Lanntair, two titans go head-to-head on the big screen for the first time.

Yes reader, the long-awaited Hitchcock/Truffaut has arrived. Kent Jones’ film documents the incredible interviews conducted by a young Francois Truffaut at Alfred Hitchcock’s office in Universal studios. According to The Guardian, who call the film ‘terrific’, Kent’s documentary ‘shows how their meeting was a pioneering act of film criticism, cinephilia and living ancestor worship.’ As well as recordings from the titular cinematic legends, Hitchcock/Truffaut includes interviews with some of America’s most influential modern directors including Martin Scorsese, James Gray, David Fincher and Wes Anderson.

And some more great American directors will be gracing our screen with their work this month: Joel and Ethan Coen’s Hail, Caesar!, starring George Clooney, Channing Tatum and Scarlett Johansson, is one that no fans of  the brothers’ work will want to miss. In their glowing review of the film, Empire considers Hail, Caesar! as ‘a semi-sequel to Barton Fink? A pseudo-remake of The Big Lebowski? A Dream Factory take on The Hudsucker Proxy?’.

And another visionary American filmmaker, Charlie Kauffman, finally returns after a long hiatus with his first ever animation: beautiful stop-motion Anomalisa. Included amongst Sight and Sound’s top twenty films of 2015- having toured the festival circuit before general release this year- Anomalisa follows Michael Stone (voiced by David Thewlis), a middle-aged and determinedly unmotivated motivational speaker, through a drab world in which everyone he encounters speaks with the same voice (namely that of character actor Tom Noonan).

Only one other character, Lisa, has her own voice (Jennifer Jason Lee’s) and it is she who helps Michael to see his life in a new light. Like Kauffman’s previous films- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Being John Malkovich and Adaptation among them- Anomalisa is a singular work, and has been described variously as ‘breathtaking’, ‘upsettingly brilliant’ and ‘a masterpiece’ (The Guardian, The Telegraph and Rolling Stone respectively).

On this side of the pond, Ben Wheatley’s work, from the violent Down Terrace to black comedy Sightseers, has seen him establishing himself and one of Britain’s most distinctive and intriguing directors. His latest film, High-Rise, is an adaptation of JG Ballard’s dystopian vision of a 1970s class war within a tower block. Finally granted the big budget that his work has been earmarking him for, Wheatley has created a highly stylised and macabre take on British society in the decade that Margaret Thatcher became prime minister, with Tom Hiddleston as its star.

An equally scathing look at social inequity, and the crooked wheels of (in)justice that permit and enable it, Chaitanya Tamhane’s Court critiques the unsympathetic bureaucracy of the antiquated Indian judicial system. Narayan Kamble, a Marathi folk singer living in Mumbai, finds himself at the mercy of his country’s inept courts when he is accused of a peculiar crime: the state claims that upon hearing Narayan perform, a manhole cleaner committed suicide, making Narayan responsible for the man’s death. The resulting case is absurd, infuriating- and really funny, though never farcical. As The New York Times points out, ‘the work has a gravity, a measured pace and a detachment reminiscent of a Frederick Wiseman documentary — “Court,” however, is fictional.’