East End Festival: Two-Legged Horse

I went to see the UK premiere of Two-Legged Horse with some trepidation having heard on blogs how difficult it was and how several people at the Toronto Film Festival had walked out. 

The film principally concerns a poor boy (who one suspects also has a slight mental disability aswell as speech impediment) who is charged for a measly $1 a day to carry a wealthier boy and effectively act as his horse (he is referred to as a ‘horse’, ‘donkey’  or ‘beast ‘throughout). As the boy has been maimed in a land mine which also killed mother.

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Genius or bastard?

I was reading a very good article in the March issue of Vanity Fair about John Ford and the use of Monument Valley in his films by Buzz Bussinger. And learnt some things about the legend that was John Ford that I didn’t know but also on reflection didn’t seem that surprising it starts off with this descrption of him which describes his love haterelationship with his actors:

Harry Goulding saw firsthand the Jekyll and Hyde of Ford, particularly when someone made a mistake on the set or remotely questioned his authority.

His relationship with his actors, even those in the Stock Company, was a Freudian amalgam of love, loyalty, and withering laceration, often bringing out his sharpshooter’s scent for insecurity. Ford was egotistical, angry, and uncertain , and, according to Carey, nervous around women…

Then comes the killer anecdotal evidence of just how cruel he could be:

When Henry Fonda suggested to Ford that he was taking too many unnecessary liberties with the film version of Mister Roberts, in which Fonda had starred on Broadway, the director punched him in the jaw. When Ava Gardner questioned the quality of a take in Mogambo (also starring Clark Gable), Ford responded by saying, “You know so fucking much about directing. You’re a lousy actress, but now you’re a director. Well, why don’t you direct something? You go sit in my chair, and I’ll go and play your scene.” He once said of Dolores del Rio that she was comparable in beauty to Greta Garbo: “Then she opens her mouth and becomes Minnie Mouse.” He referred to Maureen O’Hara as “a greedy bitch” and even told off Helen Hayes.

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57000 Km Between Us (57000 Entre Nous), Dir. Delphine Kreuter (2007)

Marie Burgun as Nat taking shelter in her room

Marie Burgun as Nat taking shelter in her room

 Rating: 6/6

This is an entrancing, original  and interesting debut from Kreuter which I saw as part of the 23rd London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, and I really hope that it gets a wider release beacuse this is film that deserves to be seen.

The film primarily works as a social satire of the age of the internet. It revolves around fourteen-year-old  Nat’s (a wonderful and entrancing Marie Burgun) family the self-obssesed Margot (Florence  Thomassin) and her equally vain partner Michel (Pascal Bongard) , and contrasts her alienated relationship with them to her more affectionate relationship with her transgender father Nicole (Stephanie Michelini) and her loving partner Khaled (Mohamed Rouabhi). Whose sexuality, refreshingly, in the film is no issue for Nat or Khaled and is accepted without question.

The internet for Margot and Michel are seen as the tools of self-promotion,they have their own website and are constantly staging their lives in order to generate a bigger fanbase. A particualrly comic moment occurs when Margot gets concerned over losing 45 fans from last week and suggests it because they ‘don’t look happy enough.’

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Let The Right One In (Lat Den Ratte Komma In), Dir. Tomas Alfredson (2008)

From left: Kare Hedebrant as Oskar and Lena leandersson as Eli

Kare Hedebrant as Oskar and Lena leandersson as Eli

Rating: 5 and a half /6

This is a horror film but not your average horror film, call it instead a social-realist horror film. It manages to take the tired genre of the vampire film and make it seem fresh and full of new possibilities.

Based on John Ajvide Lindgvist’s novel, who also wrote the screenplay. It puts the vampire Eli (a beguiling and brilliant Lina Leandersson) into the context of early 80’s Swedish suburbia, (though the 80’s is certainly not important or seen through a nostalgic lens, even the music is in fact all original to the film written by a member of Roxette to sound like 80’s music) and ties it into a coming-of-age love-story between Oskar (Kare Hedebrant also engaging) and Eli.

This may seem similar to the recent Twilight but I think in this case the story is told with a lot more panache and a lot less cliched romanticism (though I will admit here that I haven’t seen Twillight so I can’t say this definitively).

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What’s your favourite film period poll, get your votes in!

I’ve created a poll to discover what people think is the best film period.  So whether you think the studio years when studios like RKO and Warner Brothers ruled and churned out many a classic  with the same creative teams and stars working together in film after film (think Hitchcock and Grant, Capra and Stewart, Ford and Wayne) was the best era. Or whether you think that people are just too nostlagic and that films being made today by filmmakers like David Fincher, The Coen Brothers, Danny Boyle, Spielberg etc. are just as good let me know.

Vodcast: Favourite Films

I asked people what there favourite films were, and what was the last film they saw and liked (not everyone had one admittedly) here is the result (apologies for the shaky camerawork):

Podcast: Interview with Screenwriter Gabriella Apicella, Part Two

Click here for the second part of interview I did with screenwriter Gabriella Apicella where we talk about what makes a successful screenplay, the inspiration for The Girlfriend Killers and why she thinks it will be as successful a British film as Trainspotting, her tips for screenwriting and more.