According to the winning recipe of low cost movie tales, mass conceptualised and produced in digital silos, which has dominated all facets of the industry in recent years, Happy As Lazzaro shouldn’t work. It doesn’t feature any heros or villains with super-powers, for that matter; it’s not an adaptation or spin-off of a popular comic book; it doesn’t feature any special effects or award-winning CGI-led construction of the supernatural. Yet, Alice Rohrwacher re-defines the rules of cinematic representation of fables with this unassuming, tender, deeply humanistic tale.

What can one say about Ridley Scott’s Alien that hasn’t been said since its eponymous release in 1979? It was a film ahead of its time then, with its design and use of technology, it’s embracing of genre and subsequent game-changing marketing campaign, sublime casting and almost certainly now, it’s longevity.

 

This was intriguing. Not least because of the revelatory fact of five hundred hours of shaky video footage purporting to have come from within the ranks of an Islamist terrorist cell. Or by a pitch that proscribes an insight into the people that will happily join up to fight jihad, knowing that there is a strong possibility of their own death, in fact, it is almost an inevitability. Even the somewhat copious amount of gunfire, explosions and corpses couldn't curtail my initial paradoxical fascination with the idea of this film.

 

This was a strange one - a slow burning, dark, beautifully surreal psychological horror story of guilt and a yearning for redemption. A specialist surgeon strangely drawn to the son of a former patient whom we discover has recently died after a failed operation, denies corporate responsibility, yet cannot escape from his own conscience, the knowledge that he was the cause of the patient’s death.

We open in a tense psychological standoff- a controlled, spatial moment, an emotional assessment of a young man with learning difficulties- a first indication of the deep inner turmoil that can affect one’s ability to cope in today’s harsh socio-economic society if delivered of the wrong hand.

“Look, a pillar of fire”, says the youthful Peter O’Toole in the title role, to which the reply comes, “No, Orense. It is dust”. Just one of many acutely observed exchanges in David Lean’s cinematic master work, Lawrence of Arabia, re-released in its restored 70mm print.

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