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The Playlist

Karlovy Vary Review: Ben Wheatley's 'A Field In England'

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 4, 2013 3:46 PM
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  • 15 Comments
A Field In England
Imagine attempting a super-low-budget, rapidly shot mashup of the melancholic aesthetic of Ingmar Bergman, the comedic sensibility of Mel Brooks and the tonal uneasiness of Lars Von Trier -- you'd probably end up with a complete mess of a film. However, that's not the case for Ben Wheatley, whose willfully abstruse "A Field in England" more or less fits that bill (by way of Samuel Beckett, "The Wicker Man" and Sergio Leone, if you want to fine tune the comparison, but we could probably continue throwing names at it all day and finding most of them stick) and comes out as a totally unique, often brilliant, deliberate partial mess instead. Reteaming the director, who, off the back of his feature triptych of "Down Terrace," "Kill List" and "Sightseers" has become something of an indie phenomenon, with regular writer Amy Jump, the film is the most formally experimental, and probably the least approachable, of the director's titles to date. But it's further proof of Wheatley's singular sensibilities as a filmmaker: the film's dark comedy, occasional gory violence and constant profanity are immediately recognizable as hallmarks, even as the black and white cinematography (often very beautiful), period setting and parable-like feel sees him move into new, uncharted territory.

Karlovy Vary Review: ’The Stone Roses: Made Of Stone'

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 4, 2013 9:30 AM
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  • 2 Comments
“That’s going straight in the scrapbook” says director Shane Meadows early on in his music documentary “The Stone Roses: Made of Stone” which played at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival today, having already opened in early June in the U.K. and Ireland. He’s referring to a scribbled note left to him by one of the band members about something incidental, and his endearing awe at having this personalized piece of the One True Cross in his hands is indicative of his approach to the material overall -- sometimes for the charming better but occasionally for the enervating worse. Here Meadows is fan first and director second, and while the film will no doubt satisfy and engage even dormant Stone Roses fans, those coming to it expecting a little more of Meadows’ distinctive authorial imprint, or, really anything beyond a standard and rather conventional rise-and-fall-and-rise-again narrative may be disappointed.

6 Personal Highlights From The Film Festivals Of 2012

  • By The Playlist Staff
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  • December 28, 2012 12:12 PM
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  • 2 Comments
We're generally anti-navelgazing here at The Playlist, but being the end of the year, it can't really be avoided. As we continue to take a look back at the cinematic year of 2012, we're trying to shake things up and keep things fresh outside of the usual Best/Worst lists. This year saw The Playlist making a presence around the world at more than a handful of festivals. And while you've already read our reviews and news, we thought we'd give you a taste of the experience of attending these festivals. Even if you can't make Cannes or board a flight to Marrakech, we hope this helps in translating what it's like to run around a foreign country with nothing more than a laptop and a love of cinema. So, without further ado, here are six personal highlights from the various film festivals in 2012 we attended.

Karlovy Vary Film Fest Review Roundup: 'Boy Eating The Bird's Food,' 'Camion' & 'Your Beauty Is Worth Nothing'

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 16, 2012 9:38 AM
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  • 0 Comments
For the first few minutes of “Boy Eating the Bird’s Food” (“To agori troei to fagito tou pouliou”), the feature debut from Greek director Ektoras Lygizos that premiered In Competition at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, one could be forgiven for believing him to be heavily under the influence of his countryman Yorgos Lanthimos: the film starts with a slightly surreal sequence in which the central character, played by Yiannis Papadopoulos, goes to audition/interview for a peculiar job which requires him to sing in an oddly creepy falsetto. The bleached-out grade and handheld, close-up-heavy camera work add to the claustrophobic discomfort, but it soon becomes clear that this is not a Lanthimos-esque carefully constructed alternate universe.

Karlovy Vary Film Fest Review Roundup: 'Shameless,' 'Hay Road' & 'Nos Vemos Papa'

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 15, 2012 11:30 AM
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  • 0 Comments
"Shameless" This year at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, a mini-trend emerged in the form of incest movies, with films that dealt, overtly or tacitly, with the taboo liberally dotting the programme. “Shameless” (“Bez Wstydu”), the debut feature from young Polish filmmaker Filip Marczewski, is, as the title suggests, certainly on the overt end of the spectrum as regards to putting an intra-sibling affair front and center of the story. But while there is much to admire, especially for a novice filmmaker, here the film would have benefitted from spending less time on the splashy, logline-grabbing brother/sister romance, and a little more on the supporting cast and subplots that actually turn out to be a great deal more intriguing.

Mark Cousins On ‘What Is This Film Called Love,’ PJ Harvey, 'Prometheus' & “The Sadness Of Time Passing”

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 14, 2012 12:33 PM
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  • 1 Comment
Having seen and loved Mark Cousins’ almost unreviewably subjective “What Is This Film Called Love” on its international premiere at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival last week (read about that experience here), we got to sit down with Cousins in person pretty much immediately afterwards. And it felt rather like walking straight back into the film we had just left: ‘What Is This Film’ is so unapologetically personal that it’s difficult to escape the feeling that, like him or not, you kind of know Cousins by the end of it.

Karlovy Vary Film Fest Review: Leila Hatami Shines In Wry, Tragicomic 'The Last Step'

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 14, 2012 12:12 PM
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  • 3 Comments
If last year’s fantastic “A Separation” put Leila Hatami on everyone’s World Cinema Movie Star radar (you’ve got one of those, right?), then “The Last Step” ("Pele Akher"), which premiered at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival and is directed by her husband, Ali Mosaffa, may be the film that consolidates her position. But while it has already deservedly scooped her the Best Actress award in Karlovy Vary, we shouldn’t let her shimmering but grounded portrayal outshine the film itself. Also the recipient of the International Critics' Prize, the movie engrosses from beginning to end as an inventive, playful, semi-tragic drama of marriage, jealousy, love, death and filmmaking in modern-day Tehran.

Karlovy Vary Film Fest Review: Based On Real Events, 'Piazza Fontana: The Italian Conspiracy' Is A Stylish, Densely Plotted Treat

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 11, 2012 5:59 PM
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  • 0 Comments
A deserving winner of the Special Jury Prize at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, “Piazza Fontana: The Italian Conspiracy (Romanzo di una strage)” is a film so skilfully and stylishly put together, that so easily slots into the familiar "procedural" genre, that it almost left this festival attendee feeling guilty, on two counts. Firstly, in amongst the less accessible, though often equally worthy fare that made up a great deal of the programme, the film was remarkable for its commerciality. And by that we don’t mean to damn with faint praise, simply to state that it’s the kind of film that hardly seems to need festival exposure in order to find its audience.

Kenneth Lonergan On The Inspirations, Performances, Resonances & Structure Of 'Margaret'

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 11, 2012 11:56 AM
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  • 3 Comments
“There are some characters you think of and they’re really vivid to you and they’re easy to write and it doesn’t really matter who or what they are." replies Lonergan. "I don’t know why whatever this is fed itself into the life of a teenage girl. But I had been very interested in teenagers and that combination of sensitivity and dramatisation that they have. And very, very strong reactions to things that adults are more accustomed to, and not necessarily in a good way. They somewhat enjoy the drama which adults also don’t do because we understand it’s all very serious and nothing to enjoy.

Kenneth Lonergan Discusses The Changes In The New Cut Of 'Margaret,' Digital Vs. Film, 3D & More

  • By Jessica Kiang
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  • July 10, 2012 11:04 AM
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  • 5 Comments
Of the many interpretations of the story of its tortuous, years-long journey to the screen, for a time the favored narrative for "Margaret" ran something like this: overambitious director of indie-darling first feature, dashes sprawling, pretentious sophomore effort on rocks of own hubris -- chaos, bitterness, lawsuits ensue. It’s the kind of Hollywood story that writes itself, based around some putative generalised notion of The Director as a towering Wellesian figure of limitless ego and myopia-verging-on-madness where his creations are concerned.

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