🎬 #104 And The Oscar Goes To...
In light of the Oscar nominees being announced [I usually don’t like doing incident themed newsletters but why not this time] this week’s two films are from two of the nominees in the Best Director category. I’m very excited how this year turns out - some amazing films and filmmakers are in the running together and I feel like there’s everything to play for. Enjoy a look back on two great films from their filmography.
Happy choosing, happy viewing
FILM ONE: THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER
2017 Dir Yorgos Lanthimos
[2hrs 1 min]
On my birthday this year my sister asked what film do you want to watch? I made her sit through this one, because I wanted to rewatch it and she gave me free reign to watch anything. Now, to say it wasn’t her cup of tea was an understatement. But she happily watched it with me anyway.
This feels like a bridging film for Yorgos. Somewhere between the very theatrical Dogtooth and the slightly more naturalistic The Favourite. I love it. Not only does Barry do disarmingly sinister in a way few get close to, the extremely wide angle lenses tracking down hospital corridors and the distance with which we see the unfolding horrors grip me. The unadorned, straightforwardness with which he conducts and portrays the various moments of frank intimacy make me laugh every time. This is a horrifically, dark comedy for me. Farrell, Kidman, and as I mentioned, Keoghan, are all brilliant in the roles Yorgos has sewed them into. Stark, cool, funny, dark, violent - what more could you ask for - oh and Alicia Silverstone makes a brilliant appearance in a smaller role.
TL;DR Yorgos’ darkly hilarious thought experiment of a film has the spirit of Kubrick all over it - not to mention one of my favourite posters of the last 10 years.
*Available for a small rental fee on Amazon, Apple, Google and YouTube in the US and UK.
Fact: The heart surgery scene in the film is real and Colin Farrell was in attendance for research.
FILM TWO: MEMENTO
2000 Dir Christopher Nolan
[1hr 53 mins]
Nolan’s first feature film that wasn’t self-funded, that catapulted his career into another gear still remains one that stands out even in his amazing filmography. As Nolan himself said, after the film finished and the screen went dark after the premiere, there was a great silence and then the crowd burst into applause - he recalled ‘my life changed forever after that.’
Still today the film feels wholly original - taking the noir genre and rewiring it to bring a unique voice and eye into the canon of film itself. Seeing it now you can’t help but think that of course everyone thought it was brilliant upon first sight - but no distributer wanted to touch it. In fact, the production company itself ended up distributing it. It was only with the cheerleading of Steven Soderbergh - a champion of young filmmakers - that people started to sit up and take notice. Maybe there was something in this film they couldn’t quite get their head around. And of course Oscar nominations and a legion of fans followed.
TL;DR Nolan’s first ‘Hollywood’ film loses none of its originality in the intervening years - it still amazes me how clearly the story is told despite the complexities and intricacies.
*Available to buy on Amazon, Apple, Google and YouTube in the US and rent/stream on Netflix, Apple, Google and YouTube in the UK.
Fact: The film was shot in just 25 days, an amazing feat.
Thanks for reading Video Shop. If you enjoyed, please feel free to share with a friend. Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.