The Final Programme (UK, 1973)

I had been looking for this movie since the Liz Eggleston post about it many years ago, and now I finally found it. It was very worth it, and her post about it is entirely right.

I would describe The Final Programme as a more skiffy Dr Phibes by someone who listened to Oh! You Pretty Things too many times. I don’t think it’s a good movie in the regular sense – normal reviewers seem to find it both baffling and dull, which it is-, but I also think it’s a good movie.

I think the thing about this movie is that it is going to be very interesting and meaningful if you are very into glam rock as a broader cultural movement, and if you’re not it’s just going to be really, really weird.

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Slapstick Festival 2021: A Pair of Silk Stockings (USA, 1918)

One of the only great things about the pandemic is that I can now digitally go to all the film festivals I can normally never go to, including the Slapstick Festival in the UK. A very accessible festival with a bunch of modern and non-silent stuff as well.

This movie took me completely by surprise. I picked it out of the schedule because of Constance Talmadge but it’s a good movie overall.

It’s a fun bedroom farce- or as Wikipedia primly puts it, “marital comedy”- with a bonus little kinky or transgender edge to it, which I truly was not expecting even though I know early film is like that.

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Sie tötete in Ekstase (West Germany, Spain, 1971)

Jess Franco films usually gross me out a little too much to completely enjoy them, but they’re always aesthetically pleasing and sometimes have a few good points, so I check out any that seem interesting.

Sie tötete in Ekstase is about a scientist, Dr. Johnson (lol), who conducts experiments on foetuses. This lands him in hot water socially and politically, and when a bunch of other scientists denounce his experiments as blasphemy, his permission to experiment gets revoked and his lab gets trashed, he has a breakdown and kills himself. His wife (Miranda Soledad) goes on a killing spree to avenge him.

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Filibus The Mysterious Air Pirate (Italy, 1915)

I’d seen Filibus The Mysterious Air Pirate a number of times already, because it happens to be one of my favourite silent films, but this was special.

Firstly because it was the first time I’ve seen it with live music and on a big screen. Secondly, the screening I watched was of the new restoration of it, which will be released by Milestone later this year, so that seemed like a good reason to review it. This is why I used two pictures pilfered from the Wexner Center for the Arts, because they are from the restoration, and you will see how superior the image quality is.

Filibus The Mysterious Air Pirate is the sort of silent movie I wish would be used to introduce people to silent film instead of things from the misguided and arbitrary silent canon. It really challenges popular perceptions of early film and even of the Edwardian/WW1 period, because it has a really progressive and unusual story, it’s fast-paced and easy to follow, and it’s not too long.

Spoilers for a 104 year old movie! Also, read the awesome Silents, Please! review.

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Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga (India, 2019)

Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga is almost my ideal mainstream movie. Accessible, positive, and with enough of a progressive or critical slant that it isn’t asinine. It’s also a good movie, because it knows exactly what it wants to be and achieves it exactly.

This was not released in theatres where I live, which surprised me, because this seems like a prime region for progressive family movies, but all we get is awful Indian government approved patriotic nonsense. I guess the desi audience here is more conservative than I bargained for. But it is on Netflix, which is a miracle, because our Netflix never has anything.

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5 Weddings (India, 2018)

I’d been looking forward to this movie since the trailers came out ages ago. This was partly because it stars Rajkummar Rao and Bo Derek, a combination of actors straight out of my erotic fever dreams, and partly because the trailer made so little sense I didn’t understand the basic premise even after watching it several times.

So I went to see this on its first night, and because my local theatre also ended up being the only one in the country to show it, there we were at the NATIONAL PREMIERE of this thing.

What I was expecting was something pretty but superficial and badly made about a Westernised NRI learning to appreciate India and her roots through weddings.

What I got was basically the opposite, aside from it still being pretty badly made.

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