Every movie awards season, the barrage of industry trade ads trying to solicit votes – sometimes for baffling causes – is coded by three simple, seemingly nonchalant words:


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Curzon Film Magazine – Youth


Michael Caine excels in Paolo Sorrentino’s Youth.


A quick glimpse at the protagonist of Paolo Sorrentino’s latest film, Youth – an older gentleman with neatly slicked back hair, dapper tailoring and thick-rimmed glasses – and you’d be forgiven for assuming the Italian filmmaker’s habitual muse, the great Neapolitan actor Toni Servillo (star of four Sorrentino features, including The Consequences of Time (2004) and Oscar-winning The Great Beauty (2013)), is once again his leading man. Read more

Shadowboxing – The Making of Raging Bull

It’s the best boxing movie ever made. It’s possibly the best movie ever made. 25 years after creating a legend, Leigh Singer asks how a punch-drunk Martin Scorsese, backed by Robert De Niro, got off the canvas to deliver the knockout of Raging Bull.


Labor Day, September 1978: Martin Scorsese is too sick to work, let alone celebrate the public holiday. Hospitalised after blacking out, he’s bleeding, by several accounts, from every orifice. Internally, too. Officially, a dangerous cocktail of Read more

5 Visual Themes in Wings of Desire / BFI

Five visual themes in Wings of Desire – Wim Wenders’ immortal film about watching

It’s been voted the second best film of the 1980s, but what makes Wim Wenders’ fantasy about two angels observing life in Berlin still so resonant today? These five extracts give a clue to the film’s enduring richness.


Few modern films have made the transition to instant classic as quickly as Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire (1987). His tale of a guardian angel in a still-Wall-divided Berlin who falls in love with – and to earth for – a melancholy trapeze artist is a canny merging of cerebral formal experimentalism and unabashed popular romanticism that swept up highbrow critics and a larger mainstream audience than did typical ‘challenging’ foreign-language cinema of the day (leading US film magazine Premiere’s 1980s wrap-up poll voted it second only to Raging Bull as film of the decade). Still a quintessential ‘arthouse’ film, its bold use of style (black-and-white, existential voiceover, languorous pacing) – and content (overt symbolism and culture blending, from Rilke-inspired poetry to Nick Cave’s post-punk anthems) fostered an appreciation, even a devotion that endures to this day. Read more

Fast Track to Fandom – Wes Anderson / BFI

Why this might not seem so easy

“All of Wes Anderson’s films are comedies… and none are.” When the foremost chronicler and advocate of Wes Anderson’s cinema, US critic Matt Zoller Seitz, makes such a sweeping and seemingly paradoxical statement about his subject, the uninitiated Anderson viewer might be forgiven a certain hesitancy to get started. Read more

10 Great Films with Little or No Dialogue / BFI

Winner of the best film award at last year’s BFI London Film Festival, the unique and uncompromising The Tribe joins a small but special body of films that involve hardly any dialogue, relying on the purely visual nature of cinema.

Despite the enormity of synchronised dialogue’s impact on the film industry, starting in features with 1927’s The Jazz Singer, there’s a school of thought which claims that the ‘talkies’ somehow compromised cinema’s essence; that the rapid dominance of the spoken word detracted from film’s unique visual potential, dragging it back towards the theatre or even pictorial literature. No serious cineaste would argue against sound’s importance in motion pictures, but there’s also some truth in the purists’ notion: if a picture’s worth a thousand words, is a cinema over-reliant on dialogue somehow devalued? Read more

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