Sunday, 31 August 2008


The gallic equivalent of Abel Ferrara's DANGEROUS GAME? Not exactly, but SEX IS COMEDY does echo the former's central theme, offering a voyeuristic account of the pressures of filmmaking.Jeanne (Anne Parillaud) finds writers block and a pair of warring actors (Gregoire Colin and Roxane Mesquida) are just two of the problems to be negotiated on the set of her latest film. A sex scene between two lead actors who cannot stand the sight of each other presents a challenge for any director, and Jeanne elects to play angel and devil in order to create the painfully intimate moments her script intended.For Catherine Breillat, SEX IS COMEDY partly serves as an autobiographical account of her own experiences: rewind back to A MA SOEUR!, and then observe Parillaud playing Breillat while Roxane Mesquida recalls her own role in the aforementioned film.Given the potentially erotic subject matter, it's somewhat surprising to discover this is probably Breillat's least sexually explicit film. Here, this controversial director focuses on mood, motivation and differing career perspectives on both sides of the camera.Colin and Mesquida are especially fine as the bickering leads, while Ashley Wanninger plays an impressive second fiddle to Parillaud who is on the absolute top of her game here. Withering criticism, warm words of praise and deft maneouvres to play one against the other are all part of Jeanne's bag of tricks, and Parillaud draws on her experience and observations to impart tension and humour on her director's behalf. Yes, there are some nice comedic touches – Colin looking ridiculous with a false cock extension poking out of his dressing gown is one such moment – but this is mostly a through the glass darkly look at why these people do what they do.When the sex scene arrives, Breillat initially errs on the side of decency, placing Colin and his reluctant 'partner' under the bedclothes. It's a little different to Breillat's usual set-ups but the presentation - brillantly propelled by Mesquida's visual expressions – makes it supremely difficult to watch in much the same way as Madonna's encounter with James Russo in DANGEROUS GAME.For sure, there is a dark side to this film, and many would say the same with regard to Breillat's attitude towards the male gender though her stance in this film, at least, appears to be based on her view of men as actors rather than any shortcomings away from the set. Not, then, a classic – it's a little too uneven to fully engage the senses – but you should find this to be a worthwhile look at how and why the power shifts when cameras are whirring.

Next up, I'll be taking a look at the new Joy Division documentary which has just been released on DVD.

Saturday, 30 August 2008


Derby's Metro cinema opened its doors in January 1981, and quickly established itself as a haven for those who craved the very best in world cinema. Lynch, Cronenberg, Argento, Kieslowski, Terence Davies, Woody Allen, Pedro Almodovar, Tarkovsky, Fellini, Neil Jordan, Donald Cammell.... great names who all featured on the big screen here in a stunning mix of new and retrospective screenings which took in films from over 20 different countries each year. On Thursday 14th December 2006, Metro closed its doors for the final time in its Green Lane location in Derby city centre. I'd spent so many evenings there, enjoying a wide range of cinema that the multi's couldn't and wouldn't offer, and made many friends amongst the staff and fellow patrons. Ths small, intimate venue with its cramped seats was like a second home to me and when it closed, it was like saying goodbye to an old friend who you knew would never return; at least, not in the way you remembered them.

The cinema did re-open at a different location in January 2007, but proved geographically prohibitive if, like myself, you lived 15 miles away and had to rely on a public transport system which seemed to have been tailor-made to discourage any attempt to simply go to the movies. Now, Metro is set to rise from the ashes and become part of the brand new Quad centre in the centre of Derby which opens 26th September. This £11 million media centre will provide 2 screens, along with a multimedia centre and a bar cafe. With 3 multi screen cinemas in Derby, fans of international cinema currently find themselves bereft of a place that will screen the latest Almodovar, but all that will change again in just under one month from now. Screen 1 will see films open day and date with nationwide releases and movies will have two- week runs. Screen 2 is likely to host three-day runs of smaller films.Opening films for the month of September will include: ASHES OF TIME REDUX, the Icelandic film JAR CITY, the Brazilian crime drama ELITE SQUAD, DUCHESS (which was filmed at Kedlaston Hall, just a few miles from where I live) and local hero Shane Meadow's latest, SOMERS TOWN.

Customers are promised luxurious seating, grade-A equipment and a diverse selection of the type of fare that became synonymous with the old Metro. There will also be Q&A sessions with filmmakers, and live hookups with events from the London Film Festival. Together with Cinema De Lux, Quad will offer a complete cinema experience for the city and surrounding area. It's not yet clear whether there will be afternoon screenings, so we may yet again be faced with transport difficulties, but I'm sure we'll be able to take in a screening in the not-too distant future. Thanks to the old Metro for helping me immerse myself in the very best of world cinema. Tonight, I'll raise a glass to this exciting new venture. I wish them well.

Monday, 25 August 2008


Fans of the great Jean Rollin will be delighted to read that Jeremy Richey's new blog is now underway. I'm sure you'll all join me in heading over there to savour every post.
Jeremy intends to approach this project in a film-by-film chronological order, and will include his own reviews and articles, together with stills, cover art and wallpaper. The blog is titled Fascination:The Jean Rollin Project. Good to see someone give quality time to this director.


'So you had better do as you are told. You better listen to the radio'

Elvis Costello

Radio has long played an important part in my life. I suppose my obsession began towards the mid 70s, listening to pirate station Radio Caroline where the likes of Stuart Henry introduced me to a wealth of wonderful music. In those days, I was guilty of listening way past what should have been my bedtime, curled up sideways underneath the covers, with my radio on as high a volume as I could get away with . Occasionally, one of my parents would hear the strains of Bowie, Alice Cooper or some other artist and demand I "turn the damn thing off and go to sleep", but mostly I achieved uninterrupted listening. There were several DJ's who I number amongst my favourite broadcasters, and one in particular who really was cream of the crop.

John Ravenscroft was born 30th August, 1939. He was the son of a cotton merchant and underwent national service in The Royal Artillery, before becoming a mill operator. In 1960, he moved out to America where he worked for a cotton producer who was friendly with John's father. After a number of subsequent occupations, John started work for WRR Radio in Dallas, and went on to become Beatles correspondent for Radio KLIF, also in Dallas. In 1967, John returned to England, getting a job at Radio London where he presented the midnight-2.00am shift, which became known as 'The Perfumed Garden'. Here, John gave airtime to Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd, The Doors and Elmore James amongst others, but his tenure was short-lived. When Radio London closed, an opportunity arose at BBC Radio One, where he bean hosting a show called 'Top Gear'; a slot which ran until 1975. This show introduced John to producer John Walters, who would become a lifelong friend, and supporter of John's electic broadcasts.

My first encounter with John's 10.00pm-midnight slot came in 1976. I'd just switched on the radio, indulged in a spot of station-hopping, and happened to tune into John's show. His choice of record at that exact time was to shape my listening habits for many years: Anarchy In The UK by Sex Pistols. To say this song knocked me for six would be a massive understatement! It was time to wake up and take part in what turned out to be a vibrant, exciting movement. As the weeks went by, I discovered a whole host of new groups; many of whom participated in the famous John Peel Sessions. BBC rules dictated radio shows must air a significant amount of non-recorded music, so bands were invited to come to the studio and record a session which usually consisted of 3 or 4 tracks. The Slits, Siouxsie And The Banshees, The Ruts, The Fall and many others delivered some truly amazing music, which was added to by a never-ending stream of singles and LP's. Wire, Chelsea, X-Ray Spex, The Adverts, The Cortinas, Wayne County And The Electric Chairs..... you simply never knew how many bands would be added to your must see/must hear some more list by the end of the evening. John's enthusiasm for the music was truly infectious, and he didn't stop at punk either. Other forms of music were given consistent airtime, and reggae became a firm favourite of mine, thanks to John spinning a selection of choice cuts each week (which were not always appreciated by what should have been an open-minded audience).

John always had the utmost respect for his listeners, relishing the chance to turn us onto new bands and new sounds but he hated the thought of people tuning into every single minute of his 4 shows per week. I'll always remember him reading out a listener's letter, which declared the author never missed a show. John thanked him for his support, but implored him to give the show a miss whenever there was a good band playing live nearby. There was so much live music to be enjoyed, and John encouraged us all to check it out and tune into his show whenever we had a night off from gigs. That's exactly how I played it, and struck a nice balance between the JP show and concert halls and clubs all over England.

Apart from the session slots, probably the most eagerly awaited feature in his shows was the 'Festive 50', which was launched in 1976. Here, listeners were invited to select their all-time favourite top 3 tracks so John could compile a top 50. This format was altered in 1982 when a year-only chart was introduced; due, no doubt, to repeat selections of a number of tracks, such as Anarchy In The UK which invariably retained number one slot.

In 1984, John's show was reduced from 4 shows per week to 3, and his 2 hour slot eventually cut to just 1 hour; a decision which infuriated him and royally pissed off his avid listeners.

John Peel was awarded the OBE in 1968, and passed away on 25th October 2004, suffering a heart attack while on a working holiday in Peru. In addition to radio, John also made appearances on TV, occasionally hosting Top Of The Pops. While he was always professional, he did look ill at ease and the truth is that John - unlike some of his colleagues - didn't much care for this medium until he presented a few more 'serious' programmes in later life. I was fortunate enough to be present at one of his radio shows at Derby University in the late 70s where he hosted a wonderfully varied selection of classic tunes. While I've occasionally regretted not seeking him out for a quick word, I've never really wanted to meet my heroes. I was just glad when the next film/album came out and left it at that.

Sunday, 24 August 2008


The latest issue of Sight & Sound magazine was waiting for me when I got in from work on Saturday evening. This September issue lives up to its usual high standards and, for me, maybe exceeds them with several excellent articles.

Inside, you'll find features on Terence Malick's classic feature debut BADLANDS; interviews with Christopher Nolan and Clint Eastwood; a feature on Carl Dreyer and a highly informative piece on the discovery of a print of Fritz Lang's METROPOLIS in Argentina. Tim Lucas has written a terrific piece on Kawamoto Kihachiro, while Brad Stevens follows suit by doing the honours on vols 1 & 2 of THE SATYAJIT RAY COLLECTION. Well worth checking out if you see a copy in your local newsagents.

Earlier today, we watched the closing ceremony from the Beijing Olympics and enjoyed a spectacular finale to a successful 17 days of competition. Congratulations to China for their 1st place in the medals table, and to the USA team for finishing in second place. We were delighted with the efforts of Team GB who finished a more than respectable 4th, and look forward to the games being staged in London 2012. True, the official handing over came as we look to be entering what may well be a long period of economic recession, but we've emerged from far tighter corners so let's tip our hats to Beijing and hope that London will prove every bit as enthralling.

Friday, 22 August 2008


As I'm a keen admirer of the work of Catherine Breillat, I though it way past time I covered one of her films here. The following is a review I wrote several years back.

Like Catherine Breillat's previous films, A MA SOEUR (For My Sister) carries more than its share of baggage. In 2001, the BBFC granted an uncut 18 certificate for cinema, following advice from a leading QC who stated this film could not be deemed obscene, and did not controvene the 1977 Protection Of Children act. A few months later, A MA SOEUR fared less well when it was submitted to the board for home video classification. After close examination by clinical psychologists, the BBFC decided to remove one scene in its entirety, which depicted the rape of an underage girl. A statement from the board explained video/DVD technology could be used by paedophiles as a tool for grooming potential victims after (re)viewing scenes of this nature.

Catherine Breillat's film is an emotive study of the relationship between two sisters - 15 year-old Elena (Roxane Mesquida) and 12 year-old Anais (Anais Reboux); the former initially coming over as a selfish, sneering bitch who uses and abuses her overweight sibling. Elena wastes no time in playing fast-and loose with slightly older suitors, and has her first taste of sex with an Italian student while on holiday ("Girls take it from behind. That way, it doesn't count".); her sister feigning sleep while watching every move from her nearby bed.On the surface, this may sound like a depressingly familiar tale of sibling rivalry but look closer and you'll discover an articulate film that's head and shoulders above the usual teenage angst fare. There's also a wide range of emotions on display than is usually the case for this controversial director, who tends to add a lot more ice to her celluloid cocktails. As the film progresses, Anais ("I'm sick of being your ball and chain") and Elena show their relationship is built on acceptance, truth and love, with jealousy taking a back seat when they need to be there for each other.

Given its short 82 minute running time, A MA SOEUR is remarkable in terms of characterisation, offering more light and shade than many other films running at twice the length. While Romain Goupil (the girls' father), Libero De Rienzo (Fernando, Elena's boyfriend) and Laura Betti (Fernando's mother) all make contributions of varying significance, this is essentially a three-hander: the excellent Arsinee Khanjian struggling to keep a grip on her wayward daughters; Roxane Mesquida flitting from black to white and doing it beautifully, and Anais Reboux whose performance is one of maturity and extreme courage. Anais' character turns self-perceived negatives into tools of self-help, and benefits the most from Breillat's haunting imagery; one scene at the beach is straight out of Von Trier's BREAKING THE WAVES, showing Anais at her most vulnerable. In comparison to Breillat's previous films, A MA SOEUR is yet another censors nightmare though one feels bound to question the decision to cut an entire scene. From one viewpoint, it makes for an ambiguous ending, though the final line of dialogue ("Don't believe me if you don't want to") could well have been written in anticipation of censorship problems.A long car journey from their holiday location, fraught with menace from motorway juggernauts, suggests that outside forces will soon break up this family and a particularly savage scene confirms our worst fears. This would be enough for most directors, but Breillat shot the notorious rape scene almost as an afterthought, attracting much criticism from those who felt she'd gone too far. While I feel the film does work without this controversial footage (which lasts for 78 seconds), it seems wrong to censor the directors choices. Yes, the scene is most unpleasant to view but so is SALO, which will forever be the albatross round the collective necks of the BBFC.

While A MA SOEUR will almost certainly be bettered by this talented, uncompromising director, it is a powerful film, possessing a good deal more emotion and warmth than most critics will admit. Those wishing to view the uncut version are directed to various online retailers who will supply an excellent quality disc on either Region 2 or Region 4; a state of affairs that makes one wonder just how long the BBFC can continue.


"There will be a special place in hell for Marla's parents. I guess it's OK for some of the scammed money to go into the kid's college fund, but put some aside for therapy when she gets old enough to see what they've done with her"

Just one of many personal attacks directed at Mark and Laura Olmstead; proud parents of Marla who became known as the 'Pint-sized Pollack'. When local artist Anthony Brunelli came across an abstract painting in Binghampton NY, 4 year old Marla Olmstead took her first steps toward stardom. Soon, art collectors and general public alike were flocking to exhibitions where Marla's layered paintings sold for thousands of dollars. As Brunelli had predicted, the news media soon moved in on this astounding story, enlisting art experts to provide informed comment and reaction. So far, so good, but the inevitable backlash was just around the corner.

When Ellen Winner - a child psychologist studying the arts and gifted children - appeared on 60 minutes, a comparison between Marla's early work and a more recent piece (the latter composed under the watchful eye of a hidden camera) prompted Winner to suggest that Marla's body of work may well have been the result of someone else's brush strokes. Amir Bar-Levi's absorbing documentary MY KID COULD PAINT THAT, follows events before, during and after Winner's comments, offering viewers the opportunity to decide for themselves whether or not Marla's father was more involved than he cared to admit. While Marla's stock was certainly affected by these allegations, the subsequent availability of a 5 hour DVD apparently showing her composing an entire painting did restore her credibility to a certain extent, but for many people, doubt still remains. If Marla's parents were responsible for some degree of deception, their lifestyle didn't appear to drastically alter, and it's true to say that her introduction to the art world was not the result of pushy parents who besieged the great and the good with demands to view their offspring's work.

So, was Marla really the force behind these paintings, or did Mark Olmstead simply have an eye for the main chance and decide to pass off his own work as the talent and inspiration of a child genius? Sadly, certain aspects of this documentary suggest this could well have been the case. Whatever, it's a compelling study which also throws up several questions regarding the validity of so-called 'Modern Art'. Collectors pay many thousands for abstract work while many talented artists struggle after composing pieces which often take several months to complete. Splash some paint on a canvas and you too can earn a decent living? I guess the main question concerns the perceived quality of the work. If the Olmstead collection is so good, does it really matter if Marla or Mark is the artist? Why should collectors object as to whose hand was behind the artwork that adorns their living room wall? If the painting(s) communicate to them, surely it shouldn't make any difference, other than a reduction in bragging rights if it becomes crystal clear that a 4 year old didn't paint these works of art. I suppose that with some folks, the story behind the painting is almost as important.

For what it's worth, my own extremely limited vision suggests that some of the paintings do possess a fluidity, coupled with a maturity that involves a methodical talent at work. if Marla was responsible for the lions share of this work, it seems more than likely that she had some help along the way as many portions of the work were surely beyond someone of such tender years? I don't know. Watch the doc and form your own opinion. A fraud? Just like the paintings, it's in the eye of the beholder.

Abstract art? Bit like gazing into an open fire. You can see pretty much anything your imagination desires. Give me a nice sunset composition any day. 4 year olds could most definitely not paint that!
I first learned about this documentary on Ian Smith's excellent blog so check it out asap His latest post gives the lowdown on HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008


I'll be starting a new feature very soon, entitled Memento, which will turn the spotlight onto individual contributions to some classic movies. This may be in the form of an outstanding performance, magisterial photography, a great soundtrack or maybe some truly inspired set design. I'll also include accounts of some of the premiere theatrical screenings I've been privileged to attend, and sneak in some of the great gigs I've been to and some classic albums in my collection.

So, If you're into Cronenberg's CRASH, HEAVEN'S GATE, ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA, Dario Argento, The Clash, Pam Grier, Laura Dern, Irene Jacob, Roman Polanski, Gillian Anderson, The Exorcist, Daria Nicolodi, The Who, James Woods, David Bowie, Oasis and many more... well, stay tuned. I'll kick this one off just as soon as I emerge from a particularly fraught period at work.

Friday, 8 August 2008


Fans of Brian Eno and David Byrne will be eagerly awaiting the results of their new collaboration. In 1981, the pair delivered an album titled MY LIFE IN THE BUSH OF GHOSTS, which had a huge impact on popular music. Now, the duo have teamed up on a new project which moves from electronic folk gospel to indefinable areas of music. EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS WILL HAPPEN TODAY came into being as Eno and Byrne swapped music and ideas on the internet, with Byrne contributing lyrics and vocals as the music moved into abstract territory. Eno - who recently produced Coldplay's mighty VIVA lA VIDA album - is very excited by this project which will be released in digital form on 18th August at, with a CD version due in October. It should prove well worth checking out for followers of this innovative duo.

Moving onto a totally unrelated subject, we decided to forget about our missed chance to catch the new X-FILES movie and settle down to watch the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games from Beijing. At first, we didn't intend to view this lengthy broadcast in its entirety, but rather to stick around for the athletes parade as my wife wanted to see the American team and I wanted to see Team Great Britain. However, the ceremony was absolutely enthralling. A spectacle of colour, beauty and the most perfect choreography. So much so that we were hooked for the duration, right up to the amazing lighting of the Olympic flame. Due to the time difference, the events seem to take place during the early hours of the morning over here but I'm sure we'll be tuning in to the BBC for live coverage on several occasions. Of course, there are arguments against Beijing staging the games but after watching this wonderful opening ceremony and seeing the joy it brought to the citizens, it's that little bit harder to begrudge. Certainly, London 2012 will have one hell of a hard act to follow.

So, the next 17 days will provide thrills and triumph and heartache and we all wish the games to be a safe and exciting sporting event. The Olympics brings different races together, united, which is exactly how life should be. I think we should all remember that, long after the Olympic flame has been extinguished.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008


Although the new X-Files movie entered the UK box office charts at number 4, our local cinema has decided to pull the daytime screenings and re-schedule the film for mid to late evenings from Friday onwards. Owing to the fact that we don't own a car and our local bus 'service' provides a skeleton run at night, we're unable to see the film during its theatrical run as I had to work today.So, a BIG thank you to the firm I work for, with regard to changing my day off work for the umpteenth time and pissing me about yet again. I can fully understand why the cinema chose to do this, even though I'm mildly surprised it didn't last for more than a week of 'all day' screenings. Personally, I think a little more care could have been taken with regard to the release date. It's not exactly a quiet month at the cinemas as several movies are more than fulfilling prior expectations with high audience figures.
Ah well, we await the DVD!

Monday, 4 August 2008


Those of us who include Jean Rollin amongst our favourite directors will be excited by a new project devoted to the great man. Jeremy Richey (Moon In The Gutter blog) will soon be launching a new blog entitled FASCINATION: THE JEAN ROLLIN EXPERIENCE. Jeremy will be writing on all aspects of each one of Rollin's films including actors, soundtracks and promotional materials, in a similar vein to his excellent blog on Nastassja Kinski

I'll be sure to post here as soon as it's up and running, though I'm sure the vast majority of you check out his other blogs and will know as soon as I do. There will be blood, I do assure you.

Sunday, 3 August 2008


With Derby's Cinema De Lux positively buzzing with hordes of movie-goers, my wife and I entered the plush Director's Hall with great anticipation for the 11.00am screening of THE DARK KNIGHT. Almost 3 hours later, we emerged with the shared feeling that we had just witnessed a very special event in this years film calendar.

THE DARK KNIGHT introduces a fear-stricken Gotham City, where one massively unhinged individual seeks to deliver chaos to its citizens and, ultimately, "Kill the Batman". With its endlessly inventive script, THE DARK KNIGHT quickly establishes itself as the finest, most mature entry in this franchise, with twists and turns, white-knuckle set pieces and some fine performances making this the cream of the crop as far as super hero flicks are concerned. While Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman offer solid background support to our caped crusader, the beefy central characters continuously excel. Aaron Eckheart's Harvey Dent - the new Gotham DA - delivers a finely-tuned, often chilling, performance of light and darkness, while Gary Oldman's Lt James Gordon really hits the heights, earning himself true hero status in the eyes of citizens and audience. And what of the much-missed Heath Ledger? Visually, this insane criminal nods to THE CROW and CLOCKWORK ORANGE, and proceeds to tear up the screen with the same kind of machine gun etiquette swagger that possessed Pacino's Tony Montana. Ignore the BBFC 12A rating here (this perhaps should have been 15 rated) as Ledger reaches the epitome of cold evil, proudly boasting about his murderous escapades and recalling Brad Dourif's 'Gemini Killer' in the rather splendid EXORCIST III. Here is a man who absolutely relishes his work, and it's an icy cold pleasure to watch him perform.

On an entertainment level, this film delivers right down the line, with its 152 minute running time moving all too quickly. Of course, THE DARK KNIGHT is also tinged by a great sadness as it contains the final performance of Heath Ledger. I've long since given up on trying to work out why people are taken from us when their lives are still so full of promise. Ledger would undoubtedly have gone on to even greater things, and his passing at such an obscenely young age reminds us of the fragility of our own existence. He certainly gathered an impressive body of work during his short time amongst us, and his final role may well be awarded a posthumous Academy Award in 2009. Of course, there will be other worthy performances between now and then but, at the moment, he must be in with a shout.

I'm happy to report the Director's Hall auditorium lived up to the high standards of the film in question.Top-notch projection, and the latest surround sound equipment gave us a spectacular experience. Luxurious seating, a classy bar outside, waitress service offering food and drink (which we passed on) delivered to your seat. Just as important, the audience were a pleasure to be part of. No chit-chat, no mobile phones, just a group of people sitting in silence as they followed proceedings with their undivided attention. Going to the movies is an absolute joy in Derby, and this £30 million complex really has raised the bar in all areas.

For a beautifully written account of this film, please make sure you check out a blog by Ian Smith Ian has several blogs on the go, all of which are well worth your time, whether you are interested in movies or all things computer related. Some excellent pieces/reviews on HD-DVD and Blu-Ray too.

Our next outing to Cinema De Lux will be the new X-Files film, and this is an event I'm really looking forward to, despite all the negative reviews.

Friday, 1 August 2008


Jeremy from the excellent Moon In The Gutter blog has tagged me to take part in a 12 movie meme which originated at Lazy Eye Theatre, where you should draw up your own dream film festival at the New Beverley Cinema (link in my list of blogs on the right). The rules are:

1) Choose 12 films to be featured. They could be random selections or part of a greater theme. Whatever you want.

2) Explain why you chose the films.

3) Link back to Lazy Eye Theatre so I can have hundreds of links and I can take those links and spread them all out on the bed and then roll around in them.

4) The people selected then have to roll around and select 5 more people.

So, here's my lineup:

Monday: ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST and HEAVEN'S GATE. Gorgeous photography, soundtracks to die for and some great performances. The time will simply fly!

Tuesday: THE HOUSE OF MIRTH and THE AGE OF INNOCENCE. Career bests for Scorsese and Terence Davies? Certainly pretty damn close as Wharton's work is brought to the screen with powerful emotion. All you budding actors settle back and witness a real master class in acting from both movies.

Wednesday: MALPERTUIS and ELINE VERE. A formidable double bill from Harry Kumel. If you feel DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS is his masterpiece, then think again. The former is a wonderfully haunting tale with great performances from Susan Hampshire, while the latter could easily have doubled up with HOUSE OF MIRTH. Someone please release EV very soon!

Thursday: IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE and 2046. A truly great double header from Wong Kar-Wai. Hypnotic, utterly compelling and a pairing that echoes Edith Wharton's assertion that, "Next to death, life is the saddest thing there is".

Friday: PERFORMANCE and THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH. As Poly Styrene from X-Ray Spex once sang, 'Identity is a crisis can't you see?' Jagger and Bowie at play with the angels.

Saturday: KILL, BABY...KILL! and THE STONE TAPE. Could not get through this without including a bladdy Bava film, guvnor! Two superior spookers that really should be witnessed on the big screen. Now's your chance. Pleasant dreams!

Now, I'll tag