After The Night/Até ver a luz tells the tale of Sombra, an outcast living a nocturnal life in the Creole-speaking Cap Verdean community of Reboleira. His only friends and family are his brother, auntie, a small girl and his pet iguana, Dragon. Mixed up with a local gang and indebted to the boss, Sombra is forced to participate in an armed robbery, but when that goes awry, he flees, desperately trying to make it through the night alive.
What with Michael Keaton’s current resurgence, I thought I’d take the opportunity to look at his largely overlooked, directorial debut, The Merry Gentleman (Keaton, 2008).
My Stuff, the debut feature from Finnish director, Petri Luukkainen, is a quasi-documentary and we join Petri – director and subject – as he embarks upon his experiment to forgo his possessions for one year.
The Nightman of Nevermoor was directed by Devon’s own, Chris Thomas and it was made on a shoestring budget of just £3,000, which was raised via crowdsourcing. The 50-minute short is a staggering achievement for the production crew, showcasing their filmmaking talents, while also illustrating their ability to work to a limited budget and time schedule.
If you’ve haven’t read part one and two of my Top 10 Films of 2013 I’ll provide you with a brief recap…
#10 Keanu Reeves
#9 Side by Side (Kenneally, 2012)
#8 Doctor Who: Day of the Doctor (Hurran, 2013)
#7 You’re Next (Wingard, 2011)
#6 Frances Ha (Baumbach, 2012)
#5 The Great Beauty/La grande bellezza (Sorrentino, 2013)
#4 Spring Breakers (Korine, 2012)
Just as Matt Smith’s time as the eleventh Doctor has ended, so to must my countdown conclude – Geronimo!
2013 has been a fantastic year for cinema, with great films likes Gravity (Cuarón, 2013), 12 Years a Slave (McQueen, 2013), Upstream Colour (Carruth, 2013) and the Herzog produced documentary, The Act of Killing (Annonymous, Cynn & Oppenheimer, 2012) all debuting – whether on national release or at film festivals. However, none of the aforementioned made my cut, despite their obvious brilliance.
Right, let’s get started…
Frances Ha is the tale of Frances (Greta Gerwig), a 27 year old who has drifted through life and isn’t really sure who she is. However, she’s getting to a point in her life when things are beginning to change – not least her friendship with her flatmate, Sophy (Mickey Sumner). When Sophy decides to move in with another friend, it sets about a period of self-discovery and we’re fortunate enough to be along for the ride.
12 Years A Slave is Steve McQueen’s adaptation of Solomon Nothup’s gruelling memoir. Its story revolves around Solomon, played by the excellent British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor in a career highlight. A free man and an accomplished violinist living in New York, Solomon is tricked into to joining a travelling show and promptly sold into slavery.
All Cheerleaders Die is a ‘subversive’ horror film based upon a decade-old project between the film’s directors Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson. Its stars are relatively unknown with the exception of an un-credited and brief cameo from Michael Bowen – who was most recently seen terrorising Jesse Pinkman and Walter White as white supremacist Uncle Jack in Vince Gilligan’s, Breaking Bad.
Amat Escalante’s Heli won him the Best Director gong at this year’s Cannes. Heli depicts a working class family thrown into the Mexican drug world, a dangerous place of police corruption and violent criminals – notably, it features a very graphic torture sequence not for the faint-hearted.
Hide Your Smiling Faces marks the début of Daniel Patrick Carbone. It’s a bold take on childhood, growing-up, loss and a film that shies away from sentimentality; in short it’s no Stand By Me.
Locke stars Tom Hardy as Ivan Locke, a structural engineer on the eve of his biggest project to-date. During his career, Locke has built himself a highly respected reputation, but in one night, all of that is thrown away because of a one-night-stand, nine months earlier. Locke depicts Ivan’s journey from Wales to London as he races to support the mother of his unborn child, while jeopardising his marriage and career.
Judi Dench and Steve Coogan star in Stephen Frears newest film, Philomena. Dench plays the titular Philomena (or Phil to her friends), a woman who after 50 years decides to find her son, who she was forced to give up for adoption after conceiving the child outside of marriage. Along for the ride and to document her story is the reluctant former BBC broadcaster Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan).
This is one of the films of the year. It is an gloriously imaginative… Well I don’t know what it is. To call it a thrill-ride would be to overlook the masses of humanity the film carries in its core, and to call it a poignant drama would be to overlook the moments that left me breathless. Truth is, it is both of these things and quite a bit more.