Author: Natalie Stendall

The Decent One

Overview: Archive footage accompanies the correspondence and memoirs of Heinrich Himmler, chief architect of the Holocaust. Kino Lorber; 2014 (Germany); unrated; 94 minutes. Inside the Mind of a Serial Killer: Cinema accepts that the psychology of killing is fascinating subject matter. Countless documentary filmmakers (most recently Joshua Oppenheimer in The Act Of Killing and The Look Of Silence) have attempted to get inside the minds of genocide perpetrators. Others, such as Claude Lanzmann (Shoah, The Last Of The Unjust) strive for straight, first-person testimonies. Vanessa Lapa’s The Decent One finds itself somewhere between the two. The extracts from Himmler’s...

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Our Favourite Performances From Irish Actors

On March 17th it’s St Patrick’s Day, a celebration of the patron saint of Ireland. With the huge contribution Ireland is making to the silver screen, here at Audiences Everywhere we’ve decided to honour the day by sharing some of our favourite movie performances from Irish actors and actresses. Ryan MacLean’s choices Michael Fassbender in Shame (2011) Michael Fassbender’s work in 2011’s Shame as a man suffering from an uncontrollable sex addiction is one of the most sympathetic and bold performances that any actor has delivered in years. Fassbender plays the role of Brandon with a frightening intensity and temperament,...

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What Richard Did

Overview: During his summer between college and university, middle class teenager, Richard, makes a mistake that threatens to destroy his life. 2012; New Video Group; Unrated; 88 minutes. What Richard does: This perturbing moral drama from the acclaimed Irish director of Frank, Adam And Paul and Garage, is loosely based on Kevin Power’s 2008 novel, Bad Day In Blackrock. Not to be confused with the 1955 Spencer Tracy film Bad Day At Blackrock, Power’s novel shares similarities with a real life event involving Irish teenager Brian Murphy. Although not a fictionalised account, viewers not already familiar with this news story are advised to look it up only after seeing the film. As the cryptic title suggests, What Richard Did is enhanced by the mystery of what Richard (Jack Reynor) will eventually do. Director Lenny Abrahamson’s unveiling of these events is remarkably understated and they appear entirely plausible. As a result his drama challenges expectations and remains deeply troubling. That the consequences of Richard’s actions are only fully comprehended the morning after, magnifies the gap between ‘then’ and ‘now’; the clock cannot be turned back and Richard must face up to the reality of his much altered future. The cost of one simple mistake seems insurmountable and, in the wake of this panic, Abrahamson’s slow and deliberate style momentarily gives way to bursts of action before settling into a steady...

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Amour Fou

Overview: Poet Heinrich von Kleist tries to convince a married woman to make a suicide pact with him in nineteenth century Prussia. Arrow Films; 2014; 96 Minutes. Double suicide pact: Amour Fou (“Wild Love”) began life as a script about a love induced suicide. Locked in a draw for five years because it ‘was in some way not close enough to life and was too constructed’, it resurfaced when Austrian writer-director Jessica Hausner (Lourdes) stumbled on the real life story of poet Heinrich von Kleist and Henriette Vogel. The film’s fictional roots are not disguised and those expecting a...

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Ida

Overview: A novice nun, Ida, discovers her Jewish ancestry in 1960s Poland and sets out with Wanda, her only surviving relative, to find and bury her parents. Music Box Films; 2013; Rated PG-13; 82 Minutes. Nested complexity: Watching the opening frames of Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida, you’d be forgiven for thinking its restrained visual and aural style (its stark monochrome, single shots and minimal dialogue) were indicative of a bleak but ultimately simple film. Instead, the director of My Summer Of Love and The Woman In The Fifth loads every scene with historical context and intricate ideas about spirituality, faith,...

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Deciphering Alejandro González Iñárittu’s Amores Perros: Three Recurring Images & What They Mean

The following article originally appeared at WriterLovesFilm, a film site run by author Natalie Stendall, one of our favorite contributors at Audiences Everywhere.  With her permission, we are re-posting the beautiful piece in celebration of Alejandro González Iñárittu and his newest film Birdman, which opened this week in American theaters.  Recently, Natalie also inducted Iñárittu’s 21 Grams into our Greats section.  — In 2000, director Alejandro González Iñárittu released his first feature-length film, Amores Perros. It was the first film in a trilogy exploring the theme of death. In Amores Perros there are few human deaths but ideals, hopes,...

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21 Grams

Overview: In Alejandro González Iñárritu’s second feature, three lives intertwine following a tragic car accident. Focus Features; 2003; Rated R; 124 Minutes. How much does life weigh? In his debut feature, Amores Perros (2000), Iñárritu explored the cruelty of love, the obliteration of hopes, dreams and ambitions. 21 Grams forms the second part of his ‘death trilogy’ and focuses on the corporeal separation and finality of physical death. Iñárritu gives us a dying heart patient, a grieving wife and a tormented lawbreaker, intertwining their lives so tightly they can hardly breathe. “They say we all lose 21 grams at the...

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Withnail And I

Overview: It’s 1969 and two, rarely sober, out of work actors take a holiday from their squalid Camden Town flat to a no less dilapidated cottage in Penrith, courtesy of eccentric Uncle Monty. 1987; Handmade Films; Rated 15; 107 minutes. Joining the cult: A smoke infused living room, dingy wallpaper, a sink overflowing with ‘matter’ and eggs deep frying in an inch of fat. Marwood (Paul McGann), the ‘I’ of the film’s title, looks up from a salacious newspaper, his face pale and eyes red with devastation from the night before. With this disgusting mise-en-scene, there’s little wonder that...

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Toy Story

Overview: Cowboy doll Woody feels his status as favourite toy is threatened when his owner receives a high-tech Buzz Lightyear action figure. Pixar Animation Studios; 1995; Rating PG; 81 Minutes. There’s a First Time for Everything: Toy Story was the very first computer-generated feature film. Arriving in theatres just one year after Disney’s acclaimed 2D animation The Lion King, the technological advance was astounding. From Buzz Lightyear’s clear helmet – complete with its reflections and squashed flies – to rain drops streaking down windows, Toy Story’s technology enabled the creation of an animated world so detailed and lifelike it...

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