Quentin Tarantino has news to share on his new film – It’s going to be another Western!

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One of the most enduring topics around cinema is: what will be the next Tarantino picture?

Tarantino had previously hinted that Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained would be part of a ‘rewritten’ history trilogy. A third Kill Bill film and a Reservoir Dogs prequel were also in the mix. To be honest, when it comes to Tarantino, I think everything is in the mix!

However, Tarantino has announced that another Western is in the firing line, it will be very interesting to see how he ‘re-writes history’ for a second time with this genre. It will no doubt be another controversial affair – a civil war or political uprise perhaps? Though, that’s why I love the director so much, he makes his ‘kinda’ cinema, be it violent, irreverent and controversial.

“I can’t talk that much about it, but I will say one thing. I haven’t told anyone about this publicly, but I will say the genre. It’s a western,” Tarantino told Jay Leno on Tonight Show. “It’s not a Django sequel, but it’s another Western. I had so much fun doing Django and I love westerns so much, that after I taught myself how to make one, it’s like ‘OK, now let me make another one now that I know what I’m doing.'” (Guardian) This all makes sense, but Tarantino is great at trying new stuff – from gangster films, B-movies, martial arts flicks, revenge epics, war films, grind-house cinema and, of course, westerns. I’d love to see him do a psychological horror film or something, but I guess Tarantino dips in and out of most genres when making his films. So, whatever movie he is going to make, regardless of genre, we can expect a bit of the above (revenge, violence etc).

“When I make a film I am hoping to reinvent the genre a little bit. I just do it my way. I make my own little Quentin versions of them… I consider myself a student of cinema,” Tarantino explained at a South Korean film festival last month. “It’s almost like I am going for my professorship in cinema and the day I die is the day I graduate. It is a lifelong study.” He added that he couldn’t make a serial killer movie because it would “reveal my sickness far too much.”

How I would love to see that serial killer movie!

The above quote may all sound a bit depressing, but it is incredibly wise and relative to the field, filmmaking is indeed “a lifelong study” and nobody’s quite seen as many films as Tarantino – if he still has room for study, then we all certainly do!

Django Unchained was great, so, of course, I’m incredibly excited to hear more about Tarantino’s plans for his new Western. And, while we’re on the subject, what’s your favourite Tarantino movie, if you can bare narrowing it down? I confess my undying sweet spot for Pulp Fiction – unfortunately, I don’t think the man will ever herald that two and a half hours of pure awesomeness.

Watch Tarantino reveal the news about his new film with Jay Leno below:

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Jeune & Jolie – Francois Ozon is staking out impressive territory in the cinema

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MOVIE REVIEW

Jeune & Jolie (Young & Beautiful)
Mandarin Films, France
94 Min
1.85:1
UK Release: 29th November 2013

DIR François Ozon
PROD Eric Altmayer, Nicolas Altmayer
SCR François Ozon
DP Pascal Marti
CAST Marine Vacth, Géraldine Pailhas, Frédéric Pierrot, Charlotte Rampling

Just when you thought there’d been enough fascination with teenage girls’ coming of age in the cinema, François Ozon’s Young & Beautiful (Jeune & Jolie) comes along. Ozon’s provocative and vibrant tendencies are far from asleep in this wonderful and intriguing exploration of a 17-year-old girl’s malicious entry into the world of prostitution. The film instantly reminded me of Luis Bunuel’s Belle de Jour where Catherine Deneuvre, playing a frigid housewife, also steps willfully into the enraptured trade. However, of course, Ozon is far less ambiguous and detached as Bunuel, taking the situation into far more emotionally challenging places, heralded by the stunning performance from the young and beautiful Marin Vacth.

The film begins with a provocative shot of Isabelle (Vacth), our heroine, on the beach in her bikini, seen through the lens of peering binoculars. It then becomes clear that Isabelle is on a seaside vacation with her family and desperate to lose her virginity with the mentality of getting it done and out the way. She’s even happy to tell her younger brother “it’s done” when she gets in. Ozon then cuts to the fall and we are greeted by a vamped out Isabelle, one laced with a silk blouse, heels and vivid rouge lipstick. She will sleep with any man for $300 and appears to favour the elder. This plot may seem gimmicky, but there are many more twists to come and Ozon crafts a film that is far more complex than at first may appear; it certainly isn’t an impermeable and literal diary of a teenage prostitute.

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Despite the film being a voyeuristic approach to a young and beautiful girl having sex, there isn’t much erotica, and the attitudes and positions of Ozon’s characters, alongside the framing and cinematography, are surprisingly uniform. This isn’t to say there’s no nudity or startling imagery, for starters, we’re talking about a French film here! Though, the shots are well lit and nicely complement the dramatic approach of the film. I’m not saying that Ozon particularly needs to push the boat out with his style; the mood suitably meets the confinements of our lead girl Isabelle. Her wicked compulsion is self-contained and her emotions rarely float above the surface, but when they do, it is a combination of self-destruction, redemption and arguably bad parenting – just some of the themes entwined into this uncanny picture.

The biggest area, no doubt, to critique is “why”? Isabelle comes from a rich family, so money is out the question. The family appears stable, thus ruling out childhood trauma or repression – her Mother actually encourages her to grow up by leaving out condoms on the side! Perhaps Isabelle wants her own sense of control, a chance to breakout, and her families bourgeois inclinations may have driven her towards this. However, it ultimately boils down to the fact that sometimes we don’t exactly understand our actions and this is positively implicit of a 17 year old. The story might not have been pulled off if it wasn’t for Vacth being such a strong and intriguing lead as Isabelle. Not for one minute does the film feel dull; Isabelle’s next step is constantly ambiguous. Ozon crafts his films in such a lifelike, yet peculiar fashion that one could watch on with intent for hours before dawning back to reality.

4/5 stars

Watch the trailer below:

Films of the Week #47

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I’m sad to say that Leeds Film Festival finished last week, however my last screening was fortunate enough to be the fantastic British short films programme. There were some excellent shorts screened alongside some mediocre affairs, but overall the talent was very promising. I’ve recently been in touch with a few of the directors behind these shorts, so keep a look out on this page and visit this link for more info. on the programme.

Shorts – Pussy Cat – Simon Wharf (Other recommendations: Getting on by Ewan Stewart and The Phone Call by Mat Kirkby)

Feature – Once Upon a Time in the West – Sergio Leone

In Theatres – Jeune & Jolie (Young & Beautiful) – Francois Ozon

Pussy Cat

Pussy Cat is a delightful, satirical and bizarre short film. The plot centres around a great, big, cuddly cat who is the centre of attention within the household of a married couple. However, this proves greatly frustrating for the man when his wife is adamant to showing bounds of affection towards the cat, and the cat only. What follows, is an act that backfires on the husband and causes laughs all round for the audience.

It is a fantastic, fresh and humorous short film that had me grinning throughout. Try and get out there to see it – I know it is playing at Bath Film Festival next week.

Watch the trailer below:


Once Upon a Time in the West

Sergio Leone compiles everything he knows about the Western, and everything he’s done before, into one epic of sweaty faces, shoot-outs, double-crosses and love triangles. The film is brilliant, it boasts Leone’s playful use of rhythm and pacing, his attention to the fine details of Western life and his intuitive flair towards outbursts of violence.

I was lucky enough to see the film up on the big screen at Leeds Town Hall, it really was a treat. Sir Christopher Frayling also gave an hour long introduction to the film (as part of Leeds Film Festival), which was an incredibly detailed and insightful account of the Spaghetti Western.

I don’t consider this film to be the best Western by any means, it draws from classics like High Noon, Shane and The Wild Bunch, of which hold a higher status for me. However, it may well be the last great Western ever made. It was, nevertheless, a screening to remember and I’ll definitely be revisiting Leone’s Dollars Trilogy.

Watch the trailer below:


Young & Beautiful

Just when you thought there’d been enough fascination with teenage girls coming of age in the cinema, François Ozon’s Young & Beautiful (Jeune & Jolie) comes along. Ozon’s provocative and vibrant tendencies are far from asleep in this wonderful and intriguing exploration of a 17-year-old girls malicious entry into the world of prostitution.

Not for one minute does the film feel dull. Isabelle, our lead heroine played by Marin Vacth, is consistently ambiguous as the young lady who is drawn to prostitution for no particular reason. She truly gives a stunning performance and take us to unexpected emotionally and challenging places.

Ozon crafts his films in such a lifelike, yet peculiar fashion that one could watch on with intent for hours, before dawning back to reality.

Watch the trailer below: