Films of the Week #47

young&beautiful_03

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:

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