Aliens and Butterflies

The Duke of Burgundy, It Follows, Ejecta

To mark the February release of Peter Strickland’s masterful, sensuous S&M lesbian relationship study The Duke of Burgundy, we explore the theme of butterflies in cinema over the next three months. These fluttering symbols of ephemeral beauty also make a brief appearance in a new DVD release, Michael Winner’s The Nightcomers, a startling prequel to The Innocents/The Turn of the Screw, starring Marlon Brando.

Also out at the cinema are two of the films that impressed us most at festivals last year: David Robert Mitchell’s creepy, intelligent chiller It Follows and James Ward’s convoluted SF tale Coherence.

In home entertainment releases, we review David Cronenberg’s early classic Rabid and Stanley Kubrick’s heist debut The Killing as well as Canadian SF horror tale Ejecta, scripted by Tony Burgess (Pontypool), for its North American release. We also take a look at Shin'ya Tsukamoto’s latest film Fires on the Plain and we have a comic strip review of pinky violence series Stray Cat Rock, starring Meiko Kaji.

After its recent screening at the 12th London Short Film Festival, erotic portmanteau Silver Shoes is also released on DVD, and its director, Jennifer Lyon Bell, tells us about feminist porn and the role clothes play in sexual identity. In Alter Ego, author Stevan Alcock is not Veronika Voss. Plus, we look forward to check new films by Guy Maddin and Peter Greenaway at this year's Berlinale.

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The End: An Electric Sheep Anthology

The End: An Electric Sheep Anthology (Strange Attractor Press) brings together Bill Morrison's chemical ghosts, 50s bad girls, apocalyptic evangelical cinema, Spanish zombies, Japanese nihilists and David Lynch's soundtracks of decay. 'Superb - a masterly accomplishment. Beautifully produced - and its content and vision could not be more accurate and timely.' - Peter Whitehead. Read the reviews.

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Sin and Punishment

Delve into the sphere of dark transgressions and darker castigations in our current theme, which includes reviews of Walerian Borowczyk’s lush historical drama The Story of Sin, Lars von Trier’s saga of lust and life, Nymphomaniac, and Tetsuya Nakashima’s Confessions, along with an interview with Roee Rosen on sado-masochism as political exorcism, and a feature on 'A Catholic Childhood of Unwatchable Terror'.

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The Polish New Wave?

Alex Fitch talks to Polish master Andrzej Żuławski about the struggle in getting his esoteric SF epic On the Silver Globe released and making his horror films The Third Part of the Night (1971) and Possession (1981) under a communist regime.


Defiance and Compassion: The Films of Věra Chytilová

From 1 - 17 March 2015, the late great avant-garde Czech film director Věra Chytilová will be celebrated with a season of films at BFI Southbank, marking a year since her death in March 2014. Aside from the wonderful Daisies (1966), the season includes her early cinéma-vérité-style films A Bagful of Fleas (1962) and Ceiling (1962) as well as her most experimental work The Fruit of Paradise (1969) and the feminist comedy Traps (1998). For full programme details and to book tickets, visit the BFI website.

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