Issue 59: Fake Documentaries

Punishment Park

Theme: Fake Documentaries
Punishment Park
I’m Still Here
The Curse
Troll Hunter

Monte Hellman

Film Reviews
Margin Call
Cross of Love

DVD Review
Two-Lane Blacktop

Everybody Dies
George Hardy by Dan Sartain

Comic Strip Review
The Blair Witch Project

Reel Sounds
Alternative 3

Short Cuts
London Short Film Festival Preview

Alter Ego
Tom Benn

Film Jukebox
Barry Adamson

Cult Animation

Fake Documentaries: Political satire, media manipulation, horror trickery

We start off the year with the real truths behind fake documentaries to mark the Blu-ray release of Peter Watkins’s incendiary Punishment Park. We also have articles on the Joaquin Phoenix hoax I’m Still Here, Danish political satire AFR, the infamous BBC live ghost-hunting show simulation Ghostwatch, Kôji Shiraishi’s pseudo-documentary on supernatural phenomena The Curse, and a comic strip on The Blair Witch Project, plus Norwegian monster mockumentary Troll Hunter is out on DVD. Our Reel Sounds column is on Brian Eno’s soundtrack for SF hoax Alternative 3.

At the cinema, we review Jean Vigo’s poetic gem L’atalante, Steve McQueen’s much anticipated study of sex addiction Shame, Tatsumi, an animated film on the life and work of the eponymous manga artist, and financial thriller Margin Call.

In the DVDs we look at legendary road movie Two-Lane Blacktop and we have an interview with director Monte Hellman about his latest film, Road to Nowhere.

We also review Teuvo Tulio’s flamboyant melodrama Cross of Love, and we have a feature on films in which everybody dies and guitar-slinger Dan Sartain interviews George Hardy, star of Troll 2. In Short Cuts we preview the London Short Film Festival. Musician Barry Adamson of Magazine and the Bad Seeds fame picks his favourites in the Film Jukebox while writer Tom Benn is Blade Runner‘s Roy Batty in Alter Ego.

Cult Animation: Alex Fitch talks to a pair of directors of innovative short animated films: Oscar-winner (2011 co-director Short Animated Film) Shaun Tan about the adaptation of his acclaimed picture book The Lost Thing and web animator Jonti Picking about his cult animated series Weebl and Bob as well as his adverts for Cadbury’s Creme Eggs (is it that time of year already?) and Anchor Butter.

Issue 58: 2011 in Film

Take Shelter

2011 in Film: The year’s highlights and low points

We look back at our favourite cinema releases, DVDs/Blu-rays, festival films and filmic events as well as the great expectations that proved to be big disappointments. This month’s featured artist picks The Ides of March as his best film of 2011 in a Comic Strip Review and we have a Reel Sounds column on The Artist. We also have an interview with Takeshi Kitano, whose latest film, Outrage, features in our best festival films.

At the cinema in December you can see Jan &#352vankmajer’s psychoanalytical fantasy Surviving Life, Argentine poetic road movie Las Acacias, affecting docu-drama and festival hit Dreams of a Life while in the DVDs we have Pasolini’s take on classic Greek myth Medea. We review The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye, screened at Brighton’s Cine-City, and Pipilotti Rist’s Eyeball Massage exhibition, and we have features on suitably wintry director Larry Fessenden and innovative German trilogy Dreileben.

In Short Cuts we look at the London Korean Film Festival‘s offerings while our brand new Cine Lit column peruses books on Tarkovsky and exploitation cinema. In Alter Ego, the author of The Night before Christmas Scarlett Bailey dreams of being Scarlett O’Hara while all-female contemporary choir Gaggle pick their favourite films in the Jukebox. And we report back on Zipangu, Toronto (take 2) and the 8th China Independent Film Festival.

From Pulp to Cleaning Up: Low-Budget Filmmaking: Alex Fitch talks to director Tom Guerrier about his short film Cleaning Up, featuring Doctor Who stars Mark Gatiss and Louise Jameson as a hitman and his landlady; and to Adam Hamdy, co-director, and actors Jay Sutherland, Gavin Molloy, Simon Burbage and Lee Ravitz, about Pulp, a caper movie set in the small press comic community. Both films are starting to tour festivals (Cleaning Up will be screening next on 10 January 2012 at the London Short Film Festival) and Alex talks to their creators about the making of each project and their ambitions to get the films to larger audiences.

Issue 57: Shôhei Imamura

A Man Vanishes

Shôhei Imamura: The cultural anthropologist

In November, we focus on Japanese master Shôhei Imamura, with reviews of A Man Vanishes, The Ballad of Narayama, Pigs and Battleships and Profound Desires of the Gods, an article on his 1960s heroines and a Reel Sounds column on Black Rain.

Out at the cinema are gleefully gross shocker The Human Centipede 2, much loved French classic Les enfants du paradis, compelling Norwegian junkie tale Oslo, August 31st, Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters documentary Magic Trip, twisted Japanese thriller Revenge: A Love Story, British ghost story The Awakening, dark comedy Black Pond, Errol Morris’s Tabloid and Australian serial killer movie Snowtown. We have an interview with Terence Davies about his war-time story of complicated love The Deep Blue Sea and we talk to Michael Shannon about the affecting American tale of personal apocalypse Take Shelter.

In the DVDs, we review Mikl&#243s Jancs&#243’s revolutionary film Red Psalm and we have a feature on Berlin duo Stereo Total and their score for Underwater Love. We have an article on David Lynch’s soundtracks of decay, a piece on Lawrence of Belgravia and the last part of our London Film Festival coverage.

We preview brilliant Japanese cinema festival Zipangu and we have a Comic Strip review on Abraxas, about a Buddhist monk musician. In Alter Ego, Welsh writer Vanessa Gebbie wishes to be Gozzi the gunsmith in Day of the Jackal, and in the Film Jukebox, ex-Baby Birkin Raechel Leigh Carter recommends ten lesser known Klaus Kinski films.

The Art Theatre Guild of Japan: Julian Ross talks about the summer’s seasons of experimental and independent Japanese cinema of the 1960s and 70s. In the 60s, the Art Theatre Guild of Japan (ATG) in Tokyo became the centre of a vibrant independent filmmaking scene, encouraging bold experiments and innovative collaborations with other artists. The discussion focuses on the ATG, its related space Theatre Scorpio, and the films the ATG helped produce or distribute, including works by Nagisa &#212shima, Kôji Wakamatsu and Shôhei Imamura.

Issue 56: Eco Sci-Fi

Silent Running

Eco Sci-Fi: Dead forests, mutant animals, food riots

We look at environmentally-concerned science fiction with Silent Running, directed by special effects genius Douglas Trumbull, the Roger Corman-produced mutant sea monster movie Humanoids from the Deep, the dystopian and prescient Soylent Green, post-apocalyptic adventure Damnation Alley and Saul Bass’s only film Phase IV, also the subject of our Reel Sounds column. We have an article on director Larry Fessenden and an Online Movie column on the Astronomy Photographer of the Year while in Alter Ego, dystopian SF writer Alastair Bruce identifies with Fargo‘s Marge Gunderson.

At the cinema we review the Guillermo del Toro-produced Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, Soderbergh’s pandemic movie Contagion, hard-hitting Mexican drama Miss Bala, intelligent murder thriller The Silence and exhilarating Korean crime drama The Yellow Sea.

In the DVDs, we look at two depictions of murderers, the unflinching Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer, and Michael Mann’s take on Hannibal Lecktor, Manhunter, as well as ground-breaking 90s Harlem gangster drama Juice. Our Comic Strip Review is on Quatermass and the Pit.

After the Venice festival we look at rape on film. We have an article on Maya Deren and an interview with Michael Tully about Septien. In Short Cuts, we review expressionistic animation film Lipsett Diaries. In the Film Jukebox, bombastic Welsh pop-rockers Race Horses pick their favourites. In the Blog, we report on Toronto, L’Etrange Festival, Raindance and the London Film Festival.

Wicker Tree/Buried Land: In this special Halloween-themed podcast, Alex Fitch talks to three directors who have made films about man’s relationship with the land: Robin Hardy, Larry Fessenden and Steven Eastwood.

Issue 55: Twisted Romance

Red White & Blue

Twisted Romance: Awkward love, destructive desires, murderous tenderness

September films are full of heartbreak and misshapen affection, starting with Terrence Malick’s glorious rural tragedy Days of Heaven and on with Sion Sono’s perverse melodrama Guilty of Romance, Post Mortem‘s love in the time of dictatorship, and deadly jealousy in La piscine, and we have a Comic Strip Review of Black Heaven. We interview Simon Rumley about his unpredictable murder ballad Red White and Blue and Athina Rachel Tsangari about offbeat Greek drama Attenberg.

Lars von Trier’s Melancholia, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy, gender drama Tomboy and Kevin Smith’s Red State are out in cinemas as well as some of the FrightFest hits: gritty crime thriller Kill List, mountaineering terroriser A Lonely Place to Die, enjoyable horror comedies Troll Hunter and Tucker & Dale vs Evil, and Lucky McKee’s controversial The Woman.

In the DVDs, we interview Ruggero Deodato and review his classic shocker Cannibal Holocaust, Masaki Kobayashi’s savage samurai epic Harakiri, Dario Argento’s Cat o’ Nine Tails, Peter Jackson’s celebrated Heavenly Creatures and provocative documentary Children of the Revolution, and we look at TV series The Story of Film.

Reel Sounds is on Sound of Fear, Peggy Sue pick their favourite films, and in Alter Ego David Flusfeder is drawn to Red River. The Dominion of Canada column honours the memory of film-loving politician Jack Layton. We have a feature on the dos and don’ts of an indie filmmaker and in the Blog, we preview Raindance and report on Venice and FrightFest.

Secret Societies – part 2: In a companion piece to our May podcast on Secret Societies, we have a panel discussion recorded in the atmospheric confines of a Masonic Lodge on Liverpool Street in London as part of the East End Film Festival, including talks on Jack the Ripper, witches’ covens and religious cults in film.

Issue 54: The Art Theatre Guild of Japan

Funeral Parade of Roses

The Art Theatre Guild: The creative explosion of Japanese independent cinema in the 1960s

In conjunction with the BFI and Close-Up seasons, we focus on The Art Theatre Guild of Japan (ATG), which became the centre of a vibrant independent filmmaking scene in the late 60s. We have articles on Teshigahara’s ghostly coal mining drama Pitfall, Masao Adachi’s surreal dreamscape Galaxy, Funeral Parade of Roses, a stunning gay take on Oedipus, Buddhist incest tale This Transient Life, Lost Lovers, a portrait of post-war youth, and cine-poem Silence Has No Wings. Our Reel Sounds column focuses on Fluxus associate Yasunao Tone’s soundtrack for Galaxy.

In new cinema releases we review Muslim punk band movie The Taqwacores, acclaimed Japanese drama Villain, Lee Tamahori’s Uday Hussein dramatisation The Devil’s Double, James Marsh’s documentary Project Nim and Pedro Almod&#243var’s latest, The Skin I Live In, as part of our report on the Karlovy Vary festival.

New DVDs include Bill Morrison and J&#243hann J&#243hannsson’s The Miners’ Hymns, offbeat Romanian vampire mystery Strigoi, Mamoru Oshii’s intriguing anim&#233 Musashi, Chris Marker’s La jetée and Sergei Paradjanov’s The Colour of Pomegranates and we have a Comic Strip Review of Uruguayan horror film The Silent House. In Alter Ego, Nick Lake is blind swordsman Zatoichi. Our Dominion of Canada column returns with a look at male layabouts in Fellini’s I vitelloni and we preview the London Animation Festival.

Kosmos: Russian scholar Sergei Kapterev (Institute of Cinema Art in Moscow) talks about Soviet science fiction, the connection between SF cinema and politics, the impact of the space race and the importance of Andrei Tarkovsky. Plus, in a Q&A recorded at SCI-FI-LONDON in 2010, Alex Fitch talks to Polish poster designer Andrzej Klimowski and SF writer/journalist Wojciech Orli&#324ski about cinematic adaptations of the work of Stanislaw Lem.

Issue 53: Andrei Tarkovsky


Andrei Tarkovsky: metaphysical landscapes, mystical visions, melancholy longings

To mark the release of a box-set of his films and the Kosmos season of Russian science fiction at the BFI, we celebrate the work of Andrei Tarkovsky, with reviews of Solaris, Stalker, Mirror, Ivan’s Childhood, Andrei Rublev and The Sacrifice. Tarkovsky also inspires an exploration of Immaterial films in our Online Movie column.

Out at the cinema this month are gripping Spanish prison drama Cell 211, fascinating documentary Bobby Fischer against the World, charming Japanese comedy Sawako Decides, Jean-Luc Godard’s Film Socialisme and subtle drama Poetry – read our interview with Korean master Lee Chang-dong. We also have articles on Terrence Malick for Tree of Life and on the summer’s programme of experimental Japanese cinema. Romain Gavras (he of M.I.A.’s ‘Born Free’ video controversy) talks about his provocative first feature film, Our Day Will Come.

DVD releases include Shôhei Imamura’s vivid portrait of Japanese society’s underbelly, Pigs and Battleships, Lars von Trier’s ground-breaking series The Kingdom, the surreal Hungarian tale Szindb&#225d, Dario Argento’s Tenebrae and David Hemmings’s supernatural drama The Survivor, while The Twilight Zone is our first animated Comic Strip Review!

In our Alter Ego column, writer Cressida Connelly imagines herself as Dumbo and we have a feature on spy films from the other side of the Iron Curtain. American garage pop combo Crystal Stilts do a visual Film Jukebox and in the Blog, we report on the Edinburgh and Sydney festivals.

Sounds of the Living Dead: As part of the launch of The End: An Electric Sheep Anthology on Tuesday 7 June, DJ Robin the Fog performed a live rescore of Night of the Living Dead: Reanimated (2009), adding a new experimental electronic / musique concr&#232te soundtrack to the animated version of George Romero’s classic zombie film.

Issue 52: Apocalypse Now


Apocalypse Now: deserted cities, sinister machines, survivalist dogs

To mark the publication of our first book, The End: An Electric Sheep Anthology, we explore apocalyptic cinema with an interview with Gregg Araki for his new film Kaboom, a delirious conspiracy comedy, and reviews of new vampire road movie Stake Land, landmark animé Akira and Spanish 70s chiller Who Can Kill a Child? plus a Comic Strip Review of Richard Stanley’s legendary Hardware. We also have articles on Mad Max, Richard Kelly, dogs in survivalist fantasy and the British apocalypse while rocket scientist and SF writer Simon Morden chooses Twelve Monkeys‘ hero James Cole as his end-of-the-world alter ego.

Two masterworks of cinema can be seen on UK screens this month: Carlos Saura’s haunting drama Cr&#237a Cuervos and Jan &#352vankmajer’s wonderfully sinister Alice – read our interview with &#352vankmajer. New releases include Congolese gangster film Viva Riva!, anarchic French farce Mammuth and the re-release of intriguing Jeff Bridges thriller Cutter’s Way. We also review the standout of this year’s Sci-Fi London, the inventive cerebral puzzle You Are Here.

In the DVDs, we look at Bu&#241uel and Dal&#237’s surrealist classic L’&#226ge d’or, Sam Peckinpah’s brilliantly bitter Cross of Iron, New Orleans saga Treme and Lucio Fulci’s bad-taste shocker The New York Ripper. In the Blog you can read reports on Cannes and Terracotta.

Kim Newman on Nightmare Movies: Horror maestro Kim Newman discusses the new, updated edition of his essential book Nightmare Movies: Horror on the Screen since the 1960s with Virginie Sélavy.

Issue 51: Secret Societies

From Hell

Secret Societies: Freemasons, religious cults, suicide clubs and spy organisations

To mark the themed day of screenings at the East End Film Festival on May 2, we explore Secret Societies this month with articles on Jack the Ripper and the Freemasons, David Fincher’s (a)social clubs, acronymic 60s spy organisations and Sion Sono’s Suicide Club. We also have reviews of Dark Days, a documentary on an underground homeless community, Darren Aronofsky’s paranoid debut Pi and Hiroshi Teshigahara’s sensual and sinister Woman of the Dunes. Our Reel Sounds column focuses on The Wicker Man while Naomi Wood picks Sergeant Howie from the same film as her alter ego and Plinkett’s Secret Army is the subject of our Online Movie column.

Out at the cinema we have Guillem Morales’s slice of Spanish Gothic Julia’s Eyes (with a video interview with producer Guillermo del Toro), Jerzy Skolimowski’s darkly poetic portrait of 1970s London Deep End, Takashi Miike’s take on samurai action 13 Assassins, Rachid Bouchareb’s controversial historical epic Outside the Law, and Italian rural contemplation Le Quattro Volte.

In the DVDs, we look at Jules Dassin’s classic film noir Rififi, Fritz Lang’s Indian Epic, Dario Argento’s The Bird with the Crystal Plumage and 70s British filmmaker Richard Woolley. Short Cuts focuses on the work of Al Jarnow and in the Blog you can read about Nippon Connection.

Secret Societies – part 1: In connection with the East End Film Festival’s Secret Societies day of screenings, Virginie Sélavy discusses Jack the Ripper and the Freemasons in cinema with Mark Pilkington, Strange Attractor Press publisher, and Richard Bancroft, contributor to both Electric Sheep and Strange Attractor.

Issue 50: Aliens

The Man Who Fell to Earth

Aliens: Spaced out pop stars, extra-terrestrials and foreign organisms

As the 10th Sci-Fi London opens on April 27, we celebrate Aliens with an article on The Man Who Fell to Earth, whose central character is also sci-fi author Philip Palmer‘s alien alter ego. We have articles on racism and science fiction, Tim Burton and Long Weekend, and our Online Movie column looks at alien fashion films while Reel Sounds focuses on the soundtrack of Liquid Sky.

In cinema releases, we review the excellent sci-fi thriller Source Code – read the interview with Duncan Jones. We also have seasoned provocateur Sion Sono’s deliriously bloody Cold Fish, thought-provoking Danish war documentary Armadillo, brooding Western Meek’s Cutoff, slow-paced Arctic drama How I Ended this Summer, Johnnie To’s light-hearted Sparrow, supernatural 1937 Yiddish drama The Dybbuk, and Korean serial killer drama I Saw the Devil – read the interview with director Kim Ji-woon. Intense survival tale starring Vincent Gallo Essential Killing is also out, and we have an interview with legendary Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski. Our Comic Strip tackles the Luc Besson adaptation of the well-known comic book heroine Adele Blanc-Sec.

New DVDs include Quentin Dupieux’s killer tyre horror Rubber, Zhang Yimou’s reimagining of the Coen brothers’ Blood Simple, Oxide Pang’s murder mystery The Detective and sci-fi romance Monsters. Rockabilly gunslinger Dan Sartain picks this month’s Film Jukebox and in the Blog we have a feature on the Flatpack festival, an extract from the book Trashfiend and you can watch a trailer for the fantastic-looking sci-fi Kenyan short Pumzi.

Indie Movies Online: With more and more people wanting to download movies off the internet, a new company has come along to help people do this legally with a wide range of films that includes British gems and cult classics. Alex Fitch talks to James Rowley-Ashwood about they discuss how the collection of films on the site were curated – from Evil Aliens to the site’s one paying movie A Serbian Film, short films by Lotte Reiniger and the Brothers Quay and back catalogue titles from Peter Greenaway and Alex Cox, some of which are out of print on DVD – and how the site’s funding and distribution are achieved.