Two English Girls © Pierre Zucca
News

BFI announces celebration of the work of François Truffaut launching in January 2022

I won’t be able to offer the kind of service Rob used to offer when it came to either BFI events or news (and I don’t think he can either!), but as TMINE’s new Official Movie Reviewer in Residence, I hope to offer at least some kind of news service for movies.

The BFI announced this on Friday and it looks fantastic, so I thought I’d let you all know about it.

Picture credits clockwise from top left: La Peau douce (© Les films du Carrosse-Sedif-Simar Films), François Truffaut (© BFI National Archive), Mississippi Mermaid (© Leonard de Raemy), Jules et Jim (© Les films du Carrosse-Sedif), The Man Who Loved Women (© Dominique Le Rigoleur), The 400 Blows (© André Dino-MK2)

The BFI today announces a new celebration of one of the most influential filmmakers of his generation, film critic-turned-director, François Truffaut (1932 – 1984), taking place across the UK from January – February 2022. This major retrospective will include BFI Distribution re-releases of THE 400 BLOWS (1959) and JULES ET JIM (1962), a two-month season at BFI Southbank, a collection of films available on BFI Player, partner seasons at cinemas including Edinburgh Filmhouse and Ciné Lumière, and BFI Blu-ray releases later in spring 2022. Alongside the BFI Southbank season – FRANÇOIS TRUFFAUT: FOR THE LOVE OF FILMS – which is programmed thematically, there will also be screenings of a series of films that Truffaut lauded in his film criticism or which were particularly influential on his own work.

Truffaut spent a number of years working as a film critic at publications such as Cahiers du Cinéma, where he became renowned for his scathing reviews and a 1954 essay in which he criticised certain trends in French cinema. Along with peers like Jean-Luc Godard and Éric Rohmer, he became one of the most significant directors of the French New Wave of the 1950s and 1960s. This seminal movement, which revolutionised filmmaking with its preference both for a playful approach to narrative and for shooting on location, would go on to influence the ambitions and practice of many filmmakers of the 60s, 70s and beyond, while countless filmmakers, from Steven Spielberg and Bong Joon-ho to Greta Gerwig and Wes Anderson, continue to hold Truffaut’s work in high esteem.

Further programme information

The BFI will bring a raft of Truffaut films back to the big screen in cinemas around the UK and Ireland and then onto the small screen. BFI Distribution will re-release THE 400 BLOWS (1959) in a new 4K restoration on 7 January 2022, followed by the re-release of JULES ET JIM (1962) on 4 February 2022. Cinemas will also be able to screen another five Truffaut films, all via BFI Distribution; SHOOT THE PIANIST (1960), LA PEAU DOUCE (1964), THE BRIDE WORE BLACK (1968), MISSISSIPPI MERMAID (1969) and THE LAST METRO (1980).

In the spring, the BFI will release JULES ET JIM, THE 400 BLOWS, THE LAST METRO and LA PEAU DOUCE on Blu-ray, each presented with contextualising extras and an illustrated booklet in their first pressings. A collection of 10 Truffaut films will be available to subscribers of BFI Player from January, with the four BFI Blu-ray titles being made available on BFI Player later in the spring.

The two-month season at BFI Southbank, running from January – February 2022, curated by BFI Programmer at Large Geoff Andrew, will feature thematic strands, so that audiences can easily explore Truffaut’s rich and varied back catalogue. In January, the Antoine Doinel films will introduce or reacquaint audiences with the character who some have described as Truffaut’s fictional alter-ego; Antoine Doinel is depicted over a 20-year period in THE 400 BLOWS (1959), short sequel ANTOINE ET COLETTE (1962), STOLEN KISSES (1968), BED AND BOARD (1970) and LOVE ON THE RUN (1979).

Also in January will be The Renoir Truffaut, named for the French filmmaker who was a major influence on Truffaut. Screenings in this part of the programme that show Renoir’s significant influence will include THE WILD CHILD (1970), A GORGEOUS GIRL LIKE ME (1972), DAY FOR NIGHT (1973), THE MAN WHO LOVED WOMEN (1977) and THE LAST METRO (1980).

In February, the season will focus on The Literary Truffaut, with screenings of films that Truffaut adapted for the screen, including JULES ET JIM (1961), FAHRENHEIT 451 (1966), THE STORY OF ADELE H (1975) and THE GREEN ROOM (1978).

The final theme of the season will examine The Hitchcock Truffaut, named for the director with which Truffaut is often associated, and whose work was of great influence on him. Films screening will include the brilliant merging of American noir and the New Wave style seen in SHOOT THE PIANIST (1960); the subtle account of an extra-marital affair SILKEN SKIN (1964); and Truffaut’s most overt tribute to Hitchcock, MISSISSIPPI MERMAID (1969) starring Catherine Deneuve and legend of the French New Wave Jean-Paul Belmondo, who recently died aged 88.

US TV

What have you been watching? Including What We Do in the Shadows

It’s “What have you been watching?”, your chance to recommend to fellow TMINE readers anything you’ve been watching this week

TV is taking its time to wake up after both Covid and the summer holidays. I keep looking for new stuff and can’t find anything that I’d like to watch.

To its credit, Showtime in the US is about to give us American Rust, an adaptation of Philipp Meyer’s novel that the network describes as “a compelling family drama and a timeless story told through the eyes of complicated and compromised chief of police Del Harris (Jeff Daniels) of a Pennsylvania Rust Belt town full of good people making bad choices”.

That starts this Sunday at 10pm ET/PT, so there’s an outside chance I might even be able to preview it for you this week before it starts. But it doesn’t sound like a whole bunch of fun, does it?

That leaves me with just one returning regular to watch

What We Do In the Shadows

The show returns for its third season with two episodes, as is traditional. The first deals with the fallout from last season, with our Vampires having to become heads of the local Vampire Council while dealing with Guillermo (spoiler alert) Van Helsing, the Vampire Slayer. Largely an opportunity for Natasia Demetriou to really go to town and Matt Berry to swear a lot, it was as funny as usual, which was gratifying, and the arrival of another energy vampire really helped to mix up the bore-dom and give us a new, edgier, next generation kind of dull to enjoy. I also enjoyed the slight freeing of Guillermo to be less subservient but the cameo by (spoiler alert) Taika Waititi did little but give us more of (spoiler alert) Taika Waititi.

The second episode was a more entertaining affair, throwing open the floor to Kayvan Novak to do a whole bunch of impressions – and look fittish without his top on. There was less to it, but I found it funnier, on the whole.

Either way, the third season started well and on a par with its predecessors.

But what have you been watching?

Theatre

Review: Back to the Future: The Musical (Adelphi)

Back to the Future: The Musical is nothing short of miraculous. It’s not that it took more than a decade to put together or that it was the movie’s original writer, director and composer who developed it. It’s not even that having found its lead cast in 2018, the show managed to keep them all for three years while we all waited out Covid. Because with this cast, you would want to hang on to them.

No, the miracle is that it’s just so good.

I tell a lie. Bad Nat. There are two miracles. The second is that they appear to not only have cloned Michael J Fox from 1986, they’ve improved him at the same time.

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Film

Review: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)

Out in cinemas

La la la! Here’s another Marvel movie! Yay! I love Marvel movies. I’m so looking forward to this! Wait… Shang-Chi? Who? What? Maybe even… why? Trailer, please… Huh. A couple of cameos by people I’m not that interested in, some okay martial arts, Awkwafina being annoying. Aren’t trailers supposed to make me want to watch a movie, not put me off?

It really was an unpromising start and when I sat down to watch Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021), I was confidently expecting to be as underwhelmed as I was when I watched most of the Disney+ Marvel shows. Bar Black Widow (2020) and certain parts of WandaVision (Disney+), it’s been feeling like Marvel has been struggling to kickstart its franchise back into action, following the closure that Avengers: Endgame (2019) brought to its decade-long story.

Surprisingly for me at least, Shang-Chi manages to both restart that storyline and make us care about – and let’s be clear about this – an absolute nobody of the Marvel comics whom nobody but nobody outside of a comics shop has ever heard of. And who goes into comics shops?

It’s one of those movies that transcends many of its sillier foundations to become something much more. Shang-Chi, while by no means a threat to Shakespeare or Mamet in its writing, is fun, engaging, character- rather than punch-driven, and generally a pleasure to watch from start to finish – and beyond, because of the obligatory credit scenes.

Continue reading “Review: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)”
Red Hood in Titans
US TV

What have you been watching? Including Titans and Superman & Lois

Look at that! It’s September. Didn’t time fly?

So what did I watch in August? Not a lot, to be honest. This actually wasn’t for want of trying but there haven’t been any appetising-looking new TV shows for me to bite my teeth into, TBH. I’m still considering Vigil on BBC One, mind, because it has submarines in it.

There’s one other exception: yet another remake of Fantasy Island, this time for Fox.

I thought about watching that. Then decided not to. It was August after all, and if normality is going to reassert itself post-Covid, we have to reassert the old rules, too: start a new show in August and TMINE will ignore you.

I also realised there’s a whole bunch of shows that are coming back for second seasons that I can’t be bothered with either. So Stargirl on Amazon isn’t getting much love from me, either.

That meant I’ve only been watching a couple of the regulars, both superhero shows, one concluding, one returning.

Superman & Lois

Superman & Lois remained perfect almost to the end, even if Lovely Wife did watch five minutes of it and declare it “terrible”. I thought it was great. Thrilling and exciting, with Adam Rayner proving a wonderful villain. The finale suffered maybe a little from being a slight retread of a previous episode, copying its conclusion and get-out mechanism, but I don’t think it suffered too much from that.

If I had one niggle, though, it’s the final scene: I just didn’t care. The funeral was oddly moving, given what it was. That’s not my niggle. That person showed up. I didn’t care. It was anti-climactic and actually put me off from watching the next season. But only a bit. I’ll definitely be back.

Titans

Meanwhile, Titans is back, now on HBO Max in the US. The main cast are a bit jauntier and a bit less angsty than before, although the absence of both Raven and Donna Troy is a real detraction from the show. Where it works still is on its depiction of superheroes growing up and ageing. This is still very much a show about sidekicks who are now too old to be sidekicks and need to move out of their friends’ shadows – and superheroes who are now old to be doing anything much at all, really.

The problem is that this season so far has focused on the ‘birth’ of Red Hood. Those who know their comics will not be surprised by who that is and the show only takes a couple of episodes to reveal all there. More surprising is just how bleak and miserable it all is. People are dying and getting tortured. Batman’s off murdering people. Not even Scarecrow – Pete from Mad Men – can add any fun to things. It’s just so unpleasant.

So I’ve given up after four episodes. Guys, we’ve been through so much misery over the past year and a half, I’d just like to watch something fun, please. Thanks!