Monday, 16 February 2015

Selma vs Leviathan and the Anjelika Film Center in Dallas

Just back from watching Selma at the Anjelika Film Centre in Dallas.  The Anjelika is one of the most comfortable cinemas I go to here, and always shows a mixture of foreign language and major new releases.

Selma is a film that you return from feeling uplifted and that deserves a viewing by everyone.  Brilliantly acted by David Oyelowo, Tim Roth et al and in turn horrifying and uplifting.  Here’s the Guardian review. Read it and then go.

This is what the Anjelika had to say about it.
’Chronicling the tumultuous three-month period in 1965 when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition, SELMA is the story of a movement. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama culminated in President Johnson (Oscar nominee Tom Wilkinson) signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement. Director Ava DuVernay’s acclaimed film tells the real story of how this revered leader and visionary, played by David Oyelowo, prompted change that forever altered history.’

Leviathan is another matter altogether, two and a half hours long and in Russian (with subtitles of course).  Don’t let this put you off but don’t expect to come away uplifted.  It is a disturbing story of the triumph of power over truth and the small man.  Nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film in this year’s Academy Awards don’t be surprised if it wins.  The scenery, the acting and the terrible story are extraordinary.  The Washington Post calls it ‘a distinctly Russian tragedy.

From the Anjelika
: ‘A frontrunner for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, the latest drama from acclaimed Russian filmmaker Andrey Zvyagintsev (THE RETURN) is an evocative, mythic drama and a daring critique of Putin’s Russia. In a small fishing town near the stunning Barents Sea in Northern Russia, Kolya owns an auto repair shop right next to his family’s house. When the town's corrupt mayor attempts to take away his business and his land by any means possible, Kolya unflinchingly fights not to lose everything he owns – including the beauty that has surrounded him from the day he was born.’

Having spent some considerable time here in Dallas, at different times of the year, and always trying to get to the movies at the weekends (which now means that on long plane rides if I haven’t downloaded the latest episode of Scandal I’ll be offered the same old same old again) It makes me laugh when people assume that Dallas is always warm.  Well no it isn’t.  And the cinemas are ALWAYS cold, whatever the time of year. 

It’s the same pretty much anywhere in the US, where air conditioning is (just about, hedging my bets) everywhere.  If you’re going to the movies make sure you have layers.  I never go without a cashmere wrap to use, literally, as a blanket if  necessary – yes that was me.  You would think, being a Brit, that I’d be used to the cold.  But be warned.  Wear layers you can put on and take off, plus a wrap.  Look around you, everyone’s doing it.