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Kaleem Aftab

Kaleem Aftab

Articles (1)

The 50 coolest filmmakers in the world right now

The 50 coolest filmmakers in the world right now

What makes a filmmaker cool? In the heyday of the studio system it might have been about creative autonomy, an office on the lot and the studio barman knowing how to mix your Martini. In the heady, revolutionary days of the ’60s and ’70s, a devil-may-care attitude, radical new stories to tell, and ideally a beard of some description might have marked you out as the hipster’s auteur of choice. Times have changed, though. The moviemaking world has fewer boundaries, more entry points and finally, slowly but surely, more hunger to share stories by women and people of colour.  There’s a long way to go but we wanted to celebrate a time of gradual change by singling out the filmmakers who are genuinely moving the dial. The ones swinging for the fences in their choice of material and the way they’re bringing it to the screen. They’re not all new names – you’ll find some old stalwarts on here – but they all have in common a restless urge to do something different, exciting, bold. They come from across the planet and reflect all genres, and every kind of movie and moviemaking style. To take it a step further, we’ve asked a few of them – Rian Johnson, Barry Jenkins and Lynne Ramsay, among others – to share what makes them tick as movie lovers: the scenes that make them laugh hardest, the cinemas they stan for, the cities that inspire them, and the movies that have left them cowering in the back row. Even the posters that they had up on their bedroom walls growing up. Turns out that a lo

Listings and reviews (8)

Lightyear

Lightyear

2 out of 5 stars

The Toy Story franchise is the spine of the Pixar universe. When Andy was first given Woody and Buzz Lightyear back in 1995, Pixar announced itself as a studio that could make CGI animated films beloved by kids and adults in equal measure. From Andy's house on 234 Elm Street, Pixar became synonymous with mixing great drama with killer jokes and sly visual wit. And who hasn’t casually dropped the phrase ‘to infinity and beyond’ into conversation? So what’s gone so wrong with Lightyear? Pixar has done a raft of successful sequels, so it’s not that. In recent years, when fans started to fret that the studio had finally run out of great original ideas, they pulled out Soul and Turning Red. But a spin-off? It’s the hellish land after infinity and beyond.  The basic idea is solid, which only makes the execution even more disappointing. We learn that when Andy got his Lightyear toy, it was a figurine from his favourite movie – and this is that movie. But perhaps true to form, the favourite film of a seven-year-old kid is… not that great. Pixar is meta, but surely not so meta as to purposely make a dodgy sci-fi blockbuster to fit the early ’90s kids’ movie vibe?  Lightyear, the film within a film, starts with Buzz on a mission and narrating his life story to mission control. To distinguish Toy Story Buzz from the (younger) movie Buzz, Chris Evans replaces Tim Allen as the voice. And he brings some subtle points of difference, most notably in dialing down the glee in that old ‘Infinit

Red Rocket

Red Rocket

5 out of 5 stars

The American Dream is more like the American Scream in the cinematic world of Sean Baker, whose movies Tangerine and The Florida Project mark him out as one of the most exciting auteurs working today. His latest once again immerses us in an America full of juxtapositions, sex work and donuts. Red Rocket is an engrossing state-of-the-nation comedy designed to make us feel so dirty that no amount of washing will remove the sweat from our nether parts. Did we really just feel affection for manchild Saber (Simon Rex) grooming 17-year-old Strawberry (Suzanna Son) to be a porn star, his ticket out of terrible Texas and back to Hollywood? Does it make a difference that she's savvy and wants to take advantage of the fact that sex sells, as it’s better than working in a donut shop? Is sell-ebrity the only way to get ahead in an Insta world?  It’s 2016, and on the television set Trump is battling Hillary on the campaign trail. Man versus woman. Good versus evil. Or a contest where no matter the victor, not much will change for the poor. And poor is one thing down-on-his-luck former award-winning porn star Saber doesn't want to be. Yet here he is, begging his estranged wife Lexi (Bree Elrod) and mother-in-law (Brenda Deiss) for a spot on the couch, promising to get a job and pay some rent. Red Rocket immerses us in an America full of juxtapositions, sex work and donuts It’s soon apparent that promises are not something that narcissist Saber keeps. A fantasist, everything in his life re

Alex Wheatle

Alex Wheatle

4 out of 5 stars

British writer ​Alex Wheatle has published 15 ​novels since his debut, Brixton Rock, in 1999 and he was awarded an MBE for services to literature in 2008. His books aimed at young adults are remarkable in chronicling British life from a Black perspective. The writing is rhythmic and sharp. Despite the acclaim and awards, ​the ​chances are you haven’t heard of him​: B​eing a Black British author is a niche living, no matter your level of success. Hopefully, the name recognition should change now that he has become the title character of ​a Steve McQueen film.  For Alex Wheatle, McQueen and ​his ​co-writer Alastair Siddons have taken a leaf out of Brixton Rock and told the story of the 1981 Brixton uprising, through the real-life experience of the author​. Wheatle was amongst the 82 people arrested following days of demonstrations and resistance by Afro-Caribbean residents against police failings, violence and discrimination. However, it's first and foremost a teenage coming-of-age tale​, 65 electric minutes​ ​packed with financial hardship, racial demonisation and reggae.  The film focuses on ​the writer’s formative years, judiciously avoiding​ ​​explaining how and​ why he became a great novelist. ​In fact, until the​ ​credit​s roll​, the uninitiated ​would have no idea that ​he's a ​fledgeling author​ at all​. ​In the early days of Thatcher’s Britain, it was the emerging reggae scene that was Wheatle’s passion​. H​e went by the DJ ​name Yardman Ire​ and was ​a founding member

The Roads Not Taken

The Roads Not Taken

2 out of 5 stars

Brit director Sally Potter (‘Orlando’, ‘The Party’) utilises the star power of Javier Bardem, Elle Fanning and Laura Linney in a dementia drama that promises a lot but is ultimately empty-headed. Bardem is Leo, a man living with frontotemporal dementia who revels in having a bedroom window that looks right out onto a busy New York train track. When we first meet him is lying prostrate on his bed, his clothes strewn across the floor. He’s a wreck, which explains the panicked phone calls and concern of his twenty-something daughter Molly (Fanning). She decides to take the morning off work to get him checked out. The narrative jumps back and forth in time, reflecting how Leo looks at the world. Each moment delivers a tiny bit of a puzzle explaining who he is, more often than not to questions no one is asking. For example, why is Molly so blonde when Leo is so dark-haired and the love of his life, Dolores, is played by Salma Hayek? Leo’s an author haunted by his ghosts, the decisions he hasn’t made, or couldn’t make, hence the title of the movie. The drama is full of empty promises, with an unsatisfying end, which is forewarned in a laughable scene taking place in Greece when Bardem chats to two young ladies. There are several car crashes; most notably, the decision to tackle and lambast Trump’s treatment of Mexican immigrants comes out of nowhere. It isn’t a total write-off, though. Bardem’s commanding performance echoes his Cannes best-actor winning turn in ‘Biutiful’ and Fanni

Dogs Don't Wear Pants

Dogs Don't Wear Pants

4 out of 5 stars

Finnish maverick J-P Valkeapää’s third film has everything: a terrific title, a death in the family, a time jump, teenage angst, adult angst, lousy parenting, hallucinations, remorse, guilt, a dog eating human discards and a whole lot of BDSM. It also knows that any self-respecting movie in which a dominatrix’s whip unleashes emotional healing should liberally use reds taken from the palette of Nagisa Oshima’s notorious take on sexual experimentation, ‘In the Realm of the Senses’. Every five-year-old knows red means danger, but forlorn widower Juha (Pekka Strang, best known for the title role in ‘Tom of Finland’) forgets this when he stumbles into a torture chamber and gets taken down by Mona (Krista Kosonen, Finland’s most prominent star) with fight moves that would make the Bride in ‘Kill Bill’ proud. Mona’s futuristic bondage wear – costume designer Sari Suominen nods to ‘Blade Runner’ – also gives good visual. The numerous club scenes look like ’80s pop videos by way of Nicolas Winding Refn, which is code for saying cinematographer Pietari Peltola does a neon-tastic job. It’s all very kinky kitsch. It’s through this happenstance meeting that Juha discovers asphyxiation makes him recall his wife who drowned in an accident some years before, for which he blames himself. Now he’s looking after his tongue-piercing teenage daughter, whose growing pains make her embarrassed about square dad. That turns to befuddlement when he starts coming home with his face looking like a Pica

真実

真実

3 out of 5 stars

日本人映画監督の是枝裕和は昨年、カンヌ国際映画祭パルムドール賞を受賞した傑作『万引き家族』を世に送り出した。表面上は、捨てられた子どもを見つけた万引き犯がその子どもを家に連れ帰り、実の親が接していたよりも家族らしく扱うというストーリーだ。是枝の新作『真実』は第76回ベネチア国際映画祭のコンペティション部門で上映され、金獅子賞を競っている(2019年10月現在、映画『ジョーカー』が受賞)。本作では、家族の関係が『万引き家族』よりも一層率直に描かれている。しかし子に与える親のダメージは同じように重要である。もし是枝の新作というだけではワクワクできなくても、母娘を演じるのがカトリーヌ・ドヌーブとジュリエット・ビノシュという豪華な出演陣ということを知ったら胸が高鳴るかもしれない。しかし残念ながら、是枝もこの伝説のスターたちに影響を受けてしまったようだ。いつもの支配と統制が本作では表れていない。俳優たちは自分のペースでふるまい、結果はニュアンスに富んだというよりも、派手さを感じる演技となっている。「真実」をテーマとした本作に、スーパースターをキャスティングしたのにはそれなりの理由がある。是枝はドヌーヴとビノシュ、アルコール依存症の夫を演じるイーサン・ホークのスターの名声を用いて、分かる人には分かるジョークを所々に挟んでいるのだ。映画『8人の女たち』と『しあわせの雨傘』でフランソワ・オゾンは、ドヌーブが自身を模倣するのを鑑賞する面白さを教えてくれた。 本作での冒頭の面白さを占めるのは、ドヌーブの演技によるものである。冒頭部分で、ジャーナリストがドヌーブにインタビューする際、彼女が演じているのは自分なのか架空の役割なのか、最初ははっきりしない。監督たちと寝たことや、映画業界の指導者となったことなど、ドヌーブの答えは自身の経歴に着想を得たもののようだった。架空の映画や女優たちの名前を挙げた時、ようやくドヌーブは登場人物のファビエンヌを演じていることが明らかになるのだ。ファビエンヌは自叙伝を書き、ニューヨークを拠点としているシナリオライターである娘のリュミール(ビノシュ)を招待し、パリでの出版記念イベントに出席する。娘とその家族はインタビューの最中に到着し、そこでファビエンヌは、ホーク演じる夫が「俳優」を名乗っていることをあざける。ホークはこのささるような冗談に耐えることでノリの良さをアピールするが、これはいかにも彼らしい。しかし残念ながら、映画のユーモアは軽いからかいを超えることはない。本作が脱線するのは、是枝監督が物語にペーソスを加えるために、ビノシュ演じるリュミールを舞台の中心に据えるときである。リュミールはいくつかの感傷的な発見をする。彼女の母は実はひどく残忍ではなく、おそらく彼女自身の記憶がゆがんでいるといった発見である。幸福感にあふれたトーンが鑑賞する側の神経に触る。映画界の権威ある賞の何が素晴らしい監督に、自然な得意分野を捨て、審査員が好む傑作を作ろうとさせるのだろうか。たいてい、彼らは失敗に終わる。映画『別離』でオスカーを受賞し、その後の『ある過去の行方』がカンヌで酷評を受けたアスガル・ファルハーディがその好例だ。是枝の『真実』は、少なくともある一定の水準は満たしているだけ、まだ良いと言える。原文:  Kaleem Aftab2019年10月11日(金)TOHOシネマズ 日比谷ほか全国公開公式サイトはこちら

The Truth

The Truth

3 out of 5 stars

Last year, acclaimed Japanese auteur Hirokazu Kore-eda made his masterpiece, the Palme d’Or-winning ‘Shoplifters’. A film ostensibly about robbers who find an abandoned child, take her home and treat her way better than her biological parents ever did, or will do. This time out, Kore-eda is opening the Venice Film Festival and vying for the Golden Lion. In ‘The Truth’, the family relationships are more straightforward than in ‘Shoplifters’, but the damage that parents inflict on their children is just as significant. If a new Kore-eda film isn’t enough to get you excited, the regal pairing of Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche as mother and daughter should do the trick. Unfortunately, Kore-eda also seems to have had his head swayed by his storied stars, as his usual control and mastery is not apparent here. The actors seem to have too much free scope to dance to their own beat, and the result is performances that feel showy rather than nuanced. At least there’s a good reason for the superstar casting in this tale about the blurred line between fact and fiction and how memory plays tricks on us. Kore-eda makes use of the stellar reputations of Deneuve, Binoche and Ethan Hawke, who plays Binoche’s boozy husband to land several cutting in-jokes. François Ozon demonstrated in ‘8 Women’ and ‘Potiche’ the fun to be had in watching Deneuve pastiche herself. Much of the early joy in ‘The Truth’ can be found in her performance. When a journalist interviews Deneuve in the film’s op

Saklı Gerçekler

Saklı Gerçekler

3 out of 5 stars

Yönetmen: Hirokazu Koreeda 3 Ocak Nedir? Oyuncu bir anne ve senarist kızı arasındaki gerilim dolu ilişki.  Neden izlemeli? Catherine Deneuve ve Juliette Binoche’u anne-kız rolünde izlemek için. Japon auteur Hirokazu Koreeda geçen yıl başyapıtı ‘Manbiki kazoku / Arakçılar’ ile Altın Palmiye kazanmıştı. Film, kimsesiz bir çocuğu yanlarına alan ve ona biyolojik ebeveynlerinden çok daha iyi davranan bir grup hırsızı konu alıyordu. Yönetmenin son filmi ‘La vérité’ ise Venedik Film Festivali’nde Altın Aslan için yarıştı. Filmde aile ilişkileri ‘Manbiki kazoku’da olduğundan çok daha açık ve dolambaçsız bir şekilde anlatılıyor, ancak ailelerin çocuklar üzerinde bıraktığı yaralar yine çok etkili. Eğer filmin Koreeda imzalı olması yeterli değilse, Catherine Deneuve ve Juliette Binoche’un anne kızı canlandırdığını duymak mutlaka sizi heyecanlandıracaktır. Ancak Koreeda kendini yıldız oyuncularına fazla kaptırmış olsa gerek, normalde ustaca kurduğu kontrol ve hakimiyeti bu filmde göremiyoruz. Oyuncular kendi ritimleriyle dans etmek için bolca alana sahip gibiler, bunun sonucu olarak performanslar da fazla gösterişli bir hale geliyor. Filmin açılışında bir gazeteci Deneuve ile söyleşi yapıyor ve oyuncunun kendini mi yoksa kurmaca bir karakteri mi canlandırdığı belli olmuyor. Yönetmenlerle birlikte olmasından endüstrideki konumuna, verdiği tüm cevaplar aslında kendi biyografisine de ait olabilir. Kurmaca film ve oyuncu isimleri saymaya başladığında Deneuve’ün Fabienne adında bir karakteri

News (1)

From weird sex to mad PR stunts: the best (and worst) of Cannes 2022

From weird sex to mad PR stunts: the best (and worst) of Cannes 2022

The red carpet has been rolled up, the movie stars have jetted away, and the party victims have been swept off the Croisette. Yes, the Cannes Film Festival is done and dusted for another year, after 12 days providing festivalgoers with its usual mix of lovely surprises (Close, Aftersun), aching disappointments (Three Thousand Years of Longing), diverting oddities (Crimes of the Future) and Hollywood behemoths (Elvis). The festival, of course, has its own awards ceremony, but we’ve dug a bit deeper to celebrate the actors, scenes, dialogue, parties, and even the dogs who, for better or worse, helped make Cannes what it was. Without this lot, it would have been 150 percent duller. Weirdest sex scene: Crimes of the Future Last year’s Cannes was famous for boasting some outré sex scenes – including one film, Titane, that had its protagonist getting jiggy with a car. This Cannes was a milder effort, but David Cronenberg’s Crimes of the Future did keep the flame alive with a scene in which Viggo Mortensen and Léa Seydoux go at each other with surgical equipment. Who said romance is dead? Most epic barf-athon: Triangle of Sadness Crimes of the Future wasn’t the only film unleashing the inside stuff on the outside world. Delivering a scene to rival cinema’s great puke – Stand by Me, The Meaning of Life, etc – was the outbreak of projectile vomiting in Triangle of Sadness. Director Ruben Östlund spoiled us (and our lunches) with the ribald sight of a handful of seasick capitalists red

Riz Ahmed just won an Oscar for ‘Long Goodbye’: here’s everything you need to know about it

Riz Ahmed just won an Oscar for ‘Long Goodbye’: here’s everything you need to know about it

The Long Goodbye, a short film produced and co-written by British superstar Riz Ahmed, just won the Best Live Action Short Film Oscar. You may have missed the win on the news, not just because of ‘the slap’ but because it was one of the awards controversially handed out in the pre-recorded section of the American Academy Awards.  When Ahmed picked up the Oscar, the 39-year-old voiced the importance of togetherness in divided times. ‘We believe that the role of the story is to remind us there is no us and them,’ he said. ‘There’s just us.’ Behind Ahmed on stage was co-writer and director Aneil Karia, best known for directing Surge. Karim’s debut film saw Ben Whishaw put in a Sundance award-winning performance as an airport security guard who has a mental breakdown. Here’s everything you need to know about the pair’s award-winning collaboration. Photograph: Michael Baker / A.M.P.A.S.Riz Ahmed with ‘The Long Goodbye’ director Aneil Karia at the Oscars What is The Long Goodbye about? Twelve minutes long, The Long Goodbye is divided into three acts. The first part sees an Asian family at home, in a house not unlike the one Ahmed grew up in Wembley, London.  Ahmed’s character is at the heart of a busy household. We meet him having a dance-off with a younger brother, criticising another sibling for not doing the washing up, and arguing with his dad over whether it’s worth watching the news. Upstairs, a gaggle of girls are preparing for a wedding, with the bride admitting she fanci