May 2016 Recap

It’s June, apparently, which means near-constant rain over here in the south of England. Ideal weather for the cinema, you might think, although conversely I’ve not been for over a week. Still, I saw a few new releases at the pictures in May, and thought I’d revisit them in this monthly recap. Without further ado my film of the month is Mustang, Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s excellent and inspiring drama about five young sisters growing up in a conservative Turkish village. If you haven’t seen it yet I highly recommend it, and it’s currently my third favourite film of 2016, though even as I’m typing this I’m thinking it could be my second favourite. I was also very impressed by Lucile Hadžihalilović’s weird and wonderful Evolution, an unsettling and memorable tale that’s part body horror and part weird, folky, minimalist sci-fi. Actually it was a pretty good month all around; in addition to those two I enjoyed crowdpleasers Everybody Wants Some!! and Sing Street a lot, while I thought Jacques Audiard’s Palme d’Or-snaffling Dheepan was better than many critics had suggested. The rest were a mixed bag: Jaco Van Dormael’s The Brand New Testament was occasionally very funny indeed, Don Cheadle’s Miles Ahead had its moments, and both Our Kind Of Traitor and Florence Foster Jenkins were passably entertaining. I was less enamoured with X-Men: Apocalypse, but whatever.

At home I finally saw my first Tarkovsky film, Andrei Rublev, as well as Kurosawa’s late masterpiece Ran. I also gave the 1960s heist movie Rififi a go, and thoroughly enjoyed it, partly because of its brutal edge and partly because of its long, silent heist sequence. Talking of which, I also decided I’d go back to the early days of film and watch a few shorts that I’d seen recommended, such as The Great Train Robbery, the Fantômas serial and L’Arroseur Arrosé. That has been fun, and I’ll continue in June if time allows.

I’ve been catching up with some 2014 and 2015 releases – still! – including the documentaries Hillsborough and Palio; the former a thorough examination of the 1989 disaster and the aftermath, the latter an intriguing film about the annual horse races that take place in the town square in Siena. I also finally got round to seeing Peter Bogdanovich’s She’s Funny That Way, Thomas Vinterberg’s Far From The Madding Crowd, The Two Faces Of January and We Are Your Friends; a couple of those were pretty good, but the last one was probably the worst film I watched all month, although it’s not like it’s terrible. Last, but by no means least, my May ‘blind spot’ was Rob Reiner’s The Princess Bride, which I liked but didn’t love. I seem to be the only person who feels indifferent towards it, but hey ho. Anyway, that’s my month in film, pretty much. As I said earlier Mustang is the new release that I’d strongly recommend, though if you have the inclination Evolution‘s also worth a look. Cheers!

Comments 5

  1. Tom June 1, 2016

    That’s a pretty active month sir. Moreso than me. Hm, if I were compelled to select new watches just from your crop here I’d be really keen on seeing Mustang (I’ve heard almost nothing but unanimous praise for that guy); Rififi (if nothing else than for that extended silent heist scene you mention here and in your review); Sing Street (I have loved John Carney thus far, why not give his new one a look?) and man, I’m still curious about Miles Ahead. It didn’t look great to me at the time and based on how quickly it came and went in theaters here, maybe it’s really not great but Don Cheadle is someone I really like and feel gets overlooked far too easily.

    • Stu June 2, 2016

      Yeah it was a bit busy! I’ve not watched a lot in the past week as writing was starting to get on my nerves. Mustang’s really good (though I should point out Deniz Gamze Ergüven is a woman!) – I hope you give it a go. But the other ones you mentioned I really enjoyed too. Rififi is damn cool.
      I agree with you that Cheadle gets overlooked. I haven’t actually seen a lot of stuff he’s been in but thought he was great in Out Of Sight, Boogie Nights and Hotel Rwanda. He’s good fun to watch in Miles Ahead and I think he did an OK job of directing too.

  2. ckckred June 2, 2016

    I haven’t seen Andrei Rublev but I’ve seen a couple of Tarkovsky’s films and I love his style. I better add that to my Hulu queue.

    I love Ran and think it’s among Kurosawa’s best. A great movie that still looks amazing to this today.

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