Brennig Hayden: Films, Rugby and Politics: UK Top Ten
Films, Rugby and Politics: UK Top Ten
By Brennig Hayden
Just a quick note up front, this is based on the UK film release calendar so includes films that were released in the US in 2016.
1) BLADE RUNNER 2049
My 2nd favourite film is Blade Runner, so my expectations were very high for and did not expect them to be match. So to see them exceeded really shocked me, and was impressed how they dusted down the themes and ideas of the original and distilled them through our currently social issues.
Cinema, pure and simple. Would not work as a book, TV series or stage play, could only work as a motion picture. If you can, see it in 70mm Imax, at the risk of sounding like an advertisement, it’s a unique experience (especially the aerial photography).
3) I AM NOT A WITCH
Set the witch camps of Ghana, loved this simple but heart breaking story of a young girl labelled as a witch. Some unique visuals that I’ve not seen before really made this film stick out for me, and the sparse narrative invites you the viewer to place interpretations on the visuals. Is it a commentary on religion, or feminism… it’s all of them.
4) THE FLORIDA PROJECT
One of the most frustrating experiences of the year for me.
Loved 90% of this film, but the director made a creative choice at the end that I felt betrayed the good work leading up to it, but that 90% is still so good it’s high up on my list. By the way, William Defoe is at his very best in this.
5) LA LA LAND
One from 2016 for the US folk. I have a confession and I’m ashamed to admit this… I don’t like musicals. I don’t know why but it’s never connected with me. Tried Singing in the Rain, West Side Story… and nothing. I respect them, but don’t like them. Think it’s to with the fact musicals is about singing the story which goes against the rule of show don’t tell. So having said that, I flippin’ loved La La Land. Not sure why, watched it a few times to put my finger on it. Think it’s the cross over with Hollywood history and championing the notion of the dream.
6) A GHOST STORY
Takes a classic trope of a ghost haunting a loved one and turns it on its head and makes it a mediation on grief and asks what are we really doing here? without the need to include typical genre trappings. Great subtle filmmaking.
7) THE HANDMAIDEN
One of the few times I had no idea where the filmmaker was taking me. Go in cold and experience this film.
The cinematography on this is breath taking and is wasted on Netflix. Wished I had experienced it in the cinema.
9) I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO
In 90 minutes, you’ll get given a fresh perspective on the civil rights movement and a deeper understand on the motives that drove the people that led it.
10) DEATH OF STALIN
After films and rugby, my other love is politics. So a film that successfully ridicules and satirises politics ticks two boxes for me and is already up there as one of the great satires. Could have done with some rugby though.