Tuesday, April 16, 2013

As Thatcher Lay Dying


I cant forgive her for the milk, no I cant. I will agree that for a woman to be dead and dying like her is a shame on this earth, but that she taken that milk from them children is nigh a disgrace and I said so and will always. It does seem a long time back now but well I remember and always will, the noise it made, the children crying and wailing and her not caring, unblinking and stoney in her hard-set face, she did it a-purpose and I daresay even it made her happy, there I said it.


I knew she was going, for ere I looked in her face and her not able to say a word she did always say with her eyes what was not spoke. Maggie my mother was a good woman and she would not unagree when I say she was a bold one too. I heard what she said. I heard what she asked for tho she didnt say it and I did what she asked for too and I am proud to say so. She was ere my mother.


Him coming here sniffing her body saying mother dear like as if he owned her and her legacy on this earth was him not me, well he can believe it for all he wants, he durn't carry on for her like I said I would have did and do carry on to do. And he is not her son for him to act so high and mighty, all the while smelling her and rubbing against her dying body for warmth and for to take on her smell, I could kill him and it would not be a crime.


It is the money makes me sick, it could make me cry when I commence to think on it. Her dead barely a week and all the carry-on and fighting, you would reckon Blair and Gideon was married to her if it did not sound so disappealing. There was no money before she took to dying, barely money to feed anyone but now I am wanted to believe she will have a coffin for ten million. I told them I do not figure where a person is to find ten million, when men this ways have barely seventy and three to their name and them asked to swell the fund for the coffin of her who did not care for them and even hated them, she would be laughing now.


I told them not no more than what I knowed and it was ten million I said, and I have it here and I will not suffer to see her in a coffin for less or I would rather see her in dirt like a poor whore woman such as I have used. Maggie my mother was a saint and as she said her funeral will cause them to scream well so be it I am prepared. I have my sums all done and it does work.


Everyone does despise Gideon the poor fool and I believe my mother Maggie too would have if she had even stood to look upon him once. Him striding in always with his pencil and paper, he cannot even work out his own money but now for her because she is dead he is saying ten million a coffin, well, I was minded to laugh aloud, it is so foolish. I said alright and if you say ten million, ten million it will be, but know that everyone will curse you for it, but he didnt care, he is too occupied thinking about goats and such.


My mother is a Tory.

Mr Johnson

I have set the village bell to stop on that day she goes to earth, and I mean it to be so. In this life she did always as she did please and so it shall be when she goes and I will not countenance other-wise.


And now I look upon them as they scrabble in the ground, poor worms that go and tend to earth not looking up but busying themselves with burrowing more and more. I laugh now because as I decided it would be it now is and this farmyard that I did inherit and have left is now as I had wanted. Poor Blair, he always did want for love. He could not see so far as his brother who I will allow is not so lively-minded but ere did pursue what he wanted to the end. Both, they do not see me now but they fight and they cry and they call upon theirselves to honour me more one than the other, while in the village people crawl to work and die for lack of bread. I laughed then and do now but louder.


I know that all will listen to me when I say I misliked her but she was a woman and I do not want to offend anyone and nor should nobody, and I will not suffer for singing on the day she goes to ground for it is a disgrace.


I look at Ed and again he is mumbling something while he rocks backward and forward and dribbling almost on his knee, she would laugh at him now that dares not utter her name for fear and yet she hated and disdained him. No-one will listen to Ed for he does not talk loud and he is confused in his mind and ever was.


It will be a party almost when we will say farewell to Maggie tho they told us not to and not at such cost well I do not care and I will kiss my goat because I do not care.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Cannes 2013 - An Excitable Preview

In May I will be going to the Cannes Film Festival for the second time, and I feel just as excited as I was the first time. If you care about arthouse cinema - about world cinema, and independent cinema; fuck, if you use the word cinema rather than movies, I'd say - then Cannes means something to you. For me, Cannes represents the sometimes uneasy tension that exists in cinema, between high glamour - the glitz of films, the starriness and sex appeal of actors - and high art. It manages to find that balance, every year: shiny premieres, hot stars, alongside a drab film from Romania about four miserable friends eating brown bread. The credibility of the festival rests on conjugating bold, brave cinema - in standing up for the craft of film, for its intransigence, its political dimension, its dreamlike quality and poetry - with more populist fare. Since the start of the 90s - the era that saw an explosion in what we think of as 'indie' cinema -  Soderbergh, Tarantino and the Coen Brothers have all won the top prize. But so, in that time, have Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Cristian Mungiu and Laurent Cantet, for wildly different films.

I think of the festival as a political bastion, a place that recognises anti-establishment views and promotes a liberal, inclusive politics: it stands up to dictatorships, offering a home for dissenting film-makers (like Lou Ye or Jafar Panahi) who are at risk of being oppressed. The origins of the festival lie in anti-fascist sentiment that led in 1947 to the creation of a programme celebrating a great liberating, universal art-form. The festival believes, truly, in the power of film to do good, and to be a form of art for all. This is one of the reasons I could shiver from head to toe with excitement when considering that I'll be climbing the steps of the Palais myself this year.

I'm thrilled to be writing about film, once more, for my great friends at Pajiba.com. I'm given so much liberty to write about films in the way I want by the wonderful, discerning, inspiring people who work for and read the site, and I hope to write some interesting stuff about some films that might not otherwise get much publicity. Pajiba is a wry, sharp-tongued website that is full of heart and passion for the things it loves - a real community site, embracing the arts it talks about. I couldn't have a better home.

So, onto the films that I hope to see this year. It's now just a week until the line-up is revealed, so what better time to speculate wildly about the films that could be showing at the festival? Last year was a good vintage, which suffered from the inclusion of a few films not quite up to scratch and the lack of Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master, which was not ready in time. This year, there's a great deal of films whizzing about, jostling each other for a coveted position in the official selection. Here are the films I hope to see, mixed in with a few I think I probably will see on the list.

Several films by women could help the festival to combat the scandal it weathered last year when no female directors were selected in the official line-up. Catherine Breillat with Abus de Faiblesse starring Isabelle Huppert, and Claire Denis with Les Salauds, are in with a good shot I would say, and are reliable, old hands. In terms of newer directors, the festival could give a boost to a young director like Rebecca Zlotowski, who has Grand Central coming out, featuring the great Tahar Rahim. Depending on whether her film is ready or not, we could be seeing Night Moves by Kelly Reichardt. Both Night Moves and Grand Central, with their environmentalist themes, could capture political currents quite nicely, and both offer stars for the red carpet. It would also be super sweet to see Pascale Ferran's new film, Bird People, featuring Anais Demoustier and Josh Charles; this is Ferran's first film since 2007, and sounds rather promising. Otherwise, there aren't many certainties at Cannes, but I'd say that with a starring role for Emma Watson, you can bet your bottom euro that Sofia Coppola will get a call for The Bling Ring.

In other certainties: sod it, I'm going to call Jimmy Picard by Arnaud Desplechin and Only God Forgives, by Nicolas Winding Refn. Desplechin is a great director and his film stars an amazing pairing of Mathieu Amalric and Benicio del Toro. Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive, a couple of years back, rubbed a fair bit of its hipster aura off on Cannes, and I think they'll be anxious to welcome Gosling back, hopefully to replicate his suit-and-glasses-and-no-shirt look from last time, which we all so enjoyed. I also think we'll see the new James Gray film, starring Marion Cotillard and the great Joaquin Phoenix. Cotillard is French and internationally famous, which screams Cannes, plus Gray has presented two films here before, so he has form. Additionally, the festival may want to apologise for putting him on the notoriously fractious jury of 2009, presided over by Huppert, which reportedly fought constantly over Lars Von Trier's Antichrist.

Has an English film director made a film this year? Yes! Steve McQueen's Twelve Years A Slave, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender, will be hoping to 'do a Django' - by which I mean, 'be successful at the box' office, not 'accurately portray slavery on film'. That's it for English films. Mike Leigh is on holiday and I don't think Terence Davies' Sunset Song is ready.

From Africa, we can expect to see 'Gris-Gris' by Mahamet-Saleh Haroun, following 2010's A Screaming Man, which won the Jury Prize. That might be it from Africa.

'The Americas' may give up a bit of Malick, the new Jarmusch, perhaps Scorsese (with The Wolf of Wall Street) and the Coen Brothers (Inside Llewyn Davies). Xavier Dolan, the upsettingly young and gifted Canadian master, is reportedly putting the finishing touches to his film Tom A La Ferme - and if he doesn't get selected to the main competition after getting overlooked for Laurence Anyways last year, I cannot wait to hear the hissy fit he throws. He really tore into the selectors last year, which you would not imagine is a good way to endear yourself to the festival; but Dolan is aware of his gifts and knows that he has already earned a place among the more experienced directors here.

From Asia, I'd love to see Hou Hsiao-Hsien's The Assassin, and new films by Hirokazu Koreeda and Tsai Ming-Liang. Koreeda's I Wish is possibly the loveliest film I've seen in recent years, and he has come to Cannes a couple of times before. Asgar Farhadi should be in with a shout for The Past, starring Tahar Rahim (Best Actor at Cannes for A Prophet), and we could also get the new film by Ari Folman (the director of Waltz With Bashir). I also hope we'll get to see the new film by Corneliu Porumboiu, whose Police, Adjective was a masterclass in controlled, forensic cinema.

I wonder if there'll be any surprises. I haven't considered the possibility of Thierry Fremaux selecting a critic-baiting film à la The Paperboy - which reminds me: Lee Daniels' new film, The Butler, may be ready in time. Starring Vanessa Redgrave, Terrence Howard, Oprah, Lenny Kravitz and Mariah Carey, and centring on the life Eugene Allen, butler to eight presidents at the White House, this is sure to be a... classy and well-conceived work of art.

Do please log on to the venerable Pajiba from May 15th onwards, when I will be reviewing some or perhaps all of these films, should my powers of prognostication be vindicated.