ABR Arts Film

Gauguin: Voyage de Tahiti ★★★

Barnaby Smith
Monday, 28 May 2018

Paul Gauguin’s storied journey to Tahiti represents one of the great exotic odysseys in modern art. In 1891, in a fit of frustration with the superficiality of the Parisian art world and a city that was ‘rotten, filthy and disgusting’, as Gauguin’s titular character puts it, Gauguin left his young family and journeyed to the proverbial ...

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On 'Black Panther'

Dilan Gunawardana
Tuesday, 22 May 2018

The Marvel film Black Panther has currently earned more than US$1.3 billion dollars at the box office worldwide since its release on 13 February 2018, which places it high among the most financially successful films of all time. Such an achievement isn’t necessarily indicative of quality – the Fast and the Furious and Minions ...

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The Bookshop ★★1/2

Jake Wilson
Monday, 21 May 2018

Watching The Bookshop, adapted from the late Penelope Fitzgerald’s 1978 novel by the Catalan director Isabel Coixet, admirers of the English novelist have the chance to test their memories. Which parts of the dialogue and the third-person voice-over narration (delivered by Julie Christie), come directly from the book? ...

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BPM (Beats per Minute) ★★★★★

Anwen Crawford
Monday, 14 May 2018

BPM, or 120 battements par minute, to give its more expansive French title, is not the first film to be made about the charismatic activist group AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, better known as ACT UP, but it is the most lyrical piece of cinema so far to have emerged from ACT UP’s history. ACT UP, founded in New York ...

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On Body and Soul ★★★★1/2

Dilan Gunawardana
Monday, 07 May 2018

On Body and Soul opens to a stag and doe wandering in a snowy forest to the slow, meditative sound of wind chimes and cowbells. The stag sniffs the doe cautiously and then tenderly rests his head on her back for a few seconds before cantering away, leaving the doe looking forlorn. Edited in a way that anthropomorphises ...

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Breath ★★★★

Brian McFarlane
Tuesday, 01 May 2018

In Simon Baker’s film, there is a visually stunning moment – one among many – of a giant curving wave on the verge of breaking that recalls the Japanese artist Hokusai’s famous ‘The Great Wave of Kanagawa’. What these two images share is the sense of rapturous beauty that doesn’t underestimate the challenge it offers ...

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Loveless ★★★★

Anwen Crawford
Monday, 23 April 2018

Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Loveless is a cold, despairing film, befitting its title. It opens and closes in the depths of winter, with wide, lingering shots of an ice-bound river; in between, it delivers a portrait of a marriage that has hardened into estrangement, with a child lost to the void that exists between his parents. No character ...

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The Death of Stalin ★★★1/2

Anwen Crawford
Monday, 26 March 2018

Madnesses pile up in The Death of Stalin, too fast and too numerous to itemise. Victims of tyranny are snatched away in the dead of night, locked in basements, or pushed down staircases at Chaplinesque speed. The terms of engagement change halfway through a conversation: forbidden thoughts are now doctrine ...

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Au revoir là-haut (See You Up There) ★★★★

Gemma Betros
Monday, 19 March 2018

Based on Pierre Lemaitre’s Prix-Goncourt-winning 2013 novel of the same name, 'Au revoir là-haut' (See You Up There) is a French film about World War I that takes aim at a society more interested in commemorating the war’s dead than in looking after its survivors. Albert Maillard (Albert Dupontel, who adapted the novel ...

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Human Flow ★★★1/2

Barnaby Smith
Tuesday, 13 March 2018

The unspeakably upsetting image of the three-year-old Syrian boy Alan Kurdi lying dead on a Turkish beach inspired a number of visual or artistic responses after it went disturbingly viral in 2015. Among the most high-profile, and certainly among the most provocative, was Ai Weiwei’s. The exiled Chinese artist ...

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