Isabel Stevens


29 January 2019

Perfection is not an aim

Lorenza Mazzetti now runs a puppet theatre for children in Rome. But in London in the 1950s, when she was in her early twenties, she begged, borrowed and stole camera equipment to film K, an adaption of Metamorphosis, in a storage space in Notting Hill and a fabric shop in Soho with no script and a non-professional cast who had never heard of Kafka. Her next project, Together, the first publicly funded British fiction film directed by a woman, portrays the friendship between two dockworkers. Both characters are deaf; there’s no dialogue. Filmed in the streets, wharfs, pubs and fairgrounds of the bombed-out East End in 1956, Together woke British audiences up to a different kind of cinema.


24 March 2016

‘Court’

Judi Dench’s character in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel describes India as ‘an assault on the senses’. It’s a view shared by most British and American films set in India, from Slumdog Millionaire to The Darjeeling Limited and Life of Pi. Movies that look beyond the tourist guide book, especially independent Indian films, tend to disappear from UK cinema screens more quickly. Chaitanya Tamhane's ambitious first feature film, Court, goes on general if limited release in the UK tomorrow (it premiered at the Venice Film Festival in September 2014).


28 November 2013

Cold Malicious Waves

Leviathan – showing in (a very few) cinemas in London from tomorrow – is a portrait of a commercial fishing trawler, its crew, their haul and the ocean that surrounds them. Made by Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Laboratory, Leviathan strands its audience at sea, hurls you around and then slowly drowns you – first in fish guts, then in a dark watery abyss. The directors, Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel, were inspired by Moby-Dick; they read aloud from the novel on deck while filming.