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  • All That Heaven Allows 1955

    ★★★★½ Rewatched 07 Aug, 2014

    Douglas Sirk's tale of a widow who falls in love with her younger gardener is a scathing indictment of middle-class America in the 1950s. It's very much a film that criticises the American Dream, with Sirk seeing the attainment of wealth and family as merely fuelling haughtiness. Having written a dissertation on social pressures in Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence and Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina only a few months ago, I could recognise the same thematic content in Sirk's…

  • Une Femme Mariée 1964

    ★★★★½ Watched 16 Jun, 2014

    A sublime, sensual film that - on first viewing - seems primarily concerned with superficiality: the concern over appearance (Charlotte's desire for a bigger bus, the machine to assist with good posture); the ignorance towards meaningful issues (epitomised when Charlotte and her actor lover leave a showing of Night and Fog to have sex). The title was originally going to be 'The Married Woman' until Godard was forced to change it to 'A Married Woman' to remove the perception of…

Popular reviews

  • A Brighter Summer Day 1991

    ★★★★★ Watched 01 Apr, 2012

    A magnificent achievement, A Brighter Summer Day is a near four-hour novelistic film set in 1960s Taiwan. Xiao Si'r (played by Chen Chang in his debut role) is a member of a local gang in turmoil due to the disappearance of its leader, Bunny - whose girlfriend Si'r gets involved with. As a study of tensions within gangs, it rivals Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather but - based on a real, tragic event - it's a wholly different film that…

  • Yearning 1964

    ★★★★★ Watched 16 Feb, 2013 2

    This melodrama, courtesy of Mikio Naruse, is a deeply moving and visually impressive work that follows a young man (Yuzo Kayama) in love with his sister-in-law (a stunning, career-best performance from Hideko Takamine), who was widowed during the war. With a final shot that is as perfect as is to be found in the medium of cinema, Yearning is one of several masterpieces that can be found in the oeuvre of the still-unappreciated Japanese master.