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  • Sleep Has Her House

    Sleep Has Her House

    ★★★★★

    I'm wary of lumbering Scott Barley with superlatives, but when I was thinking Beethoven, Sibelius, Friedrich and Tarkovsky it's because in an avant-garde contemplative film we have a deep romanticism and love of nature that touch the sublime; it's a magnificent achievement that works on many levels, a major breakthrough for not only the young Welsh director but contemporary cinema too.

  • David Copperfield

    David Copperfield

    ★★★★

    Just pipped by Lean's Great Expectations as best screen Dickens adaptation, this is a thoroughly involving film with some memorable character turns by the likes of irrepressible W C Fields as Micawber, Edna May Oliver as redoubtable aunt Betsey, Basil Rathbone as young David's dastardly oppressor Murdstone, and a suitably slithery Roland Young as "be 'umble" Uriah Heep

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  • Sansho the Bailiff

    Sansho the Bailiff

    ★★★★★

    Drawing on a popular traditional tale and a 1915 novella by Mori Ogai, Mizoguchi’s Sansho the Bailiff/Sanshô dayû (1954) is a jidai-geki historical film concerning the cruel misfortune befalling the wife and children of a humane exiled provincial governor in ancient feudal Japan. I don’t want to give away too much, but some comments below should inevitably carry spoilers

    Few if any films can match the feeling for the beauty of nature, the mix of painterly eye, captivating silvery luminosity…

  • Maborosi

    Maborosi

    ★★★★★

    The debut feature of Kore-eda (one-time documentarist and director of the widely admired “Afterlife” and “Nobody Knows”) is one of a small, precious number of films for which i have felt lovesick. Maborosi’s story is superficially simple: affected by the death of her grandmother and her husband’s inexplicable suicide, a young Osaka woman starts new married life, along with her son, in a remote seaside fishing village, but finds the past continues to trouble her. Eschewing close-ups,the narrative draws the…