Friday, 19 July 2019

100 Essential Films That Deserve More Attention - 51. Barefoot Gen

People embrace the enchanting glow of the big screen for all manner of reasons; to journey to faraway places they could only ever imagine, to experience the escapism of a captivating story, or maybe to indulge in an obsession with the world of cinema. For me, all three of these reasons apply - and many more - but first and foremost is the satisfaction of recommending obscure films to other like-minded individuals who adopt them as their new favourites.

With over 100 years worth of films to choose from, and many of these now available at the click of a button, it can be extremely difficult to narrow your choices down to pick a film to watch. Although cinema has been around for over four times longer than my life on this earth, I have spent what some may consider an unhealthy amount of these years delving into the history of films to discover some of the best hidden gems out there.

This series of articles aims to highlight the overlooked masterpieces that I have unearthed whilst exploring the forgotten recesses of cinema. Take a gamble on any one of these films and I guarantee that you will be eagerly awaiting all future instalments in this series. You may well have heard of a number of these films; my aim isn't merely to shine a spotlight on the most obscure films out there, but to share my enjoyment of those films which don't have the cult following I believe they deserve.


Barefoot Gen
Director - Mori Masaki
Country - Japan
Year - 1983
Runtime - 83 minutes

Barefoot Gen is one of the most horrific animated films I have ever seen. It lulls you into a false sense of security with its sad but fairly innocuous portrayal of a poverty-stricken family in  war torn Japan in August 1945, a few days before the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Their daily struggles and hardships are affecting but these pale in comparison to the soul-crushing scenes of devastation we see in the wake of the bomb when it comes crashing down on the city. The first on-screen death we witness following the explosion is that of a young innocent girl clutching a doll as the intense heat rips her skin from her bones and her eyeballs are torn violently from her sockets. The shock of this impact leaves you reeling but the film continues to assault your senses with a barrage of disturbing imagery that would not feel out of place in a horror film. The ensuing carnage is genuinely unsettling and the overwhelming sense of dread is exacerbated by the emotionally draining scenes of death and destruction which befall Gen and his family.

The use of animation allows the film-makers to depict the ferociousness of the initial explosion and the subsequent fallout in ways that would not be possible in a live action film, and this enables the animators to showcase some incredibly dark and troubling scenarios. Make no mistake, this is a far cry from a Studio Ghibli film, with scenes of unflinching brutality that will sear their way onto your retinas and leave an indelible scar on your psyche like the unforgettable bombing at Hiroshima that continues to haunt its inhabitants today. The heavy themes it explores and the heartbreaking story it tells are clearly aimed at a mature audience, even though we experience the harrowing circumstances of the bombing through the struggles of a young boy. A boy who is thrust into the realm of adulthood far too early by virtue of the horrific ordeal he faces.

Gen is fortunate enough to belong to a loving family comprising of doting parents, a caring older sister, and a younger brother that he playfully fights with over any scraps of food they can get their hands on. His mother is heavily pregnant and his father is desperately trying to provide for the family in a society where food is scarce and the population is starving. This is a family unit that stick together through the hard times but nothing can prepare them for the life-altering events that will completely destroy any semblance of leading a normal existence ever again.

The stirring voice acting provides a real indication of the horror experienced by Gen and those close to him, making it a prerequisite for the original Japanese audio to be favoured over the jarring English dubbing track. Issei Miyazaki brings an endearing naivety to Gen's voice that is soon unseated and replaced with a raw sense of the tragic situation which engulfs him. As is the case with a lot of anime films the character's expressions are often exaggerated and this serves the emotionally distressing nature of the film well, heightening the impact of those scenes which resonate the most; particularly during the intimate heartbreak as Gen is separated from members of his family.

A traditional Japanese soundtrack instills the film with an evocative soundscape that chimes with the humble nature of Gen's upbringing as we are introduced to his family's simple way of life. This eventually gives way to a crescendo of ear-splitting explosions that leave an eerie and uncomfortable silence in their wake. When we move into the final third of the film, the score becomes awash with haunting melodies that tie in with the overwhelming regret and pain that consumes our devastated protagonist throughout his attempts to survive this living nightmare.

The visions of hell that Barefoot Gen depicts are pure nightmare fuel and you will certainly be haunted by the unforgettable scene when Gen utters the memorable line 'What hell is this? during a moment of pure terror. It makes you reflect upon the travesty of the human race's proliferation of violent and callous weapons of mass destruction, and strikes fear into your heart that advancements in weaponry continue to pose a dangerous threat to humanity.

The tragic tale of Barefoot Gen is a bleak and relentlessly harrowing experience to endure and the heartbreak continues in the sequel directed by Toshio Hirata. It briefly recaps the events of the first film before showcasing Gen's continuing struggle for survival as the effects of the radiation poisoning continue to ravage Hiroshima. Whilst not quite as impactful as its predecessor, it is still a worthy companion piece that serves to enhance our understanding of the aftermath and is essential viewing for those who are touched by the poignancy of the first outing.

Barefoot Gen offers a powerful and devastating history lesson in a beautifully realised film and it hits home in ways that you might never expect from an animated war feature. Its depressing subject matter is handled with a real care and is faithful to the prominent Manga series it is based upon. The trauma and grief resonates deeply as Gen traverses the dark and disturbing aftermath of the shocking incident that befell Hiroshima, ensuring that this exceptional piece of film-making will stay with you forever, even if you try to push aside the haunting imagery that makes this such a powerful work of art.

If you take the time to watch Barefoot Gen then it would be awesome if you could also take the time to let me know what you thought of it, either by commenting below or tweeting me @filmbantha. Thanks, and enjoy!



For previous instalments in the series click here

Sunday, 14 July 2019

100 Essential Films That Deserve More Attention - 50. Fireworks Wednesday

People embrace the enchanting glow of the big screen for all manner of reasons; to journey to faraway places they could only ever imagine, to experience the escapism of a captivating story, or maybe to indulge in an obsession with the world of cinema. For me, all three of these reasons apply - and many more - but first and foremost is the satisfaction of recommending obscure films to other like-minded individuals who adopt them as their new favourites.

With over 100 years worth of films to choose from, and many of these now available at the click of a button, it can be extremely difficult to narrow your choices down to pick a film to watch. Although cinema has been around for over four times longer than my life on this earth, I have spent what some may consider an unhealthy amount of these years delving into the history of films to discover some of the best hidden gems out there.

This series of articles aims to highlight the overlooked masterpieces that I have unearthed whilst exploring the forgotten recesses of cinema. Take a gamble on any one of these films and I guarantee that you will be eagerly awaiting all future instalments in this series. You may well have heard of a number of these films; my aim isn't merely to shine a spotlight on the most obscure films out there, but to share my enjoyment of those films which don't have the cult following I believe they deserve.

Fireworks Wednesday
Director - Asghar Farhadi
Country - Iran
Year 2006
Runtime - 104 minutes

Prying in other people's affairs and indulging in idle gossip can cause unintentional hurt and upset, especially when false assumptions are made because the truth is shrouded. This is one of the enthralling conceits that is explored in Asghar Farhadi's tempestuous drama, Fireworks Wednesday, which follows a soon to be married Iranian lady, Roohi (Taraneh Alidoosti), who takes a cleaning job at an apartment for Morteza (Hamid Farokhnezhad) and Mozhde (Hediyeh Tehrani), a husband and wife on the verge of splitting up. Through the course of a single day we are drawn into a web of lies and deceit instigated by Mozdhe's suspicion that her husband is having an affair with their next door neighbour, Simin (Pantea Bahram) - a single woman who is using her apartment as a beauty salon against the wishes of their landlord. We witness the emotional trauma and fallout as Roohi becomes embroiled in the couple's lives and her inquisitive nature interferes in an already uncomfortable situation that exacerbates as the day progresses.

During the introduction to this gripping drama we see and hear only that which Roohi does, leaving us as intrigued and curious about the couple's problems as she is. We learn that their heated arguments are often overheard by the neighbours and their young son, Amir (Matin Heydarnia), who is distressed by the constant bickering between his parents. It is unclear if there is growing resentment between Morteza and Mozhde due to an affair taking place or if Mozhde's suspicions are unfounded, but there are obviously some unresolved issues which are driving them apart. Roohi comes into this situation blind and, although she tries to help those who show her compassion, her meddling in that which she does not understand leads to more harm than good.

Alidoosti is sublime as the young bride to be, whose unsubtle attempts at eavesdropping entangle her in the quarreling couple's duplicity. She provides her character with a real sense of naive charm as we see Roohi trying to uncover the truth without causing any more hurt. The torment suffered by Mozdhe as she grapples with her husband's assumed infidelity is portrayed with a raw intensity by Tehrani. The devastating blows and setbacks she experiences are handled adeptly by Tehrani, imbuing her emotionally drained housewife with the anguish you would expect to see from a woman in such an uncompromising situation.

There are elements of unlikeable characteristics within most of the people we meet in Fireworks Wednesday, due to the very nature of the subject matter, although none more so than Morteza. His cold and hostile treatment of Mozdhe pushes her to the end of her tether, and Farokhnezhad demonstrates Morteza's ruthless behaviour with a chilling depiction of a volatile and careless husband. We are exposed to his tender side in a crucial scene that shows Morteza has a heart, even if its path is misguided, and the strain this has on his marriage echoes in his actions as pangs of regret bubble away under the surface.

The neighbour Mozdhe suspects her husband is having an affair with, Simin, is a mysterious character but she takes a shine to Roohi, who poses as her niece to prevent drawing attention to her illicit business venture when the landlord visits during a beauty treatment. Simin is completely unaware that Roohi has been sent by Mozdhe to probe for clues, and this incident kindles a friendship forged on lies and only serves to muddy the waters further in Roohi's search for the truth.

With the drama unfolding close to real time over the course of a single day we are pulled into a world of lies and deceit where people become victims of their own undoing and we become firmly invested in their plights. This harsh and poignant portrayal of a marriage in crisis is a superb vehicle for a remarkable cast of actors at the hands of an accomplished director, and the stark realism of Fireworks Wednesday is a credit to the talent involved.

Although most of the action is confined to the couple's apartment complex there are a number of striking scenes taking place elsewhere. A beautiful sequence at the start of the film shows the enchanting symmetry in a reflection of Roohi's hand as she drifts it through the fresh air outside of a bus window. A haunting incident at Morteza's place of work is tied inextricably to the movement of the building's lift as the camera mimics its descent and rise in a striking use of framing. These moments offer inventive imagery that serves to highlight Farhadi's impressive grasp of the medium, and help to bring his storytelling to life in a way that resonates both visually and emotionally.

It is telling that the Fireworks caused through human interactions are far more exciting than the actual fireworks we see, and these explosions of rage are matched in intensity by the compelling scenes in which characters face up to the truth, no matter how difficult this may be. Fireworks Wednesday is a real gem of Iranian cinema; this is a film that encompasses all of the hallmarks of a powerful and stirring drama, with a delicate touch that enables the stories subtleties to seep into your conscience as you ponder the beguiling creation of a master film-maker at work.

Farhadi has been crafting intricate and suspenseful character studies for much of his illustrious career and reached international acclaim with his Oscar winning film, A Separation (2011), that explored many similar themes to Fireworks Wednesday. His films offer a fascinating insight into Iranian society and the tragic human dramas he depicts can be as enthralling as they are devastating. Fireworks Wednesday stands out from his other earlier forays into film with its masterful storytelling and emotionally engaging performances from the leads, whose passionate renditions enhance its crushing impact.

If you take the time to watch Fireworks Wednesday then it would be awesome if you could also take the time to let me know what you thought of it, either by commenting below or tweeting me @filmbantha. Thanks, and enjoy!



For previous instalments in the series click here

Thursday, 4 July 2019

100 Essential Films That Deserve More Attention - 49. The Miracle Worker

People embrace the enchanting glow of the big screen for all manner of reasons; to journey to faraway places they could only ever imagine, to experience the escapism of a captivating story, or maybe to indulge in an obsession with the world of cinema. For me, all three of these reasons apply - and many more - but first and foremost is the satisfaction of recommending obscure films to other like-minded individuals who adopt them as their new favourites.

With over 100 years worth of films to choose from, and many of these now available at the click of a button, it can be extremely difficult to narrow your choices down to pick a film to watch. Although cinema has been around for over four times longer than my life on this earth, I have spent what some may consider an unhealthy amount of these years delving into the history of films to discover some of the best hidden gems out there.

This series of articles aims to highlight the overlooked masterpieces that I have unearthed whilst exploring the forgotten recesses of cinema. Take a gamble on any one of these films and I guarantee that you will be eagerly awaiting all future instalments in this series. You may well have heard of a number of these films; my aim isn't merely to shine a spotlight on the most obscure films out there, but to share my enjoyment of those films which don't have the cult following I believe they deserve.

The Miracle Worker
Director - Arthur Penn
Country - USA
Year - 1962
Runtime - 106 minutes

We can try to imagine living in a world where we are unable to see or hear but this frightening concept is always short-lived for anyone who can open their eyes and uncover their ears. This unfathomable condition is an affliction that befell Helen Keller and left her in isolation from those around her when she became ill at just nineteen months old. Only one person, Annie Sullivan, who was half blind herself, had any faith in Helen’s ability to learn language and gain a further understanding of the world that she was shut out from. The Miracle Worker is a bold and captivating depiction of Annie's efforts to help and educate Helen - an inspirational true account of the emotionally charged development of a cruelly misunderstood young girl.

The film’s events are based on Helen’s own autobiographical narrative of her formative years, although it explores this time of her life in far more detail, revealing the difficulties and intricacies involved in her attempts to grasp the concept of language. Helen is portrayed by Patty Duke in a physically and emotionally draining role that depicts the hurt and suffering Helen experienced at the hands of her family. A family who cared for Helen but were unable to communicate with her in a way that enabled her to understand the strange environment she inhabits. Anne Bancroft is exceptional in her role as Annie Sullivan, the miracle worker who acts as a catalyst for Helen’s development, retaining belief in Helen’s ability to learn when others had all but abandoned such doubtful notions.

Annie's attempts to educate Helen initially prove disastrous; placing a difficult barrier in their relationship that leads Helen's parents, Captain Keller (Victor Jory) and Kate Keller (Inga Swenson), to reconsider if Annie is capable of easing their daughter's understandably ill-tempered and destructive ways. Progress is slow and proves challenging for Annie but - haunted by memories of her distressing past, and desperate to help Helen break out of her shell - she persists with her attempts at teaching words to Helen through a series of gestures with her hands. Helen's older brother James (Andrew Prine) mocks Annie for this approach, pointing out that Helen is merely mimicking the gestures she is shown but Annie remains steadfast, determined to connect with the troubled adolescent mind that is longing to escape her unnatural confinement.

The interplay between these two characters is fascinating to behold, particularly when their combined persistence overcomes seemingly insurmountable challenges and Helen’s development becomes more tangible. Together they have a vast mountain to climb and the film’s success hinges largely on the two captivating performers who draw you into a strange and unique plight that is depicted in an incredibly enthralling and heart-rending manner.

Duke's performance as Helen is absolutely phenomenal; her character's struggle is portrayed as a constant battle, with fiery outbursts that impinge on both her family and teacher. These torrents of rage are one of the only ways in which Helen is able to express herself and are the cause of much destruction and frustration in the Keller household. Duke's vivid facial expressions invite you into Helen's psyche, providing an insight into a troubled mind that Annie is longing to release from its shackles. Bancroft is likewise first rate as Annie, bringing an extraordinary warmth and charm to a character who is, at times, very curt and quite eccentric, but never loses sight of her goal to aid Helen. The burgeoning relationship between the two leads serves to fill the audience with hope as their powerhouse performances provide a raw intensity to an incredibly uplifting and revelatory story.

Arthur Penn is the intrepid director who adapted the hit stage play of The Miracle Worker into a film and the taut screenplay benefits from his distinct visual flair that is apparent from the opening credits. These initial scenes comprise of a montage of Helen reacting to the world around her, including a hauntingly evocative scene as she approaches a jet black reflective bauble on a Christmas tree that smashes when she reaches for it, hinting at the fragility of her grasp on the world she lives in. A similarly melancholic montage plays out when Keller's family decide to reach out for help from an institute for the blind, who send Annie Sullivan to answer their request for aid. When Annie travels by train to meet Helen, we are transported deep into her fragile mind through a series of hazy flashbacks that amalgamate with her present surroundings through the use of impressive and striking editing techniques.

When Penn isn't dazzling with his inventive imagery he is framing the action with a keen eye for composition, making the most of a story that, by its very nature, is limited to a handful of locations. He utilises long takes to capture the frustrations of both Helen and Annie during their heated fracas which serve as important life lessons for Helen. These powerful scenes reveal the stage play roots of The Miracle Worker but are embellished with flourishes that heighten the intensity in ways that would be impossible under the restrictions of a theatre production.

Both utterly compelling and devastatingly poignant, The Miracle Worker is a fascinating biographical account of a real life struggle to overcome a seemingly impossible challenge. This is a journey that we can all empathise with, and it is likely to fill your eyes with tears and your heart with joy, in what is undoubtedly an American classic. The Miracle Worker takes us to some dark and depressing places, with its stark and powerful realism demonstrated from the very first scenes. However, the cathartic journey that Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan embark upon makes for a rewarding viewing experience that will leave you astounded by the courage and determination of two remarkably inspirational women.

If you take the time to watch The Miracle Worker then it would be awesome if you could also take the time to let me know what you thought of it, either by commenting below or tweeting me @filmbantha. Thanks, and enjoy!



For previous instalments in the series click here

Friday, 28 June 2019

100 Essential Films That Deserve More Attention - 48. Kajaki

People embrace the enchanting glow of the big screen for all manner of reasons; to journey to faraway places they could only ever imagine, to experience the escapism of a captivating story, or maybe to indulge in an obsession with the world of cinema. For me, all three of these reasons apply - and many more - but first and foremost is the satisfaction of recommending obscure films to other like-minded individuals who adopt them as their new favourites.

With over 100 years worth of films to choose from, and many of these now available at the click of a button, it can be extremely difficult to narrow your choices down to pick a film to watch. Although cinema has been around for over four times longer than my life on this earth, I have spent what some may consider an unhealthy amount of these years delving into the history of films to discover some of the best hidden gems out there.

This series of articles aims to highlight the overlooked masterpieces that I have unearthed whilst exploring the forgotten recesses of cinema. Take a gamble on any one of these films and I guarantee that you will be eagerly awaiting all future instalments in this series. You may well have heard of a number of these films; my aim isn't merely to shine a spotlight on the most obscure films out there, but to share my enjoyment of those films which don't have the cult following I believe they deserve.

Kajaki
Director - Paul Katis
Country - UK
Year 2014
Runtime - 108 minutes

Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk is a masterclass in how to create tension in a war film and is even more impressive when you consider the enemy is never shown on screen. Kajaki is a similarly intense war film based upon a true account that ratchets up the tension to unbearable levels with an unseen enemy causing havoc for a company of British soldiers stationed in Afghanistan. Whereas the fleeing English are pursued by Nazis in Dunkirk, the unseen danger in Kajaki is a cluster of unexploded anti-personnel mines in a scorching, dried out river-bed, where any movement could set off a barrage of explosions.

It is here where a company of relatively inexperienced soldiers face almost insurmountable odds of survival and must pull together to courageously overcome one of the greatest threats they may ever encounter. The build up to these dramatic events establishes the various personalities present in the company with the usual gung-ho antics and machismo conversations you may come to expect from a war film but it also sheds light on the human side of these soldiers as they nervously wait to be called into action. By utilising a largely unknown British cast, director Paul Katis has ensured that we are completely in the dark as to who will survive from the unit and this leaves us as shell-shocked as the company whenever an explosion takes place.

The desolate surroundings of the company's base provide a stunning backdrop to the film's events, a backdrop which Katis uses to his advantage with a handful of sumptuous establishing shots. The lifeless desert terrain and its occasional pockets of water, which the soldiers take great pleasure in using for a refreshing dip, exhibit the traits of an idyllic setting, albeit a grossly misleading one. Potential enemy activity nearby breaks the spell of the naturally beautiful environment and engages the momentum of the story as a group of intrepid soldiers head out to investigate and do their duty.

From the moment the first mine explodes we are thrust into a shocking and upsetting life or death situation. This has a huge impact on the emotional state of the servicemen who see their unit slowly falling to pieces around them, as well as being a distressing turn of events for the audience. Katis pulls no punches in showing the gory aftermath of the explosions as these young soldiers inadvertently set off numerous mines. The horrific wounds are displayed in all of their grisly detail; heightening the sense of realism and making the stomach churning situation even more uncomfortable and nerve-wracking for the viewer.

This is as much of an endurance test for the audience as it is for the company of soldiers who find themselves at the mercy of an unforgiving environment. There may be a handful of ill-advised decisions during the life altering events we witness but it's easy to look back on the situation with hindsight, and far more difficult to imagine if you would be able to act with such conviction and bravery in the same situation. Being able to put your own life at risk for the safety of others whose lives depend on your courageous actions is an inspiring and selfless personality trait to possess, and many of the soldiers are willing to do just that. The intensity of the situation exacerbates until it becomes a harrowing nightmare; a nightmare that we could easily switch off (if we were affected enough to do so) but those who experienced it first hand had to endure, using all of their strength and willpower if they were to have any chance of surviving to see another day.

A powerful and heart wrenching coda details the aftermath for those involved alongside
photos of the real life heroic soldiers, adding an overwhelming sense of emotion to what is already an incredibly draining and disturbing film. This sad story has been retold with the utmost of respect to the devastated men who were there on the fateful day of the incident. Writer Tom Williams doesn't judge or condone anyone's actions and presents his account without bias to allow the audience to form their own views on where the mission falls down. Kajaki is a gripping and poignant anti-war film that demonstrates the horrific and long lasting effect war can have on the countries that are ravaged by its evil nature. This is an important and impressive feature film debut from Paul Katis and marks him as a promising director who we should all be looking out for in the future.

If you take the time to watch Kajaki then it would be awesome if you could also take the time to let me know what you thought of it, either by commenting below or tweeting me @filmbantha. Thanks, and enjoy!



For previous instalments in the series click here

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

100 Essential Films That Deserve More Attention - 47. Cafe De Flore

People embrace the enchanting glow of the big screen for all manner of reasons; to journey to faraway places they could only ever imagine, to experience the escapism of a captivating story, or maybe to indulge in an obsession with the world of cinema. For me, all three of these reasons apply - and many more - but first and foremost is the satisfaction of recommending obscure films to other like-minded individuals who adopt them as their new favourites.

With over 100 years worth of films to choose from, and many of these now available at the click of a button, it can be extremely difficult to narrow your choices down to pick a film to watch. Although cinema has been around for over four times longer than my life on this earth, I have spent what some may consider an unhealthy amount of these years delving into the history of films to discover some of the best hidden gems out there.

This series of articles aims to highlight the overlooked masterpieces that I have unearthed whilst exploring the forgotten recesses of cinema. Take a gamble on any one of these films and I guarantee that you will be eagerly awaiting all future instalments in this series. You may well have heard of a number of these films; my aim isn't merely to shine a spotlight on the most obscure films out there, but to share my enjoyment of those films which don't have the cult following I believe they deserve.

Cafe De Flore
Director - Jean-Marc Vallee
Country - Canada
Year - 2011
Runtime - 120 minutes

Cafe de Flore is a bold and beautiful depiction of love and the profound connections forged between those whose souls align and intertwine. Clearly inspired by Krystof Kiezlowski's The Double Life of Veronique; its twin narrative takes the audience to two separate times and places as director Jean-Marc Vallee flouts a traditional approach to storytelling in his daring exploration of spiritual and metaphysical elements that tangle together from each of the fascinating storylines. As the connection between these separate strands becomes clearer it ignites an influx of introspection and contemplation surrounding the director's mysterious intentions. This heartfelt and deeply emotional journey may not always hold up under close scrutiny but the evocative moments depicted throughout Cafe De Flore convey a wealth of sensations that conjure up a truly tantalising viewing experience.

Our first exposure to Vallee's distinct vision is an intimate farewell at a Canadian airport in the present day where Antoine Godin (Kevin Parent) says goodbye to a woman and two young girls. This departure implies we are witnessing a husband leaving his wife and daughters for a flight but it transpires he has left his wife, Carole (Helene Florent), - and the mother of his children - three years ago, and the lady he embraces for one last time before he boards his plane is his new (and much younger) girlfriend, Rose (Evelyne Brochu). Antoine's job as a DJ involves travelling the world and this brief farewell is the first of many difficult departures that occur throughout both strands of the story. Connections between the two segments are perceptible from this very first scene but will elude first time viewers who will not have the requisite knowledge of what is yet to come in order to grasp the subtle clues as they pass by.

The second story transports us back in time to Paris in the 1960s where a young mother, Jacqueline (Vanessa Paradis), gives birth to her son, Laurent, who happens to have Down's syndrome. Her husband's distress at this occurrence is the cause of the film's second departure when he abandons the mother of his newborn son, leaving Jacqueline to raise Laurent as a single parent. Jacqueline's steadfast devotion to her baby demonstrates a passionate love that grows as he blossoms into a young boy. From here onwards the subtle parallels between the two storylines become more apparent and attentive viewers will take great delight in piecing together the parts of this intricate puzzle as they attempt to understand the mystical, and incredibly satisfying, correlation.

Credit is due to Marin Gerrier, the young actor with Down's syndrome who plays Laurent, in an impressive debut performance - the inexorable bond he shares with his on screen mother appears genuine throughout - and it is a shame that he has not been seen on screen since. Laurent's loving attachment to Jacqueline depicts a beautiful relationship that only comes into question with the arrival of a young girl (who also has Down's syndrome) who joins his class at school. This development is the cause of much heartache for Jacqueline, and is demonstrated by the sheer passion Paradis injects into her role, as her steadfast devotion to Laurent's every need is no longer reciprocated by the unwavering intense love they once shared.

Shocking scenes of anguish and despair follow, along with a handful of eerie sequences that echo the techniques used by horror film directors when exploring the psychological pain of their tormented protagonists. By branching out into unexpected territory in this manner, Vallee heightens the pervading sense of spirituality as moments of deja vu cause ripples across both timelines and toy with the audiences curiosity - a curiosity that inevitably holds steadfast as the fascinating story unfolds in a mesmerising fashion.

Returning to present day Canada we learn that Antoine is haunted by past memories he shared with his ex-wife, Carole, and her presence is missed not just by Antoine and his two daughters, but by his own parents, who both make their feelings known to him. Antoine and Carole share amicable greetings whenever their children exchange hands and these encounters weigh down on Antoine's relatively new relationship with Rose, as her jealousy adds additional strain to his current state of being. Parent brings an imposing raw energy to his portrayal of Antoine; an energy that is matched by Brochu as Rose, particularly as she lights up the screen with her alluring smile and sultry dance moves when we see them meet for the first time in a vivid recollection.

We travel back to Antoine's past in a number of beautifully realised sequences that depict his teenage years with Carole and the blossoming romance they once shared. The young actors in these roles, Emile Vallee and Chanel Fontaine, convey a natural innocence that heightens the sense of sorrow around the breakdown of their relationship in years to come. This constant sorrow and despair can be overwhelming in parts but Vallee always pulls the mood back with sequences of pure unadulterated bliss, and the contrast between these two juxtaposing elements takes you on an emotional journey almost as demanding as those experienced by his characters

How you interpret and react to the eventual union of the two thematically similar strands is likely to be indicative of your enjoyment of the film as a whole, and perhaps explains why Cafe De Flore is considered by many to be a divisive film. Vallee's vibrant imagery and inventive use of music throughout paint an enrapturing picture with sequences that resonate on a level that stirs up forgotten memories of past experiences. The subtle bliss of the title song Cafe De Flore gradually transforms into a haunting elegy as its music accompanies defining moments in both of the storylines. This visually stunning and incredibly spiritual approach to film-making will certainly appeal to those who are attuned to artistic expression and do not shy away from experimental works, but it also risks alienating audiences who prefer a more conventional method of storytelling.

Flashbacks and flash forwards are handled with a style and panache that, at times, sees the images from both stories merge or collide, further cementing the crossover of world's that permeates the film's central themes. Each facet of the film evokes an aching poignancy for lost loves and failed relationships, delving deep into the hearts and minds of its key characters. Vallee has a flair for fascinating visuals, possessing a keen eye that respects the delicate intricacies of his set pieces. He finds the time to linger on his actors when they display the purest and rawest of emotions, heightening his meticulous work and creating breathtaking scenes of real power that mesmerise time and time again.

Cafe De Flore is a stunning piece of art that explores the enthralling possibilities of the cinematic medium whilst providing audiences with a gripping scenario that plays out in an imaginative and original manner. This is an intricate film that rewards repeat viewings and continues to offer up new surprises on each return visit. The meticulous and enchanting visuals combine with the accompanying soundtrack to bore deep into your subconscious; stirring up an emotional response with a magnitude that is rarely experienced whilst watching a film - but should always be treasured when it does. Jean-Marc Vallee's unconventional but flavourful approach to directing found the perfect subject matter to explore in Cafe De Flore, and this bittersweet tale of romance rises above its unusual structure to deliver a sublime encounter with heartache that demands your utmost attention.

If you take the time to watch Cafe De Flore then it would be awesome if you could also take the time to let me know what you thought of it, either by commenting below or tweeting me @filmbantha. Thanks, and enjoy!



For previous instalments in the series click here


Saturday, 15 June 2019

100 Essential Films That Deserve More Attention - 46. Sorcerer

People embrace the enchanting glow of the big screen for all manner of reasons; to journey to faraway places they could only ever imagine, to experience the escapism of a captivating story, or maybe to indulge in an obsession with the world of cinema. For me, all three of these reasons apply - and many more - but first and foremost is the satisfaction of recommending obscure films to other like-minded individuals who adopt them as their new favourites.

With over 100 years worth of films to choose from, and many of these now available at the click of a button, it can be extremely difficult to narrow your choices down to pick a film to watch. Although cinema has been around for over four times longer than my life on this earth, I have spent what some may consider an unhealthy amount of these years delving into the history of films to discover some of the best hidden gems out there.

This series of articles aims to highlight the overlooked masterpieces that I have unearthed whilst exploring the forgotten recesses of cinema. Take a gamble on any one of these films and I guarantee that you will be eagerly awaiting all future instalments in this series. You may well have heard of a number of these films; my aim isn't merely to shine a spotlight on the most obscure films out there, but to share my enjoyment of those films which don't have the cult following I believe they deserve.

Sorcerer
Director - William Friedkin
Country - USA
Year 1977
Runtime - 121 minutes

After making his mark on the American cinematic landscape with The French Connection and The Exorcist, director William Friedkin boldy decided to tackle a loose remake of Henri-Georges Clouzot's thrilling French masterpiece, The Wages of Fear, which was also based upon the novel by Georges Arnaud. His magnificent vision of the existential thriller involved months of filming in South American jungles in a move that bears similarities to Herzog's ambitious and wonderful follies; Aguirre, The Wrath of God and Fitzcarraldo. Production costs spiralled and the studios backing the film made huge losses when it was released only a week before a certain film by George Lucas, sadly ushering it into obscurity and almost consigning the film to history as it languished untouched for many years before being recut and restored for modern audiences.

The version we see today isn't vastly different from that which was presented in 1977 but the addition of a stirring Tangerine Dream soundtrack and the essential inclusion of each of the main character's back stories at the start of the film (some of these scenes were removed or inserted as flashbacks in a number of the film's international releases) heighten the intensity of the nail-biting scenario and add important character development. As in Clouzot's stirring adaptation the story focuses on four downtrodden men from various walks of life who take on the unenviable and lucrative task of transporting volatile explosives over incredibly precarious terrain to help stem the fire from an explosion at a distant oil field. One false move could spell certain disaster for these fearless drivers as they traverse long forgotten tracks through the jungle, and encounter all manner of dangerous obstacles such as rickety bridges, impenetrable foliage and violent bandits.

Sorcerer is a real slow burner of a film - the perilous journey doesn't commence until almost an hour in - but by the time it gets going we are fully invested in the fate of the four desparate men as they take what could be the only chance to escape their hellish lives in the tropics. The intriguing setup provides invaluable insight into why they have all ended up in this uninviting part of the world, working for a pittance in a place where they are unlikely to ever be found by those from their past lives who might be seeking them. These scenes help us to understand what drives the protagonists and enable us to harbour an emotional investment as they come face to face with one of the most life-threatening challenges they could ever experience.

Friedkin poured his heart into the creation of Sorcerer and there are many elaborate scenes that
showcase his unbridled passion for this project. One of the standout sequences is when the drivers attempt to transport the trucks across an almost impassable bridge (that is literally falling apart at the seams) over a river whilst being assaulted with torrential rain. It is a bravura moment where you are left completely and utterly stunned; not only due to the incredible intensity of the heart-stopping scenario but by the sheer audacity of the film-makers in realising such a treacherous action sequence that continues for far longer than you would expect possible. This is pure cinema - a phenomenally suspenseful thrill ride that gnaws at the very crux of what it feels like to be alive.

Roy Scheider takes top billing as Jackie Scanlon, an American Irishman who takes refuge in the South American jungle when fleeing from the mob. His steady nerves and skill behind the wheel secure him a place in the assignment and his character becomes more unhinged as the trucks inch ever closer towards their destination. Bruno Cremer portrays Victor Manzon, a once successful French businessman down on his luck who would do anything to be reunited with his wife. These are tragic men who are struggling to survive against the unpredictable tide of fate and (along with Francisco Rabal as Nilo and Amidou as Kassem) they provide an astonishing depth of emotion in their performances; anchoring the films heavy themes with a raw and visceral expressiveness of character that leaves you breathless - in total awe and appreciation of the dedication to their craft.

The camaraderie between the men is shallow and fragile; they are bound together through their actions but remain ever fearful that a single mistake from their companions could spell certain doom for the mission and their life. They all seek dominance and control over the risky decisions they face and the hostilities between the four are as fascinating to behold as the deadly manoeuvres they undertake whilst grappling with the controls of the trucks. Friedkin focuses in on the wheels spinning and the explosives shaking in the rear compartment just as much as the frightened reactions from his protagonists and these cuts heighten the heart-palpitating tension close to unbearable levels.

Sorcerer is a monumental thriller and a testament to Friedkin's astounding ability as a director; particularly when you consider that he overcame a plethora of setbacks throughout the film's volatile production. Tackling a reinterpretation of a renowned masterpiece and being successful in doing so is no small feat, and one that demonstrates just how remarkable Friedkin's talent is. When working on the restoration Friedkin himself said 'I felt then and still do that Sorcerer is the best film I've made', and I wholeheartedly concur that this is a masterclass in film-making that rivals The French Connection and The Exorcist.

If you take the time to watch Sorcerer then it would be awesome if you could also take the time to let me know what you thought of it, either by commenting below or tweeting me @filmbantha. Thanks, and enjoy!



For previous instalments in the series click here

Sunday, 9 June 2019

100 Essential Films That Deserve More Attention - 45. What Richard Did

People embrace the enchanting glow of the big screen for all manner of reasons; to journey to faraway places they could only ever imagine, to experience the escapism of a captivating story, or maybe to indulge in an obsession with the world of cinema. For me, all three of these reasons apply - and many more - but first and foremost is the satisfaction of recommending obscure films to other like-minded individuals who adopt them as their new favourites.

With over 100 years worth of films to choose from, and many of these now available at the click of a button, it can be extremely difficult to narrow your choices down to pick a film to watch. Although cinema has been around for over four times longer than my life on this earth, I have spent what some may consider an unhealthy amount of these years delving into the history of films to discover some of the best hidden gems out there.

This series of articles aims to highlight the overlooked masterpieces that I have unearthed whilst exploring the forgotten recesses of cinema. Take a gamble on any one of these films and I guarantee that you will be eagerly awaiting all future instalments in this series. You may well have heard of a number of these films; my aim isn't merely to shine a spotlight on the most obscure films out there, but to share my enjoyment of those films which don't have the cult following I believe they deserve.

What Richard Did
Director - Lenny Abrahamson
Country - Ireland
Year - 2012
Runtime - 89 minutes

Director Lenny Abrahamson captivated everyone with his Oscar winning film, Room, in 2015, when it launched the career of child actor Jacob Tremblay and caused countless teary eyes. Prior to the success of Room, Abrahamson created a number of smaller scale features that likewise focused on strong characters in interesting circumstances such as the hard-hitting Irish drama, What Richard Did. This exceptional gem is one of his finest earlier works with a superb central performance from Jack Reynor as Richard - that acted as a calling card for Hollywood for both Reynor and Abrahamson.

Taking his cue from the stark British realism of Mike Leigh and Ken Loach, Abrahamson introduces us to Richard's world as he arranges an alcohol-fuelled weekend at a beach near his parent's holiday home. Richard's warmth and charm have helped to establish his alpha-male position in a social circle comprising his rugby team and their female friends, with Reynor portraying a likeable teenager who appears to genuinely care for those around him. Trouble arises in the form of a team-mate's attractive new girlfriend, Lara, who immediately captures Richard's attentive gaze, and this infatuation threatens to disrupt the otherwise peaceful nature of his circle of friends.

Roisin Murphy tackles the role of the vibrant love interest, Lara, with aplomb. Richard's candid and confident approach to wooing her has the desired effect as she falls for his roguish charms and faces her own difficult decisions on her next course of action. Their on screen relationship feels entirely natural and is a credit to both young actors - Abrahamson always coaxes the best out of his performers and this passion for realism enhances the impact of the storyline's events. It is almost as if we have grown up alongside these characters, particularly as we experience the light-hearted nuances of their social gatherings in the first part of the film, which conjure up memories of being a teenager without a care in the world.

It is clear from the film's intriguing title that Richard will, at some point, do something of note. However, it is not clear what this action or event may be, nor are we aware of its magnitude. Abrahamson's bold title choice builds up an expectation that we are likely to witness a scene which has a significant impact on Richard's life and he certainly delivers on this front. The subsequent fallout and reconciliation attempts Richard makes with both friends and family takes him on a cathartic and revealing journey that provides an emotionally draining hook as we witness his suffering first hand. Lars Mikkelsen takes on the role of Richard's affectionate father and they share a scene together that chills you to the core with its raw display of tangled emotions. The devastation of this encounter propels the film into a poignant and reflective third act as Richard becomes consumed by regret and this begins to cloud his judgement.

Abrahamson allows his characters to express themselves in scenes without dialogue that convey their inner feelings and tell us more than any spoken words ever could. These intimate and heartfelt sequences range from tranquil moments shared between lovers to ferocious outbursts of anger and frustration, and they all initiate a surge of emotion for the invested viewer. The camera lingers over these moments for longer than one might expect, allowing time for the reality of the situation to sink in; as if enraptured by the blissful or haunting imagery it captures.

The stunning Irish coastline acts as an enchanting backdrop to the proceedings, with the glistening flow of the tide lapping at the shore line like the swell of thoughts that plague Richard's mind in his darkest hours. Reynor bares his soul as Richard with a powerhouse performance that carries the weight of the film even when its momentum falters slightly in the sombre final third. This is a character you instantly connect with thanks to Reynor's bravura acting, as he demonstrates a dedication to his craft that is befitting of Malcolm Campbell's brooding screenplay, which has been loosely adapted from the novel by Kevin Power.  

Those with a penchant for involving (and surprisingly dark) character-driven dramas are likely to adore What Richard Did. It is by no means an easy watch but its provocative subject matter is handled in an eloquent and enthralling fashion even if it ultimately leaves you shell-shocked. Abrahamson's ability to create a beguiling spectacle from plunging his characters headfirst into unsettling scenarios and the sublime performances from his cast combine to make this a real Irish treasure that should not be missed. If you want to find out exactly What Richard Did (who doesn't?) then I suggest you tackle this searing drama head on for what will inevitably be an unforgettable encounter with an overlooked cinematic gem.

If you take the time to watch What Richard Did then it would be awesome if you could also take the time to let me know what you thought of it, either by commenting below or tweeting me @filmbantha. Thanks, and enjoy!



For previous instalments in the series click here

Friday, 24 May 2019

100 Essential Films That Deserve More Attention - 44. Port of Shadows

People embrace the enchanting glow of the big screen for all manner of reasons; to journey to faraway places they could only ever imagine, to experience the escapism of a captivating story, or maybe to indulge in an obsession with the world of cinema. For me, all three of these reasons apply - and many more - but first and foremost is the satisfaction of recommending obscure films to other like-minded individuals who adopt them as their new favourites.

With over 100 years worth of films to choose from, and many of these now available at the click of a button, it can be extremely difficult to narrow your choices down to pick a film to watch. Although cinema has been around for over four times longer than my life on this earth, I have spent what some may consider an unhealthy amount of these years delving into the history of films to discover some of the best hidden gems out there.

This series of articles aims to highlight the overlooked masterpieces that I have unearthed whilst exploring the forgotten recesses of cinema. Take a gamble on any one of these films and I guarantee that you will be eagerly awaiting all future instalments in this series. You may well have heard of a number of these films; my aim isn't merely to shine a spotlight on the most obscure films out there, but to share my enjoyment of those films which don't have the cult following I believe they deserve.

Port of Shadows
Director - Marcel Carne
Country - France
Year 1938
Runtime - 92 minutes

Les Enfants Du Paradis is undoubtedly Marcel Carne's masterpiece, and an underseen one at that, but his earlier films get even more short thrift, with Port of Shadows coming close to the brilliance of his three hour opus in only half the running time. Carne's penchant for doomed romances is in full swing in this atmospheric noir and Jean Gabin and Michele Morgan are perfectly cast as Jean, a deserting soldier escaping his duty, and Nelly, the reluctant mistress of a local gang who longs to distance herself from their cruel ways. Their paths cross amidst a host of shady players who dwell in the ports dingy bars - the kind of characters who wouldn't feel out of place in a Tarantino film - all of whom would be fascinating enough to feature in a film of their own. However, it is Jean and Nelly who steal the limelight as they try to put their troubled pasts behind them and kindle a blossoming romance that only serves to invite danger for both parties.

This enthralling film-noir was deemed too risque by its producer who cut a number of scenes he considered 'dirty' and it was later banned for being considered immoral and distressing to young people when war broke out in 1939. Its once outlandish subject matter may seem tame when viewed through a modern lens but, even if the societal implications of its story line have diminished over the years, Port of Shadows retains its potency to stir up an emotional resonance with a well crafted tale that harbours many surprises. Carne is a masterful Director and the wonderful script from Jacques Prevert, who adapted Pierre Dumarchais' novel, provided him with a taut and efficient screenplay that moves along at a brisk yet measured pace. Each of the character's story arcs weave together seamlessly and every action or utterance has a consequence or a purpose, leaving the audience completely captivated with the beguiling and unpredictable plot that plays out.

Early on in the proceedings Jean encounters a stray dog whom he adopts and this is a delightful reflection of his loneliness and desire for companionship. A desire that is hidden behind Jean's frank and hostile demeanor owing to his hunger and run of bad luck. This encounter pales in comparison to his chance meeting with Nelly, and the change in Jean's persona as he eats his first meal in two days and begins to flirt with this beautiful and intriguing young lady invites the audience to finally connect with Gabin's strong and charismatic soldier. Morgan's portrayal of Nelly as the mysterious femme fatale is an alluring performance and the instant connection between the two downtrodden individuals provides a saccharine hook that permeates the dankness of the port's overbearing misery.

The gloomy port side bars allow Carne to cultivate a sombre mood and he utilises shadows and cigarette smoke to create a striking atmosphere befitting of the brooding tale he presents. A funfair that lights up the seafront at night offers a welcome respite from the dreary establishments our protagonists frequent, whilst serving to bring certain characters closer together in a memorable turn of events that gives us hope amidst the darkness. This is a film full of sadness where even the minor players have a tough time. The spark of love and the dreams of a new life take root in your soul only to come crushing down as the heartbreaking story unfolds and leaves devastation in its wake.

In the space of a few days this unassuming port town bears witness to gunfights, suicide and murder, with the dark tide of incidents stemming from the death of Nelly's criminal lover who we learn passed away in suspected foul play, shortly before Jean makes his entrance and becomes unintentionally embroiled in the commotion. The subsequent fallout has a profound impact on both of their lives and delivers a truly unforgettable resolution that showcases Carne's unbridled talent for the cinematic medium.

This is an incredibly involving film that transports you to another time and place that feels so real you could almost stride up to one of the grimy bars and order a drink, whilst watching the entrancing denizens and listening intently to their deep and engrossing monologues. Being lost like this in a Marcel Carne film is a sublime experience and one that should be treasured by anyone intrepid enough to seek out this classic French crime film. It encapsulates the era it depicts with a flair and style like no other and deserves to be considered alongside the all time greats of 1930s cinema.

If you take the time to watch Port of Shadows then it would be awesome if you could also take the time to let me know what you thought of it, either by commenting below or tweeting me @filmbantha. Thanks, and enjoy!



For previous instalments in the series click here

Friday, 10 May 2019

100 Essential Films That Deserve More Attention - 43. The Shop on Main Street

People embrace the enchanting glow of the big screen for all manner of reasons; to journey to faraway places they could only ever imagine, to experience the escapism of a captivating story, or maybe to indulge in an obsession with the world of cinema. For me, all three of these reasons apply - and many more - but first and foremost is the satisfaction of recommending obscure films to other like-minded individuals who adopt them as their new favourites.

With over 100 years worth of films to choose from, and many of these now available at the click of a button, it can be extremely difficult to narrow your choices down to pick a film to watch. Although cinema has been around for over four times longer than my life on this earth, I have spent what some may consider an unhealthy amount of these years delving into the history of films to discover some of the best hidden gems out there.

This series of articles aims to highlight the overlooked masterpieces that I have unearthed whilst exploring the forgotten recesses of cinema. Take a gamble on any one of these films and I guarantee that you will be eagerly awaiting all future instalments in this series. You may well have heard of a number of these films; my aim isn't merely to shine a spotlight on the most obscure films out there, but to share my enjoyment of those films which don't have the cult following I believe they deserve.


The Shop on Main Street
Director - Jan Kadar/Elmar Klos
Country - Czechoslovakia
Year 1965
Runtime - 128 minutes

Opening with a jubilant orchestral score as crowds march happily around a bustling town square, you would be forgiven for thinking The Shop On Main Street is a comedy or a light-hearted drama. Instead, this picture is a terrifying account of the persecution of the Jewish population in Slovakia as the rise in fascism takes hold of Eastern Europe during World War Two. The misleading introduction showcases a happy and thriving population, blissfully unaware of the forthcoming upheaval that will change all of their lives forever.

We witness the shocking turn of events through the eyes of Antonin (Toni), a carpenter who has a blatant distaste for the spread of Nazism in his home town. Toni squirms in his skin when his fascist brother-in-law, Markus, who is a high ranking officer, turns up to dinner unannounced and finds it hard to hold back his true feelings after they indulge in a copious amount of vodka. These are troubled times and Toni comes dangerously close to overstepping the line with Markus, who assigns him the unenviable task of being an Aryan manager of a needlework shop.

The shop is currently run by Rozalia Lautmannova, an old Jewish lady who is hard of hearing and struggles to understand Toni, refusing to believe that he has any claim on her small business. It takes the intervention of a Jewish sympathiser to smooth their relationship over and Toni starts to learn how kind-hearted and caring the Jewish community is. Thus begins an unlikely friendship that is tested to its limits when the Jewish persecution intensifies and places him in a very uncomfortable position.

This is a powerful and hard-hitting drama that depicts not only the suffering inflicted on the Jews but the overwhelming sense of guilt that befalls those who stand by and don’t intervene for fear of being similarly persecuted. It examines the internal conflicts of individuals who feel their own sense of morality coming under scrutiny and provides the audience with a raw indication of how difficult this period of history would have been for anyone with a conscience. Actor Jozef Kroner demonstrates how distressing this situation is for the protagonist with his emotional portrayal of the carpenter, Toni, at the heart of this tragic story. His realisation of the inherent danger Mrs Lautmannova is in claws at his moral sense of duty, particularly as his warnings to her fall largely on deaf ears.

Ida Kaminska is utterly delightful as the endearing Mrs Lautmannova, who eventually embraces Toni as if he was one of her family, and was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for her incredible performance. She regales Toni with tales of her husband and the sons she hasn’t seen in years, feeds him with the finest Jewish culinary delights and introduces him to her favourite songs that recall happy memories from her past. These touching scenes of a blossoming friendship serve to strengthen the kinship between the two companions and further our investment in their plight. These are two tormented characters that we are genuinely invested in.

There are a number of inventive scenes which feature striking cinematography; the camera observes the warped faces of characters through a translucent shot glass, drifts magically through the air during impressive dream sequences, and continually rotates through 360 degrees in a visually astounding long take towards the end of the film. These memorably stylistic flourishes enhance the film’s visual aesthetics and heighten the emotional impact of the gripping storyline.

The Shop On Main Street deserved to take home the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 1966 and, like many other films that received this accolade, it is disappointing to see that it has slipped into relative obscurity over time. Its universal themes of morality and standing up for what is right are still highly relevant in today’s political climate and its touching epilogue is a shining example of the inescapable magic of cinematic art. We can all learn valuable lessons from the powerful message at the film’s core and will undoubtedly take a lot from this immersive and poignant experience that  lingers on your mind long after the rousing orchestral score (that opened the film) plays us out, in a touching and bittersweet finale.

If you take the time to watch The Shop on Main Street then it would be awesome if you could also take the time to let me know what you thought of it, either by commenting below or tweeting me @filmbantha. Thanks, and enjoy!



For previous instalments in the series click here