FILM: Brixton Blog’s Thursday round-up

By Ashley Clark

Maïwenn le Besco in Polisse – “from harrowing to laughable”

A mixed bag of new releases at South London’s best cinema this week, from Parisian crimefighters to Olympic hopefuls, and the unexpected reappearance of a menacing shark.

The most intriguing new release at the Ritzy this week is Polisse, the latest from French actress/director Maïwenn le Besco. It’s a rough, raggedy portrait of an under-pressure Parisian Child Protection Unit which scorches an unpredictable trail from harrowing to laughable and back again in just over two unremitting, frequently melodramatic hours. Though beset by structural problems and suffering from an overstuffed narrative, it’s compellingly raw, well-acted, and often moving.

Apropos of a reason I’ve yet to be party to, Steven Spielberg’s 1975 classic Jaws – one of the original blockbusters – has been re-released in all its widescreen glory. Other than the fact that its gripping, tense, funny and unforgettable, there’s very little left to be said about it. You’ve seen it on TV a million times, but why not come and see it where it’s supposed to be seen?

Also out is lively, opportunistic Olympics tie-in Fast Girls, in which a streetwise runner (Lenora Critchlow aka her from off of TV’s Sugar Rush) develops an intense rivalry with an equally ambitious, wealthy young athlete played by Lily James. Fast Girls is slick, undemanding fun, with a script co-written by the increasingly prolific Noel Clarke, who’s approaching Woody Allen levels of productivity.

Speaking of Woody Allen (seamless transition, there – Ed.), the Ritzy’s retrospective of the great writer-director continues this week to accompany screenings of Robert B. Weide’s Woody Allen – A Documentary. Don’t miss rare showings of his classic Manhattan and the underrated Stardust Memories. Continuing the repertory theme, Sunday sees a cracking double bill of Hal Ashby’s baroque love story Harold and Maude with Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous (incidentally his last decent film; I mean, did you see We Bought A Zoo?) Even better, you can catch David Bowie in Nic Roeg’s unforgettably weird 70s sci-fi The Man Who Fell To Earth on Tuesday.
Films continuing their runs this week include Ridley Scott’s crazily hyped Prometheus, Plan B’s hard-hitting directorial debut iLL MANORS, Wes Anderson’s cavalcade of tweeness Moonrise Kingdom, super Harry Belafonte doc Sing Your Song, and Cannes Jury Prize winner The Angels’ Share, from the estimable Ken Loach.

All films showing at the Ritzy Cinema, Brixton Oval. Book tickets here.

Ashley Clark runs the film blog Permanent Plastic Helmet. You can follow it on Twitter @PPlasticHelmet and/or him @_ash_clark.