FILM: Brixton Blog’s Thursday round-up

Post Tenebras Lux - the devil is in the detail
Post Tenebras Lux – the devil is in the detail

By Ashley Clark

The triumphant return of a Mexican provocateur, Italian satire, and a rapper who thinks he’s the reincarnation of Bob Marley despite the fact they were both alive at the same time. It’s gotta be another week at south London’s best cinema, right?

The best new release at the Ritzy this week is Carlos Reygadas’ visually astonishing Post Tenebras Lux. Foregoing a regular narrative structure, it unfolds in an episodic manner, offering the viewer little indication as to whether what’s happening is taking place in the past, present, fantasy or in reality. Reygadas zeroes in on Juan (Adolfo Jimenez Castro), the head of a wealthy middle-class Mexican family who’ve moved away from the city out to the remote countryside, where they stick out like sore thumbs among the area’s economically deprived inhabitants. Though it’ll no doubt prove too obscure and obtuse for some tastes, not since David Lynch’s Mulholland Dr. has a film so effectively captured the disturbing textures of dream logic. It’s highly recommended.

If that sounds a little too esoteric, why not try Matteo Garrone’s Reality, a Naples-set satire of reality TV culture. I haven’t yet seen it, but it’s had a generally strong critical buzz and won the Grand Jury Prize at last year’s Cannes Film Festival. Speaking of reality TV, you can also see Reincarnated, the Vice-produced doc which tracks Snoop Dogg’s (now Snoop Lion) Rastafarian spiritual awakening and discovery of reggae music in Jamaica. Unfortunately, it sucks; it’s little more than an extended promotional DVD, featuring some of the most inane content (Snoop smoking weed, Snoop wandering around, Snoop smoking weed again) that you’re likely to ever sit through. Save for a couple of chuckles and emotive interview bits, Reincarnated is mostly painful to endure, but in the discomfort stakes it’s got nothing on Craig Zobel’s Compliance, a horrifying fictionalisation of a real-life incident in which a prank-caller manipulated a bunch of Ohio minimum-wagers into committing some awful acts. It’s sparked walkouts galore at festivals… will you stand the course?

If not, there are plenty of other films continuing their runs this week. They include (deep breath): Ken Loach’s rousing socialist jamboree The Spirit of ’45; Steven Soderbergh’s slick swansong Side Effects; harebrained hatstand hodgepodge Cloud Atlas;Christian Mungiu’s deeply atmospheric Romanian drama Beyond The Hills; Rufus Norris’ tough, suburban family drama Broken; Park Chan-Wook’s English-language debut Stoker, a salacious Gothic family drama that’s all build-up and no climax; ace thriller Arbitrage, boasting a fine turn from Richard Gere; Ben Affleck’s entertaining, Oscar-gobbling caper Argo; and Sam Raimi’s colourful Oz The Great and the Powerful, in both 2D and 3D iterations.

In terms of rep cinema, you get two chances (Friday and Saturday late) to shoot the shit with Martin Scorsese’s charismatic and violent Goodfellas. Meanwhile, the Ritzy’s Discover Tuesdays strand focusing on left-field and arthouse fare continues with one of the very best films of the year so far, Kore-eda’s I Wish, an absorbing, beautifully observed and deeply moving drama about the efforts of two young estranged Japanese brothers to meet. Also continuing (until Friday) is the Human Rights Watch Film Festival. Particular highlights are Jeremy Teicher’s sensitive, Senegal-set family drama Tall As The Baobab Tree, and Haifaa Al-Mansour’s brilliant Wadjda, the first full-length feature film to ever be shot in Saudi Arabia.

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.