Forest Row Film Society Picks

Alois Nebel
In this post, Brad Scott from Forest Row Film Society in East Sussex, takes a look at five Booking Scheme titles.

Being Elmo

Being Elmo

Growing up in Baltimore in the 70s, Kevin Clash adored making puppets and giving shows locally. Picked up first by a local TV station, he later started working for the Jim Henson troupe, eventually becoming the creator of the character of Elmo on Sesame Street. This documentary is a delightful and uplifting account of one person following their passion, and will appeal to anyone who has loved the Muppets, Big Bird, Cookie Monster and any of the Henson creations. It’s not a film for very small children, since it has too many talking heads (not the rubber ones), but probably anyone over about twelve who has seen Sesame Street or is interested in how the shows are created will love this film. I thought it was fabulous.

Avril

About to start her retreat before taking her vows, Avril is a novice who has lived her entire life in the convent. Discovering she has a brother, she goes off on a search to find him, making her much more aware about the world outside. This is a charming French drama which is very easy on the eye; a good part of it is set in the Camargue, with good performances from the young actors. Avril also features Miou-Miou as one of the nuns, and one could imagine this film working well within a French strand or weekend. It’s not at all challenging and a bit implausible, but pleasant enough and none the worse for that.

Fear and Trembling

After a childhood in Japan, Amélie (Sylvie Testud (Lourdes)) moves back to Tokyo and lands a job at a big corporation. Here she finds that corporate life has some unexpected dimensions. In this tale of a clash of cultures, director Alain Corneau (Tous les Matins du Monde) gives us a (very) gentle comedy of manners as Amélie gets a series of dead-end jobs. Sylvie Testud’s performance won her a César and Prix Lumière in 2004.

The Conformist

The Conformist

Still wonderful to look at, with its beautiful cinematography, visual design, jump cuts and light, Bertolucci’s unpicking of Italy’s Fascist past remains a transfixing film. Jean-Louis Trintignant plays Marcello Clerici, uneasy with his own identity, caught between political and sexual norms and expectations, and complicit in the murder of his old professor.

Alois Nebel

Absolutely entrancing and evocative black and white rotoscoped film set in the Czech woods and Prague from the end of the war until the election of Vaclav Havel. Alois Nebel works at the station on the border in the Sudetenland, and is haunted by the past. Winner of the European Film Academy Animated Feature Film award, and has just had a great review in Sight and Sound (May 2013).

Brad Scott

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