A pay-what-you-can screening Sunday 24th June 2pm
This extraordinary and beautiful documentary is being shown as part of the Hyde Park Picture House contribution to National Refugee Week. ‘Human Flow’ is a deeply human and respectful response to the plight of 65 million people displaced worldwide: a fusion of art, cinema and politics which helps us to develop the empathy and understanding we need when looking for political solutions to the global refugee crisis.
Why is Human Flow so special?
- Director, Ai Weiwei, himself lived in internal political exile in terrible conditions during the Chinese Cultural Revolution. He later escaped to the United States and then to Germany. Governments tend to think of migration in terms of numbers, of masses of migrants lacking in personal identity. By way of contrast, Ai focuses on intimate portraits of individuals and small groups, introducing us to people with hopes, families, friends, and pets. ‘Human Flow’ takes us into their frightening worlds of border fences and gates, disused railway stations, life jackets and survival blankets, interpreters and mobile phones.
- We are facing a shifting world order. Displaced people flee the effects of war, poverty, hunger, racism, and climate breakdown which leave them with no hope for their future if they stay. Here are stories of people so desperate that they leave behind their language, homes, habits, friends and communities for life-risking journeys and unknown futures. Ai Weiwei uses technologies ranging from iPhones to drones to take us to 23 countries as far apart as Afghanistan, Greece, Myanmar and Kenya to hear from them directly.
- Let’s not forget that Ai Weiwei is an artist as well as a human rights activist. His openness and empathy reminds me of performance artist Marina Abramović when she shared a period of silence with each stranger who sat in front of her in the New York Museum of Modern Art for three months (The Artist Is Present, 2010).
- ‘Human Flow’ is ultimately an expression of solidarity. If someone is hurt, we are all being hurt. That refugee could be my mother, my son, my husband, or my neighbour. We are all citizens of the world. This harrowing global migration is a challenge to our freedom and democracy, for all of us, wherever we live.
Ai Weiwei says that, in the face of global displacement of human populations, resorting to physical borders and walls is like building a dam to stop a flood. It doesn’t solve the issue entirely and may well make matters worse. It is better to make paths which let this human flow continue with as much dignity and respect as possible (for example through implementing policies which match our obligations under international conventions relating to the status of refugees), while at the same time working to tackle the reasons for human displacement at their source.
‘Human Flow’ is screened at 2pm on Sunday June 24th. Entry is pay-as-you feel with proceeds going to support Asylum Seekers in Leeds through Leeds Refugee Forum and Leeds Asylum Seekers Support Network.
Showing multiple times daily from Friday 12th January
Let’s face it. 2017 was a crap year for most of us. So many outrages, and “the authorities” so slow to act. But wait! Three Billboards gives us a champion. Watch irrepressible Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) use her visceral rage to shame “them” into action. “Them” is the local police or anyone else who gets in her way. Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell and the rest of this superb cast had better watch out!
The issue is that Mildred’s daughter, Angela, was raped and murdered seven months ago. Have the police got any leads? Have they Hell! Maybe a few billboard messages will get them off their fat butts.
Mildred Hayes: What’s the law on what ya can and can’t say on a billboard? I assume it’s ya can’t say nothing defamatory, and ya can’t say, ‘Fuck’ ‘Piss’ or ‘Cunt’. That right?
Red Welby (Caleb Landry Jones): Or… Anus.
Mildred Hayes: Well I think I’ll be alright then.
This film deservedly won the Audience Award for new feature films at this year’s (2017) Leeds International Film Festival. It’s another triumph for In Bruges (2008) director Martin McDonagh. Ebbing, Missouri is as complex a community as any other. We get to see not only the anger but also the humour, kindness, sadness and violence of small town life. And naturally Ebbing is not exempt from Midwestern prejudices.
Mildred Hayes: So how’s it all going in the nigger-torturing business, Dixon?
Officer Dixon (Sam Rockwell): It’s ‘Persons of color’-torturing business, these days, if you want to know. And I didn’t torture nobody.
And if Mildred Hayes doesn’t like this review, I’m keeping well out of her way …
Showing Sunday 7th May 3:10pm
Rita: “What are you doing? We don’t stop here.”
Some of the many reasons for you to see Mulholland Drive (or to see it again!) –
- Chosen by “Les Cahiers du Cinéma” as the best picture of the decade (2010)
- Coco’s (Ann Miller) story about the kangaroo
- Adam Kesher’s (Justin Theroux) demonstration of how to smash a limousine with a golf club
- Lorraine and the pool cleaner getting their comeuppance
- Joe the hitman looking for a black address book
- Betty’s audition
- the tenderness of the relationship between naive and optimistic Betty (Naomi Watts) and the beautiful and confused Rita (Laura Elena Harring)
- Rebekah Del Rio singing “Llorando”
- the Mulholland Drive dinner party
- and of course to explore the surreal logic behind clues ranging from a pillow, name badges, the blue box, and red lampshades, to a cowboy hat and the piano-shaped ashtray.
Director, David Lynch, described the film as “A love story in the city of dreams”.
All in all, Mulholland Drive is a great feast for the imagination, and one which will stay with you.
Blue-haired lady: “Silencio … “
Fidel Castro, Prime Minister of Cuba, smokes a cigar during his meeting with two U.S. senators, the first to visit Castro’s Cuba, in Havana, Cuba, Sept. 29, 1974. (AP Photo)
Apart from reactionaries in the USA most people will mourn the passing of this revolutionary leader. So a good way to celebrate his achievements and contributions would be to screen one of the outstanding films that were produced by ICAIC. My preferred title would be Memories of Underdevelopment (Memorias del subdesarrollo, 1968) directed by Tomás Gutiérrez Alea which has been restored by the World Cinema Foundation. And Alea’s later The Last Supper (La última cena 1976) is likely to be available on 35mm . Another would be Lucía (1968) directed by Humberto Solás which should also still be available in a 35mm print.
Since either would now be in a 2017 programme this would also provide a harbinger for celebrations of the centenary of the 1917 Revolution as ICAIC were among the important heirs of Soviet Silent Montage.
1. The cast: Gemma Arterton, Glenn Close and newcomer Sennia Nanua make up a strong female cast. Paddy Considine also stars; remember when he came to the Picture House to show Tyrannosaur?
2. Mark Kermode is another Hyde Park visitor who loves the film:
3. Director Colm McCarthy previously directed the entire second series of BBC’s Peaky Blinders
The Girl With All The Gifts is showing daily at Hyde Park Picture House from Friday 30th September.
- What We Do In The Shadows was writer/director Taika Waititi’s previous film and the winner of the Audience Award at LIFF28. Unusually for me, it was a film I saw three times in the cinema and thought it got better each time.
- Everybody loves it. Until very recently Wilderpeople had 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, meaning it hadn’t received a negative review from any critics. It’s now dropped to 98% but that’s still ‘Certified Fresh‘. On Letterboxd (“a social network for sharing your taste in film”) it has been one of the highest rated films of the year.
- Taika Waititi is also directing Thor: Ragnarok (2017) and found time to make this short film, possibly the best entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe yet:
Hunt For The Wilderpeople is screening daily at Hyde Park Picture House from Friday 23rd September.