By Ashley Clark
From fashion designers in personal crisis to close encounters with Lurpak, it’s another varied week of film programming from South London’s best cinema.
The biggest new release at the Ritzy Cinema this week is the rather unmemorably titled John Carter (formerly John Carter of Mars), a bizarre, mega-budget sci-fi actioner which marks the live action debut of WALL-E director Andrew Stanton. It’s received mixed notices thus far, but all seem to be united on one point: it’s pleasingly singular in its stark raving weirdness. Carter (whose superpower is the ability to leap really high) is played by a young man named Taylor Kitsch: a moniker which, quite frankly, would have made a better title for the film than the one it’s got.
If the prospect of geriatric thesps doddering around an Indian hotel (see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, still playing daily) doesn’t grab you, why not try Trishna, a modern-day adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s novel ‘Tess Of The D’urbervilles’ starring Freida Pinto and Riz Ahmed also set in India. Directed by the prolific, unpredictable Michael Winterbottom (now on something like his 706th film in 15 years), Trishna is thematically rich, visually lush and captivating, but perhaps overstretches itself in places, not least in attempting to collapse the book into palatable form in under two hours. It’s definitely worth a watch, though.
India is perhaps the only country in the world in which fashion designer Ozwald Boateng isn’t spotted in documentary A Man’s Story. Director Varon Bonicos trailed the distinguished gentleman around the world with a camera for 12 years, and the result is an unfocused, sporadically revealing documentary that’s always watchable but frustratingly thin on genuine insight. Credit must go to Boateng for being so candid about his personal life, but the film leaves you thirsting for depth and context about the fashion world and the thought behind his trailblazing designs.
Also catching the eye this week is the X-rated latest instalment of the Ritzy’s great A-Z of Cinema series: a double bill of Bertolucci’s Last Tango In Paris (starring Marlon Brando, Maria Schneider and a slab of Lurpak) and Nagisa Oshima’s harrowing 1970s Japanese sex drama In The Realm Of The Senses, which is showing uncut. (Sadly the same can’t be said for it’s male lead when the credits roll). Both films are unmissable, provided you’re not there with Mum and Dad.
Perhaps this week’s highlight is the continuation of the Ritzy’s late-night Lynch season. This time it’s the turn of his funny-disturbing 1986 masterpiece Blue Velvet. It would be wrong to give away any of the plot here (and it would also take me over my word limit) so take my word for it: it’s an absolute must see. You’ve got two chances, Friday and Saturday night at 11.25pm.