By Ashley Clark
From women’s short film to tense cop dramas and digital Danish dogmas, all tastes are covered in a packed schedule this week at south London’s best cinema.
This week at the Ritzy, the Underwire Festival continues. The fest, which looks to recognise the best short work made by women across a range of crafts, runs until Saturday evening. Highlights include Friday’s Live Wire, a night of live and filmed comedy hosted by comic Cariad Lloyd (in partnership with LOCO), and Saturday’s panel discussion ‘Why Can’t Women Make Feature Films?’, featuring appearances from Dreams of a Life director Carol Morley and BFI Film Fund exec Lizzie Francke.
The best new release at the Ritzy this week is David Ayer’s riveting End of Watch, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena as a pair of close-knit L.A. patrolmen. There’s not a great deal in the way of plot for the most part, so the film’s greatest strength lies in its keenly observed portrait of the guys’ lives, both professional and private. It’s not perfect (the ‘found footage’ concept is executed inconsistently, the ending is a cop-out, no pun intended), but it’s brilliantly acted, there are some serious thrills along the way, and it’s the most exciting, convincing US cop thriller in years.
On a Jake Gyllenhaal tip, there are a couple of late screenings of his breakthrough film, 2001’s cult psychodrama Donnie Darko; a genuinely strange and beguiling one-off. Also this week, you can settle down to the Ritzy’s retrospective of Dogme 95, the avant-garde movement started by Danish directors Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg in an attempt to simplify and purify filmmaking techniques. Highlights include Vinterberg’s brilliant family meltdown drama Festen, von Trier’s unhinged The Idiots, and Harmony Korine’s disturbing Julien Donkey-Boy
A couple of one-off events stand out. On Saturday there’s a screening of extremely moving doc Jason Becker: Not Dead Yet (about a talented guitarist suffering from a rare wasting disease) followed by a Q&A with its young director Jesse Vile. On Tuesday, the Ritzy’s Discover Tuesdays strand continues with Ira Sachs’ beautiful Keep The Lights On, a partly-autobiographical, New York-set drama which charts a doomed relationship between a documentary filmmaker and a drug addicted lawyer.
Films continuing their runs this week include Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, a gorgeous and well-acted but only partially satisfying drama; Bill Condon’s decent series closer The Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2; Bond box office colossus Skyfall; Jaques Audiard’s overblown Rust & Bone; and Michael Haneke’s exquisitely sad Palme d’Or winner Amour.
All films showing at the Ritzy Cinema, Brixton Oval. Book tickets here.