This year marks the 50th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence and what better occasion to delve into Jamaican cinema. Perry Henzell’s The Harder They Come is hailed as “the” reggae film by excellence and is perhaps the most influential film to come out of Jamaica. Starring Jimmy Cliff as a young man with no choice but to resort to petty crime when things go awry with his record producer, The Harder They Come is a raw exploration of post-colonial Jamaica and the ruthlessness of the music industry.
Jordan Peele makes a highly-anticipated return to the director chair, following Get Out and Us, with Nope. This horror-mystery-sci-fi stars Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer and Steven Yeun and follows them as they discover a sinister phenomenon in the skies above that some will try to exploit. Provocative, daring and wildly inventive, Nope is further evidence of Peele’s mastery in the edge-of-your-seat department.
The late, great Agnès Varda once said she’d “tried to be a joyful feminist, but I was very angry”, and from those mixed emotions came One Sings, the Other Doesn’t – a musical portrait of two women set against the 70s’ women’s liberation movement and fight for abortion rights in France. The songs are joyfully feminist, but the anger is palpable throughout, and 45 years on, the film remains sadly as relevant as ever.
Back in 1993, Glasgow’s Bearsden Academy welcomed a new student named Brandon. At 16 years old, Brandon had travelled around the world and had mainly been home schooled until his mother, an opera diva, tragically passed away. But Brandon managed to fit in quite quickly despite his awkwardness, and soon everyone loved him. Jono McLeod’s My Old School follows the myth Brandon created over a two-year period until his strange secret was revealed to the world. Using engaging animation to recreate key moments, and talking to then-students and to Brandon himself, this stranger-than-fiction documentary is an entertaining if slightly bizarre slice of secondary school drama.
At the tail end of the 00s, Wim Wenders was preparing to make a documentary about renowned choreographer Pina Bausch when she unexpectedly died. Encouraged by the Tanztheater Wuppertal’s dancers to carry on with the project, Wim Wenders made Pina, a remarkable tribute to the German dancer in which some of her most famous dance pieces are performed in unique settings and some of the dancers she worked with talk about Pina herself. Pina is a truly one-of-a-kind film; an immersive look at dance and staging and a moving tribute to a phenomenal artist.
Hope to see you there,