Unfortunately, Westley Piddle doesn’t have a cinema, cineplex, or multiplex…only a Muttplex. But it’s showing some great movies…
🐾🐾🐾🐾= as good as it gets on the subject. Drop everything, , sniff out, scramble to catch up and ‘watch NOWS’!
🐾🐾🐾= entertaining or informative. Worth putting on your short-watch list.
🐾🐾= Average entertainment, will pass casual viewing time but does not exceed expectations – even modest ones. Ultimately forgettable.
🐾= Seriously! There are many far better movies out there on this subject. Don’t bother unless it’s a rainy afternoon with absolutely nothing better to do.
This week at the Muttplex for muttwits wot lyk sniffing out new movies: digging up history and melodrama, and a tribute to Curzon Home Cinema and Netflix – creating, producing and distributing the content the BBC [et al] is too woke, bottom-line fixated, and simply lazy to attempt themselves.
The Dig (2021) – directed by Simon Stone (Netflix)
The Dig: Loosely based on the book of the same name by John Preston, The Dig reimagines the events of the 1939 excavation of the 7th century Anglo-Saxon ship burial at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk, England. (courtesy IMDb)
My take: Having always been interested in the period known as dark age Britain, and having visited the site yonks ago at Woodbridge, my expectations were rather higher than this low-key film actually delivered. This is not to fault the production, the actors or peripheral melodrama surrounding the discovery at the core of the story – coz if you want a film on the glacially slow and exacting science of archeological excavation then watch a dog-damned documentary – but rather the soulless tonality imbued throughout this period piece. For such an amazing discovery the film did that very stiff upper lip English thing and presented it all with bland, and emotional cold indifference. Poor old Sutton Hoo deserved a bit more, me reckons! But worth watching for the stillness of the beautiful Suffolk wetlands and the fiercely stern expressions of Ralph Fiennes with a nose so sharp it could have excavated the whole of Sutton Hoo on its ownsome. Another win for Netflix – investing in international and under-the-radar projects, and thus showing up the banality of mainstream Hollywood + all the rest – yet again!
Dear Comrades! (2020) – directed by Andrey Konchalovskiy (Curzon Home Cinema)
Dear Comrades!: Novocherkassk, USSR, 1962. Lyudmila is a Party executive and devout communist who had fought in WWII for Stalin’s ideology. Certain that her work will create a communist society, the woman detests any anti-Soviet sentiment. When the [communist] government raises food prices, the rebellious workers from the small industrial town of Novocherkassk go on strike. The massacre which then ensues is seen through the eyes of a devout party activist. (courtesy IMDb)
My take: Some of my favorite films of recent years have been shot in black and white, The Turin Horse, Cold War and The Lighthouse, to name but a few. Dear Comrades! uses black and white to pose one unspoken question throughout: are the multifarious reasons for the slaughter of factory workers as simple as black and white? You can be the judge of that. Furthermore, Konchalovskiy uses the 4: 3 screen format specific to the Soviet Mosfilm studios in those late 20th C. years when the events of Dear Comrades! take place.
At the age of 83 Andrey Konchalovskiy is a living legend of Russian cinema – having previously written screenplays for Andrei Tarkovsky in the 1970s – before picking up the mantle as a director of film and documentary. Dear Comrades! is a drama/documentary of the very highest order and should not be missed. Thank you so much Curzon Home Cinema!
Quo Vadis, Aida? (2020) – directed by Jasmila Zsanic (Curzon Home Cinema)
Quo Vadis, Aida?: Bosnia, July 1995. Aida is a translator for the UN in the small town of Srebrenica. When the Bosnian Serb army takes over the town, her family is among the thousands of citizens looking for shelter in the UN camp. As an insider to the negotiations Aida has access to crucial information that she needs to interpret. What is on the horizon for her family and people – rescue or death? (courtesy IMDb)
My take: Most of us are old enough to remember the appalling Srebrenica massacre of 8000 Muslim men and boys in 1995. In harrowing detail – felt more viscerally than experienced visually – we follow the last days leading up to the terrible event in the company of Aida. Where are you going, Aida? the English translation of the title and also the question that we, the audience, ask of this likeable and intuitive woman. We know what is ahead – she only suspects. A disturbing and absolutely necessary film for intelligent people in these dark days of the alt-right, intolerance, discrimination; of extremism and the wilfully misinformed. Thank you – again – Curzon Home Cinema. I would never have seen this film, otherwise – or shared it with yuz muttwits!