Milo Garner tells us what to expect from UCLU Film Society’s Festival of the Moving Image.
From the 21st to 23rd of November UCL’s award-winning film festival, the Festival of the Moving Image (FOMI), returns to London’s screens. This year it lives in the year-old Bertha Dochouse (nestled within Curzon Bloomsbury), and for its last day, the Curzon Soho, two cinemas notable for their incredibly comfortable seats.
The festival kicks off with a Glauber Rocha double bill, showcasing one of the stars of Brazil’s Cinema Novo, a new wave movement focused on social issues and intellectualism. In fact the two films presented at FOMI, Black God, White Devil and Entranced Earth are considered some of the best Brazilian films of all time, with both engaging with the Brazilian political situation in the 60s. The former abstracts it to the setting of a Western, with a scorched and dry desert serving as backdrop to a story of mysticism, religion, and politics. The latter, more directly, is set in a fictional Latin American country which suffers from intense corruption and political strife. Both are worth watching for any cineaste.
The second day of the festival dips into documentary, with two distinct offerings. The first is Cinema Novo directed by Glauber’s son, Eryk Rocha. This, as you might expect, explores the genre the former two films inhabit and works as an excellent companion piece to the pair. Not only that, but it comes with some fair acclaim of its own, winning the L’Œil d’Or for best documentary at Cannes. The second documentary is Tadhg O’Sullivan’s The Great Wall, which pertinently deals with the many walls and fences erected across Europe in response to the migrant crisis. Moving across Europe to the narration of Kafka’s The Building of the Great Wall of China, The Great Wall paints a relevant and disturbing picture of modern Europe.
For the final day of FOMI the festival comes to rest in its home country, with two films by famed English directors. The first is Land and Freedom, from the celebrated British New Wave director Ken Loach, here exploring the Spanish Civil War through the eyes of an unemployed worker and member of the Communist Party of Great Britain. Both a political essay concerning the left-wing in the Spanish Civil War and a very human drama, Loach successfully transfers the core of his kitchen sink dramas to a warring and explosive setting. FOMI’s final film is the classic This is England, directed by Shane Meadows. Released originally in 2006, Meadows explores the skinhead culture of the 80s and how it came to be divided when white nationalists came to adopt it, despite its roots in the West Indies. Acclaimed for a reason, this is a film worth watching, it is certainly one of the best British films of recent times. An eclectic yet thematic affair, this year’s FOMI is essential for fans of social and political cinema, with spotlights on old and new, well known and obscure, and all of them certainly worth watching.
Featured Image: UCLU Film Society