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THIS WEEK IN FILM: Zombies, velvet, favelas and Europe between the wars

This week’s picks are by Alberto Serna, Spanish boy living in cosy Rotherhithe, London.



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The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)

08/07/2015 – 08:45 pm
Roman Gardens, Pepper Street, Chester, CH1 1QQ

Like every Wes Anderson’s work, The Grand Budapest Hotel is a visual feast. Symmetrically and exquisitely art directed, the film is also wonderful in its storytelling and characters. The Grand Budapest Hotel tells the adventures of Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes), a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and loyal lobby boy Zero Mustafa. With a star-studded cast including Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton and Owen Wilson, the film would become Anderson’s highest-grossing movie, collecting nine Oscar nominations.



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Blue Velvet (1986)

09/07/2015 – 05:15 pm
MANCHESTER CENTRAL LIBRARY – Manchester Central Library, St. Peters Square, Manchester, M2 5PD

David Lynch and actor Kyle MacLachlan have repeatedly stated that Blue Velvet allowed them to redeem themselves from Dune’s (1984) setback. Written and directed by America’s most surrealist filmmaker, this neo-noir mystery film looks at what lies behind the curtains of an idilic American town.

The movie is Lynch everywhere you look – from a symbolic opening involving perfect gardens and nauseating insects writhing beneath them to mesmerising singing scenes to Twin Peaks-esque scenarios and characters. Although McLachlan and Laura Dern are correct in their performances, it is Isabella Rossellini, and especially Dennis Hopper, who take the film to a different level. Blue Velvet is about the familiar made strange, the dark side of things and the endless conflict between good and evil. A true masterpiece.



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The Third Man (1949)

09/07/2015 – 07:30 pm
Ipswich Film Theatre – Ipswich Film Theatre, The Corn Exchange King Street Ipswich IP1 !DH

One of the best films ever directed, Carol Reed’s The Third Man is extremely intriguing,  atmospheric, and mesmerising. Set in a post-war Allied-occupied Vienna, the film revolves around the strange death of Holly Martins’ (Joseph Cotten) childhood friend Harry Lime (Orson Welles). Reed’s work is not only memorable for its black and white cinematography and Dutch camera angles, but also for Anton Karas’ iconic zither score and unforgettable characters. The Third Man is widely considered one of the undisputed masterpieces of cinema.



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Dawn of The Dead (1978)

09/07/2015 – 05:00 pm
The Cinema Museum – The Cinema Museum, 2 Dugard Way (off Renfrew Road) London SE11 4TH

“When there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the earth”. In addition to memorable quotes, George Romero’s sequel to Night of the Living Dead (1968) influenced popular culture inspiring countless films, TV episodes, rock songs, and even board games. The film follows a group of survivors taking refuge in a shopping mall after an army of the dead raises from the grave to eradicate all human life. With a faster pace, more blood and social commentary on bourgeois society, Romero’s second ‘Trilogy of The Dead’ film would be followed by several sequels and a successful remake in 2004.



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City of God (2002)

09/07/2015 – 09:00 pm
St LUKES (BOMBED OUT CHURCH) – St LUKES (BOMBED OUT CHURCH), Leece Street, Liverpool, L1 2TR

Fernando Meirelles (The Constant Gardener, (2005), Blindness (2008)), directed an adaptation of Paulo Lins’ novel of the same name about the growth of organised crime in the Cidade de Deus suburb of Rio de Janeiro between the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1980s. The result shocked the world, bringing to light the inequality and cruet violence of the Brazilian favelas. City of God would receive four Academy Award nominations and a BAFTA. Still as powerful as when it was released.


My name is Alberto and I have been fascinated with films since I saw River Phoenix running across the top of a moving circus train. Originally from Murcia, Spain, I live by river Thames in cosy Rotherhithe, London where I keep learning from movies.


Enjoy writing about film? Would you like to choose your top 5 for the week ahead? Get in touch.

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