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Brooklyn
Written by Sheila Seacroft   
20 11 2015

ImageDirected by John Crowley

‘That was the most enjoyable film I've seen for a very long time,' declared a woman leaving the almost full 10am screening of Brooklyn in Newcastle on a rainy Tuesday morning. And indeed it will be for the many cinemagoers not so enamoured of the parade of cutesy animations, loud American comedies or headache-breeding action movies showcased as the cinema's Christmas offerings before the film began. While in no way up there with the now practically obligatory Christmas favourite It's a Wonderful Life, it's an old-fashioned movie indeed, a romance, a weepie (one critic on the radio last week confessed to crying almost all the way through), a tale of ordinary people that promises that happiness is always possible.

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London Film Festival 2015 pt 1
Written by Sheila Seacroft   
08 11 2015

ImageThe London Film Festival came around again last month, with its slightly odd ‘theme' structure, the films arranged in what often seems an arbitrary fashion - when does ‘Dare' become ‘Debate', when does ‘Journey' become ‘Thrill'? But one category that's always clear is Treasures, i.e. Archive, and this year I made two incursions into this one, with very differing results. First film for me and in fact now one of my top 5 films ever, or so I felt in the heat of the joy of watching it, was ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS (Rocco e sui fratelli 1960), Visconti's gorgeous, tragic meld of operatic melodrama and neo-realism.

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Tangerines (Mandariinid)
Written by Sheila Seacroft   
23 10 2015

ImageDirected by Zara Urushadze

This sweet, mournful film, an Estonian/Georgian co-production, was Estonia's nomination for the Foreign Language Oscar this year. We meet Ivo (Lembit Ulfsak) busy making crates for his neighbour Margus' (Elmo Nurgenen) tangerines. It's been a bumper year and they're struggling to get all the fruit ready for market. They are two of the few remaining Estonians in northern-western Georgia, a community that was ‘planted' by the Russians several generations ago. It's the early 1990s, and most of their neighbours have now returned to Estonia, because their village lies in Abkhazia, where a secessionist civil war is raging.

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