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Cinema: Goodbye 2018, Hello 2019

Thu 20 December 2018

David Baldwin, our Film Producer reflects on the film world in 2018, and shares some of the cinematic gems coming up in 2019.

Looking back on the many excellent films released in 2018, the moment that really sticks in my head is the painfully awkward dinner party scene in Ruben Östlund’s art world satire The Square. As a method performance artist pretending to be an ape terrorises a bunch of art patrons, emotions that included embarrassment, pity, fear and raging anger swirled around inside my brain. For the briefest of moments, I was in that room with those people, asking what I’d do in that situation. That’s the mark of exceptional cinema. 

Just as exceptional was Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here, a brutal tale that told a story of pain and possible redemption with minimal dialogue and striking imagery, whilst Robin Campillo’s AIDS activist drama 120 BPM (Beats Per Minute) was pulsing with the kind of passion and empathy that could only come from somebody who was actually there during the turbulent events that the film depicted. Steve McQueen’s Widows managed to deliver high end thrills alongside scabrous social comment, and Pawel Pawlikowski’s lyrical black and white love story Cold War was something very special indeed.

But that was 2018. What of 2019? Here are a few enticing treats coming your way at MAC this coming year…

If Beale Street Could Talk

Barry Jenkins’ follow-up to the Oscar winning Moonlight is another visually striking portrait of African American life, adapting James Baldwin’s novel about the lives and loves of black men and women in 1970s Harlem. Cinematic poetry that’s sure to cement Jenkins as much more than a flash in the pan. 

Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story

The enigma of Mancunian comedy performer Chris Sievey is dissected in this all-access documentary, one which isn’t afraid to delve into the darker crevices of a mind that produced the cult papier-mâché phenomenon known as Frank Sidebottom. Years in the making, this is the seminal document of a true British eccentric.  

Loro

April brings the tantalising prospect of one of Italy’s greatest living directors taking on the controversial career of former Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi. Released in two parts in Paolo Sorrentino’s home country, it looks like UK audiences will receive this sexually explicit, bombastic attack on political corruption in one three hour plus chunk of deliciously outrageous cinema. 

Capernaum

This Lebanese film from filmmaker Nadine Labaki has been blazing a trail around the festival circuit the past few months, using the conceit of a deprived twelve year-old boy who sues his parents for bringing him into the world to present a moving picture of life in modern-day Beirut.

Rocketman

Following his eleventh hour work on the Freddy Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, director Dexter Fletcher delivers a unique take on the life and music of Elton John, complete with fantastical sequences and star Taron Egerton delivering the vocals himself. Sure to be as brash and memorable as the man it’s based on.