"When you think about something, when you remember something, it’s never linear, it’s kaleidoscopic. You remember someone and then another story comes." Négar Djavadi
On film
Wonders beyond words

Wonders beyond words

A conversation with Todd Haynes, Brian Selznick, Oakes Fegley and Jaden Michael. Todd Haynes’ latest film Wonderstruck is adapted from Brian Selznick’s part-graphic, part-prose children’s novel about a mysterious connection in New York City between two deaf children set 50 years apart. In 1927 Rose (Millicent Simmonds) is the estranged daughter of silent movie star...
Tough love

Tough love

Joe felt something behind him. It was the presence of life and the coming of violence, and that anticipation, that sensitivity, enabled him to turn in time and catch the blackjack on his shoulder, which was better than taking it on the back of his head. Also, it was his left shoulder and Joe was...
Flickers of memory

Flickers of memory

Lately, the line between real life and movies has begun to blur. There are times when I’m pounced upon by a memory – the cracked rearview mirror of the first car I ever owned, say, or the ghostly dance of a curtain in front of an open window when I was small and impressionable and...
Angry young, frail old man

Angry young, frail old man

Over two hundred films, mostly blockbusters, made over the past fifty years. Compiling a top ten list for Amitabh Bachchan is by definition an impossible task. It is also a frightening one as even the most considered, academic of lists must exclude beloved films. The films below are not necessarily his most successful, nor are...
Near death – and resurrection

Near death – and resurrection

On 25 July 1982, Amitabh Bachchan was injured in Bangalore while shooting for Manmohan Desai’s Coolie (Porter, 1983). The shot required a simulated punch to the star’s abdomen, a fall on a desk, followed by a half-somersault to the other side of the desk. Bachchan refused a body double and shot the sequence himself. The...
A bear in a million

A bear in a million

The varying merits of the UK’s early November film releases appear to be in direct proportion to the protagonists’ face-fuzz. Much was made in advance of Kenneth Brannagh’s reimagining of Hercule Poirot’s ‘magnificent moustaches’ in the latest adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express (20th Century Fox, 3 November), but the rest of...
Laughter in the dark

Laughter in the dark

One of the memories I most treasure about In the Loop, writer-director Armando Iannucci’s previous big-screen outing, is the moment when Alastair Campbell sat down to view the film with critic Mark Kermode. As Tony Blair’s ex-spin-doctor, Campbell was understandably tetchy at being compared to onscreen fixer Malcolm Tucker, a profane and conniving bully. “I...
The first killings

The first killings

Who now remembers the story of the Limehouse Golem, or cares to be reminded of the history of that mythical creature? ‘Golem’ is the medieval Jewish word for an artificial being, created by the magician or the rabbi; it literally means ‘thing without form’, and perhaps sprang from the same fears which surrounded the fifteenth-century...
Reality check

Reality check

She registered his shadow, a passing cloud bringing inclement weather. “Clare?” She was not even sure she heard her name, but she watched his mouth form the shape. The stereo was turned up loud, his voice lost in drums and double bass. He ducked his face to hers, kissed her on the forehead, then crossed...
Civil rights and wrongs

Civil rights and wrongs

When James Baldwin died in 1987, he left behind 30 pages of letters titled Notes Toward Remember This House, an unfinished manuscript about the lives and deaths of three of his friends – Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. – civil rights activists, all of whom were assassinated in the space of...