The Haunting

Starring Richard Johnson, Julie Harris, Claire Bloom and Russ Tamblyn
Screenplay by Nelson Gidding based on The Haunting Of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Directed by Robert Wise
US/UK 1963
114 minutes

Modern horror films tend to use either elaborate computer generated effects or ultra-violent action to stun their audiences into submission. Made in 1963 The Haunting is a very different and far subtler kind of movie - relying on intense performances, strange camera angles and great sound design to achieve an eerie, unsettling atmosphere that makes the hairs stand up on the
back of your neck.

The Haunting is based on a novel by the American writer Shirley Jackson, whose supernatural tales are both literate and psychologically complex. The story concerns a group of people brought together by a researcher into the paranormal  to explore the reputation of Hill House - an apparently haunted mansion.  Julie Harris plays the fragile, neurotic Eleanor and Claire Bloom is the psychic Theo. The two women begin to experience strange goings on in the house and soon events spiral out of control...

Directed by Hollywood veteran Robert Wise, whose many films include West Side Story and The Sound Of Music, The Haunting was filmed in the UK - on location at Ettington House in Warwickshire and at Borehamwood studios in Hertfordshire. Wise utilised specially created location sound and distorted set design to build a foreboding mood during filming.

The result is a film that was only a modest success at the time of release but has grown in stature over the years and now frequently appears on lists of the scariest cinematic ghost stories.

Prepare to have your spine chilled.


Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams and Rooney Mara
Written and directed by Spike Jonze
USA 2013
126 minutes

Our last film Exhibition examined a contemporary relationship in the chilly setting of an architect designed house in London.  'Her' continues to explore that theme but imagines what might happen to us when the boundaries of technology and emotion become well and truly blurred. 

In the Los Angeles of the near future Theodore is a lonely man working for a company that composes letters for people who are unable to write personal missives for themselves. He is about to be divorced from his childhood sweetheart Catherine and when an old friend lines up a date for him that goes wrong he begins to despair. He turns to his newly purchased OS (operating system) Samantha and little by little the two become involved in a loving relationship.

Spike Jonze began as a music video director and first came to attention with his sublime 1999 magical realist comedy 'Being John Malkovich' in which the quirks and curiosities of human behaviour  were revealed through a surreal plot involving the actor and his subconscious. He went on to make 'Adaptation' and 'Where The Wild Things Are'.

The cast of 'Her' including Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams are excellent while Scarlett Johansson is heard but not seen as disembodied voice of Samantha - one half of the love affair. The film is exquisitely shot by Hoyt Van Hoytema and the music is provided by the eclectic Canadian Indie band Arcade Fire.  
'Her' is a touching rom-com like no other you will have seen - Jonze has created a tender, delicately funny investigation of modern love and the implications of our ever deepening connection to computers and the internet which is both startlingly imaginative and grounded in intriguing possibility.

Primary Colors

Starring John Travolta and Emma Thompson
Directed by Mike Nichols
Written by Elaine May
Based on the novel by Joe Klein
USA 1998
143 minutes

Less than a week after our next screening takes place a new US president will be elected. It will be a highly significant choice whichever candidate gets to the White House. Either it will be Hillary Clinton - America's first female president or Donald Trump - perhaps the most unlikely and preposterous in history. To mark this momentous occasion we are showing this smart, savvy satire of American politics in the Bill Clinton era. Based on a best-selling and anonymous roman a clef (later revealed to have been penned by journalist Joe Klein) Primary Colors has a screenplay by Elaine May, one of the funniest and sharpest comic writers of her age whose work includes A New Leaf and The Heartbreak Kid. The film was directed by Mike Nichols who, during the late 50s and early 60s, was partnered with May in a brilliant comedy double act. Nichols' other movies include Catch 22, The Graduate and Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?

The two leads are played by John Travolta as Presidential hopeful Jack Stanton (doing a note-perfect Clinton impersonation and British actress Emma Thompson as his formidable wife Susan. Relishing their respective roles the pair create characters not caricatures and are supported by a rich cast including Kathy Bates, Billy Bob Thornton and Larry Hagman.

To introduce this timely and witty dissection of the US political system we are very fortunate to have Jonathan Rugman - the distinguished, BAFTA award-winning Foreign Affairs Correspondent for Channel 4 News. Jonathan will bring his extensive experience of reporting on political affairs in the US and elsewhere in the world to give us a fascinating and topical context for the movie.

PLEASE NOTE because Primary Colors is over two hours long we will start the programme at 8.0pm sharp.


Starring Viv Albertine and Liam Gillick
Written and directed by Joanna Hogg
UK 2013
104 minutes

Our last movie was The Lady Eve - a laugh-a-minute screwball comedy about a female confidence trickster and her millionaire target. In that film the dialogue is lightning fast and the action at times slapstick. Exhibition also portrays the relationship between a man and a woman but the characters could not be more different nor the style more contrasting.

Joanna Hogg's third feature is a beautifully composed and ultra-minimalist portrait of a middle class marriage. D and H are the husband and wife played respectively by Viv Albertine (one time member of punk band The Slits) and Liam Gillick (a Turner Prize nominated artist) They live in a stylish, glacial, architect-designed home in west London, from which they are reluctantly moving out.  

The rituals and wrinkles of their daily lives are documented with an unnerving gaze by Hogg. The result is a compelling, sometimes deeply uncomfortable study which explores the surfaces and the silences of their domestic world as well as the introverted eroticism that permeates their exchanges.

The director was mentored by Derek Jarman before working in television for some years. Her second feature was Archipelago - a tale of seething family tensions on a holiday in the Scilly Isles. It established her as a singular talent in new British cinema.

Joanna Hogg's films are not to everyones taste but they have a singular vision and get to the heart of a very particular kind of British experience with unerring and surgical precision.

The Lady Eve

Starring Barbara Stanwyck and Henry Fonda
Written and directed by Preston Sturges
USA 1941
94 minutes
Our last movie was Mustang- the funny, moving and uplifting tale of five Turkish sisters and their rebellion against a despotic uncle who imprisons them - intending to marry them off. The Lady Eve is a very different tale of men and women - one in which a woman has the upper hand and a man is seemingly the hapless victim.

Preston Sturges, who wrote and directed this film, is perhaps the finest exponent of the 'Screwball Comedy' - a genre that flourished in Hollywood in the 30s and 40s and characteristically features a battle of the sexes in which the conventional roles are reversed. Notable examples include His Girl Friday, My Man Godfrey, Bringing Up Baby and The Palm Beach Story.

In The Lady Eve Barbara Stanwyck (who we saw recently as the deadly femme fatale Phyllis Dietrichson in Double Indemnity) is a beautiful con artist working alongside her father to cheat wealthy men out of their money.

When she falls for one of her victims - the naive millionaire Charles Pike (Henry Fonda) and is subsequently unmasked things get complicated.  Scorned by him she is forced to pose as a titled lady in order to get him back - or is it get back at him?

Featuring razor-sharp dialogue, immaculately timed physical comedy and an attitude to sex and relationships that is way ahead of its time The Lady Eve is sophisticated comedy of the highest order from a director at the peak of his powers. It features many of Sturges' trademark touches and shows why he is held in the highest regard by such diverse talents as Woody Allen, The Coen Brothers and the writers of The Simpsons.


Written by Deniz Gamze Ergüven and Alice Winocour
Directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven
France/Turkey/Germany 2015
97 minutes

Our last movie was Run Lola Run - the breathless tale of a resourceful and gutsy young woman and her efforts to rescue her hapless boyfriend when a drug deal goes wrong. Mustang features not one but five feisty Turkish sisters imprisoned in their own house. They begin the film as carefree and experimental teenagers making their way noisily into the adult world. But their actions inflame their conservative family and when their despotic uncle decides he wants them married off they turn out to have very different ideas.

French/Turkish director Deniz Gamze Ergüven based this exhilarating and at times gruelling debut film on her own early life. She gets great performances from the  young cast and manages to make the film at once funny, shocking and rebellious in spirit. 

Mustang avoids directly commenting on Turkey's gradual retreat from modern secularism into a medieval religious state - in some ways it has more in common with Sofia Coppola's The Virgin Suicides than anything else. The girls' casual intimacy is beautifully depicted as they seek support and gather certainty from each other.

Listen out for the music in this movie - forming a subtle and understated accompaniment to the action and mood. It is composed by Warren Ellis, a member of The Bad Seeds and frequent collaborator with Nick Cave on a number of film scores including The Proposition and The Road.

Mustang's director is one of a growing number of young female directors blazing a trail in what has until now been a male-dominated industry. On the basis of this accomplished and confident picture we can expect great things to come...

Run Lola Run

Starring Franke Potente and Moritz Bleibtreu
Written and directed by Tom Tykwer
Germany 1998
81 mins

  Our last film was The Company Of Wolves - Angela Carter's bold and bloody re-telling of the story of Little Red Riding Hood - in which a strong female hero takes on various wolves - both those hairy on the inside and the outside

   Tonight's film Run Lola Run also features a powerful woman at its centre - this time the eponymous Lola whose boyfriend Manni is a small time crook. When Lola is delayed in meeting him to collect a bag of money things go badly wrong and Manni chooses to rob a supermarket to make up for the cash he has lost and needs so urgently. Lola is determined to stop him and put things right...

  At this point Tom Tykwer's film takes off into a series of intriguing alternate realities - in each the story plays out differently and has very contrasting outcomes. In each Lola must run through the streets of Berlin - colliding with others and seeing their lives flash forward as a result. The pace is frenetic, the tone witty and playful and the cinematography dynamic and involving. Animation, still photographs and montage all play a part in this high-energy urban adventure as well as a dazzling techno score, composed in part by director Tykwer often quoting the sustained chords of the classical composer Charles Ives.

  As Lola Franke Potente is terrific in her first big role- she would go on to Hollywood and featured alongside Matt Damon in the Bourne films among others. Her athletic performance takes us on a lightning fast ride in which time, fate and destiny all compete with one another for the upper hand.
If you saw Victoria - the recent Berlin-set heist movie shot in a single take - you may see parallels with Run Lola Run - both use the German capital to great effect, both have resourceful women characters and both are compelling and surprising narratives - German cinema at its best and most entertaining.
Run Lola Run was nominated for many awards and won a host of them including the audience award at the Sundance festival.

The Company Of Wolves

Starring Angela Lansbury, David Warner, Sarah Patterson and Brian Glover
Written  by Angela Carter and Neil Jordan
Directed by Neil Jordan
UK 1985
95 mins

Our last movie was Boogie Nights - Paul Thomas Anderson's sprawling LA tale featuring a multitude of characters and stories. Tonight's film also features a group of stories told from a variety of viewpoints - this time framed within a dream structure.

The Company Of Wolves is based on a short story by Angela Carter - one of the most prolific and unique talents in post war literature. Often described as a magical realist, Carter's writing is rich, exuberant and difficult to classify. Essentially a feminist but with a sceptical and irreverent bent she was particularly fascinated by fairy tales and fantasy. The Bloody Chamber - her anthology of short stories based on such narratives as Beauty And The Beast, Bluebeard and Puss In Boots is a modern classic and has become a set text in schools.

Taken from this collection The Company Of Wolves re-interprets the tale of Red Riding Hood adding Carter's own sexual twist to the vivid cruelty of the original. In the present day a young girl called Rosaleen dreams that she is living with her parents in a fairytale forest. When she sets out to visit her grandmother - marvellously played by veteran actress Angela Lansbury - a strange sequence of events plays out...

The film's director Neil Jordan has had a mixed career which includes some highly original and distinctive pictures like Mona Lisa and perhaps most famously The Crying Game. He co-wrote the script for the Company Of Wolves with Carter and succeeds in creating an eerie and unsettling dream world.

Working in the days before CGI and with a limited budget production designer Anton Furst gives the film a mysterious beauty while the physical special effects by Chris Tucker remain quite astonishing.

Boogie Nights

Starring Mark Wahlberg, Julianne Moore, Burt Reynolds and Heather Graham
Written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
USA 1997
155 mins

Our last scheduled film was Double Indemnity - Billy Wilder's brilliant black and white film noir set in the anonymous and amoral landscape of 1940s Los Angeles. Flash forward 30 years to the same city in the late 1970s - the setting for Paul Thomas Anderson's sprawling, exhilarating and technicolour portrait of the 'adult' movie industry during it's so-called golden age. 

Mark Wahlberg plays Eddie Adams (AKA Dirk Diggler) the young nightclub dishwasher who becomes a porn star and experiences the highs and lows of the alternative side of Tinseltown. Wahlberg is just one of an extensive and hugely talented cast including William H. Macy (recently seen in the AFC screening of Fargo), the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, Don Cheadle and Alfred Molina.

Boogie Nights is the second film by Paul Thomas Anderson, one of Hollywood's most interesting and ambitious filmmakers. His work includes Magnolia, There Will Be Blood and The Master - each of his films is very different in theme, often dealing with recent history and each stylistically quite distinctive. Anderson often eschews the conventional narrative forms of the mainstream and has multiple storylines running concurrently - in this respect he is sometimes compared to Robert Altman. His last picture Inherent Vice had many echoes of Altman's marvellous 1973 adaptation ofRaymond Chandler's detective story The Long Goodbye.

The Boogie Nights soundtrack is terrific -  spawning not one but two albums - among the very danceable disco hits are 'You Sexy Thing' by Hot Chocolate, 'Machine Gun' by The Commodores and 'Got To Give It Up' by Marvin Gaye. The costumes and production design are a delight in themselves - more than once reminding us why the 70s is known as the decade that style forgot.
Above all Boogie Nights surprises us with the warmth and depth of its characters - what in other hands could have been sleazy and exploitative becomes an engaging, funny and refreshingly non-judgmental vision of an extraordinary and sometimes bizarre cultural scene.

The Squid and the Whale

Starring Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney and Jesse Eisenberg
Written and directed by Noah Baumbach
USA 2005
81 mins

Brooklyn 1986 - Bernard and Joan Berkman are a New York literary couple who have decided to separate. They tell their two teenage sons Walt and Frank that Bernard is moving out. Bernard's once promising career as a novelist is in decline while Joan's writing is becoming acclaimed - an added source of tension between them during this already difficult period.

Director Noah Baumbach is a frequent collaborator with Wes Anderson - the quirky and distinctive director of The Royal Tenenbaums and The Grand Budapest Hotel. Anderson produced this movie and some of his influence can be seen in this film's tone and style. However The Squid And The Whaleeschews the whimsy of Anderson's work for a far more direct and bitter portrait of a disintegrating family. Baumbach's script is heavily autobiographical and often very funny - managing to combine uncomfortable and sometimes excruciating  truth with hilarious satire and characterisation. 

The cast do a brilliant job led by Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney as the warring parents enlisting the support of their children in the battle. Jesse Eisenberg is the eldest son who is heavily influenced by his father and falls for his new girlfriend. Eisenberg has become one of the leading actors of his generation including a stand out turn in David Fincher's The Social Network as Facebook inventor Mark Zuckerberg.

Shot on handheld super 16mm The Squid And The Whale features an excellent folk-inflected soundtrack including contributions from Loudon Wainwright, Kate and Anna McGarrigle and Bert Jansch. The film won writing and direction prizes at the Sundance Festival as well as numerous other awards in that year. 

Exquisitely painful, root-canal-jabbingly uncomfortable, this black comedy from writer-director Noah Baumbach based on his parents' breakup is bittersweet without the sweet.' 
Peter Bradshaw - The Guardian

Double Indemnity

Starring Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray and Edward G. Robinson
Screenplay by Raymond Chandler and Billy Wilder
Based on the novel by James M.Cain
Directed by Billy Wilder
USA 1944
107 minutes

  Our last film was Fargo - the tale of a kidnap plot that goes very wrong and the dreadful (and hilarious) consequences that ensue. Double Indemnity also begins with a criminal scheme being hatched but this time the victim is the husband and the conspirators are his beautiful, amoral wife played by Barbara Stanwyck and a weak-willed and malleable insurance salesman (Fred MacMurray)

  James M. Cain based his original novella on the case of Ruth Snyder, a New York woman who along with her lover was convicted of the murder of her husband in 1927. Like the homicidal pair in Double Indemnity they had taken out a special insurance policy which would pay out in the event of an unusual death. Billy Wilder collaborated on the screenplay with Raymond Chandler - whose hard-boiled detective stories are among the greatest ever. The two men fought continuously throughout the writing process  but between them produced one of the finest scripts in the history of the movies - tense, terse, witty and chock full of brilliant dialogue.

  The cinematography by John F. Seitz uses light and shade in a way reminiscent of German Expressionism - contrasting the bright Californian exteriors with dark brooding interior spaces. Double Indemnity is often said to be the first real Film Noir - a genre of crime movies that would permeate American cinema throughout the 40s and 50s and continues to influence filmmakers strongly to this day.

  The casting of the lead characters is perfect - Barbara Stanwyck excels as Phyllis, the seductive, treacherous femme fatale while Fred MacMurray is brilliantly cast against type as her all-too-willing accomplice and lover Walter Neff. On their trail is Edward G. Robinson as Barton Keyes - the abrasive and persistent claims adjuster whose stomach tells him when something is suspicious.

  Director Billy Wilder went on to make some of Hollywood's finest including Sunset Boulevard, Some Like It Hot and The Apartment  but in Double Indemnity he created an acid masterpiece that has truly stood the test of time.

Phyllis: There's a speed limit in this state, Mr. Neff. Forty-five miles an hour. 

Walter Neff: How fast was I going, officer? 

Phyllis: I'd say around ninety. 

Walter Neff: Suppose you get down off your motorcycle and give me a ticket. 

Phyllis: Suppose I let you off with a warning this time. 

Walter Neff: Suppose it doesn't take. 

Phyllis: Suppose I have to whack you over the knuckles. 

Walter Neff: Suppose I bust out crying and put my head on your shoulder. 

Phyllis: Suppose you try putting it on my husband's shoulder. 

Walter Neff: That tears it.


Starring Frances McDormand, William H. Macy and Steve Buscemi
Screenplay by Joel and Ethan Coen
Directed by Joel Coen
Running time 98 minutes
USA 1996

  Our last film In The Heat Of The Night was a claustrophobic, small town murder story set in the stifling, southern heat of Sparta, Mississippi. Fargo also spins a deadly yarn but it could not be more different in tone nor in its northern setting - the frozen winter landscapes of Minnesota. Once again a local police chief is in charge of the investigation but this time her name is Marge Gunderson and she is seven months pregnant…

  Fargo is the  seventh film by the Coen brothers - a remarkable partnership that has produced some of the most distinctive work in modern  cinema. From their-low budget noir debut Blood Simple in 1984 through the jet black satire of Barton Fink, the stoner classic The Big Lebowski and the knockabout musical twist on Homer's Odyssey Oh Brother Where Art Thou the Coens' movies have been consistently original, often very funny and shot through with a dark sensibility that gets to the heart of modern America.

  In Fargo a struggling car salesman’s inept kidnap plan backfires and unleashes murder and mayhem on the community. William H. Macy is squirm-inducing as the hopeless culprit and Frances McDormand hilarious and unforgettable as the pregnant cop with morning sickness and an unerring nose for sniffing out crime. The supporting characters are endearingly bizarre - with the strange Scandic accent of the region providing some sublime comic moments.

  Roger Deakins’ luminous cinematography perfectly captures the icy vistas while Carter Burwell’s  folk-inflected score permeates the film with a weird, mournful beauty.
Nearly twenty years later a highly successful TV series inspired by the original film is now in its third season.

  Don’t be fooled by the caption at the beginning claiming  Fargo is based on true events and that only the names have been changed to protect the survivors. It’s all made up - but the quirky details of the fictional protagonists and their eccentric world make this a rare and  unusual pleasure.

In The Heat Of The Night

Starring Sidney Poitier, Rod Steiger Lee Grant and Warren Oates
Screenplay by Sterling Silliphant
Based on the novel by John Ball
Directed by Norman Jewison
Running time 109 minutes
USA 1967

Sidney Poitier has just been given a coveted BAFTA fellowship in the awards handed out at the weekend. His groundbreaking career as an actor and director over the past 60 years have been both an example and an inspiration to others in the profession while his strongly-held beliefs have stood firm in an industry not noted for courting political controversy or demonstrating moral determination.

Poitier, born into a poor family in the Bahamas, came to Miami with his parents as a young child. He was spotted early on as a theatre actor and soon achieved cinematic prominence in such films as The Blackboard Jungle, No Way Out and The Defiant Ones. He was the first performer of African descent to win a Best Actor Oscar for his role in Lilies Of The Field in 1963.

In The Heat Of  The Night was to give him his most famous role - as Virgil Tibbs - a tough, smart Philadelphia detective thrown together with a racist Police Chief (played by Rod Steiger) to investigate the murder of a businessman in the small Southern town of Sparta Mississippi. The movie is a compelling masterclass of screen acting - with Poitier and Steiger sparring as the two policemen locked in the uneasiest of partnerships. The supporting cast including Warren Oates is excellent and the sweaty southern atmosphere is palpably humid and claustrophobic. 

Sterling Silliphant’s  script crackles while Quincy Jones’ tense, jazzy score is a perfect accompaniment to the action. The film’s director Norman Jewison, who will be 90 this year, made many other fine pictures including The Cincinnati Kid, The Thomas Crown Affair, Rollerball and Moonstruck.

In The Heat Of The Night won five academy awards including  Best Picture, Beat Actor (for Steiger), Best Editing and Best Screenplay.

The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie

Starring Fernando Rey, Delphine Seyrig, Stephane Audran and Jean-Pierre Casssell
Written by Luis Buñuel and Jean-Claude Carriere
Directed by Luis Buñuel
Running time 102 minutes
France/Italy/Spain 1972

The great Spanish director Luis Buñuel was a member of the Surrealist movement in the 20s and 30s when he famously collaborated with Salvador Dali on two notorious films - Un Chien Andalou and L’Age d’Or. Both contained extraordinary imagery (which even today has the power to shock) and were light years ahead of what others were doing with the moving image at the time. Buñuel’s career continued, often courting controversy, with lengthy spells in the United States and Mexico before he returned to Europe in the early 1960s. After making Tristana with Catherine Deneuve in 1970 he announced his retirement.

It was not to last long however and by 1972 he had co-written and completed tonight’s film - The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie.  Based on several of his recurring dreams the story tells of a group of friends who are in search of dinner but never manage to achieve their very bourgeois aim. Along the way we are shown their dreams and hidden anxieties and often tricked in delightful ways by both the narrative and the filmmaker.  Buñuel gathered a star cast of European actors to play this group -  creating a world without conventional logic but with a sharply satirical take on middle class life.  This is
 a deft, witty and effortlessly accomplished piece of cinema which could only have been made by Buñuel and which began a late flowering of his unique talent. He went on to make two more wonderful surreal comedies   - The Phantom Of Liberty and That Obscure Object Of Desire -  before his death in 1983.

The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie won Buñuel an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film - he did not attend the ceremony and subsequently told a journalist that he had paid $25,000 in advance to be awarded it!

Rebel Without A Cause

Starring James Dean, Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo
Written by Stewart Stern and Irving Shulman
Directed by Nicholas Ray
Running time 111 minutes
USA 1955


Sixty years ago James Dean died in an automobile accident. He was only 24 years old and had made just three feature films. His sudden and untimely death caused him to become an icon of teenage culture overnight - thousands of fans showed up at his funeral in Indiana. 

Tonight’s movie Rebel Without A Cause, released just after he died, was the only one of his films for which he received top billing.

Along with Marilyn Monroe, Dean is one of a handful of  stars whose face and style have transcended the generations. He attended the legendary Actors Studio in New York where he was taught by Lee Strasberg. Other celebrated graduates of this great drama school include Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson and Robert De Niro.

'Rebel Without A Cause - The Hypnoanalysisis of a Criminal Psychopath' was the title of a 1944 book by psychiatrist Robert Lindner. This film however used only the title and tells the story of Jim Stark, a loner who starts at a new school in suburban Los Angeles and falls foul of a gang there - leading to a fatal showdown later that night. Along with Plato and Judy,  two other alienated teens, he takes refuge in a deserted mansion…

Made by one of Hollywood’s most fascinating outsider directors Nicholas Ray, Rebel is still fresh and provocative and features a clutch of terrific performances by its young cast. Ray’s other work includes intense crime dramas such as They Live By Night and the extraordinary ‘Freudian' western Johnny Guitar but  Rebel Without A Cause is by far his best known picture. The film has often been said to have invented the modern idea of the teenager and went on have a profound effect on popular youth culture - it is impossible to imagine great tranches of  modern cinema had Rebel never been made. Dean’s naturalistic performing style would be imitated for decades to come and is still very visible in much movie acting today.

This beautiful restored version highlights the  striking cinemascope photography  by Ernest Haller in which the use of colour is particularly strong. Watch out for Dennis Hopper in an early role as one of the gang members. 

In a strange footnote  Dean’s two young co-stars would also go on to suffer premature deaths - Natalie Wood drowning at 43 while Sal Mineo was only 37 years old when he was stabbed to death in a random attack.

Wild Tales

Starring Ricardo Darin, Oscar Martinez, Erica Rivas and Rita Cortese
Written and directed by Damian Szifron
Produced by Agustin and Pedro Almodovar
Running time 122 minutes
Argentina/Spain 2014

  As we find ourselves entering the season of glad tidings and goodwill to all men here is a razor sharp black comedy that is about the very opposite of those Christian sentiments. Six stories of revenge - each distinct and separate from the last and each focusing on a different narrative of wrongdoing and retribution.

  Wild Tales is a portmanteau film - the cinematic equivalent of a collection of short stories. Other notable examples include Dead Of Night, Coffee And Cigarettes, New York Stories and Four Rooms. These anthologies are comparatively rare and can often be unsatisfying - Wild Tales is an exception, each segment is funny, compelling, full of spice and often featuring a tasty twist in the tail. Some of Argentina’s finest actors appear here including Ricardo Darin who starred in the brilliant 2009 Oscar winning drama The Secrets In Their Eyes.

  Director Damian Szifron made this into the most commercially successful film ever at the Argentine box office and the movie bears the clear fingerprints of Spanish maestro Pedro Almodovar who along with his brother Agustin was a producer.

  Think Roald Dahl crossed with Breaking Bad plus a liberal dash of Kafka. Wild Tales is sometimes violent, always vivid and thought-provoking - the perfect counterpoint to Christmas cheer.