Catching up with 2018

2018 is nearly at its end and once again cinemas have been filled with another stellar selection of films.

I’ve been on a mission this last week to catch up with some of those those films of note that I missed at the time fo their initial release. All of which are worth catching up with via various VOD services or DVD.

Lek and the Dogs (dir. Andrew Kotting)

Lek and the Dogs

Award winning artist and filmmaker Andrew Kotting adapts Hattie Naylor's curriculum, award-winning play, Ivan and the Dogs, for cinema. Based on the extraordinary true story of Ivan Mishukov, who walked out of his Moscow apartment at the age of four and spent two years living on the city streets where he was adopted by a pack of wild dogs. In the recession-ravaged city, the human world is dominated by deprivation and violence. When social breakdown from extremes of impoverishment, cruelty and selfishness starts to set in, a homeless child's only hope is to turn to feral dogs for company, protection and warmth.

This is a film about seeking to belong and seeking to survive. It is hypnotic, erratic and spell binding. Your reaction to this film will either be to fall under its spell or to disregard it as artistic waffle within the first fifteen minutes. I was the former and its imagery will stay with me for a long time to come.

Lek and the Dogs is available via the BFI Player subscription service.

You Were Never Really Here (dir. Lynne Ramsey)

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The avenging angel of Joe (Joaquin Phoenix) haunted by past past events moves slowly, in virtual silence silence until injustice cause him to explode with rage.Charged with recovering kidnapped girls. This is a hitman with a heart, and not out of sentimentality but out of a sense of what is right even within his dark world.

Beautifully shot and directed this proves again how great a director Lynne Ramsay is. I often wish she would be more prolific in her output but I suppose the mantra of quality over quantity may be the greatest of her many assets.

You Were Never Really Here is available to stream via Prime Video.


The Wound (dir. John Trengrove)

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John Trengove's unsettling and often suffocating South African drama - shortlisted for Best Foreign Language Film at this year's Oscars - sees old ways clash uncomfortably with new, as rich city boy Kwanda (Niza Jay Ncoyini) is sent up into the mountains to take part in a traditional initiation ritual designed to make him a man. He's bullied and singled out both for his privileged social status and rumoured sexuality, while the mentor who's supposed to be looking out for him, Nakhane Toure's Xolani, is grappling with internal struggles of his own. Xolani is having a secret affair with married childhood friend and fellow mentor Vija (Bongile Mantsai), but the intimacy he craves and the future he dreams about appear painfully out of reach.

Tradition, masculinity, tribal belonging and finding your own way all lie within the heart of The Wound.

The big question is if the wounds we carry ever truly heal.

The Wound is available via NOW TV.