Showroom Cinema: November Preview

November is often the month where you find the future Oscar-winners, and this year there are a number of incredibly strong releases.

5 Broken Cameras

I missed 5 Broken Cameras as Sheffield Doc/Fest, but was lucky enough to see it soon after. It won the audience award, getting a standing ovation which was truly merited. Filmed from the perspective of a Palestinian farmer, Emad Burnat, who never wanted to be a film maker, but saw no option but to record the actions of the Israeli government.

“Startlingly intimate and direct… It’s impossible not to care about these people… a deeply personal explication of resistance…” – LA Weekly

“…the immediacy with which it bears witness to injustice is powerful and affecting, as are the images of joy Burnat captures amid the burning olive trees.” – LA Times

The Master

A new Paul Thomas Anderson film is always a major event. With such masterpieces as Magnolia, Boogie Nights & There Will Be Blood, he is one of the most talented living film-makers. The Master is a film about a naval veteran who arrives home from war, unsettled and uncertain of his future. He then falls under the spell of a charismatic cult leader.

“…affirms Paul Thomas Anderson’s position as the foremost filmmaking talent of his generation…. Fierce and ferociously funny… a great movie… a new American classic.” – Rolling Stone

“…a free-form work of expressionism… a film of breathtaking cinematic romanticism and near-complete denial of conventional catharsis.” – Village Voice

Rust and Bone

Put in charge of his young son, Ali leaves Belgium for Antibes to live with his sister and her husband as a family. Ali’s bond with Stephanie, a killer whale trainer, grows deeper after Stephanie suffers a horrible accident. Rust and Bone was nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes, and is the new film from Jacques Audiard, the director of A Prophet.

“…both characters are so fully formed that either one could support a story… It’s a marvellous movie, gorgeous and thoughtful and deeply felt.” – NPR

“‘Rust and Bone’ is essential. It’s life and death. It’s like fucking at a funeral…. it shows you that love is the only transcendent force we possess.” Movieline


Whilst Ben Afleck’s acting career has been chequered at best, his stints behind the camera has been consistently impressive. Both Gone Baby Gone and The Town were excellent, highlighting his abilities in front, and behind, the camera. Argo is a based on the true story of a 1980 joint CIA-Canadian secret operation to extract six fugitive American diplomatic personnel out of revolutionary Iran.

“…spellbinding and surprisingly funny…. has cliff-hanging moments when the whole delicate plan seems likely to split at the seams…. The craft in this film is rare.” – Roger Ebert

“…a smart, jittery thriller… a doozy of a story and so borderline ridiculous that it sounds — ta-da! — like something that could have been cooked up only by Hollywood.” NY Times

Silver Linings Playbook

David O’Russell, the man behind the Oscar-nominated The Fighter, returns with another film about dysfunctional families. Silver Linings Playbook follows Paul (Bradley Cooper) who moves back in with his parents after losing everything. Trying to reconcile with his wife, he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) and they form a strange bond.

“…one of the freshest, funniest, most elevating crowd-pleasers of the year…. David O. Russell and his cast make it sing. This is a wonderful movie.” – Miami Herald

“A head-spinning wonder of a movie… a transcendent endeavor, from its exhilaratingly smart screenplay to the unexpected and moving turns of its two leads.” – Philadelphia Enquirer


Georges and Anne are in their eighties. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, who is also a musician, lives abroad with her family. One day, Anne has an attack. The couple’s bond of love is severely tested. Michael Haneke has a reputation for confrontational and emotionally devastating films (Funny Games, The Piano Teacher, White Ribbon). Amour won the Palme d’Or at Cannes and is meant to be tender and sensitive. I’m suspicious.

“…universally heartbreaking…. a tough sit, and tells you nothing you don’t already implicitly know, but I still felt oddly uplifted, as if I’d seen an act of great heroism.” – AV Club

“’Amour’ is a devastating, highly intelligent and astonishingly performed work. It’s a masterpiece.” – Time Out

Also see:

Battle of Algiers – Simply stunning. One of the best films I’ve ever seen.

The Shining – We finally get to see the US extended cut of Kubrick’s seminal film.

Army of Darkness – Give me some sugar baby

The Sapphires – Based on a true story, The Sapphires follows four vivacious, talented Australian Aboriginal girls as they learn about love, friendship and war when their girl group entertains the U.S. troops in Vietnam.

Elena – When a sudden illness and an unexpected reunion threaten dutiful housewife Elena’s potential inheritance, she must hatch a desperate plan. A modern Russian take on Film Noir.

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