It’s 2016. It’s raining like it forgot it could. The 3 day hangovers are ebbing away and the world is slowly clunking back into action with that uncanny mixture of January dread and optimism. This is our last day of real rest and then it will be Monday again.
When I get the post-Christmas blues I like to sweat them out in a dark cinema screen, soaking in the debuts of the new year in a bid to reinstall a bit of positivity in the realisation of what has been and will be achieved in the film world. For it’s still our firm belief that magical things happen in cinemas (no, not just those kind of cinemas). It’s more than escapism, bigger than distracted laptop viewing and obstinately refuses to be background noise. If allowed, it can often be a cathartic, enlightening and invigorating experience – all the things needed as an antidote for dreary January.
It’s truly been a spectacular year both from inside Girls On Film headquarters (my bed) and outside in the wider film world. So much has grown from its roots into something starting to look formed. Over the course of the year America has legalised gay marriage and Todd Haynes’ stunning CAROL has debuted at the London Film Festival, marking itself as one of the best love stories in living memory and centralising a lesbian couple’s relationship. The first ever film about the Suffragette movement, directed by Sarah Gavron, SUFFRAGETTE, also premiered – and was interrupted by a group of real modern day suffragettes protesting that ‘Dead Women Can’t Vote’ and it’s too little too late when two thirds of our government’s fresh welfare cuts directly affect women.
The best young actress to catch our attention came in the form of Lauren McQueen, playing a young girl being taken advantage of in Helen Walsh’s THE VIOLATORS and starring in Carolyn Saunder’s upcoming horror based on eating disorders THE WASTING. Yay for Lauren, all the way from Liverpool.
GOF favourite Justin Kurzel painted fire across Scotland with a mesmerising adaptation of MACBETH, and his brother Jed wrote a haunting score to match. Of all 2015 film moments, seeing the revamped classic at the Cork Opera house with an introduction by the composer was a once in a lifetime.
The refugee crisis and ongoing Syrian Conflict found its way into our foreign interests by way of air strikes on Raqqa following the Paris attack, making this our 4th military involvement in a Muslim country in 14 years. Just before the decision to bomb got voted through, Mor Loushy’s documentary CENSORED VOICES left the BFI auditorium stunned at the London Film Festival, which recounted Israel’s 1967 Six Day War and the wake of a national sense of deserved victory that it inspired. Any voiced concerns at this way of thinking were suppressed – until now. A warning sign by way of demonstration that feels all too relevant.
Two short films that kidnapped our attention were Tash Horton’s POWDER ROOMS OF THE FEMALE KIND (a simple exploration of female body image interspersed with explosions of glittery make-up powder) and Toby Stephen’s ever more popular IN VITRO.
Jennifer Lawrence donned Katniss Everdeen’s leathery getup for the last time and made an impact as the most fierce female action hero of the year (closely followed by Charlize Theron in MAD MAX) in THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 2.
And our Number One film of the year had its place affirmed from the moment the first orange shot appeared on screen and the dreamy music to match rolled out. The most controversial, original Christmas film of all time, Sean Baker and the whole cast utterly killed it with TANGERINE. Mya Taylor and Kitana Kiki Rodriguez conjure a rapport as bezzie-prozzies Alexandra and Sin-Dee that is so enjoyable to behold they could easily have there own TV series. This is a neon trip and steep come-down that never lags in energy – but it reveals as much about them underneath the wig as it tantalises the senses.
Our favourite new screening venue, discovered during our bi-monthly visit to short film evening Women In Revolt, is volunteer run, community-focused DEPTFORD CINEMA whom we hope to be collaborating with this year. A dingy half-built basement it may be, but its programming is currently unparalleled in the area, and it seems to be doing something that lots of other cinemas have forgotten to do: exist for the community which it is part of.
Thank you for all your ongoing support, collaboration, comments and enthusiasm for our beloved medium and HAPPY NEW YEAR Y’ALL.