Impressionable Films and Other Media

Good cinema should be more than mere entertainment. The following are a list of films (in no particular order: some classics, some turkeys) that I consider to be repeatedly watchable. They will not be to everyone's taste and may not even be to anyone's taste bar myself. Nethertheless for me each has in its small way a moment of significance.

Black Cat poster The Black Cat (1934/Edgar Ulmer). Karloff & Lugosi.
A highly mannered film, using a fantastically impressionistic set of steel, glass, acute angles. I can't imaging today's Hollywood daring to make a movie where the lead characters are named Hjalmar Poelzig and Vitus Werdegast.
The Keep (1983/Michael Mann). Scored by Tangerine Dream.
Part German Expressionism, part Gnostic horror. By majority vote an absolute turkey but one of my favourite films - however Ian McKellen for all his talents is completely miscast as the Professor. There is also little attempt to explain the plot in any detail unlike most contemporary films where the audience is spoonfed throughout.
The Keep Laserdisc Cover
Room With A View video cover A Room With A View (1985/Merchant-Ivory)
Faithful transfer (as much as literature can be) to the screen of Forster's Edwardian social comedy. Plus some nice nude scenes of Rupert Graves.
Maurice (1987/Merchant-Ivory)
"England has always been disinclined to accept human nature."

An adaptation of Forster's novel of homosexual love, never published in his lifetime. Another quintessential Merchant-Ivory production: fine acting, attention to detail, and more nude Rupert Graves.
Maurice video cover
Circles of Deceit book jacket Circles Of Deceit (1990/Stuart Burge, made for BBC TV)
Not a cinema film but a television version for Bawden's novel starring Edward Fox, Jane Lapotaire and Stefan Schwartz as their disintegrating son. Intelligent, mesmerising, and heart-rendingly moving in places. The Icarus Descending metaphor on the book jacket opposite is well chosen.
Shooting Fish (1997/Stefan Schwartz)
Probably the most lightweight of all films here but no less for it: an amiable con romp: engaging and very amusing.
Shooting Fish poster
Pendas Fen clip Penda's Fen (1974/Alan Clarke, made for BBC TV).
Script by David Rudkin.

Set against the Malvern Hills and brimming with Elgar this is a tale of a boy coming to terms with his identity: religious, political and sexual. Full of pagan symbolism, finely wrought and ultimately exhausting in its breadth.
Artemis 8 1 (1981/Alastair Reid, made for BBC TV)
Script by David Rudkin.

Three hours of Rudkin's mythic paganism intervowen with hommages to Hitchcock. At times bleak, incomprehensible even, but never less than lyrical. It's a piece that cries out for repeated viewing - to peel the layers back one by one and attempt to make sense of the fragmented whole.
Artemis 81 clip
Urbania DVD cover Urbania (2000/Jon Shear)
An immersive black comedy of urban myths and lost love, starring the ever excellent Dan Futterman. Poignant and cathartic, it never goes quite where expected.
Harry & Max (2003/Christopher Münch)
A brave if slightly sterile tale of obssession and unbrotherly love. It's unclear if the fragmented plot is due in part to post production editing or the writer-director's unwillingless to push the boundaries too far, however the sheer charisma of the actors carries the film forward.
harry and Max DVD cover
A Separate Peace poster A Separate Peace (1972/Larry Peerce)
I came upon this film decades before I knew Knowle's book and fell headlong into the bathos of it: the betrayals, drumhead trial and ultimate guilt. There is a 2004 remake which is by received wisdom far better however I still retain a fondness for the original, warts and all.

For other reviews please look to flixter