10 items from 2011
A new documentary looks into the global financial meltdown, and also proves to be a good companion piece to Inside Job...
Any mention of the global financial crisis is almost certain to trigger something of an agnostic reaction in most people. We're aware of its existence, aware that something happened involving things called subprime mortgages, aware that a lot of people lost a lot of money and that our tax pounds flooded to the aid of the very institutions that were to blame for the whole sorry affair.
This said, unless you or someone close to you was unfortunate enough to be caught in the fallout, for most people, it still seems to be something abstract that happened to other people somewhere far away, be that in either geographic or socioeconomic terms. The ‘worst economic disaster since The Great Depression' came and went as we were all busy moaning about »
X-Men: First Class (12A)
Considering the odds were stacked against this – preceding as it does four X-Men movies (including Hugh Jackman's Wolverine), entering a superhero-stuffed summer schedule, juggling scores of characters, and telling a story fans know already – this does a remarkably good job. The cold war setting offers a new take on closeted mutanthood, and a parallel version of the Cuban missile crisis, not to mention Bond-like stylings, and McAvoy and Fassbender add dramatic ballast to some overbearing special effects.
(Asif Kapadia, 2010, UK) 106 mins
A Formula One doc that doesn't follow the formula, this assembles a compelling, even moving, biography of the superstar Brazilian driver using only archive material and audio interviews; no talking heads or modern-day footage. The racetrack excitement is contagious.
Last Night (12A)
- Steve Rose
Documentary film–maker David Sington explains why chargers are the bane of his life
What's your favourite piece of technology, and how has it improved your life?
I suppose if we're talking technology and not product then it's the light-sensitive chip, which is the key thing that allows digital photography and film-making. It's the key thing that's brought the documentary back to the big screen. It's provided an affordable route to producing pictures of a high-enough definition for cinemas.
When was the last time you used it, and what for?
It was actually doing the DVD extras for my film The Flaw – which, oddly enough, was an interview with me.
What additional features would you add if you could?
I think that what's really needed is for the technology to settle down to a universal format, or codec. The systems are very proprietary so getting the pictures off the camera »
- Stuart O'Connor
As the credits roll on The Flaw, a new documentary on the financial crisis, and we learn the fates of the various interviewees, it's Andrew Luan, a former mortgage bond trader for Deutsche Bank, who has emerged from the meltdown best. Now a guide who provides walking tours (and handy narrative threads for documentary filmmakers) through post-credit crunch Wall Street, his business has been on the up since 2008. The Flaw – from In the Shadow of the Moon director David Sington – joins Inside Job and Michael Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story in cinema's growing oeuvre of rueful postmortems on the global financial system. But watching them, I sometimes wonder if their function is just like Luan's Wall Street walkabout: vicariously entertaining us with the spectacle of our own decline. »
- Phil Hoad
British film-maker David Sington has made a pretty good documentary about the banking catastrophe in The Flaw, though it is not nearly as good as Charles Ferguson's Oscar-winning Inside Job: it has less journalistic bite and is more lenient with the white-collar players involved. Sington takes us through the origins of the 2008 fiasco and how the problem was the boom in house mortgages and bank securities based on those mortgages. He does a good job of emphasising that much of this activity was based on refinancing ie borrowing more and more money on an existing mortgaged property, often to cover other debts. So it was not extending the dream of home ownership. The film's title comes from Federal »
- Peter Bradshaw
With the 2011 Sundance Film Festival entering its second and final weekend, we have a few bits of new to bring you out of Park City, Utah. First up, Mike Cahill's sci-fi film Another Earth has been awarded the festival's Alfred P. Sloan Award for its status as an "outstanding feature film focusing on science or technology as a theme, or depicting a scientist, engineer or mathematician as a major character." The award carries with it a $20,000 cash award for Cahill and Co. Briefly, Another Earth stars William Mapother and Brit Marling and centers on two strangers who strike up an unlikely love affair against the backdrop of the discovery of a duplicate Earth. Next up are a couple of Sundance acquisitions and we begin with the annoucement that Focus Features has snatched up the rights to Dee Rees' Pariah. Starring Adepero Oduye, Pernell Walker, and Kim Wayans, the »
- Jason Barr
New Video has acquired rights to Sundance doc "The Flaw," directed by British filmmaker David Sington ("In The Shadow of the Moon"). It will be released under New Video's Docurama Films brand later this year. Full release below: New Video Acquires David Sington'S 2011 Sundance Entry, "The Flaw," For Multi-platform Release New York, NY - January 27, 2011 - New Video, a leading independent film and TV distributor, announced today »
Exclusive: New Video has made the latest Sundance film deal, acquiring the David Sington-directed financial crisis documentary The Flaw. New Video plans a limited theatrical run and then release on DVD, VOD and digital platforms. Sington's documentary tackles the financial meltdown, and gets its title from U.S. Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan's acknowledgment that he'd discovered a flaw in his model of how the world worked. Sington, the British filmmaker who previously made In the Shadow of the Moon, breaks down in detail the reasons behind the 2008 crisis, from credit default swaps to greed and avarice. The film was produced by Christopher Hird (The End of the Line), Luke Johnson and Stephen Lambert of Studio Lambert. The film debuted last Friday. "The Flaw delves into one of society's most pressing concerns with precision and intelligence," New Video acquisitions president Mark Kashden said. "We wanted to be sure David's »
- MIKE FLEMING
Taking its title from Alan Greenspan's 2008 Congressional testimony in which he confessed to a "flaw" in his free-market ideology, David Sington's new documentary addresses the root causes of the American financial crisis. But unlike Charles Ferguson's microscopic study of the collapse "Inside Job," Sington takes the macro approach, examining historical trends and concepts such as asset bubbles and income distribution throughout the 20th century.
"The Flaw" makes one thing clear from the outset - there was nothing simple about the U.S. financial collapse of 2007. Within minutes, experts had identified plenty of culprits: market failure, a credit culture, a wage crisis, a debt crisis, and upward redistribution of income. That's economic shorthand for fasten your seatbelt. David Sington's rigorously constructed analysis of the meltdown, told entirely by economists, brokers, bankers, and borrowers, plays like »
10 items from 2011
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