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Alexis Petridis on The Height of Goth

13 May 2012 4:05 PM, PDT

At turns unwittingly hilarious, fascinating and incredibly boring, this 1984 nightclub documentary is a great British pop culture document

It's hard to understand why someone in late 1984 took it upon themselves to finance and make an amateur film about an alternative night at a club in Batley, West Yorkshire, called Xclusiv. The person who uploaded it to YouTube claims it was the idea of Xclusiv's owners, Annie and Peter Swallow, who sold copies to the club's clientele ("mainly futuristic and way-out people," as Peter puts it in the film). Anyone who stumped up the £2 certainly got their money's worth in terms of quantity: The Height of Goth, as it's called, goes on for a mind-boggling two hours.

Whatever their reason for taking a video camera into what the introductory voiceover – delivered with the halting quality of a hostage reading a ransom demand, over footage of Batley Job Centre and an easy-listening »

- Alexis Petridis

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Kennel worker Kitty Broad on The Lucky One

13 May 2012 4:05 PM, PDT

In this film all the characters seem to forget they're running kennels about halfway through, writes Battersea Dogs Home worker Kitty Broad

From a dog-lover's point of view, this film's really disappointing. I was hoping for lots of nice lingering shots of puppies, but instead we just see lots of Zac Efron. He does bear a passing resemblance to a dog – big eyes, moody expression – but it's not quite the same thing. Efron plays Logan, a marine who, during a siege in Iraq, finds a photograph of a beautiful woman. On his return to America, he tracks her down to some dog kennels in Louisiana that she runs with her gran and gets a job there.

It seemed pretty unlikely that he'd just wander in off the streets and be offered a job in a kennels. At Battersea Dogs Home in London, where I work, you go through a long »

- Laura Barnett

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Joyce Redman obituary

13 May 2012 7:18 AM, PDT

Vivacious Irish actor best known for her role opposite Albert Finney in Tom Jones

The red-haired, vivacious and provocative Irish actor Joyce Redman, who has died aged 93, will for ever be remembered for her lubricious meal-time munching and swallowing opposite Albert Finney in Tony Richardson's 1963 film of Tom Jones. Eyes locked, lips smacked and jaws rotated as the two of them tucked into a succulent feast while eyeing up the afters. Sinking one's teeth into a role is one thing. This was quite another, and deliciously naughty, the mother of all modern mastication scenes.

Redman and Finney were renewing a friendship forged five years earlier when both appeared with Charles Laughton in Jane Arden's The Party at the New (now the Noël Coward) theatre. Redman was not blamed by the critic Kenneth Tynan for making nothing of her role as Laughton's wife. "Nothing," he said, "after all, will come of nothing. »

- Michael Coveney

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Faust – review

12 May 2012 4:41 PM, PDT

This ponderous movie is regarded by its writer-director, the talented Russian mystic Alexander Sokurov, as the concluding section of a quartet of films on the subject of the corrupting effects of power, following on from his biographical studies of Hitler (Moloch), Lenin (Taurus) and the emperor Hirohito (The Sun). It won the Golden Lion at Venice last year but is a dull affair, made in German, set in 18th-century central Europe, shot in the Czech Republic and Iceland. It has the impoverished, lugubrious scholar Faust pursuing the meaning of life and taking up with Mauritius, a grotesquely repellent version of Mephistopheles. Mauritius works as the town's pawnbroker and moneylender and reveals during one of his pointless romps with Faust to have his penis attached to his backside. After much rambling talk, Faust sells his soul to Mauritius in order to have sex with the local beauty, Margarete. He signs the »

- Philip French

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How 48 hours at large in La turned Fellini into a maestro

12 May 2012 4:18 PM, PDT

A new film will suggest what happened when director Federico Fellini vanished for two days in 1957

It is a cinematic mystery surrounding the disappearing act of one of the greatest names in the history of film.

A new movie is set to explore what may have happened when the celebrated Italian film director Federico Fellini disappeared for 48 hours on his first visit to America, where he was due to attend the Oscar awards.

Instead of a smooth trip to the 1957 ceremony, the man who was to make such classics as La Dolce Vita and 8½ almost missed the awards gala after going missing for two days somewhere in Los Angeles. Fellini Black and White, to be written and directed by Homeland producer Henry Bromell, and starring Brazilian actor Wagner Moura as Fellini, will suggest the film-maker fell under the spell of Hollywood and America in the 1950s and spent the two days discovering jazz, »

- Paul Harris

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Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje: 'I didn't want to be black. So I joined the skinheads…'

12 May 2012 4:13 PM, PDT

As an actor in Lost, he was watched worldwide. As a child, he was a 'black Oliver Twist', farmed out for fostering to a white family. Now Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje is making a film of his extraordinary life story

The name Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje is not one that slips easily off the tongue but it's worth mastering because we're likely to be hearing a lot more of it in the future. Followers of the wilfully perplexing American fantasy series Lost may recall its owner as Mr Eko, the former drug lord turned fake priest who was killed by the Man in Black, otherwise known as the Monster. Or perhaps not.

Some will know him as Simon Adebisi, the intimidating African convict in the cult HBO prison series Oz; others may recognise his contributions to films such as Congo and The Bourne Identity; and no doubt his role as an American spy »

- Andrew Anthony

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Banksy: The Man Behind the Wall by Will Ellsworth-Jones; Seven Years with Banksy by Robert Clarke – review

12 May 2012 4:13 PM, PDT

A sceptic and a devotee struggle to reveal much of note about the notoriously elusive graffiti artist

When Robert Clarke first caught sight of the then unknown Banksy in a New York flophouse in 1995, it was like one of those revelatory occasions in Hollywood biblical epics when the shadow of the saviour, whose face we are not permitted to glimpse, falls onto the ungodly. "Lo and behold," says the quivering Clarke, "he was framed in the office door and a radiant light was coming off him."

"No, no really!" he adds, but the disclaimer doesn't dispel the religiosity of the encounter. Clarke rises and follows this nondescript fellow from Bristol, who dematerialises so mysteriously and leaves behind him only prophetic daubs on the sides of buildings – anti-capitalist slogans, stencilled caricatures of greedy corporate rats, the Mona Lisa wielding a bazooka and Queen Victoria being orally pleasured by a lesbian attendant. »

- Peter Conrad

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Mark Kermode's DVD round-up

12 May 2012 4:13 PM, PDT

Shame; Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows; The Sitter

In their first feature film collaboration, Hunger, director Steve McQueen and actor Michael Fassbender explored the discovery of the soul via the obliteration of the body through the tale of Irish republican Bobby Sands, who starved himself to death in the Maze prison in pursuit of an elusive political "truth". The duo return to this theme in Shame (2011, Momentum, 18), a nakedly non-erotic thriller in which Fassbender plays Brandon, a New York bachelor obsessed with self-destructive physical gratification. Starting life as an investigation of sex-addiction, the film once again finds McQueen and cinematographer Sean Bobbitt focusing in on the harsh corporeality of the human form which is sharply contrasted with the fluid possibilities of the transcendent personality.

"We're not bad people," Brandon's increasingly alienated yuppie is told by his equally fractured sister Sissy, played with alarmingly raw intensity by Carey Mulligan. "We »

- Mark Kermode

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Trailer trash

12 May 2012 4:13 PM, PDT

Ken Loach's latest brings tartan to Cannes while Victoria Wood may soon take her place in the director's chair

Whisky a Go Go

Evening was drawing in when I called Charlie MacLean at home near Edinburgh. "I was just contemplating if it was too early for a dram," he says. "I think six o'clock is about the right time for one's first nip, so we can talk until then." MacLean is a world expert on whisky, a Master of the Quaich, no less, and features prominently in Ken Loach's new film The Angels' Share, a warming socio-comic caper about a bunch of Glasgow ne'er-do-wells who plot to steal a rare malt whisky. The film has been selected for Cannes (which starts on Wednesday) – making it Loach's record-breaking 11th appearance in competition – and now Charlie is preparing to tread the red carpet and organise a whisky tasting party afterwards. »

- Jason Solomons

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All in Good Time – review

12 May 2012 4:13 PM, PDT

A classic 1960s working-class drama translates beautifully into a comedy of contemporary British Asian family life

All in Good Time is a touching, likable comedy of life in Lancashire's Hindu community. Though this aspect is little publicised, it's closely based on Bill Naughton's 1965 play of the same title.

Born in Ireland and raised in Bolton, Naughton emerged as a novelist and playwright in the late 50s in the wave of northern working-class writers like Shelagh Delaney, Keith Waterhouse, Alan Sillitoe, David Storey and Stan Barstow. But having been born in 1910 and worked for years as a coal-bagger, cotton-loom operator and lorry driver, Naughton belonged to an earlier generation and was altogether less chippy, aggressive, and self-consciously political about his background.

He enjoyed considerable success in the theatre and had three of his plays filmed, though his most enduringly popular work, the film version of Alfie, completely misrepresented Naughton's radio play, »

- Philip French

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Yael Bartana: And Europe Will Be Stunned; Elizabeth Price: Here – review

12 May 2012 4:13 PM, PDT

Artangel at Hornsey Town Hall, London; Baltic, Gateshead

And Europe Will Be Stunned is a deeply stirring and contentious film trilogy by the Dutch-Israeli artist Yael Bartana, soon to open in Britain on its European tour. Each film is enough to disturb; together they are peculiarly subversive. I do not know exactly what they might mean to Jewish, Israeli or Palestinian viewers, still less to a Polish audience watching some of the scenes unfolding on the site of the Warsaw Ghetto itself. But my sense is that an anxious concern for other people's reactions is at least part of the trilogy's content.

In the first film, Nightmares (2007), a political leader strides into a Warsaw stadium to rally the crowds. "Let the 3 million Jews that Poland has missed… return to Poland, to your country," he urges, acknowledging Poland's antisemitic history but arguing that Jews and Poles should come together once more to extinguish the hatred. »

- Laura Cumming

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Michael Apted: 56 Up and still going strong | Andrew Anthony

12 May 2012 4:12 PM, PDT

He's a feted Hollywood director, whose career started with a bunch of children in Seven Up! And he is still charting their lives 49 years later in a landmark of documentary broadcasting

They understand longevity at Manchester's ITV Granada, which was Granada Television and is the only survivor of the original four independent TV franchisees awarded in 1954. Not only does it make Coronation Street, the world's longest-running television soap opera, but this week sees the return of its Up series, which may be the world's longest-running documentary.

The first Up programme was the brainchild of Tim Hewat, the brilliant Australian producer behind the World In Action strand. Legend has it he walked into the World in Action office and quoted the Jesuit motto cited at the beginning of the film: "Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man." And then instructed a young trainee »

- Andrew Anthony

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Robert Capa and Gerda Taro: love in a time of war

12 May 2012 4:08 PM, PDT

Capa and Taro lived, loved and died on the frontline, becoming the most famous war photographers of their time. As a new novel about them is published, we explore their real relationship

It begins with a photograph. In 1934 a struggling Hungarian photographer, André Friedmann, living in exile in Paris, is commissioned to take publicity pictures for a Swiss life insurance company's advertising brochure. On the lookout for potential models, he approaches a young Swiss refugee, Ruth Cerf, in a café on the Left Bank and convinces her to pose for him in a Montparnasse park.

Because she does not entirely trust the scruffy young charmer, Ruth brings along her friend Gerta Pohorylle, a petite redhead with a winning smile and a confident manner. So begins the most iconic relationship in the history of photography, and an intertwined and complex story of radical politics, bohemianism and bravery that, in the intervening years, »

- Sean O'Hagan

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How I Spent My Summer Vacation – review

12 May 2012 4:03 PM, PDT

In his personal life Mel Gibson may still be sleeping it off in Hollywood's sin bin, but cinematically he returns here to what he does best, playing a funny, psychopathic, sharp-thinking outsider similar to Riggs the crazy cop he impersonated in the Lethal Weapon pictures. He is, however, very much on the wrong side of the law in How I Spent My Summer Vacation, a criminal loose cannon banged up in "El Pueblito". This city-sized jail of some 6,000 inhabitants, including the families of the prisoners and various hangers-on, was built outside Tijuana as an experiment in humane imprisonment and was closed down in 2002 after becoming a version of hell. The dazzling re-creation of this prison and the way Gibson's man-without-a-name manipulates it makes this variant on the spaghetti western appealing. The near incomprehensible plot involving his dealing with crooked cops and businessman on both sides of the Rio Grande is »

- Philip French

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Beloved – review

12 May 2012 4:03 PM, PDT

Like his Les Chansons d'Amour, Christophe Honoré's Beloved (aka Les Bien-Aimés) is a homage to the French new wave and especially to Jacques Demy's musicals Les Parapluies de Cherbourg and Les Demoiselles de Rochefort. But the film lacks Demy's lightness and charm, as its well-heeled, beautifully dressed characters dance and sing themselves from the 1960s to 2007. They fall in love, practise a little stylish prostitution and, as the action moves from Prague to Paris to London to Montreal, they're affected by, but do not genuinely experience, the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, the Aids crisis in the 80s, and the horrors of 9/11. Catherine Deneuve is as wonderful as she was in her early films with Demy, and her screen daughter is played by her real life daughter, the enchanting Chiara Mastroianni, who like Ludivine Sagnier and Louis Garrel, starred in Les Chansons d'Amour. Those who like Beloved will file it under guilty pleasures. »

- Philip French

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Café de Flore – review

12 May 2012 4:03 PM, PDT

After his excursion into British heritage cinema with The Young Victoria, a competent, well-upholstered period piece, the French-Canadian film-maker Jean-Marc Vallée has made an experimental curiosity that alternates over two hours between apparently unrelated stories set in France and Quebec. In 2011 Montreal, a popular French-Canadian disc jockey has dumped his wife and taken up with a new younger soul mate much to the distress of his parents and two daughters. In 1969 Paris, a lower-middle-class woman (Vanessa Paradis) is deserted by her husband when she decides to raise and educate her son, who has Down's syndrome. She becomes troubled, however, when the boy falls in love with a girl with Down's syndrome. The French story is fascinating and beautifully acted, the French-Canadian one is romantic daytime TV drivel, and the links between them – mystic, metaphysical, musical – do not lead towards resonance or enlightenment. We're supposed, one assumes, to think of William Faulkner »

- Philip French

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Jeff, Who Lives at Home – review

12 May 2012 4:03 PM, PDT

The Duplass brothers have progressed from The Puffy Chair, a no-budget, no-plot, mumblecore mini-classic, through the slight, romantic comedy Cyrus, to the fast-moving mainstream farce Jeff, Who Lives at Home. They pack a string of jokes and a succession of surprises into the tale of a whimsical slacker, who sits at home thinking everything happens for a reason, and his frantic married brother, who's out wheeling and dealing in a world he believes to be in a state of chaos. The film takes place during a single day in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and ends up with a bizarre encounter on the road to New Orleans with their widowed mother and the elder brother's estranged wife. The film has a dark symmetry and dangerous moments that prove to be as funny as its sunnier ones.

ComedyPhilip French

guardian.co.uk © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. »

- Philip French

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Dark Shadows – review

12 May 2012 4:03 PM, PDT

Based on a gothic series that ran on American TV during the far-off 1960s, Dark Shadows stars Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins, the scion of a prosperous British mercantile family in 18th-century New England, who's turned into a vampire by a local witch and buried at night in the local woods. Accidentally disinterred in 1972, during that brief period between Watergate and the end of the Vietnam war, Barnabas sets about restoring the family's fortune. Made in Britain, exquisitely shot by the French cameraman Bruno Delbonnel (who lit Amelie, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Sokurov's Faust) and beautifully designed by Burton's regular collaborator, Rick Heinrichs, Dark Shadows is a visual delight. Depp is a poised, proud, sad figure, frightened by his own ability to cause harm. But ultimately the film is rather ordinary, a bit like a modest Roger Corman horror flick embarrassed by the size of its budget. »

- Philip French

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Why cinema is no longer afraid to tackle 9/11

11 May 2012 4:10 PM, PDT

The Avengers, which has had the biggest Us opening in history, climaxes with towers crumbling and mayhem in Manhattan. Squeamishness, it seems, is shortlived in Hollywood

Mad terror in the streets as flying whatsits and killer robots from outer space ricochet off and, more often, crash through 70-story skyscrapers. Mighty towers crumble; concrete chunks spray from the screen. Total Sensurround: the theatre itself shakes as the non-stop cosmic battle-cum-pinball game that is The Avengers reaches its climax in a digital midtown Manhattan.

It's complete mayhem and, reader, I confess that I enjoyed every minute of this ear-splitting, brain-jarring, inordinately protracted cataclysm – even though something similar, if on a far smaller scale, occurred a bit more than 10 years ago, six blocks from my home. On 11 September 2001, planes crashed, buildings collapsed, and debris rained. Some were buried alive, others ran stunned and screaming through New York's concrete canyons.

My neighbours saw jets »

- J Hoberman

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Q&A: Chloë Sevigny

11 May 2012 4:10 PM, PDT

'What does love feel like? Very painful'

Chloë Sevigny, 37, was raised in Connecticut. At 18 she moved to New York and worked on teen magazine Sassy, which led to modelling work and an appearance in a Lemonheads video. Her first acting role was in 1995's Kids and in 2000 she was Oscar-nominated for her role in Boys Don't Cry. Her other films include American Psycho, Woody Allen's Melinda And Melinda, and Mr Nice. She won a Golden Globe for her role in the TV series Big Love and is the lead in Sky Atlantic's drama Hit And Miss, which starts on 22 May.

When were you happiest?

Last time I was on the dance floor – in Manchester a few weeks ago.

What is your greatest fear?

Something happening to my mother.

What is your earliest memory?

Being in the front yard, playing with violets, and my mother saying they were her mother's favourite flower. »

- Rosanna Greenstreet

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