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One way of looking at 2014 is to acknowledge it as yet another year of ongoing transition in film. This process occurs in direct parallel with our own social experience – in a world made ever more real through immediate access to information, but less and less tangible thanks to a merciless digital age. The film industry does not play catch-up with the fast train of online ‘free-for-all’ knowledge anymore. In fact, it has learned very quickly to manipulate it in its favour. Following the notion that the more you make available to the public for free the more there is to be gained in the long-run, big studios are now firmly settled on the internet, targeting every fan base, engineering hype and propagating myth in general. A Filmreel from the recent past elaborated on this theme by dissecting the nature of hype in both mainstream and independent filmmaking. One could argue it’s virtually impossible to put forward a choice of upcoming films without acknowledging the orchestrated hype surrounding it. So here’s a selection of three feature films finding a release in 2014 – a personal mixed bag of mine for those who understand that ‘only the specific can be universal’:

X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Then right boxes have been steadily ticked throughout the very clever viral campaign surrounding the release of the next film in the X-Men franchise. With a blend of seemingly factual imagery and a focus on the socio-political circumstances which lead to the film’s dystopian future, the series is set to redeem itself after the dreadful Last Stand and the mediocre First Class. Further evidence that things are back on track is the choice of source material and the return of the gifted Bryan Singer to the helm. The plot, in which the future sees mutants incarcerated in concentration camps, is extracted and adapted from a popular story arc originally published in The Uncanny X-Men comics in 1980. Whilst time-travelling opens up the X-Men universe to limitless possibilities, a major change may have condemned the film to become a much more average affair. In the original, it’s the adult Kitty Pryde who has her consciousness transferred to her former ingenue self in the present day, in order to prevent the crucial moment in history that triggered the global hysteria against mutants. It was rich in depth and parallels with reality, with children forced into maturity by circumstances of war and oppression. Yet the film places its most popular character, Wolverine, at the centre of the narrative in a move that has been clearly dictated by the commercial need to play it safe. Out on 22nd May.

Under The Skin.

This may be the film that I’ve been waiting for a long time for Jonathan Glazer to make. Based on a novel by Michel Faber about an alien seductress harvesting unsuspecting hitchhikers, the film is set to play to Glazer’s major strengths as a filmmaker: atmosphere and refined nightmarish aesthetics. Casting Scarlett Johansson in the lead is a stroke of genius. This is a fearless actress who not just commits fully to whatever content a film requires, but will attract a legion of fans of her more mainstream self. Neither of Glazer’s previous films are the outstanding pieces of Cinema they could’ve been. Sexy Beast (2000) is mostly sustained by Ben Kingsley’s incomparable performance and Birth (2004) never quite lives to the promise of its thought-provoking concept. His music video work is exceptional though, and it’s what indirectly connects me as a filmmaker to him. One could say that, between Glazer and myself, there’s Massive Attack. His ‘Karmacoma’ video contains a string of scenes paying homage to popular works of cinema, including the terrifying twins from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. One of these two girls was Freya Finnerty, an actress I would later cast as an adult in a central role in my video for Sieben’s ‘He Can Delve In Hearts’. And the connection doesn’t end there. At present, I’m in post-production with ‘Faith Song’, a music video for former lead singer with Massive Attack, Sarah Jay Hawley. Out on 14th March.

Streaming.

I’ve been asked much about my upcoming feature-length project in sporadic interviews given to the Portuguese press or the odd blogger. I will use the remainder of your attention-span to tell you a little more, but referring you back to the opening sentences of this article. The notion of “a world made ever more real through immediate access to information, but less and less tangible thanks to a merciless digital age” is at the heart of Streaming. Although I choose to present it, rather cryptically, as ‘a futuristic horror film about the fabrication of memories’, this may very well be the most important film in my career so far. It’s conceptually futuristic, yes, but very much about ‘the now’ that concerns us all. Part social commentary, part voracious assault on the senses that is set to reflect our digital consumption, it is a character-driven narrative with a profound sense of memory and history. Inadvertently or not, the film may also tell the story of the end of conventional broadcasting. But it’s surely a cautionary tale, as it concerns the notion that we’re ‘becoming what we watch’, the more we let ourselves be defined by the filtered information propagated across the web. Still, you may ask: what is it really about? Well, will I sustain your interest if I tell you that it is as much about reality as it is about filmmaking itself? Or that it is about you, me and life – both in the personal and wider sense? streamingthemovie.blogspot.co.uk )

Next article in issue 70

Modus / Esmerine / Bat Makumba / Loom.

6th December. Fez Club. Reviewer – Tristan Shorrock. Since the reopening of Fez a little over two years ago it has become a hot bed for up …

6th December.
Fez Club.

Reviewer – Tristan Shorrock.
Since the reopening of Fez a little over two years ago it has become a hot bed for up 

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