Maysaloun Hamoud on her new movie Bar Bahar/In Between, Palestinian cinema, and more

In Between Bar Bahar Maysaloun Hamoud Interview Sana Jammalieh Shaden Kanboura Mouna Hawa Shlomi Elkabetz fatwa palestine ophir israel tel aviv hd screenshot poster wallpaper

I just think that I was talking about the conservative people all over the world. This story is particular, for sure, as a Palestinian woman, but at the same they are so universal. I think all women all over the world, and not just the women; the men that you see in the movies are around us, all over the world. Just a difference of faces and names, I can see, but these dilemmas and these conflicts, you can find the everywhere. In London, in Britain, everywhere in Europe, everywhere in the States, everywhere in Latin America and the Far East, anywhere you want. Because this is how humanity behaves through the world and discrimination against women is everywhere.

An interview I’m particularly proud of – here’s my chat with Maysaloun Hamoud, who directed Bar Bahar, or In Between.

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John Madden on Miss Sloane, being a feminist filmmaker, and more

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I’d certainly consider myself a filmmaker who specialises in stories about women, I’ve done a lot of them. I’ve told a lot of stories about women who are in positions of power, and I think that’s fascinating. To me, that gives you the whole package really, because women are just simply more interesting than men anyway, simply because of the qualities they possess, that the gender possess, in my view anyway.

You’re always going to have something – if you have a powerful male character, you’re going to be struggling to find some element of vulnerability. If it is there, it’s usually connected to his love for a good woman; with women, you get all of that rolled up into one. You get humanity, you get sexuality, you get power, you get judgement, you get intelligence – you get everything, without the more preposterous aspects of male supremacy.

I think this is one of the best interviews I’ve ever done, actually – John (the photo of whom above was taken by Kerry Hayes) was a great guy to talk to, and a really interesting conversationalist.

(In fact, I was so pleased with this interview, I put it into my portfolio, which you can check out here.)

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Director Robin Swicord on her new movie Wakefield, her writing process, and more

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I definitely felt an initial repulsion about this man who would just walk out on his family – and then my next question was why would he do that? Why would he walk out? Once I started to understand why he would do such a thing, I was aligned with him. I was that way all the way through shooting, all the way through editing. In movies, that’s what I want – that’s the experience I was after.

I recently spoke to Robin Swicord about her new movie Wakefield, which stars Bryan Cranston.

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Why Rogue One: A Star Wars Story wasn’t as good as everyone thought it was

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Star Wars: Rogue One is finally released on DVD today, having already been available on digital download since last week.

As you’re re-watching the latest Star Wars spin-off, though, you might be met with a worrying thought – that the film is actually not quite as good as you thought it was the first time round.

Yes, it’s true – Star Wars: Rogue One isn’t actually all that good.

From forgettable characters to continuity-overload, here are a few reason why you might not want to watch it a second time.

I wrote an article about Star Wars for Metro, specifically about Rogue One. I never really got around to reviewing the movie properly when it first came out, but this sums up most of my thoughts on it.

Mind you, in the time since, I have been thinking I should probably rewatch it – I am massively out of step with the general cultural consensus about this film, and I do wonder if there’s something I’m missing. It’s possible that, because I watched it after having been awake for around 24 hours, I was just in the wrong state of mind to appreciate it – but I doubt that had much of an effect. Perhaps I’ll write about it again come… ooh, December 2018?

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Screenwriter Allison Schroeder on Hidden Figures, #OscarsSoWhite, and more

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I felt this huge responsibility to these women, to get it right and to make something that they would be proud of. Katherine Johnson, who’s the only one still with us, her request was that it not be just about her – that we had some of these other women as well, because it was a team effort. That was something I took to heart, and it’s why you’ve got Mary Jackson  and Dorothy Vaughn as well, and we get to see all the other women they worked with in the computing pool. 

Did a great interview with Allison Schroeder around the time of Oscar season; this was a real blast, Allison was great to talk to. We spoke a lot about representation, and the sort of films that Allison wanted her daughter to be able to see while growing up.

Which, in hindsight, I did wonder about. Allison was the first woman I interviewed individually; since then I’ve tried, albeit not necessarily succeeded, to maintain a rough sort of parity between male and female interviewees – as well as interviewing people of colour, though that’s been less successful. Was asking about the sort of films her daughter would watch something I’d ask a male director or screenwriter? I think yes, and it made sense in context – Hidden Figures had been especially impactful with young girls, and Allison had only recently-ish given birth. But it’s something I try to bear in mind, anyway.

That said, the other thought I have after this interview is that I probably should have pushed a little more on the matter of historical accuracy and such; this was the fourth interview I did, and I was a little less confident about things like that, but I definitely think that nowadays I’d be more direct rather than talking around the issue as above.

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In its 70th year, BAFTA continues to celebrate the best of the arts, and why they matter

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Further, we saw a celebration of the power and the value of the arts – this was, if nothing else, the key theme of the evening. It was evident particularly through the speeches – as Noomi Rapace put it, now is a time when “our art is more important than ever”. Indeed, it was a common theme throughout the night, with Mark Rylance touching on the same idea; he noted that art is now “more needed and more important in society” than it has been before. Many of the speeches were based around this idea, repeatedly emphasising that “there is more tying us together than is tearing us apart” – and art is a key part of that.

Emma Stone put it best, though, when she commented on “the positive gift of creativity, and how it can help people feel a little less alone”. Because that is true – it’s the value of art. The ability to influence, and the ability to unite, and the ability to inspire emotion. And that’s the value of the BAFTAs, too – taking a moment to celebrate this art, and to remember why it’s so important.

A quick article I wrote last night on the BAFTA ceremony, and how it celebrated the power of the arts.

A few weeks later, Alexis pointed out , rightly, this was not especially good. Far be it from me to disagree with him, especially when he’s correct.

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Taylor Sheridan on his Oscar-nominated screenplay for Hell or High Water, his directorial debut Wind River, and more

Taylor Sheridan Hell or High Water Sicario day of the soldado wind river hd oscars 2017 screenwriting

Sicario was a very complicated screenplay; you have these characters you know nothing about, and you don’t really know anything more about them personally at the end of the film than you did at the beginning. The one person you do learn about a bit of his past, Alejandro, does things in a way you would never expect. 

The structure of the screenplay itself, I wrote it like a Shakespearean tragedy – it’s on a five-act structure. So there was a lot of… it was a very intellectual venture for me, as opposed to Hell or High Water, which was more stream of consciousness writing. It took me a number of months to write Sicario; I wrote Hell or High Water in a couple weeks. 

This is one of my favourite interviews that I’ve ever done, actually (don’t tell the others!) – it’s also one of the best generally, though, in terms of the questions I asked and the responses I got. So I’m very proud of this one!

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Noel Clarke on Brotherhood, his acting career, and more

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Nah, I mean, making a movie is making a movie. You prep, you’ve got logistics to plan… I’ve worked in fast track, I’ve just filmed the Duncan Jones film Mute, and essentially the process is always the same, no matter what. Even the budget, it’s just that you have more money to spend on bigger issues, you know, it’s the same.

This interview was co-conducted by Jordan Hodges, who kindly asked Noel the questions I provided when I wasn’t able to make the interview. The picture above, meanwhile, was taken by Rob Baker Ashton.

Noel said some interesting stuff about the British Independent Film Awards in this one.

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Kevin James and Zulay Henao on True Memoirs of an International Assassin, working with Netflix, and more

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I’ve got to say. I’ve enjoyed working with them so much, it was such a great experience. They gave notes on stuff, but they were really great notes, and they were really collaborative; it just felt like you had really chill partners for the whole movie making process of it all, and they just let you do your thing, you know?

That’s really what was great about this for me, and it was a bit of a departure from what I normally do, and there’s moments in here where a lot is different. And that was exciting for me, and they really embraced that – like I said, they were great partners, and they really made you feel better.

This was the first interview I did. Must admit, I was pretty nervous, but I think it went pretty well in the end. I think if you compare this to all the others I did, while there’s been an obvious evolution in style since, a lot of my approach remains fairly similar. (Though I’ve since got a bit more stringent with my research – I nearly said Kevin James was in Mike and Molly at one point, which I can’t imagine would’ve been good.)

But, no, yeah, it was fun. I was actually in a discord call with a lot of my friends at the time – they were all listening in, doing some backup recording, and helped with questions at one point when I thought I was running out. So that was nice. I’ll always have a special place in my heart for this interview.

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Film Trailer Thoughts | Arrival (2016)

arrival amy adams forrest whittaker jeremy renner denis villeneuve trailer thoughts

So, this looks pretty great, doesn’t it?

Obviously, I love science fiction movies, but those that are of particular interest to me are the movies that focus on first contact scenarios, and treat them in a “realistic” fashion. Of course, there’s only so realistic one can be with an alien movie, but I do think this is a really fascinating starting point – to look at how a first contact scenario would affect geopolitics, how we would try to communicate, and so on and so forth. I can’t call to mind a single sci-fi movie that focuses on a linguist to this extent, actually, That’s got me really excited for this movie. (I’m aware this is based on a short story, but I think I’ll wait until after the movie has come out to read it – spoilers and suchlike.)

It also helps, of course, that you’ve got a great cast of actors here. I’m quite fond of Adams, Renner and Whitaker in their other movies, so I’m interested to see what they do with this movie, and how they work together. It’s also nice to see that Amy Adams is in the lead role; always good when a sci-fi movie has a female lead, and she’s definitely talented enough to anchor the movie. There’s also the fact that this movie shares a director with Sicario, and although I’ve not seen that, it’s been quite highly acclaimed – so that also catches my interest about this movie.

All in all, then, I’m really looking forward to this. At times it feels like we’re lacking in good, original sci-fi movies these days, so I’m really glad to see that we’re going to be getting a movie that looks quite outside the box.

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