12 February 2021.
It’s still grey and we’re still under COVID-tyranny. No museums, theaters, cinemas or our beloved cafes and restaurants. So to keep the old brain active and your heart happy, rely on these old classics.
The Brits just won’t let up with the quality. Well, they did have a modern empire for years…To download any of these, try first Netflix or Amazon, and YouTube can often be a good source. There’s also something called cinefile.ch. Good luck.
The title character portrayed by a young Michael Caine is almost a seedy, modern version of Don Giovanni set in the working class milieu of London in the 1960s. Unlike the grim, early ‘60s “angry young men” films, this one is a lighthearted comedy that ends up asking ‘what’s it all about?’ of this devil-may-care, utterly selfish Alfie. A charming classic, far better than the 2004 remake starring Jude Law.
DON’T LOOK NOW (1973)
A strange tale of a grieving couple (Julie Christie, Donald Sutherland) finding themselves in Venice. Mysterious and hypnotic, with an astoundingly sensual scene between Christie and Sutherland.
BARRY LYNDON (1975)
This 18th century, elaborate tale of an Irish lad who rises by hook-and-by crook to English nobility is Stanley Kubrick’s most beautiful creation. And the music is sublime.
GOSFORD PARK (2001)
If this upstairs/downstairs whodunnit in an English mansion reminds you of Downton Abbey, it’s because they were both written by Julian Fellowes. Directed by the quintessentially American Robert Altman, it is thoroughly British and simply excellent.
THE CONSTANT GARDNER (2005)
With a fine English cast (Ralph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz, Bill Nighy…) and based on John le Carré’s novel, this story of a husband looking for answers to his wife’s death goes deeply into the vile practices of drug companies in third world countries.
THE GUARD (2011)
This unforgettable film by John Michael McDonagh is a comedy, a thriller, a simmering action film and above all a very human view of a solitary man. A bit like “In Bruges”, made by the other McDonagh brother, Martin. The superb character actor Brendan Gleeson (also in “Bruges”) plays a lazy Irish cop who doesn’t quite agree with the tactics of the uptight American FBI man (Don Cheadle) who’s come to his small Irish town investigating drug traffickers. You’ll love it!
Superb **** Very Good *** Good ** Mediocre * Miserable – no stars
Neptune Ravar Ingwersen reviews film extensively for publications in Switzerland. She views 4 to 8 films a week and her aim is to sort the wheat from the chaff for readers.