In an effort to correct course and steer our blog back toward film, this post will be exclusively about movies. A novel thought to be sure. I was afraid that K2's final Sectors post would be a 3000 word dissertation on his favourite 2008 T-shirts but as it turns out it was a ranking of his previous 5 Sectors posts. What a relief...
On to the matter at hand.....
Radio On (1979) Director: Christopher Petit. PAL (but I ordered an NTSC copy for the FBW)
A revelation. Radio On is an existential masterpiece of understated post-punk angst set in pre-Thatcher Britain. It's technically a road movie I suppose, although substantially different in tone and execution from the American variety released earlier in the decade (Two Lane Blacktop comes most immediately to mind). The journey presented here is nearly random, existential in the extreme and motivated by the protagonist's desire to simply “find something out”.
Radio On is a sparse, sombre and haunting film, beautifully film shot in black and white by Wim Wenders' cinematographer Martin Schäfer. It takes the travelogue into unexplored territory: literally - the A420 to Swindon and Bristol - and figuratively: a Britain stricken by economic decline. This is a film in love with both exile and empty places, its characters drifting along without motive or direction. It may resonate with present day audiences more profoundly as we enter our own swift and seemingly unstoppable decline.
A final note about this outstanding film. Music. It defines and shapes Radio On in ways I don't think I've seen before. Music is central to the film and its characters. It is at once an antidote to the loneliness of these people and a point of reference when their paths cross. It reminds us how music – particularly that of our own time – says something of who we are, where we came from and in a way, where we're going. Radio On is a disaffected, evocative and yet strangely hopeful film.
A new entry in my all time top-ten list that bumps Don Siegel's Charley Varrick into 11th.
The Mighty Boosh, Season 3 (2008) PAL
A bit of a let down to be honest, the Boosh has long remained the most ridiculous (and often most hilarious) show on BBC 3 but this latest season was a bit flat. It has some great bits but I think this ship has sailed.
Female Agents (Les Femmes de l'ombre, 2008) PAL
Four French Resistance fighters stationed in Britain slip back into Vichy France just before D-Day to get a British geologist out of a Nazi hospital. The twist is... they're woman posing as nurses. Similar to Verhoeven's 2006 Black Book, this apparently true story is in many ways a straight up wartime rescue flick. It's well acted and zips along nicely. I think Hot Cross Bunnies would have been a far better English translation of the title.