Keswick Film Club - Reviews - Diva

Reviews - Diva


Reviewed By John Stakes

A mystery story of some complexity unfolded at last Sunday's final screening of the season. Where was the 1920s Chinese take on the spaghetti western, the 2010 "Let The Bullets Fly" directed by Venice and Cannes Film Festival winner Jiang Wen?

The committee was confounded. One thing was certain: the film had failed to materialise. The search was on. How best to locate it? Our Man in Havana had no idea. It was murder on the Orient Express trying to reach the distributors in China. The Omen was not good. It could have been air-freighted but One of Our Aircraft is Missing. Perhaps it had been sent From Russia with Love but was held up at the Border.

Undeterred the committee quickly thought of other means to track it down. But One Hundred and One Dalmatians could not sniff it out. In the meantime The Postman Always Rings twice but not today. The search was also frustrated by a Death In Venice, Bunny Lake Was Missing, and just when they thought The Hunt was over, The Lady Vanishes and they reach Point Blank.

In desperation they pulled out all the stops, but Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines were grounded. Six Three Three Squadron had been disbanded and The Flight of the Phoenix had not yet taken off. It looked as if it was going to take From Here To Eternity and they were Clueless.

Somebody thought they'd seen it on The Road outside or even on the Spiral Staircase leading to The Balcony but Tom was adamant he'd swept up after the matinee the day before and again on the Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and would have found it!

In the meantime the Restless Breed of an audience was beginning to fidget. If something did not happen soon There Will Be Blood they muttered. Citizen Kane was the first to speak out. "Bring Me The Head of" was as far as he got before Vaughan and his committee stepped out of The Darkness...the Magnificent Seven (well, maybe a few more!)...and there was Dead Calm.

"The Show will go on" he explained to his flock. "I ‘ave Un Flic, a French chic Flic, it is one of the few of my favourite things". "Diva" no less. So The Silence of the Lambs was restored and the audience settled back to enjoy "a witty, playful intelligent film, as enjoyable as it is influential" or so it said on the back of the DVD cover…..and it was, in a kind of cool Gallic way with an eclectic mix of characters, some striking visuals, and with a bit of comedy and menace thrown in. No sign of any Chinese gunslingers but the odd Taiwanese villain could be detected.

"Diva" rounded off a highly distinctive and in many respects memorable season with some of the best of world cinema on display. Highlights for this reviewer were “A Royal Affair” (which opened the 2012 autumn season), with "Amour" and "The Hunt" from the current season close behind. Some of the individual performances have been quite brilliant especially Emmanuelle Riva (Amour) and Mads Mikkelsen (A Royal Affair/The Hunt) who were in a league of their own.

Congratulations deservedly go to Vaughan Ames and his committee which continues to challenge, surprise, and despite some of the material, entertain us. Thanks also again to Ann Martin and her team for another excellent 2013 Film Festival.

The club returns with a new season of films for all tastes in the autumn. Let us hope for a warm late spring and sunny summer weather whilst we wait.

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Keswick Film Club won the Best New Film Society at the British Federation Of Film Societies awards in 2000.

Since then, the club has won Film Society Of The Year and awards for Best Programme four times and Best Website twice.

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