Hollywood star Hedy Lamarr has long had a place of honour in Bletchley Park, at the National Museum of Computing. It’s a fascinating place, just a short walk away from Hut 8, where Alan Turing and his colleagues were codebreaking in the early 1940s. Lamarr’s work is presented next to luminaries such as Ada Lovelace, the 18th century mathematician and author of the first computer algorithm.

song of graniteThe stark landscapes of Galway, on the West coast of Ireland, form the backdrop to Song of Granite. It’s an elegantly understated, and original, documentary about a remarkable life. Joe Heaney, the now long-gone but much loved sean-nós singer, who died in 1984, is celebrated here again after a spell of obscurity.

Walk With Me carries within its heart a quiet note of brotherly love. When filmmaker Max Pugh’s brother became a Buddhist monk, over ten years ago, Pugh attended the ordination. It left a profound impression on him. Years later, Pugh and fellow filmmaker Marc J. Francis were invited to make a documentary about the community his brother had joined, Plum Village. The village is a Zen Buddhist community and meditation centre, founded by the Vietnamese poet and spiritual leader Thich Nhat Hanh, and his monastic disciple Sister Chan Khong.

An elegy to football past... Shankly: Nature's Fire

My review at Cinemazine.co.uk

A treasure trove of archive footage, all about the ‘Star Wars’ President, Ronald Reagan? An opportunity too good to miss.

Filmmakers Sierra Pettengill and Pacho Velez have explored thousands of hours of material from White House TV, filmed during his tenure by the President’s own teams; retrieved news footage, and a few clips from Reagan’s old Hollywood movies. From this, they have assembled a 75-minute compilation of some of the President’s big and less big moments, and set it to music, a score by Laura Karpman as well passages from Schubert’s Death and the Maiden. There is no commentary, only intertitle cards charting key moments.

Seventeen-year-old Ying Ling works in a spa for the deceased. More precisely, she works as a mortician in one of China’s largest undertaking firms. One of the services offered is a spa ritual, performed in front of the deceased’s grieving relatives. In a quiet ceremony, the body is washed, dressed, given a haircut and a shave if needed, make-up is applied; strikingly, it is also given treatments as if it were still part of the living: a massage, a facial. Kind, caring words are whispered to the deceased.