Did I Say Hairdressing?  I meant Astrophysics!  This gently amusing film from Leeds Animation Workshop has just won the Audience Award at this year’s 5th London Feminist Film Festival.

The audience’s knowing laughter during the screening is a reminder that women have gained only modest ground in STEM careers since the film was made in 1972.   At the panel discussion that followed, Chi Onwurah MP – and chartered engineer – commented that after her long career in engineering, Westminster turned out to be the most diverse environment she’d worked in.

Christopher Nolan is adamant that Dunkirk is not a war movie.   In an Associated Press interview, he has suggested it is rather a survival film.  This is an honest distinction, and easily lost.   Cast a gimlet eye over your war movie collection and think again.   How easy is it to find, let alone pick, the top five war films?

Nightmare on 12th Street. July 1967, a sweltering summer in Detroit. The city erupts into rebellion. Looting, arson, snipers. The Detroit Police Department is overwhelmed. Governor George W. Romney (yes – Mitt’s father) calls in the Michigan National Guard. President Lyndon B Johnson, after some tactical deliberation, sends in troops from the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions. Michigan State Police join in. A curfew is imposed through the whole city. Five days later, after 7,200 arrests, 1,189 injured and 43 deaths, a calm of sorts is restored. Life will never be the same, and for some young people, there will be lasting trauma: their experience has been one of horror.

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.

A quietly intense love story starts in a Berlin Konditorei. Oren (Roy Miller) travels from Jerusalem to Berlin every month, for work. He always stops at the same café, for a coffee and a generous slice of Black Forest gateau; he also always buys a little box of cinnamon cookies, for his wife, Anat (Sarah Adler). She also runs a café, in Jerusalem, and loves those cookies from Berlin. One day, he asks the baker, Thomas (Tim Kalkhof) for advice. What gift should he bring back for his young son? In the glances they share, something strong happens between Oren and Thomas the baker.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single film in possession of a good story must be in want of a remake.

And so with the remake of Don Siegel’s The Beguiled. Sofia Coppola’s version features prettier costumes, better make-up, less sweat, and a touch less perversity. An at times tremulous Colin Farrell is a quite different proposition to Clint Eastwood on the edge.

Una

Is it ever possible to give up on wanting to know the truth? A young woman in a silver dress walks home as day breaks, after a night of clubbing and a moment of impersonal sex.  Her walk, back to the parental home, is not a walk of shame.   It’s a resolute march forward.  A few moments later, she sets out, elegantly and conservatively dressed.   Her mother thinks she is going to work, and worries she might be late.  In a beautifully filmed moment, mother and daughter stand beside each other.   They look so alike, but their quiet estrangement from each other is palpable.