Tag Archives: Documentary

Waiting: The Van Duren Story

My review of the great new doco Waiting: The Van Duren Story about the Memphis singer-songwriter Van Duren is over at Filmink now.

Spoiler… I really enjoyed it!


Deliver Us (Liberami)

Review of exorcism documentary Deliver Us is over at Flickering Myth now and below…

Deliver Us poster


Exorcism. To most of us that spells out unlucky priests gripping onto their crosses, noisy demonic activity and sweary puking possessed kids. In short, horror movies.  But as this skillfully produced documentary shows us, the religious practise of exorcism is fully alive and, sort of, well.

Federica Di Giacomo’s startlingly original film presents Father Cataldo as our guide through this fascinating world of hope, faith and hysteria. Thousands of people believe that all sorts of problems and ailments are directly caused by demonic possession. Cataldo, through his weekly mass of liberation, offers a surprisingly frank and self-aware approach to the procedure and an alternately calming and cantankerous hand of assistance to those suffering for non-specific malaise.

The exorcism itself appears to be something like a drop-in therapy session, with a number of different characters from different backgrounds introduced specifically through their connection with the church activity. Some are regular churchgoers and some are assuredly not, drawn to the sessions instead because, literally nothing else works. This kind of helplessness and often sad reality is counterbalanced with the dry Sicilian wit and humour of Cataldo, who brings out the reality of working in this social enterprise.

The film also takes on the wider picture of how the Catholic Church has responded to the growing claims of possession and demonic influence. The number of fully accredited exorcists have gone up worldwide, partly due to a Rome based exorcist-training camp for Catholic priests. These disarming facts and scenes are treated with a journalist’s eye, and no one is made to look foolish or silly.

The audience is left to make its own mind up. One thing is for sure, the presence of a shared community and regular social activity appears to be the real saviour here.


DELIVER US (Liberami) is in cinemas 27th October and on DVD 30th October #DELIVERUSFILM

Prospects – Amateur boxing documentary reviewed …


My review of the no-nonsense tough-talking ‘Prospects’ – screening tonight at the East End Film Festival – is over at Flickering Myth now …

Slice and Dice – The Slasher Film Forever


Hallo! My review of the excellent horror film doc Slice and Dice – The Slasher Film Forever is over at Flickering Myth now. Get a pen and paper ready as you watch it for noting down stuff you may not have heard of!

Michael H – Profession: Director


My review of the new Haneke documentary is over on Flickering Myth. All fans of the master chronicler of the darker pits of the human psyche would do well to check it out. 

Find out more about the man than from that (admittedly fairly amusing) fake twitter account…

Dare You Enter Room 237??

My review of the imaginative film documentary Room 237 is over at Flickering Myth now. Redrum! Redrum! 


Racing Dreams – Released DVD 17 SEPT

My review of the kids and karts documentary Racing Dreams is over at Flickering Myth

Samsara – Released in selected cinemas 31 August

Samsara – out now…


Released in selected cinemas 31 August 2012

This review appears on Memorable TV

A hallucinatory nonverbal trip tackling the central theme of humanity’s relationship with the world, Samsara is a remarkable work five years in the making, taking the audience on a tour through twenty five countries.

Primarily the vision of Ron Fricke, the director and cinematographer best known for Koyaanisqatsi (1983) and Bakara (1992), the film is a series of thought provoking images and scenes, wonderfully bound together by astute and intelligent editing and a haunting soundtrack, including work from Lisa Gerrard of 80’s and 90’s ambient/soundscape artists Dead Can Dance.

From the introductory scenes of a group of Buddhist monks etching a wheel in the sand – Samsara roughly translates as ‘wheel of existence’ – it is clear that we are in the realm of the sublime. What follows is almost like a detective story where the audience…

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Glastonbury – The Movie In Flashback – Out on DVD now…

My review of ‘back to ’93 music doc ‘Glastonbury – The Movie In Flashback is over at Clash Magazine

Salute – Out Now on DVD… back to some real Olympian issues…

The following review also appears over at the excellent resource site  Memorable TV

In what amounts to a moving tribute to human dignity, Matt Norman’s sporting and political documentary tackles the story behind one of the most famous Olympian photographs of all time. Not without its problems, the film largely succeeds as a memorial to a troubling time and the characters engaged within race relations.

The near-legendary picture was taken at the Mexico 1968 Olympics and focuses on 200m sprint medal winners Tommie Smith, John Carlos and the white Australian devout Christian (and the director’s uncle) Peter Norman. Smith and Carlos’ politically charged salute – which Smith has later said was not a ‘Black Power’ salute but a human rights salute – made shockwaves throughout the world and created debate on race issues everywhere. The film skilfully looks at the effect it had – while drawing comparisons between Australia and America and the different backgrounds of the three men.

While the film is a fascinating account of the three men’s lives and just how much the world has (one hopes) changed there are a couple of stumbling blocks. In an unnecessary move to create drama, the film almost casts a fellow athlete in a negative light, voicing quite reasonable concerns about the ‘salute’ and whether it was strictly necessary. Also, in what seems to me to be the most surprising aspect of the story, Australian athletic officials whitewashed the story from their history and Norman’s track and field career was effectively over. While Smith and Carlos spoke in Australia at the Sydney Olympics of 2000, Norman was not invited. Some further investigation into the modern Australian position would have been useful.

The film makes up for these points with great editing, a narration from Iron Sky’s Christopher Kirby and a moving testament to someone who comes across as a genuinely good man. Norman died in 2006 and would surely been proud of his nephew’s work.