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Dramatic victory: are we entering a golden age for the sports documentary?

4 hours ago

Sport’s screen outings have long been blighted by timidity but two new films, 89 and Kenny, tell stirring stories with style and swagger. And there’s more to come

It seems fair to say sports documentary films reached something of an early artistic end-point with 1971’s Football As Never Before, a feature-length George Best portrait by the West German arthouse director Hellmuth Costard – best known for his 1968 work Especially Valuable, which featured a talking penis quoting passages of government legislation.

Presented without voiceover or soundtrack, Football As Never Before is an hour and 45 minutes of a single camera following its star around the pitch during a Manchester United game against Coventry City. Whatever its ultimate merits – and Fanb does provide an absolute gold standard in mesmeric closeup shots focused, for long periods, entirely on George Best’s buttocks – the film also speaks to a more basic confusion over what exactly »

- Barney Ronay

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Call to stub out on-screen smoking in French films

4 hours ago

Injecting morality into films is ‘like pouring cola into a Château Lafite’, one critic of idea declares

The French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo spent almost an entire film – the 1960s classic À Bout du Souffle (Breathless) – with a Gauloise dangling from his lips. Audrey Tautou portrayed the designer Coco Chanel pinning haute couture dresses while smoking. Jacques Tati was rarely without his pipe and Brigitte Bardot, Jeanne Moreau, Catherine Deneuve, Gérard Depardieu and Alain Delon all puffed their way through decades of movies.

Hardly surprising then that a call for French directors to stub out smoking on screen has been greeted with a mix of disbelief and outright ridicule. It has also prompted the existential question: what would French cinema be without the cigarette?

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- Kim Willsher in Paris

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From Ex Machina to Moonlight: how A24 disrupted Hollywood

9 hours ago

Can the Us indie distributor become the new Miramax or Weinstein Company?

It is not often that you notice logos at the beginning of movies, but one in particular is becoming unavoidable, especially if you’ve gone to the cinema looking for something a bit edgy and grown-up, but not old-fashioned. If you’re a fan of those sorts of films, then the sliding, retro-minimalist, white-on-black logo of A24 films is probably etched on to your subconscious. You can currently see it before The Killing of a Sacred Deer, The Florida Project and Good Time. And, soon, on The Disaster Artist, James Franco’s buzzed-about tribute to bad-movie titan Tommy Wiseau.

Related: The Florida Project’s Sean Baker: ‘I wanted the kids to be the kings and queens of their domain’

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- Steve Rose

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