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His deeply personal trilogy (1976-83) established Terence Davies' reputation, but it was his two autobiographical features 'Distant Voices, Still Lives' (1988) and 'The Long Day Closes' (1992) that cemented his position as one of contemporary British cinema's finest filmmakers. They were stark accounts of domestic violence and sexual repression, but also generous portraits of the camaraderie of British working class life. He followed it with a visually sumptuous but uneven adaptation of John Kennedy Toole's 'The Neon Bible' and a near-perfect exploration of wealth and privilege with 'The House of Mirth' (2000). Highlighting his brilliance with actors, Davies' adaptation of Edith Wharton's novel is richly detailed, its visual palette ranging from Whistler to Vermeer. A long hiatus followed, then a period of prolific activity, beginning with the anguished paean to Liverpool 'Of Time and the City' (2008). Two literary adaptation followed, with Terence Rattigan's 'The Deep Blue Sea' (2011) featuring Rachel Weisz and Tom Hiddleston, and 'Sunset Song' (2015), an adaptation of Lewis Grassic Gibbon's 1930s-set Scottish drama. That was followed by 'A Quiet Passion' (2016), Davies portrait of American poet Emily Dickinson. The filmmaker is currently working on a drama about Siegfried Sassoon, to be released around the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI.
Claire Denis was born in Paris, but raised in Africa. Her films focus on the paradoxes of human interaction and the complexity of the individual's relationship with society. Denis' work has been hailed for its subtlety and power, as well as its stunning technical proficiency. She is one of the most important French filmmakers of her generation and is one of the most critically acclaimed female directors of all time.
Bold, visionary and occasionally controversial, Bruno Dumont explores the darker side of the human psyche and our capacity for violence, although his recent work has surprised some with its comedy. His feature debut 'La Vie de Jésus' (1997) ranks alongside Truffaut's 'The 400 Blows' (1959) and Maurice Pialat's 'L'Enfance Nue' (1969) in its unsentimental portrait of youth. He followed it with 'Humanité' (1999), a contemporary drama with biblical overtones which, along with 'TwentyNine Palms' (2003), an account of a relationship breaking down in the desert outside Los Angeles, divided critics. If 'Flanders' (2006), 'Hadewijch' (2009) and the extraordinary 'Camille Claudel 1915' (2013), the latter featuring a stunning performance by Juliette Binoche as the gifted but troubled artist, all testify to Dumont's seriousness as a filmmaker, the dark humour of 'Hors Satan' (2011) hinted at the gear change that was to come. In 'P'tit Quinquin' (2014), Dumont has two inept detectives investigating a series of bizarre deaths in a small coastal town in Northern France. Nothing is what it seems and the crimes eventually take a back seat to Dumont's hilarious character studies. Murder also lies at the heart of 'Slack Bay' (2017). Returning to the French coast, albeit in 1910, it details the relationship between an aristocratic family who have married-in perhaps a few too many times and the locals who live nearby. Outrageously funny, with superb performances by Fabrice Luchini, Juliette Binoche and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, it highlights Dumont's mastery over farce and his ability to surprise with his shifts in tone and levity.