During our now near six-year history, we’ve visited many countries, towns and villages via a cinema screen. We’ve observed traditions and customs different yet familiar to our own. We’ve showcased filmmaking techniques and styles and analysed various codes and conventions. One constant throughout all of our film programming choices has been an unwavering commitment to the introduction and promotion of people, characters and personalities who have made an impression on us and who we felt a need to introduce or reacquaint with our audience.
This New Year, Minicine presents a season of science fiction films that continue in this tradition. Filled with love, heartbreak and surrealism, the people that fill Spike Jonze’s Her, Mark Romanek’s Never Let Me Go and Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin seek to find what it means to be human, and together we hope to find the answers.
Her (2013) looks at our ever-growing dependence on technology and proposes a vision of how our relationships with synthetic ‘beings’ may develop. Like all great science fiction fare, Her’s tale of a letter writer falling in love with his operating system, voiced perfectly by Scarlett Johansson, may be full of imagination and whimsy but it is grounded by an inquisitive fascination with the human condition, with the central relationship prompting far reaching provocations about what ‘love’ is and means.
Mark Romanek has worked with some of the biggest personalities in American pop music, directing some of the most iconic video promos of all time. While many have been loud and full of action, his big screen output to date has offered quieter, more introverted fare. Never Let Me Go (2010), adapted by Alex Garland (Ex Machina) from Kazuo Ishiguro’s acclaimed and much-loved novel, depicts a world in which, for many, our futures have been decided before we’re even born. With wonderfully emotive and well-measured performances from Carey Mulligan (Suffragette), Andrew Garfield (The Social Network) and Keira Knightley (Atonement), Never Let Me Go is a story of love and loss, friendship and forgiveness.
While Scarlett Johansson’s contribution to Her was strictly audible, it is an investigation of the physical form that defines her work in Under the Skin (2014). An alien stalks the young men of Glasgow, enticing them into a van and back to its lair where, well, you’ll have to see to believe. Under the Skin has been hailed as a modern masterpiece, a term it seems that is attached to any above average film these days, but this is one film fully deserving of the mantle. Daring, provoking and unapologetic, Under the Skin is one of the finest British films of the last fifty years.
Our three featured directors cut their teeth in the world of television advertising and music videos. Yes, music videos! When we introduced the seasonal structure to our programme back in 2014, we also introduced the video playlist feature which showcased some of the most entertaining and innovative video promos in modern music. As with our seasons, each playlist was compiled around a shared theme. This season we change things up slightly and look specifically at the work of Messrs Jonze, Romanek and Glazer. Music videos my have been born in the eighties but they came of age in the nineties and these three dynamic filmmakers were at the forefront of the genre’s progression.
Our first Minicine at The Mills film night of 2016, featuring Her, takes place Thursday 21 January at The Palace Picturehouse in Armley Mills Industrial Museum. Tickets are available now from our online ticket office for £5 each. Season tickets are also available and include tickets to Her, Never Let Me Go and Under the Skin for only £12.