You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby: 2014 Update

Recently we’ve been lucky enough to be spending more time making films than writing about them. Dave has made Woodfalls, Ben is a professional filmographer and I’m currently mid-way through shooting my next feature film Dead Unicorns

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Our original plan was to offer film reviews from a fresh perspective. Discover a different angle about a film that would shed light on its mystery rather than simply serve up a straight good or bad review with a description of the plot. The blog has proved to be very successful, we are nearing 35 thousand views and are very grateful to all of you for sharing your time with us.

Film Ache Ian Fielding


You may well see more reviews here in the future as we take a breather between projects – but for now I’d like to mention a handful of films I’ve seen recently that have really struck a chord.

The first is Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty. Sincere film making about a rotten Rome and a man looking for a revelation.

Ian Fielding Film Ache Great Beauty  

Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin is an astonishing phantasm with creeping fingers.

Film Ache Ian Fielding Under the Skin

Blue is the Warmest Colour confronts the walloping emotions of love with immense snotty-nosed force.

Blue Is the Warmest Colour (La Vie d'Adele) film still

From the vaults are Rossellini’s Rome, Open City. Currently on big screen re-release. He makes you fall in love with three characters and systematically kills them off. Simple, funny, moving, powerful.

Rome open city  Ian Fielding Film Ache

Hal Ashby’s Harold and Maude is kooky and irresistible… with a shockingly powerful stab of emotion in an understated moment on a beach.harold and maude Ian_Fielding Film Ache

Look forward to seeing you in the future.


My name’s Ian. I’m a writer and Filmmaker from London currently shooting my second feature film – a detective thriller called Dead Unicorns

To see pics, a trailer and what’s currently happening with Dead Unicorns click here:


David Lynch New Short Film ‘The 3 Rs’ // Ian Fielding

I’ve just discovered this trailer David Lynch created for the 2011 Viennale. It’s suitably macabre and mundane and presents a return to the stylistic preoccupations of his earliest work and a departure from his recent digital productions.

The film appears to take the form of an aggressive attack on the controlling syllabuses of a schooling system that has no time to inform its pupils of the alternative truths of life. It’s simple and powerful, humorous and disturbing.

Often Lynch is rebuked for constructing so-called ‘student-like’ productions. Like many filmmakers I’ve sat through a multitude of short films, and very few come close to displaying the sheer condensed volume of imagination that Lynch wields in this simple sequence.

As a beautiful reminder here is Lynch’s very first film, The Alphabet. The similarities between this and The 3 Rs are unmistakable.

Before you do I’d like to put a pitch in for my new blog on UK film culture which you can take a look at here, happy Lynching.

My name’s Ian. I’m a writer and Filmmaker from London currently shooting my second feature film – a detective thriller called Dead Unicorns

To see pics, a trailer and what’s currently happening with Dead Unicorns click here:

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Female Orgasms and Ghost Monkeys: Ian Fielding on Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall his Past Lives

Many of the curious effects in the dream-world of the movingly poetic UBWCRHPL derive from Thai filmmaker, Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s intent to depict the inner state of his hero, Uncle Boonmee.

Uncle Boonmee is having it rough, he’s terminally ill with a liver complaint, undergoing peritoneal dialysis, and taking metaphysical and spiritual stock of his life as he drifts internally to embrace his final memories. His deathbed pilgrimage unfolds in surreal overlaps of biographical thought – the past lives of the title. These adventures include encounters with ghost monkeys (perhaps representing those killed in the war against communism, and Boonmee’s guilt in the part he played) and dead family members. We also have insights into his previous incarnations as a water buffalo and a catfish – and inner city vignettes situated in a bar, a prayer room and a sparse hotel dormitory. The intimation is that Boonmee’s odyssey is a consoling journey that leads him into a vast tranquillity and a cosmic peace with his own existence.

Many films find their form through the subjective state of their heroes. The bleak and violent jazz of Travis Bickle’s world, or the slow motion, sportsman-like time dilation of Raging Bull’s Jake La Motta, or the off-kilter and fractured editing of Shutter Island’s Teddy Daniels, to enlist a roll call of Scorsese reprobates. In these films the nature of the hero determines the tone and character of the on-screen action.

So what of Boonmee? Like in other dream-like films, for example Mulholland Drive, Mirror and Last Year in Marienbad – it is as if the protagonists (and therefore the film itself) are operating in a kind of theta-wave frame of thought. Theta-wave? As we engage in different activities, the wavelengths of our mental function change to suit what we are doing. These are separate, clear and distinct states, like gears in a car. In alpha state the human mind is at repose, perhaps in meditation, strolling through a garden, or resting after a hard task. The beta state is sharp, one of alert concentration, the state of a politician fielding debate on Question Time or a stand up comedian mid-routine. Theta state is much closer to the dream zone, it is often the state in which artists and business-folk discover their winning ideas. A person who is driving and finds they can’t recall the last five miles is in Theta state. To recognise and control these states within ourselves is to begin to engage in powerful levels of self-control.

In its beguiling and mysterious attitude towards an anthology of moments circulating a theme – Boonmee’s most appropriate neighbour may be David Lynch’s Inland Empire. Events unfold without the audience being given explicit guidance. It is this unpatronising approach that ensures that the film reverberates with a multitude of meanings personal to each spectator.

Boonmee’s objective is perhaps best summed by this letter sent by a woman from Gorky to the director Tarkovsky after the release of Mirror, he had been inundated with letters of cool indifference and heated vehemence on the supposed impenetrability of his film. ‘Thank you for Mirror… my childhood was like that… only how did you know about it… there was that wind and the thunderstorm… and how beautifully the film shows the awakening of a child’s consciousness, of his thought… And lord, how true… I felt for the first time in my life that I was not alone.’ And another letter from a teacher ‘The film is compassionate, honest, relevant… and everyone who spoke said, ‘The film is about me.’

Cinematically, Boonmee’s heartbeats could be traced back to the death-bed ruminations of Bergman’s The Silence or his Cries and Whispers. A more obvious literary precedent is the William Faulkner novel As I Lay Dying. The self-explanatory great American experimental novel that contains a five word chapter that states simply ‘My mother is a fish.’ Uncle Boonmee itself is no stranger to unusual flourishes. In one of the most incredible sex scenes ever committed to film a palanquin borne princess wades into a waterfall pool to have sex with a catfish.

This is a tasetful and elegant handling that rates up there with Henry and the girl next door submerging themselves into Henry’s bed in Eraserhead or the magnificent Naomi Watts ‘angst wank’ in Mullholland Drive, though all these are mere localised clitoral orgasms in comparison to the almighty body-shaking vaginal orgasm that is on display in Weird Science. I always like to think that the scene in Weird Science seems to cunningly represent the female and the male orgasm simultaneously. In the John Hughes film a party goer’s evening is interrupted when ‘weird science’ erupts through the house and a suction vacuum forcefully removes her garments and sucks her up a phallic chimney only to ejaculate her from its top – sending her flying into a nearby lake, legs kicking. It’s the kind of risqué visual pun that fits that type of cinema like a glove.

Meanwhile, there is no doubt that Boonmee is a wonder, a majestical film that relates to a simple life in a balmy corner of the world, a life tangled up in the horrors of conflict but not defined by them. There are voices of descent, but if you try on the emperor’s new clothes, you may find that they fit you.

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My name’s Ian. I’m a writer and Filmmaker from London currently shooting my second feature film – a detective thriller called Dead Unicorns

To see pics, a trailer and what’s currently happening with Dead Unicorns click here:

Frightfest Special: Ian Fielding on Rubber

Directed by Quentin Dupieux (aka French electro house musician Mr. Oizo) Rubber would make an effective concept for a music video. A car tyre arises from the desert and embarks on a killing spree across a dusty America town. The tyre dispatches its victims by deploying psychokenetic powers, usually to explode its victim’s heads. These proceedings are observed through binoculars by a crowd of spectators based on a nearby hilltop.

Rubber’s self-referential, ironic and minimalist execution edges it into art house territory. This is a film of ideas, concerned with making the silly, lofty and the lofty, silly. In a pleasing opening sequence a police officer spells out to the audience the central theoretical premise of the of the film – that ultimately things can occur for no reason. ‘In Stephen Spielberg’s ET why is the alien brown? No Reason.’ This hints at a kind of exploration of randomness, whereas the film is more concerned with a playfulness concerning the nature of reality and storytelling.

As this is ultimately a film about ideas, expect to be quirkily amused rather than emotionally enraptured. It skirts around the outside rather than delving deeply into those big ideas. It doesn’t utilise the toolkit of drama to pull out any astonishing turns and so despite its aesthetic purity and playful heart, the film comes over as a little shallow, a little distant and lacking in true dramatic impact. There are hints of potential here though. I can’t help thinking that with a dash more deviousness or a stronger serving of soul that Mr Dupieux could develop into a serious cinematic pull.

My name’s Ian. I’m a writer and Filmmaker from London currently shooting my second feature film – a detective thriller called Dead Unicorns

To see pics, a trailer and what’s currently happening with Dead Unicorns click here:

FrightFest Special: Ben Simpson on Hobo with a Shotgun

Hobo (Rutger Hauer) has one dream in life, to buy a lawnmower and start up a new business. Unfortunately for him he’s homeless and lives in Scum Town. Riddled with every type of low life degenerate under the sun it isn’t exactly the ideal place to become a Gardner and when some masked men hold up a cashier at the ‘Pawn till Dawn’ Hobo has no choice but to part with his last $50, buy a shotgun and blast them all to hell. With a taste of justice Hobo’s hungry for more and starts cleaning the streets to the dismay of The Drake (Brian Downey) and his forever disenchanted sons who put a bounty on the Hobo’s head.

This is most akin to the cult films of the 80’s such as Street Trash on route through Tromaville without the hyper juvenile jokes that detract me away. The problem I have with Troma films are the characters are set to 11, they all have ADD constantly screaming at one another in hyper situations but there’s nothing going on around them. In Hobo with a Shotgun everything is turned to 11; environment, editing and the acting all working together to create a balance that never slows down until the end credits. The blood never stops flowing and there’s enough imaginative deaths to whet the appetite of the most hardcore gore fan. My favourite being ‘The Glory Hole’.

Seeing Rutger Hauer shooting the shit out of people, breaking down doors, eating broken glass bottles and a whole lot more is a sight to see in itself and at 67 he hasn’t lost his enthusiasm for the bizarre and trashy. He could very well be depicted as a Super Hero, the film has a comic book element to it, characters are black and white and Hobo even gets his own side-kick to fight crime with. A stunning looking prostitute (played by Molly Dunsworth) who together talk about the beauty of grizzly bears when they’re taking a rest from decapitating evil.

Watching Hobo with a Shotgun at Fright Fest was the closest I’ll ever get to the days of the midnight screenings on 42nd Street and I loved every minute of it. DIY effects, over the top lighting, great one liners and a montage that’s somewhere between Evil Dead 2 and Footloose. It’s what Grindhouse should have been and wanted to be. The Director (Jason Eisener) didn’t imitate a cult classic, he made one. In the Introduction Jason said, “We made this film without any rules, so you, the audience, should have no rules watching it. I like watching it without pants on.” and proceeded to take his pants off. That summed up the whole film in one action. Balls out horror.

Ben Simpson is the Co – Director of Patrol Men

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FrightFest Special: David Campion on I Saw the Devil

The Glasgow Film Festival has been invaded by Frightfest – could you ever imagine the London Film Festival including a genre segment in their bill? No, me neither. High props to Glasgow for opening their doors and hearts to the hordes of drooling horror fans, many of whom have travelled not only from England, but Germany and even Australia [somebody must have really wanted to see Little Deaths].

So, first for me is the latest Korean export, I Saw the Devil. Having already screened across the Atlantic, most notably Toronto and Sundance, the film has already earned a lot of buzz from critics and genre fans alike. Despite my high expectations, Kim Ji-Woon managed to surprise me with a whole new level of filmmaking. ISTD combines the clinical attention to detail as seen in Zodiac, the fierce psychological examination of a serial killer as seen in Silence of the Lambs, but injects it with a hyper kinetic quality, not unlike Christopher Nolan at his finest.

Thematically, the film is strong, playing with the concept of revenge and repetition; raising the question of when does revenge become unfulfilling? Kyung-Chul [Choi Min-sik] is a depraved serial killer, with no sense of morality or empathy; in real life this man deserves to be punished, in filmic terms, he deserves to die. However, for our ‘hero’, Soo-Hyun [Lee Byung-hun], death is not enough. Instead, he plants a tracking device into the killer and proceeds to beat him within an inch of his life, before letting him go and repeating the process.

I Saw the Devil not only boasts an engaging script, fine performances, pitch-perfect direction and high drama, but it also delivers on a primal splatter level as well. The deaths are messy and disturbing. There is a moment when Kyung-Chul shares a car ride with two shifty gentlemen. There is an air of Hitchcockian tension, especially as each man looks as dangerous as the other. This tension is broken when Kyung-Chul unleashes his rage, repeatedly stabbing the driver and his accomplice. In all my years of watching horror films, I have never witnessed such fury with a knife.

Much like Oldboy, ISTD has a westernized flavor. Aesthetically, both films evoke the spirit of David Fincher, whilst ISTD also takes a direct cue from No for Country Old Men. In the way Tarantino is happy to pinch bits from European cinema and make it his own, the film wears it influences on its sleeve, confident enough in its own originality. Kim Ji-Woon is friends with Park Chan-Wook [Oldboy, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, Thirst] and Bong Joon-ho [The Host, Mother] and collectively, the trio represent an exciting new wave in Korean filmmaking. All three directors have a knack for taking typical ‘genre’ cinema and elevating it way beyond the norm. This has to do with their impeccable technique and understanding of cinema.  Personally, I’m keeping my eyes on these filmmakers, as I am expecting even greater films to come.

David Campion is the Co – Director of Patrol Men

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FrightFest Special: Ben Simpson on Little Deaths

Every year an English film plays FrightFest and the vast majority are a waste of time. So bad you fear your eyeballs will develop cancer (Dead Cert, Isle of Dogs and 13hrs just to name last year’s crop) and this doesn’t disappoint. Little Deaths is an Anthology piece with three stories that relate to the darker side of sex and death. The first major problem is that only one of these three directors can direct.

First up is House and Home, Sean Hogan’s (writer of Isle of Dogs) feeble attempt. A homeless girl is enticed into a couples’ home. She is bathed and fed and then at the dinner table, the couple poison her wine. The tramp wakes up tied to a bed and the sexual torment begins. The direction and narrative is so painfully dull and lazy that even a cum shot to the face and a golden shower fails to spark any repulsion or anger. Just when you think it can’t get any worse the twist comes a long. At least it can’t get any worse…

Andrew Parkinson’s Mutant Tool wasn’t much better, it manages to make a film about a caged Nazi monster with a huge cock that dribbles out semen into a bucket boring. Instead of focusing on this cum beast we get laborious scenes of what the scientists use the semen for. Hardly getting a peek at the monster feels like such a huge waste of effects. Plus you forget the story almost immediately after it finishes. Andrew Parkinson might as well of filmed the monster masturbating for 20 minutes.

Bitch is a breath of fresh air. Just by the first shot you can tell the director (Simon Rumley) is leagues above the two directors that play before him. A dark tale about domination and fear, Simon gets some powerful performances out of the actors while being both subtle in his storytelling and successful in creating a living environment for them to populate. Bitch has a completely different look to the DV-like quality of the first two films. It is raw and life-like and brings a dark, uncomfortable and cold tone to the film. Ultimately though it’s too late, after the atrocious segments before it nothing could save this car wreck of a film, which is a shame because Simon Rumley’s Red, White and Blue was one of my favorites of 2010. If it wasn’t for the third segment this would have played like a 1st year film students project. Go and watch Trick R’ Treat instead or if you really want to see a new-ish English anthology film go with Cradle of Fear. It’s not that good, but I’d watch it over Little Deaths anytime.

Ben Simpson is the Co – Director of Patrol Men

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