Living is a curious yet beguiling film - it is set in 1950s London and centres on a mid-ranking civil servant (Mr Williams) who takes no risks, does not show any emotion, and has stilted relationships with his colleagues and family. Yet it manages to draw us in to what is going on beneath the surface - helped hugely by a typically understated and subtle performance by Bill Nighy, which has gained him BAFTA and Oscar nominations.
Living is scripted by the novelist Kazuo Ishiguro (also Oscar nominated) and is a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s 1952 film Ikiru. It follows Williams' journey of self-discovery and his need to make a difference, somewhere, somehow - partly helped by a platonic relationship with a much younger (and much more gregarious) colleague played by rising star Aimee Lou Wood. Look out for the interesting framing - Living eschews the usual widescreen format for a much more boxy (almost square) ratio which heightens the film's intimacy as well as offers a sense of societal claustrophobia.
Living received a string of excellent reviews, including this one from Empire magazine: “It’s gorgeously executed by Hermanus, whose carefully-considered, gently-paced classical filmmaking recalls the modernism of David Lean or Carol Reed; it’s rare that a colour film has felt so black-and-white. The film craft on show here is uniformly excellent — credit, in particular, must go to Jamie D. Ramsay’s rich cinematography, Sandy Powell’s handsome costuming, Emilie Levienaise-Farrouch’s decorous music, and Helen Scott’s angular production design. But really, it’s all Nighy’s show. Face like a statue, he subtly conveys the weight of time and death bearing down on him in minute expressions and stately philosophising.”
Doors 7:00 Movie 7:30. Tickets £5.
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