BAFTA 2012 Debrief

Last night BAFTA presented their annual film awards to an excited crowd of famous people, and I managed to forget that the ceremony was happening due to having a fun weekend and the fact that BAFTA somehow forgot to invite me along to the event.

BAFTA made some wise choices last night as they threw plenty of awards at The Artist, (Best Film, Best Actor, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Film Music and Best Costume Design) and showed some much-needed love for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Outstanding British Film and Best Adapted Screenplay).

Meryl Streep took home an obvious win for her role in The Iron Lady making her Oscar win so certain it isn’t that exciting any more (and makes me think I should really make an effort to see the film). Christopher Plummer took home Best Supporting Actor for Beginners, a great role in a charming film which hopefully more people will seek out now that Plummer is winning awards all over the place.

Senna picked up Best Documentary and Best Editing making this the first year I can actually see what makes the editing in a certain film superior to others. As Senna was cut and pasted together from archive footage with nothing new being filmed for the documentary it is a pure feat of editing. It’s the equivalent of taking all of your old home movies and trying to cut together a BAFTA winning documentary, probably not worth the effort.

Further down the list of winners The Skin I Live In was dubbed Best Film not in the English Language and Rango won Best Animated Feature Film. Both films from my Top 20 Films of 2011 and both deserving winners, not least because I haven’t really seen any of the other nominees.

Perhaps the category with the most interest for me, partly because of the great talent taking up each space on the short list and partly because this was a category for which the winner was not obvious, was the BAFTA for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer. The award went to Paddy Considine for Tyrannosaur and is a great victory for a stunning debut. Frankly I would probably have had the same reaction for any of the nominees (though possibly not Coriolanus) as I have a lot of love for Black Pond, Submarine and Attack the Block.

For the full list of winners skip on down to IMDb.

Well done BAFTA, you did good.

Senna – Review

I’m not too sure what Manish Pandey and Asif Kapadia did in directing this documentary on the life and death of Ayrton Senna, as the real work was surely done by editors Chris King and Gregers Sall. Senna is a feature-length documentary with no talking heads or reconstructions, instead made up entirely of existing footage. Luckily Ayrton Senna was filmed extensively and from hundreds of angles so the editors had plenty to work with.

The finished film truly is a masterpiece of editing, the story of Senna comes together so well as to make it seem as though his was filmed with this documentary in mind. Senna goes from an enthusiastic young driver to a man jaded by the politics of racing and his feud with Alain Prost bring a good through line to the piece.

The proof in Senna‘s pudding is that it managed to draw me in, someone who has no interest in Formula 1 and I’m hardly the only one. Senna is more than a film about racing, it is a film about one man living his dream and it ultimately disappointing and later killing him. The death of Ayrton is not glorified or replayed and the funeral is a particularly moving piece of cinema.

Senna is not perfect, it is 16 minutes too long and is guilty of idolising its subject a little too much, balance and objectivity are not in abundance. Regardless, this is a rare treat of a documentary and will be enjoyed by a Formula 1 fan and their disinterested date alike.

Out Now – 3rd June 2011

With the blockbuster release out of the way, today’s releases are a mix of mediocre and a lot of documentaries.

Thankfully not on a limited release this documentary of the life and death of Ayrton Senna combines existing footage with new audio interviews to create a cinematic documentary that everyone is raving about. If you want something a little different, and a little better than the usual give it a go.

Any prom with a U rating surely isn’t worth 103 minutes of your time.

Mammuth (limited release)
The first of two GĂ©rard Depardieu films this month, this being about a retiree trying to find the missing documents to get his pension. He does so on a bike…

Last Night (limited release)
Keira Knightley films don’t come with much fanfare these days, which is a shame as she’s not as bad as most people say. This romantic drama focuses on a couple dealing with temptation when spending a night apart.

Screwed (limited release)
Gritty Brit flick showing prison life from the point of view of a guard. A bit too gritty for delicate old me.

Rio Breaks (limited release)
Documentary looking at two best friends trying to escape the slums by winning a surfing competition.

Donor Unknown (limited release)
Yet another documentary, this one looking at children born through artificial insemination looking for siblings.

The Flaw (limited release)
The last documentary of the week, examining American capitalism in the twentieth century and the Wall Street Crash. Looks funnier than you might expect.