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Film Festival Review: Mockingbird Film Festival, Birmingham

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I’ll admit it; I took this article mainly as a way to justify watching films in a bar every night. Dissertation? Love to, but I’ve got this film festival review to do. Guess I’d better just drink Carling and watch Harrison Ford punch robots.

But actually, this film festival was great. The Mockingbird Theatre is a small building in the middle of a lovely complex called The Custard Factory. The complex in the middle of a rough area called Digbeth, but whatever.

In terms of space, Mockingbird Theatre is as much a bar as it is a cinema. The vibe (ooh, look at me. I used the word “vibe”, I’m practically a Vice journalist) is definitely that of a bar. But a calm bar, where people can relax with mates.

The actual cinema room is small with some randomly placed missing seats. Genuinely, there are seats missing in every row. Might be worth looking into.

The films they showed were an interesting and eclectic bunch. They were:

Dr Strangelove

Not one of Kubrick’s experimentally shot features, the dialogue in this film is near perfection. You don’t need a cinema screen to fully appreciate this film like you might with The Shining or 2001, but I’m still glad I got to watch this again.

The Warriors

One of the strangest movies I’ve ever seen. Basically it’s a load of gangs attacking one gang (The Warriors). And just like real life, all the gangs in this movie put far more effort into theming and appearance than, you know… gang stuff. Also, none of them seem to have guns. The Warriors are supposed to be the goodies but, honestly, their Crocodile Dundee outfits are pretty boring. I was definitely rooting for the gang with clown makeup and baseball kit on.

Moon

This film really benefitted from the big screen and intimate nature of the cinema. The impressive landscape in this movie (it’s set on the moon - obviously) really play out well on the big screen. But, interestingly, so do the intense close up shots. We get to watch the lead falling apart faster than a leper in a wind tunnel, and seeing that close up made it far more effective.

Citizen Kane

This was my first time seeing Citizen Kane. And simply; it’s great. Seeing it on the big screen really helped the more extreme scenes stand out. Okay, Charles Kane is hardly The Wolf of Wall Street but still, he builds a fucking castle to himself. That’s pretty metal. And it really plays well on the big screen.

Blade Runner

Watching this off the back of Citizen Kane was difficult. As good as both films are, a newspaper epic followed by a space epic is tough. Luckily, there was no chance of falling asleep because the theatre had decided to turn the base on their speakers to full.This made the establishing shots, which show a dark and gritty cityscape, feel more like a weird club night than anything else.

My heart goes out to the people who stayed to watch three hours of Apocalypse Now afterwards.

I only expected this festival to be an excuse to get an article out and watch some flicks. But this festival was great. The staff were nice, the venue cool and the films always interesting.

Mockingbird are showing free films throughout February. Go watch them. Go on.

I’ve already nabbed the article though.

Mockingbird Film Festival runs at the Custard Factory until Saturday 28th February. For more information click here.

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