Dir: Alfonso Cuarón | 2013 | 90mins | USA & UK
My boon companion and I had
arranged to see Gravity in Greenwich on Sunday. When we got there it was
fully booked (we saw Captain Phillips instead). So we arranged to see
it last night in the West End. We met early, somehow lost our bearings
around New Oxford Street, entered a Twilight Zone, and proceeded to walk
around in circles several times. When we finally found the cinema, it
was fully booked (Orange Wednesdays, presumably). We headed to Marble
Arch for a later showing. Due to some fault, there was no heating in the
cinema and it cost over £30 for two tickets. By now, we hated the film.
All the great reviews and packed cinemas had magnified it into the best
film ever, a role the film would never live up to. Still, in the end,
it wasn't half bad. Nearly beautiful, nearly riveting (I'll give it four stars). At least it was
We arrived in time to see the
trailers, including one for 12 Years a Slave, Steve McQueen's latest
film. It used to be that people in advertising would move into film
directing (Ridley Scott et al); now it's experimental artists making
mainstream movies. We had Sam Taylor-Wood's recent Nowhere Boy, about
the early life of John Lennon, and McQueen's Hunger (2008), Shame (2011)
and now 12 Years a Slave, which has received glowing five star reviews globally.
I knew someone who knew Steve McQueen whilst at
Goldsmiths in the early 1990s; she said what she remembered about him
most was that he worked really hard all the time. This reminds me of Malcolm Gladwell's posit that genius and success = 10,000 hours
and Grayson Perry debunking the common notion of lazy art students in
his recent Reith Lectures. Those who actually want to be artists work hard at it.
ex-girlfriend's mother had been keen to see a photography exhibition of
her favourite actor, Steve McQueen, some years ago in an art gallery. I
can only imagine her surprise when, instead of shots of the iconic
actor, she was greeted with one of artist/director Steve McQueen's
experimental short films, Bear (1993), consisting of two naked black men
wrestling. I don't think she went away altogether disappointed.