Friday, 28 June 2013

what you up to tonight? OH JUST BOTTLE ROCKET @ THE FLYING DUCK

uh huh?

twill sound rather like this:

and somewhat like this:

and arguably like this also:




Thursday, 27 June 2013

EIFF 2013: Svengali

One of Svengali’s running jokes is that protagonist Dixie – a postman from rural Wales who ups-sticks for London hoping to nurture a distinctly unsympathetic indie band to fame and fortune – is still trying to catch label attention with cassette demos. In a world that’s long since upgraded its medium of choice (or abandoned it altogether), it marks Dixie out as a little lost and at odds with the profession to which he aspires. But while this example is deliberately played for laughs, the film itself suffers from a similar datedness, its industry caricatures and underdog narrative ripe with clichés.

Yet despite being only intermittently amusing and rarely incisive, Svengali possesses a handful of trump cards. The chemistry between Dixie (played by writer Jonny Owen, on whose web series the film is based) and girlfriend Shell (Vicky McClure) is sweetly believable, while a pompously absurd cameo from Matt Berry is doubly welcome amid a host of supporting roles that are, variously: phoned-in (Martin Freeman’s record shop manager), sycophantic (“the legend” Alan McGee, playing a sort of sweary-godmother) or, in the case of Katy Brand’s stereotyped landlord, thoroughly unpleasant. More middle-of-the-road than top-of-the-pops then, but kept the right side of entertaining throughout.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

DVD review: No


After Tony Manero and Post Mortem assayed General Pinochet’s dictatorship through the lenses of discomforting murder drama and icy satire respectively, Pablo Larraín’s third take on Chile’s oppressive past adopts a different approach. With No, Larraín practices what the film’s protagonist – self-assured advertising wunderkind René Saavedra (Gael García Bernal) – preaches: to bring a political message to the masses, you have to seduce them. 

It tackles a pivotal moment in Pinochet’s rule – the 1988 plebiscite that would ultimately force out the General’s military-backed government – in unabashedly entertaining fashion, mirroring the way its characters formulate their anti-authoritarian media campaign with crowd-pleasing in mind. As in No’s thematic forebears, Larraín evokes the era smartly, with period-appropriate mise-en-scene and an artfully dated visual style acting as an evocative backdrop to the film’s triumph-of-the-underdog narrative. But just as Saavedra’s appropriation of advertising grammar serves a political end, No’s surface conventionality sweetens a subversive core, which shows through most clearly in its downbeat coda. 

Out now

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

The Stone Roses @ Glasgow Green, 15th June

Every reformed act must dance with their past one way or another, but today The Stone Roses rekindle history in a very specific way, revisiting the scene of a landmark 1990 gig that’s since been consecrated by fans as one of their finest moments. The 50,000 tickets sold out fast, and all roads leading to the gates of the Green are crowded with bucket hats and lined with blues and twos, treating the already ailing and nicking misbehavers. But while outside things are uncomfortably lairy, inside the arena the atmosphere is more welcoming (albeit burdened with an abundance of bad apples), with an air of devotional joy mingling with the fast food aromas and pot smoke.

A three-strong support bill stokes anticipation, with The View and Jake Bugg laying the groundwork and Primal Scream poised to reap the rewards. But rather than capitalise on the marked hunger for older favourites, the Primals proudly allot half their slot to More Light, and consequently garner only a fraction of the sing-alongs they’re warranted. When the hits arrive, though, the impact is high, with Swastika Eyes instigating much shape-throwing and Rocks seeing many a-pint lofted skywards.

Then – a between-band downpour and a solo piper intro later – the Roses walk out to get reacquainted with a city Mani later labels “the second best in the world.” I Wanna Be Adored occupies its standard vanguard position, Brown pacing his territory and all-but buried by the sea of disciples singing every word. Elephant Stone follows (a welcome appearance, having only recently been reintroduced to their set), while early outings for Ten Storey Love Song and Sally Cinnamon confirm they aren’t about to play hard to get with the tent-pole tracks.

Everyone gets a chance to shine: Fools Gold sees Squire indulge in some premiere fretwork; Mani supplies Made of Stone with its anthemic clout; Reni delivers a blistering drum solo without instigating a bar-wards exodus; and Ian… Well, true to form his vocals aren’t exactly on point, but his cocksure demeanour is present and correct – which for a frontman of his styling is rather more vital than tonal accuracy anyway.

Admittedly, it’s hard to shake the feeling that, at its core, this is hawked nostalgia and little more; a victory lap for the partisans rather than a new chapter. But with I Am the Resurrection hoisting spirits higher and higher, the misgiving pales: tonight is ‘crowd-pleasing’ epitomised, and aloofness is not an option.

Monday, 17 June 2013

EIFF 2013: I Am Breathing

The 2013 Edinburgh Film Festival kicks off tomorrow night, so expect plenty of reviews over the coming weeks. Here's the first...

With composure and compassion, I Am Breathing documents the final months of husband and father Neil Platt, diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease at the age of 33. Served a bleak prognosis, Platt began chronicling his struggles with the debilitating condition, dictating blog posts that would eventually reach a readership of 10,000. At the same time, he and wife Louise began shoring fragments of his life – photographs, home videos, mementos – to ensure their one-year-old son would grow up knowing not only how his father died, but how he lived; a project for which I Am Breathing can occupy a keystone position.

Granted extensive access to the family’s ordeal – an ordeal tackled with grace and humility – directors Davie and McKinnon handle the devastating subject matter with restraint and sensitivity, baring the disease’s full tragic trajectory without reducing Neil to his affliction alone. As might be expected, the results are deeply moving, with moments of absurd humour and profound beauty amidst the sadness.

20th June, 6pm, Filmhouse 1
23rd June, 4.25pm, Cineworld 12

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

June Skinny

If you're in Scotland, this month's issue of The Skinny looks like this:

and if you're in northwest England, this month's issue of The Skinny looks like this:

either way, these are the bits I wrote:

- 'Doing It Again: An Interview with Camera Obscura's Carey Lander' (read here!)
- Low @ The Classic Grand live review (read here!)
- Camera Obscura - 'Desire Lines' album review (read here!)
- Anna Von Hausswolf - 'Ceremony' album review (read here!)
- Gastric Band - 'Party Feel' album review (read here!)
- 'Lore' DVD review (read here!)
- 'Cria Cuervos' DVD review (read here!)

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

reviews: Gastric Band, Spectrals, Anna Von Hausswolf

                                              Gastric Band – Party Feel

Gastric Band - Party Feel (****)

As their moniker might imply, Glasgow's Gastric Band are tight. There is barely an ounce of fat on debut album Party Feel: a wild-eyed odyssey encompassing all manner of weird and wonderful sounds. Opener It’s Good But It’s Not Right sets a high benchmark: as fidgety guitar lines snake across double-drummed rhythms, its playful voodoo jazz establishes Gastric Band’s perpetually off-kilter credentials.

The dynamism continues with Dustin Binman (notable for the awesome power-riffs of the final third); the no-nonsense Brad Shitt, which hungrily rifles through tempos as locked-together guitars dance up and down fret-boards; and Sexy Grandad, a warped array of volatile percussion and tricksy quasi-melodies. By which point anyone in their right mind will be ready for something less forcefully kinetic – a craving Gastric Band astutely sate with Under A Glass Table’s eight minutes of comparatively cogent prog. Easy listening it ain’t, but well worth dropping a few pounds for.
Out now

                                             Spectrals – Sob Story

Spectrals - Sob Story (***)
Spectrals – the nom de plume of Yorkshire singer-songwriter Louis Jones – introduced his brand of lovelorn guitar pop on 2011’s promising Bad Penny, a strong debut that secured the then-21-year-old profile-raising support slots with the likes of Best Coast and Real Estate. But unlike said record’s proverbial namesake, his return is a welcome one - albeit with a caveat or two.

The first reservation is country-tinged ballad Friend Zone: musically elegant but lyrically whingey, its introspective rejection narrative proves rather too on the nose (“you probably think I’m really nice… you wouldn’t be seen dead with me”). The second miss is closer In a Bad Way, in which the title is repeated ad nauseam over a flat dirge, ending the album in, well, a bad way. But elsewhere, Jones finds his flair with faster, more dynamic tracks like the glam-echoing new wave of A Heartbeat Behind, which earns Sob Story its happy ending.

Out now

                                               Anna Von Hausswolff – Ceremony

Anna Von Hausswolf - Ceremony (****)
If you think the title of Ceremony’s opening instrumental Epitaph of Theodor sounds grandiose, wait till you hear its brooding church organ melody – an imposing herald for its majestic parent album. Throughout, Swedish songwriter Anna Von Hausswolff’s compositions are toweringly dramatic: whether evoking ruin or resurrection, doom or desire, her spiralling vocals are as radiant as its organ rumbles are deep.

This play of light and shade is integral to Ceremony’s impact, with a track like Deathbed creating a dark, dangerous atmosphere through ominous drones, then building to a glorious, final act ascendance. Mountains Crave has a relative levity (despite its ‘rain/pain’ rhymes) while Epitaph of Daniel recalls the haunting, graceful motifs of Angelo Badalamenti’s Twin Peaks work, balancing the foreboding tone that governs the likes of No Body’s tuneless interlude or Goodbye’s mournful undertow. Despite its hefty length and heftier emotions, Ceremony’s integral beauty makes its navigation an absolute delight.

Out 17th June

Monday, 10 June 2013


After a hiatus that has been described as "welcome" and "far too short", Bottle Rocket is B-A-C-K, BACK! We've found a new home at the lovely Flying Duck, and will be relaunching on Friday 28 June.

This promises to be a very special BR, so come along and get your groove on to some indie, pop, new wave, postpunk and similar. Expect ABBA, Buzzcocks, Bowie, B-52s, Devo, Fleetwood Mac, Le Tigre, Magnetic Fields, Modern Lovers, Pavement, Pulp, Prince, Sparks, Talking Heads and MORE!

Know this:

* 11pm - 3am! *
* FREE before 11, £5/£3 thereafter

You'll get a nice spacious room to dance in, with nice furniture and everything. It'll be well fun.

As every, if you don't trust our taste (and who can blame you), please stick your requests on the facebook page.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Doing It Again: An Interview with Camera Obscura's Carey Lander

As Camera Obscura ready the release of fifth album Desire Lines, we distract Carey Lander from band practice to discuss old friendships and new directions

In the four years since the well-received My Maudlin Career, it's seldom felt like Camera Obscura have been away – what with a certain dinner party game-show and its attendant wine ad sponsor seemingly never off-air, keeping French Navy a regular ear-worm for half the population. But away the Glasgow indie-pop quintet have been, forced into hiatus by circumstances beyond their control – indeed, beyond anyone’s control. In the press release for imminent fifth album Desire Lines, mention is made of ‘sickness and sadness’, hinting at personal struggles faced over the last few years. But elsewhere, the catchwords are more hopeful, with talk of resilience and survival. On a sunny(ish) bank holiday afternoon, keyboardist Carey Lander takes time away from rehearsals and fills in some of the gaps.

“We finished touring and we’d started taking a break,” she explains, “and then I got ill, and was basically out of action for a year and a half. But the band waited for me, which was really good of them.” While Lander underwent treatment, the band (as well as Lander: Tracyanne Campbell, Gavin Dunbar, Kenny McKeeve and Lee Thomson) started tentative work on new material, demoing songs and occasionally convening for rehearsals, “but otherwise it was generally on hold until we could do things together again.” Now, she says, “it’s nice to be back doing something” – even if the time leading up to Desire Lines’ release seems to be disappearing fast. “If feels like last week we were mixing it,” she smiles. “I still don’t know how lots of elements are going to come together, but hopefully it will.”

High on the agenda is fitting in the aforementioned rehearsals ahead of a wave of radio sessions, festival appearances and tour dates – as much a means of “getting the band’s confidence up” after the longer than usual inter-album gap as a need to nail down arrangements or whatnot (although there’s some of that too, with Lander jokingly rueing, “now’s when you wish you hadn’t done eight keyboard parts when you’ve only got two hands…”). But while Lander expresses certain anxieties about the readying process, she’s also quick to note that, with several albums’ experience behind them now, re-finding their feet isn’t too difficult. “You always think you’re going to be terrible when you get back into the rehearsal room,” she explains. “But when we’ve been doing this for so long, and have played the songs that many times, then really it comes back quite quickly. Despite my negativity and worries, it’s usually not that bad.”

"We weren’t looking to make another chamber pop, 60s girl group album. we’ve been there and done that" – Carey Lander

Even the new complication of having a member reside at the opposite end of the country (drummer Lee, who moved to London last year) hasn’t shaken the dynamic too significantly. “We don’t all hang out together quite as much as we used to,” says Lander, “but just because, you know, when you get older you don’t leave your house as much...” she laughs. “It’s not that we’ve found new friends or something – still, if I have a birthday party, I can’t think of anyone to invite apart from the band most of the time.” What’s more, in her words, “absence makes the heart grow fonder and all that,” meaning time apart has its benefits. “I think if we get a break from each other, we’re always pretty pleased to see each other when we get to the studio,” she muses, “and that’s no bad thing,”

In typical Camera Obscura fashion, Desire Lines began with bare-bones demos by vocalist and principal songwriter Campbell – ideas on which the whole band subsequently worked, layering and delayering till they found the sounds that stuck. “Before we start any album, we always talk about how we wish it would turn out, whether that happens or not,” says Lander. In this case, that meant a deliberate move away from the lush string arrangements that marked My Maudlin Career. “That was mostly a conscious thing,” Lander affirms. “I mean, we didn’t roll it out, because if the song wanted [strings] we put them on. But we weren’t looking to make another chamber pop, 60s girl group album. We feel like we’ve been there and done that.”

The need to break new ground also influenced the decision to record in the US for the first time, electing to work with Portland-based producer Tucker Martine after two records with Jari Haapalainen behind the desk. “Jari would have made another great album,” says Lander of the decision, “but it seemed a bit too safe and repetitive to work with him again. So we were looking around for ideas – which is quite hard because you don’t really hear about producers that much, apart from the couple of really big names. It can be a bit of an unknown thing.”

Tucker was first mooted by M. Ward, at the time passing through Glasgow on tour (and, on a side note, with whom Camera Obscura will share shows later in the year, co-headlining with She & Him on a raft of Stateside dates). The suggestion stuck and the band packed their bags and headed to Oregon. “It’s a bit of a leap of faith,” says Lander, “because you don’t know that much about the person. You have a few emails and discussions, you let them hear some demos and you just hope it’s going to work out – and it did. He’s a great producer.”

A great producer with an impressive Rolodex, no less, with Tucker arranging for Neko Case and My Morning Jacket’s Jim James to join the band in the studio. “Tucker said Neko had volunteered to do any backing vocals we wanted,” says Lander. “She was probably joking, but we were like ‘Right then, let’s see if she means it!’ So she flew over and just sang solidly for two days and did as many tracks as she had time for.” While both guest contributors are renowned for their powerful pipes, they’re a subtle presence on Desire Lines – always complementary, never front and centre. “They’re always on backing vocals because, as amazing as it is to have those people on the album, we didn’t want them to take over,” says Lander. “And we wondered how it would turn out – Neko’s got such a massive, strong voice, and we didn’t know how that would work with Tracyanne’s quiet voice. But it was worth the risk.”

Personnel aside, opting for Portland offered plenty of additional perks, not least the opportunity to get out of this country and “live a different life for a couple of weeks,” in an area renowned for its vibrant arts scene. “It’s one of our favourite cities in America, and one of the places that seemed like a realistic option to go and record in, because it’s quite music-oriented and cheap to live in,” says Lander. “It doesn’t feel like trying to go and record in LA or something – it’s a different mindset.” From the sound of things, the only downside to the venture was the weather. “It’s a pure beautiful summer there,” she enthuses. “It’s lovely all year round – apart from winter, when it rains as much as it does here. And we went in winter, and it rained every day. Which is probably a good thing when you’re supposed to be in a studio and not getting distracted…”

While it contains notable extensions to the Camera Obscura palette, Desire Lines is by no means a stylistic volte-face. Anyone who’s fallen head over heels for past releases will likely relocate the object of their affections somewhere in its running, whether in the achingly direct way that Campbell issues Fifth in Line to the Throne’s rending ultimatums, or the foot-stomping, ear-hugging chorus of Break It to You Gently. “I think you always try to push yourself” says Lander, “but ultimately we’re the same group of musicians and we like certain sounds. It’s nice to think you can do your fifth album and reinvent yourself or whatever but it’s just not really going to happen. You just have to take each song and make it as strong as you can, and try and have some kind of new ingredient or a new feel. On this album I’ve been learning to use my keyboards more, and introduce a bit more technology and stuff – which I’ve always been a bit baffled by.”

For Lander, the driving Troublemaker – which places Campbell’s dulcet vocals atop a motorik beat while rippling synths and crisp guitar lines interleave beneath – stands out as the track that pushes their parameters furthest. “That’s the song that probably feels the most different from what we’ve done before,” she states. “I don’t know, maybe it’s a bit more modern or something…” She pauses and smiles. “As modern as we ever get anyway.”

Later in the conversation, a comparison is drawn with Yo La Tengo – an act often held up as a textbook example of how to undertake a gradual musical evolution on one’s own terms. “They don’t have to totally reinvent themselves,” Lander says of the Hoboken trio’s appeal. “People can buy it if they like, listen if they like, and that’s fine – it’s only the press that sort of pressure you into thinking you’re supposed to have done something completely different every time, or stormed the charts or whatever. I guess the pressures are different early on in a band’s career, and maybe we’re getting to that point where – hopefully – that pressure is slightly subsiding. Or maybe,” she reflects, “that’s still to come.”

Saturday, 8 June 2013


we're back...

Friday, 7 June 2013

reviews: camera obscura, melt yourself down, icky blossoms

                                                 Camera Obscura – Desire Lines

Camera Obscura - Desire Lines (****)

For those unfamiliar with the term, ‘desire line’ is the poetic name given to those winding dirt trails that appear when people walk a certain route enough times, eroding the land with a memory of their journey. But Camera Obscura’s fifth album is no shortcut or re-tread; rather, it’s the sound of a band following their hearts, comfortable and confident in their own skin.

On first impressions, Desire Lines conveys a warm familiarity, from lead single Do It Again’s indie-disco sashay to Fifth In Line To the Throne’s heart on sleeve sentiments. But tucked around the expected components is plenty of freshness, from the smooth, muzak-but-good intro of This Is Love (Feels Alright) to the calypso vibe of Every Weekday, via Troublemaker’s synth foundations. Lyrically, too, the songs excel, with New Year’s Resolution’s desire to “write something of value” answered multiple times over, destining Desire Lines for many revisits.

Out now

                                                 Melt Yourself Down – Melt Yourself Down

Melt Yourself Down - Melt Yourself Down (****)

The second track on pyretic jazz-punk collective Melt Yourself Down’s eponymous debut is titled Release!, but in truth the whole shebang is one great big release; an exotic whirlwind spinning out shrieking sax riffs, shamanic shouts and dizzying percussion, presenting only the rarest of opportunities to escape the dervish and gather bearings.

Such intense, hectic music likely works best in a live setting, where the sweaty, visceral qualities of tracks like Fix My Life –  a fevered four minutes that pulls the listener in by their gut lining –  will have a more pronounced effect. On record, by comparison, early exhilaration threatens to peter into exhaustion, though smart sequencing largely helps sidestep this fate; indeed, the chilled gait of Free Walk proves an album highlight less for its individual merits and more for the contrast it introduces. Nonetheless, this is as striking an introduction as you’re likely to make this year. Best join the party.

Out 17th June

                                                  Icky Blossoms – Icky Blossoms

Icky Blossoms - Icky Blossoms (***)

It’s sometimes tough to distinguish between maverick eclecticism and plain old muddlement, with Icky Blossoms' exhibit A. The pedigree of its originators certainly makes extending the benefit of the doubt a temptation – with David Pressnall of Tilly and the Wall providing the band’s multi-instrumentalist hub, Dave Sitek producing, and sundry contributions from notable Nebraskans (including members of The Faint and Bright Eyes), there’s no dearth of talent beneath its shiny surfaces.

But past form and good intentions can’t disguise the record’s inconsistency, with its triumphs (chic electro-pop opener Heat Lightning; I Am’s propulsive indie-dance fuzz; the atmospheric sweep of closer Perfect Vision, reminiscent of Sleigh Bells at their calmest) frequently cancelled out by its misjudgements (electroclash relic Sex to the Devil’s babbling mantras and tacky beats; Babes’ painfully awkward attempt at Ladytron chic). Its one-step-forward/two-steps-back nature is maddening, though there’s enough expertise in the peaks to make further investigation worthwhile.

Out 22nd June

Thursday, 6 June 2013

tomorrow night: left of the dial @ dukes bar, glasgow

EDIT: oh wait it's been cancelled to show some football. bah.

no sooner had bottle rocket finished up at sleazys, mike had found another regular gig - as part of a 4-strong team of DJs playing college rock, punk, indie, no wave and other noisey guitary awesomey sounds from the 80s and 90s at dukes bar in glasgow.  if that's your thing (and it should be), then give it a wee try!

their facebook details are here.

and here's what they played last month (built to spill, sonic youth, sleater kinney etc)

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

reviews: Nancy Elizabeth, Three Blind Wolves, Magic Arm

                                           Nancy Elizabeth – Dancing

Nancy Elizabeth - Dancing (***)

Arguably her most elaborate offering to date, Nancy Elizabeth’s third album Dancing pushes the Lancastrian singer-songwriter’s neo-folk muse into freshly baroque territories. It shares with predecessors Wrought Iron and Battle and Victory a nuanced atmosphere pitched between maudlin and inspiriting, while further continuity is provided by Elizabeth’s lyrical flair, with words given extra resonance by her seraphic tones.

But where in the past her simpler songs were afforded ample space to bloom, Dancing is marked by busier arrangements – diminishing a key strength, though luckily introducing others in its stead. While piano remains her base instrument, it’s rarely left to carry a song; for instance, The Last Battle’s gothic beauty stems from rippling harp flourishes, while Heart is buoyed by brooding snippets of synth. But most often, the crucial component in these compositions is a rich cloud of layered vocal sighs, which swoop and soar to hypnotic – if not always singular – effect.

Out now

                                               Three Blind Wolves – Sing Hallelujah For the Old Machine

Three Blind Wolves - Sing Hallelujah for the Old Machine (***)

Right back to his solo days as a fixture in Glasgow’s live listings, Ross Clark has been an attention-grabbing performer. Back then, his noticeability was partly down to the spirited manner in which he conducted his live sets, but now more than ever, it’s the songs that turn heads – well, that and his expert Telly Monster impression, as rolled out in Sex is For Loser’s opening lines.

Their honking delivery sees Clark’s mannered style exceed its reach and tumble close to self-parody, but thankfully it’s an isolated incident, with his craggy vocals otherwise bracingly emotive (on the likes of Edgar’s Church) and rousingly vociferous (particularly so across Honey Fire’s grizzled expanse). Musically, too, things have upped a gear since last the Wolves convened on record, with the second half of their ostensible ‘country-rock’ pigeonhole now more forcefully underscored, and tracks like In Here Somewhere evincing the confidence with which they currently operate.

Out now

                                                 Magic Arm – Images Rolling

Magic Arm - Images Rolling (***)

Magic Arm is more or less the work of one man, who uses magic hands (plus a heap of helpful gadgets and instruments) to craft impressively full-bodied recordings from the comfort of his own home. Marc Rigelsford’s 2009 debut Make Lists, Do Something drew favourable and justifiable comparisons to Beck for its tendency to sandwich ideas and genres together with playful nonchalance, though a side effect of its scattered tactics was the occasional lame appendage – something which second album Images Rolling rectifies, albeit at the expense of filing away some of its creator’s idiosyncrasies.

Yet even with quirks depleted, enough pleasing left-turns pepper the album’s flow to keep things interesting, with Put Your Collar Up’s high-drama opening section breaking into a warmly familiar indie-pop canter; the woozy drift of Warning Signs introducing a gently psychedelic strand; and Lanes delivering a whimsically skewed suite of strings and echoed vocals.  
Out now

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

DVD review: Cria Cuervos

cria cuervos

Three years after her precocious debut in The Spirit of the BeehiveCría Cuervos (1973) confirmed Ana Torrent a young actress of remarkable presence. Her assured performance – a combination of wide-eyed innocence and inner inscrutability – forms the delicate centre to a film of pronounced allegorical purpose, which combines nuanced character drama with echoes of Spain’s political ghosts.

As in Victor Erice’s aforementioned Frankenstein riff, Torrent plays a sensitive child with morbid preoccupations. Though outwardly peaceful, the newly orphaned Ana is buffeted by tumultuous emotions, with guilt over her perceived role in the death of her fascist father entwined with confused remembrances of her mother’s painful demise. As her fears and vexations express themselves in games and fantasies (faux-culls of siblings; visions of herself leaping from rooftops), director Carlos Saura adopts a fluid magic realism, puncturing the narrative with straight-to-camera reflections from the adult Ana (Geraldine Chaplin) and blurring the divide between reality and dreams. The effect is profoundly beguiling, and demands renewed appreciation.

Out now