Thursday Screener

Morvern Callar, The Master and Submarine
Film+TV | 26 August 2021

Morvern Callar by Lynne Ramsay, 2003

This article is part of HERO Dailies – Essential culture, curated daily and also part of Thursday Screener

HERO DAILIES: Essential culture, curated daily
THURSDAY SCREENER: Three films that should be in your watchlist

Morvern Callar by Lynee Ramsay, 2002

Lynne Ramsay‘s second feature opens with a soft, undulating glow of fairy lights that reveal fragmented views of a naked corpse. Morvern Callar kneels over the body, inspecting the gashes in her former boyfriend’s wrists with a detached air of indifference before reading the suicide note and instructions for the publication of his newly completed debut novel.

Betraying the directives left to her, she deletes his name and replaces it with her own. In doing so she takes authorship of her own life for what feels like the first time, partying all night with her best friend Lanna (non-actor Kathleen McDermott in her first ever role), whom she convinces that her boyfriend has simply left her. Escaping the grey humdrum of her life working in a supermarket, Morvern and Lanna head to Ibiza with the money left by her boyfriend for his funeral, a journey that takes them from the running of the bulls in Pamplona to cactus-filled deserts. Shot with the same evocative intensity that marks all of Ramsay’s projects (cinematographer Alwin H. Küchler also shot Ratcatcher), Morvern Callar is an underrated gem of the director’s catalogue featuring some of the most convincing club scenes we’ve ever seen.

Morvern Callar is streaming on Netflix 

Morvern Callar by Lynne Ramsay, 2003

The Master by Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012

On returning to society, World War II veteran Freddie Quell is lost: the world has changed and so has he. Stumbling from bars to bedrooms, in and out of jobs, Quell serendipitously finds himself in the company of Lancaster Dodd, the charismatic and complex founder of a strange religious organisation – a thinly veiled interpretation of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. Taken under Dodd’s wing, Quell soon finds himself travelling through town halls and parlours, preaching tales of reincarnation and aliens with his new group of associates. But it’s not all happy families. 

There are many joys to Paul Thomas Anderson’s stunning work, and many of them linger long after the final scene. But the most immediate is Joaquin Phoenix and Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s masterful performances and on-screen relationship – constantly shifting and evolving with piercing emotion. Like most PTA films, the themes explored are as nuanced as they are deep; where beauty and darkness is just a breath away.

The Master is available to stream on Google Play. 

The Master by Paul Thomas Anderson, 2012

Submarine by Richard Ayode, 2011

When 15-year old Oliver Tate, played by Craig Roberts, gets asked by the girl of his dreams to meet in secret after school, how could he say no? But Jordana’s plan is to use him to make her ex-boyfriend jealous and takes polaroids of them kissing to circulate around school. Despite the fight that takes place in front of his classmates, Oliver succeeds in making Jordana his girlfriend. As their relationship progresses his adolescence comes to revolve around two main concerns: losing his virginity before his sixteenth birthday and stopping his mother from leaving his father for the mystic next door.

Inspired by French New Wave cinema, Richard Ayoade’s directorial debut cemented his off-beat style, taking the cliched boy meets girl story and refashioning it with a wry British quirk accompanied by an original soundtrack from Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner.

Submarine is available to stream on YouTube. 

Submarine by Richard Ayode, 2011

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