cinema articles
Maurice at 30: the gay period drama the world wasn't ready for
The elegant Merchant Ivory love story, starring a young Hugh Grant, was largely ignored on release but it’s now receiving a 4K restoration and might finally reach the audience it deserves
By Guy Lodge

Last year, Merchant Ivory’s Howards End, now a quarter of a century old, got a 4K digital restoration that didn’t seem obviously required. Until, that is, you saw the result. Those ornate Edwardian interiors, the sea of rain-spattered umbrellas, that field of bluebells, all made newly sharp and iridescent – it seemed appropriate treatment for what stands as the quintessential work from a film-making team now synonymous with elegantly reserved costume drama. With US distributor Cohen Media Group having bought up the Merchant Ivory library, one might have assumed A Room With a View would be next in line for this pristine treatment. The Remains of the Day, perhaps.                    

Instead, we’ve been thrown a curveball. Maurice, undervalued in 1987 and underseen today, is getting the digital makeover, hitting cinema screens in time for its 30th anniversary. It’s a surprise, but a welcome one. Adapted from a posthumously published EM Forster novel that is likewise overshadowed in reputation by other works in his canon – like, well, Howards End and A Room With a View – Merchant Ivory’s film opened hot on the heels of their broadly beloved, Oscar-garlanded adaptation of the latter. Almost immediately, it was filed away as, if not a disappointment, a lesser diversion. The Venice film festival jury was highly taken with it, handing prizes to James Ivory and then-fresh-faced stars Hugh Grant and James Wilby, but despite admiring reviews, few followed their lead. Box office was barely a 10th of A Room With a View’s; where that film had been nominated for eight Oscars, winning three, Maurice scraped a solitary bid for its costumes.

The film wasn’t at fault. A tender, graceful love story, performed with quiet emotional conviction and crafted with Merchant Ivory’s signature visual serenity and meticulous period detail, it was an exemplary distillation of its literary source – and a heartily realised passion project for Ivory himself, who adapted Forster’s novel in place of the team’s usual screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. What was different? Those even glancingly acquainted with the film or novel can probably work it out: Maurice was, put bluntly, too gay.

Ivory and producer Ismail Merchant were romantic partners as well as professional ones, though their films rarely reflected their sexuality in anything more than an oblique sense. Many of their greatest films evoke a sense of unspoken desire, of any persuasion, simmering beneath a placid surface of decorum – a repression with which many a gay person, unable always to freely articulate their romantic self, has been able to empathise. Maurice, in a sense, was the duo’s cinematic coming-out: the story of a young man growing into his homosexuality in politely hostile English society, it’s a film that exquisitely queers the stiff-upper-lip emotions so central to the Merchant Ivory oeuvre.

There’s a slight aloofness to Maurice that is part of its beauty. Shooting with glacial reserve, a minty chill present even in scenes of the great English summer, Ivory languidly explores the stuffy Cambridge social circuit, with its cricket matches and country-pile parties, that the title character is expected to inhabit; Wilby’s painstaking performance, too, initially comes over as glazed, absent, a man in search of something to want. The film only breathes when he finally does, first via a frustrating romantic affair with fellow student and social climber Clive Durham (Grant, perfectly his floppy charm years before Four Weddings and a Funeral) – but it’s heartbreak that gives the film its red-blooded feeling.          

From there, as a second romantic chapter with gamekeeper Alec Scudder (Rupert Graves, completing perhaps the prettiest posh-boy triangle in screen history) begins, Maurice gains both in emotional sweep and intimate psychological detail: a tame entry it may be in the LGBT canon, but few films have expressed quite so sweetly and nakedly the challenges of simply being a gay man, partnered or otherwise – how difficult it can be to run with human nature.

This is not emotionally universal terrain, and was a rare subject for prestige heritage cinema to take on: the film’s respectful but dispassionate reception in 1987, not an era rich with queer art in the mainstream, is no surprise in retrospect. Had Forster, for whom the novel also represented a cathartic release of his own sexuality, published it in his lifetime, he might have encountered similar resistance. In 1971, Maurice was received by the literary fraternity as minor by his standards – a verdict that all too often plagues depictions of desire that, while far from minor, is shared only by a minority.

Fast-forward to 2017, in the midst of a thriving LGBT cinema scene and in afterglow of Moonlight’s barrier-busting Oscar triumph, and perhaps audiences will be a little warmer, a little kinder to Maurice. Coincidentally, it hits screens again in the same year that Ivory is basking in the glory of a very different LGBT triumph: now 88, he’s a co-writer on Luca Guadagnino’s queer coming-of-age rhapsody Call Me By Your Name, a Sundance sensation that realises the first rush of gay love with all the woozy sensual excess that Maurice, true to its period, eschews. (They’d make for a remarkable, mutually flattering double bill.) Far from dated, Merchant Ivory’s Maurice looks positively ahead of its time: an honestly strait-laced depiction of alternative sexuality that dared to play by the same rules as any other respectable costume drama.

'Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home' is pure, joyful cinema
2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the Star Trek franchise – and the release of Star Trek Beyond, the 13th feature film in the series. To celebrate...

Nimoy later explained the core concept: “No dying, no fighting, no shooting, no photon torpedoes, no phaser blasts, no stereotypical bad guy.” His previous Star Trek film had all those things, and outer space, and aliens, and sets. Nimoy wanted to make a movie about Earth, right now, shot on location, with human people.

I don’t think there is any single moment in Star Trek history where Kirk and Spock look better — at once grander and more approachable, like statues of the Founding Fathers buying rounds at sports bar — than the moment when they walk along Marina Boulevard. Behind them: The bay, the Bridge, the fog.

Kirk’s still wearing his magenta-maroon disco suit, looking like the communist dictator of Studio 54; Spock’s wearing a karate bathrobe. You can giggle at the buried joke of the movie — they fit right into pre-digital San Francisco — but you can also appreciate how the movie makes them seem so much bigger by bringing them down to Earth.

Top 5 Beautifully Tragic Independent Movies

Disclaimer: I’m not a film critic, I’m a photographer who gets excited about pretty, emotional things. 

By the time I was 16 years old, I had become obsessed with drama, independent and art-based movies. This was to the extent that I could barely fathom the fact that - on my first day of film studies class - our teacher informed us that our lessons would largely encompass generic blockbuster titles.

‘But there’s so little to these films…’, thought the younger, less knowledgable me. 'What could possibly be of interest about easily interpretable movies that follow cliche, overused narrative tropes, structures and visual stylings?’

Eventually I learnt the error of my thinking, and how dense filmic scrutiny could extend, even in the most conventional of titles. However, my love for movies that differ a little from the norm never really ceased. If its obscure, super dramatic/romantic, bizarre, confusing and/or beautifully shot I’ll probably be convinced by the end that it’s changed my life somehow. Yes, it’s relatively pretentious of me - at least I’m honest about it.

Since my departure from university, I’ve found myself with a little evening time to watch movies again. Subsequently, I’ve proceeded with my incessant hunt, in which there is no final target, to find films that are worthy of my 'list’. This is a catalogue of cinema that has moved me via nothing less than pure, superlative artistry. To celebrate this continuation, I have decided to share a section of my list so far with you. Whether a positive experience or not, these flicks are sure to blow your mind.


'LOVE’ (2011)

If you’ve heard of a wonderfully talented American musician named Tom Delonge (that dude who played in blink-182 and somehow managed to make bad singing sound great), you might also be familiar with the numerous art projects completed under the alias and associated iconography of his band, Angels & Airwaves. Delonge has crafted a wealth of different media under Angels & Airwaves, but no other manages to compare to the 2011 LOVE feature length movie. Directed by William Eubank and produced by Delonge, LOVE is a truly gripping movie that aims to explore the unconditional human need for contact, connection and companionship.

At the very end of a long space exploration mission, astronaut Lee Miller becomes the last human in existence as an unexplained apocalyptic incident sweeps across the world. This event is insinuated only by Miller’s discontinued contact with earth. LOVE possesses a pace that is binary in nature; utilising calm, suddenly sporadic and inconsistent shots to expertly depict Miller’s descent into madness. These skilfully crafted scenes are successful in simulating feelings of irritability and hysteria within its viewers - perfectly epitomising the human need for raw emotion that LOVE strives to explore and present. In turn, we are guided towards the films resolution: Love is the answer; the reason for our very existence. To truly feel gratitude for those you have in your life, you need to experience LOVE.


Why do we struggle to breathe a more righteous breath, when we all end up in the same place?’


'Submarine’ (2010)

This is a movie which is set in a town called Swansea, south-west Wales. What’s kind of wonderfully coincidental to me is that five years after seeing this movie, I am now dating a girl who’s lived in Swansea her whole life (200 miles away from my current location), and roamed some of the locations in the movie during its production. I also met a guy back in university who was actually in the movie as an extra! Kind of strange… anyways.  

As a slightly bleak coming of age comedy about a lovelorn boy named Oliver Tate (Craig Roberts), Submarine manages to adhere to, and subvert the conventions of the genre simultaneously. As Oliver tries to work out who he really is, he makes attempts to save his parents marriage and develop his relationship with his equally strange and somewhat pyromanic girlfriend, Jordana (Yasmin Paige). His naivety often results in ill-informed decisions and hilarious results.

I loved the striking performances delivered by the cast of the film; strong portrayals of refreshingly authentic character types. Additionally, the dry humour that remains consistent alongside more serious themes keeps the storyline concurrently sincere, yet humorous.

However, what I found most imposing about Submarine was its unconventional cinematography, visual triggers and narrative structure.

The camera work by Eric Wilson has an idiosyncratic, stylised dynamic; beautiful and often erratic. Alongside the choppy and quirky editing, this helps contribute towards the comedic undertones of the movie whilst remaining superficially alluring. The grain from the use of film cameras, and the use of only natural and existing artificial light, also contributes to Submarine’s 80’s era nostalgia.

Basically… it’s dope.


'You’re the only person that I would allow to be shrunken down to a microscopic size and swim inside me in a tiny submersible machine. We have lost our virginity but it wasn’t like losing anything. You’re too good for me, you’re too good for anyone.’


'The Tree of Life’ (2011)

This one is going to have you Googling explanations before the movie has barely begun. Its a CONFUSING film, but an emotional and gorgeously shot one at that. The cinematography is saintly and, as a photographer, I may have wept at little at this movie’s sheer beauty.

The film follows Jack (Sean Penn), the eldest son of a family as he reflects on his childhood in 1950’s suburban America: his relationship with his parents (Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain) his experiences and the premature death of his brother.. however..

The way the movie has been moulded comes across as more of a lengthy video-based art-installation piece, rather than a feature film. The manner and pace in which the films develops, projects an inarticulate dream-like quality; an exploration of themes, ideas and visuals with no real events to drive any gripping or discernible narrative.

It’s damn complex - at times appearing complicated simply for the sake of being complicated. Some might call it art, some might call it pretentious - I call it poignant and moving.

The Tree of Life is a fantastic movie, demonstrating Terrence Malick’s auteurist style.


'Help each other. Love everyone. Every leaf. Every ray of light. Forgive.’


'Never Let Me Go’ (2010)

Much like the central theme of this movie, this is one that I will never let go of (or forget). Based upon Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel of the same name, NLMG follows its protagonists Cathy (Carey Mulligan), Tommy (Andrew Garfield) and Ruth (Keira Knightley). The trio are pupils at a school of children, all of whom were born and raised to be healthy, donate their vital organs and die young. Yeah.. it’s pretty grim. But hold up.. it gets additionally tragic.

A love triangle forms amongst the three and throughout the movies three act structure (spanning about a decade… I think) it becomes evident that Cathy and Tommy are meant to be. Deep down they knew this all along, yet by the time they act, they’re days from beginning their donations.

There is nothing more tragic than true love that cannot be allowed to exist. I’m getting worked up just thinking about it. Seriously, though… watch this movie. It’ll cut you up but you’ll know what it is to feel true gratitude and appreciation to be a free soul.


‘We all complete. Maybe none of us really understand what we’ve lived through, or feel we’ve had enough time.’


'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ (2004)

So on account of its cult status - and being that this is Tumblr - my number one is probably one that you’re already familiar with. For those unfamiliar, however, I will enlighten you.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind tells the story of two seemingly incompatible people, Joel and Clementine (Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet) and the deterioration of their relationship. The films director Michel Gondry, presents a tender, endearing and intimate companionship that becomes reduced to a jealous, frustrated and dispassionate mess.

Sounds pretty conventional so far, right? Well, conventional it ain’t.

Overwhelmed and exasperated, Joel discovers Clementine has visited Lacuna Inc, a company which provides a form of brain damage; allowing her to forget she had ever met Joel. Devastated upon realising this, Joel has the same treatment performed upon himself. Joel’s erasure is what guides the films narrative.

Beginning in the present day as Joel starts his treatment, Eternal Sunshine traces back through the cherished memories of him and Clementine as they are removed one by one. However, as the procedure is occurring, Joel realises that he can’t bare the thought of losing Clementine for good; even if only as a memory. From the depths of his unconsciousness, Joel tries desperately to hold on to this paradigm of his psyche.

The reason I adore this film so much is the muddled narrative structure, the obsessively detailed mise-en-scene and visual triggers. This is to the extent that new little details and easter eggs seem to reveal themselves with every viewing. Additionally, the conclusions, lessons and themes of Eternal Sunshine are most certainly transferable to real life.

Although the movie appears as somewhat incoherent at times, Gondry somehow manages to find a perfect harmony within the films delivery; superlatively demonstrating the importance of love and memory, irrespective of life’s eventual outcome.

It’s kind of difficult to express through words the impact that this movie has had on me, and the cinematic quality I think it possesses. It’s gorgeously shot, magnificently executed and hard-hitting. The soundtrack by Jon Brion is also expedient and gets you RIGHT in the feelings. It’s one of those films that makes you feel as though a deep, innermost element of your being has been changed somehow. It did with me, at least. It’s breathtaking.


'What a loss to spend that much time with someone, only to find out that she’s a stranger.’

The Secret Language that broke the taboos

Fifty years ago, the Sexual Offences Act became law, decriminalising homosexual acts that took place in private between two men over the age of 21. Fiona Macdonald looks at a gay slang that became a form of defiance.

By Fiona Macdonald, 27 July 2017

“And Gloria cackled, let there be sparkle; and there was sparkle.” It’s a passage from the Bible, but not as we know it: this is a familiar line from the Book of Genesis as spoken in Polari. The secret language became a kind of verbal wink between gay men in Britain during the early 20th Century – allowing them to hide and to reveal at the same time.

“It was a secret, spoken form of language, used mainly by groups of people who were on the margins of society and associated with criminality,” says Paul Baker, a linguistic history expert at the University of Lancaster and author of Fantabulosa: A Dictionary of Polari and Gay Slang. “There was little academic interest in it and it would not have been viewed as respectable enough to be taken seriously.” As a result, it wasn’t written down – and Baker argues it’s not necessarily even one language. “Layering upon layering of different influences ensures that there is no one single version of Polari but many versions, and very little agreement about the spellings, pronunciations and meanings of words.”

Slang, dunk

Baker has found it difficult to untangle a clear history of the lexicon. “Polari has a long and complicated provenance, and not all of it is fully known because it was spoken by marginalised groups who didn’t usually have their voices or stories recorded,” he says. While ‘bona’ (meaning ‘good’ or ‘attractive’), which pops up frequently, was first recorded in Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part II, some of the earliest words in Polari come from 18th-Century ‘Molly Slang’. “Mollies were men who were camp and had sex with other men,” says Baker. “These men were sometimes imprisoned and so some words of the criminal slang Cant would have crept into their language use.”

Baker describes how another form of slang, Parlyaree (from ‘parlare’, the Italian for ‘to talk’), was used by buskers, travelling circus and fairground people, market stall holders, prostitutes and beggars. Derived from Italian, it began to be used in music halls in the late 19th Century, and became known as Palarie. “There were influences from Lingua Franca… used by sailors, as well as cockney rhyming slang and Yiddish which were found particularly in the East End of London.” Some of the words are what’s been called ‘backslang’ – hair is ‘riah’, and face is ‘eek’ (from ‘ecaf’).

After it was taken up in music halls, Palarie became associated with gay men at the start of the 20th Century. “Added to this were bits of class-room French which the speakers thought made them sound sophisticated – or for ironic purposes.” US GIs stationed in the UK during World War Two contributed a few American slang terms, and in the 1960s, what was by then known as Polari co-opted a few counter-culture terms for drug use. To make things more complicated, Baker has seen a few ‘backronyms’, or definitions applied after a word’s meaning has evolved – such as ‘camp’ as coming from ‘Known As Male Prostitute’.

Baker believes Polari is a form of ‘anti-language’ – a term coined by the linguist Michael Hallidayin 1978 that Baker defines as “a language used by people who are on the ‘outside’ of mainstream society”. “It has its own vocabulary for elements that mainstream society is not interested in,” he says. “Words relating to gay sex or evaluating male bodies – but it also demonstrates an alternative value system.” He picks out the word ‘sea-queen’, which means a man who likes to have sex with sailors.

As Dolan puts it, “Language is there to make things clearer and make communication easier, and this is sometimes about making communication more difficult.” He refers to a classic BBC radio comedy series that aired from 1965 to 1968 and which regularly peppered its characters’ speech with Polari. Round the Horne starred Hugh Paddick and Kenneth Williams as out-of-work actors Julian and Sandy – described by Baker in a 2000 academic paper as “a pair of outrageous, camp ‘queens’ who shrieked their way into radio mythology with an unending supply of queer banter which somehow managed to escape the censors”.

According to Dolan, one of the writers, Barry Took, revealed that using Polari meant they got some of the ruder sketches through the censor. “In one scene, someone says ‘go in there and do the washing up’ – the other one says ‘I’m not going in there, all the dishes are dirty’. Dish could mean a dishy man, but it also means ‘arse’. The majority of people wouldn’t know that,” he says.

Packing a punchline

Humour was a key component of Polari, which had several different functions. “It was sometimes taught by older, more established people on the gay scene as a way of initiating newer people into a camp worldview,” says Baker. “Some gay men used it socially, to make one another laugh, sometimes by conducting humorous arguments which involved clever insults in Polari. It could be used for secrecy in public settings, although if someone was dressed in a very flamboyant way, their sexuality would not be a secret and Polari could be used more aggressively to insult people who might have been hostile.”

“It operates on lots of different layers of meaning,” says Dolan. “With Julian and Sandy in particular, you had to be in on the joke to be in on the joke – if you didn’t know, then you’d have no idea what was going on.”

In the years before the Sexual Offences Act, Polari was also a chance to be defiant in a climate of persecution. “Polari speakers referred to the police as ‘Betty bracelets’ or ‘Lily law’, which feminised them; Polari speakers feminised everyone,” says Baker. Other phrases included ‘Hilda handcuffs’ and ‘Jennifer justice’. This ideological slant is what sets it apart from mere slang, believes Baker.

“The important point about Polari is that it was not just a secret language, it was an alternative way of looking at the world,” he tells BBC Culture. “A word like ‘bona’ didn’t just mean good, it meant good by the values of the gay subculture. And the humorous or camp worldview was a coping strategy in dealing with difficult situations like abuse, attack, blackmail or arrest. Appearing to be upset about a broken nail or askew wig, rather than being arrested, made the speaker not seem to care about the ways that mainstream society tried to shame them.” He points out that making light of difficult situations isn’t limited to Polari speakers: “it’s often found in British adventure fiction or films where a hero like James Bond will make a quip when in a tight situation”.

From frock to shock

While talking in Polari can allow fruity language to go undetected, it could also work the other way. “It might sound rude but often it isn’t,” says Dolan, whose favourite phrase is the saucy-sounding ‘Lau your luppers on the strillers bona’ – which has the innocent meaning of ‘play something nice on the piano’.

And it still has the power to shock. Dolan has been a member of the worldwide LGBT activist group Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence for 20 years, known by the name Sister Gypsy TV Filmstar. After one of his fellow nuns (Sister Matic de Bauchery, or Tim Greening Jackson)translated the Bible into Polari, Dolan organised‘Bibleathons’ in which sections were read out by Polari scholars.

Trainee priests at a Church of England theological college went further in February 2017 when they celebrated LGBT history month by holding a service in Polari. Instead of the traditional “Glory be to the father, and to the son, and the Holy Spirit”, the prayer offered was: “Fabeness be to the Auntie, and to the Homie Chavvie, and to the Fantabulosa Fairy”, while an Old Testament line saying “rend your heart and not your garments, return to the Lord your God” was turned into “rend your thumping chest and not your frocks – and turn unto the Duchess your Gloria: for she is bona and merciful”. The college principal expressed regret for the incident, explaining that the liturgy had not been authorised for use.

The apology “shows that in some contexts it is viewed as inappropriate, even though its use was intended to show LGBT inclusivity,” says Baker. “There is that thing of defiance,” says Dolan. “It’s about claiming queer space as well, so that you would use it in as elaborate a fashion as possible to claim a space – particularly when queer people weren’t given those spaces, or were kept away from those spaces.”


“Sharon Tate emerges as the film’s most sympathetic character, who takes an overdose of sleeping pills when breast cancer threatens to rob her of her only means of livelihood. William Daniels’ photographic caress of her faultless face and enormous absorbent eyes is stunning.”
–The Hollywood Reporter, 1967

anonymous asked:

Oh wow okay, THE FINALE THOUGH. So thoughts on who this new stranger in another pod might be? (Also stressed out because it's another stranger in a pod)

Ah yes, more pod cliffhangers! At this point I would have found my theory about Marsdin and the Dominators more exciting, but at the same time I am happy I was wrong in my speculation.

As far as who/what is in the pod – I haven’t the foggiest idea on what it could be for sure. BUT I did find an article on Cinema Blend with some pretty interesting speculations which make a lot of sense to me. If they are right about their last guess, it actually sounds like it would be pretty cool!

In the article, they mention:
Mongul (Another Superman villain, yeah? Also boring.)
Brainiac (Again…. BORING) OR



Reign is apparently a fairly new character to DC Comics (2012). I had never heard of her before this morning. The article points at her being the result of Kryptonian experiments. Scientists were attempting to create a living weapon from alien embryos. She eventually became a Worldkiller, has super strength, durability and speed and is unsure of her actual origin. In the comics it does seem that she crosses paths and becomes enemies with Supergirl. I’m hoping for this villain because that would be a hell of a lot more interesting than the other three options!

Does anyone else know anything about Reign and/or her origin story?


Helga Leeb: Your wife is having a baby. She said she would give up her career tomorrow…

Roman Polanski: “Sharon is serious about that. You can believe her when she tells you that. If she has to make a choice between being an actress or having a happy family life she would choose a happy family life!”

(From an interview with Roman Polanski which was done around mid-1969 in London, for a German publication. The interview was published after Sharon Tate’s death)

[ARTICLE] Psy Revealed To Have Personally Offered To Be Guest Singer At Zion.T’s Upcoming Concert

It has been revealed that Psy personally offered to be a guest singer at Zion.T’s upcoming “2017 Zion.T Concert [Cinema]” concert on October 14.

YG Entertainment shared the story on September 30 and explained that the two singers’ friendship goes back to when Zion.T featured on Psy’s “I Remember You,” a track from his 7th studio album that was released in 2015. The duo also toured Korea together this year for Psy’s first summer concert in five years, with Zion.T appearing as a guest singer and adding the perfect finishing touches to Psy’s set list.

Therefore, when Psy heard that Zion.T was planning to hold a solo concert, he decided to return the favor and personally offered to appear as a guest in the event. Psy will also be joined by other singers that Zion.T has befriended over his music career, and the concert is expected to be a night filled with great music and amazing performances.

“2017 Zion.T Concert [Cinema]” will be a joint-project by YG Entertainment and The Black Label, the subsidiary label under YG that Zion.T is signed on with. The concert will also featured an 11-person orchestra and 8-person band.
French Aids drama BPM shows Hollywood how to capture gay history
The Oscar-buzzed film is refreshingly queer, filled with an authenticity that sanitised disappointments such as Dallas Buyers Club and Stonewall still fail to include
By Guy Lodge

It has been a landmark year for LGBT cinema. From Moonlight’s Oscar victory to the triumphant Sundance premieres of gay romances God’s Own Country and Call Me By Your Name; from the transgender breakthrough of Chile’s A Fantastic Woman to the mainstream politicking of Battle of the Sexes, we’re seeing a wider-than-ever array of approaches to sexuality on film, no longer confined to the arthouse fringe.

The biggest breakthrough of the lot, however, might be French writer-director Robin Campillo’s BPM (Beats Per Minute), which opens in US cinemas on Friday. Outwardly, Campillo’s sprawling, impassioned reflection on the formative years of Aids activist group Act-Up Paris doesn’t appear especially subversive. Meshing fact and fiction with formal grace, conscientious historical detail and a fascination with the to and fro of human debate – it’s not hard to tell that Campillo co-wrote Laurent Cantet’s thrillingly argument-driven The Class – it’s an A-grade prestige film that has met with acceptance and acclaim. Pedro Almodóvar’s jury handed it the Grand Prix award at Cannes, while France has selected it as their entry in this year’s foreign-language Oscar race, where it’s the strong favourite to win.

[What’s new, you ask? We’ve seen Aids dramas before: they’ve been winning prizes since Tom Hanks accepted an Oscar in lachrymose fashion for Philadelphia in 1994. BPM, however, has about as much in common with Philadelphia as The Danish Girl does with Hedwig and the Angry Inch: Campillo’s film isn’t just a gay film, but an explicitly, ebulliently queer one, shot through not just with righteous political anger and equal-opportunity compassion, but joyous, unabashed carnality.]

BPM’s multiple frank sex scenes aren’t there for illustration or titillation. Look to a scene late in the film, shared by the passionate lovers at the film’s centre in the seemingly sexless environs of a hospital ward: never has the simple act of an illicit handjob been portrayed on screen as such an intense act of mutual caring and desire.

This is not radical in itself, of course: there exist far wilder sights and statements in the annals of queer cinema than anything in BPM. [Yet until now, the Venn diagram of queer films and films expressly about LGBT history has been one of minimal overlap: previous films about the Aids epidemic and the advocacy movements it spawned have been largely tidy, tasteful affairs, geared more towards educating viewers unaffected by the disease than energising and emboldening those caught in its grip.

Take Philadelphia and fellow Oscar-winner Dallas Buyers Club, starring Matthew McConaughey in an allegedly “straightwashed” turn as rodeo cowboy turned Big Pharma-busting Aids activist Ron Woodroof: both are kind-hearted, well-acted films with sanitised protagonists that offer little sense of the pulsating, vibrant community behind the growing awareness campaign.]                         

Documentary and independent cinema offered more scope for rigour and exactitude, though rarely with much joy or wit: nearly 30 years on, American cinema has yet to make a more humane, inclusive portrait of the Aids-affected community than Norman Rene’s 1990 indie Longtime Companion. ([TV has been more generous, serving up such thoughtful works as Angels in America, And the Band Played On and The Normal Heart – all, however, constrained by the demands of the small screen.])

This is not a problem unique to the Aids-dedicated chapter of LGBT history on film: caution and conservatism persist in a multitude of real-life narratives that call for queerer treatment. Gus Van Sant’s Harvey Milk biopic was lively, intelligently researched and immaculately performed by Sean Penn – shame Van Sant, the director of the vividly queer My Own Private Idaho, felt the need to tiptoe around the horny realities of its subject’s sex life, even leaving a San Francisco bathhouse scene on the cutting-room floor.

This year, Tom of Finland promised viewers a kinky view into the life and inspiration of history’s most famous gay erotic artist, only to get oddly coy about what lies beneath the leather. And in Battle of the Sexes, Billie Jean King’s lesbian awakening was about little more than a haircut, for all the frisson of sexuality we’re permitted to observe between Emma Stone and Andrea Riseborough; it’s left to Alan Cumming, the film’s palatably camp mascot of all things gay, to deliver a wholesome rallying cry for change in the final minutes.

And those films have been mostly warmly received: let us draw a veil over the decorous, pot pourri-scented horrors of Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl, in which pioneering transgender woman Lili Elbe’s entire reconceptualization of her identity apparently comes down to a single encounter with expensive silk stockings. Even that, however, didn’t run into as much trouble as Roland Emmerich’s Stonewall, a film more clueless than hateful, but one whose inaccurate fictionalisation of a defining moment in LGBT liberation history – that the riots were kicked off by a cute, white, straight-acting farm lad – could hardly have seemed more dated in 2015.

[Such films, whatever their merits, have their uses as teaching tools for less enlightened or adventurous viewers – who may come an inch closer to sympathising with the transgender experience by seeing that nice Eddie Redmayne in a dress, or whose stance against gay love may have been softened slightly by Bruce Springsteen’s lyrics and Tom Hanks’s tears. But as LGBT cinema expands and flourishes, there’s no reason why this has to be the dominant cinematic approach.]

BPM is an absorbing and moving film by any measure, but it’s as a specifically queer reclamation of much-tilled factual territory that it feels most bracing and vital. Compare it to recent British crowd-pleaser Pride, a story that in another universe – or at least a very different UK film industry – could have been told in similar terms to BPM. A perfectly charming portrayal of the unlikely collaboration between London gay activists and a Welsh mining community felled by the 1984 strike, it shares with Campillo’s film an interest in community and intersectionality at a fragile point in the gay rights movement, yet they have little in common beyond that.

Only by a whisker does Pride avoid Richard Curtis territory in its neutered portrayal of its oppressed community, which ends on the very brink of the crisis taken up by BPM; it’s a film a gay man could comfortably show to his blinkered grandmother, safe in the knowledge she’d leave the film sympathetic to his identity, but none the wiser as to how he really lives and loves.

You might show her BPM too, of course: no two grandmothers are made alike, after all. [Straight viewers are by no means shut out of Campillo’s film, but invited to consider and appreciate the difference of other people’s experience and history, from the way they fight to the way they fuck. After a dominant run of gay dramas that have made compromises in the name of perceived alikeness, BPM feels at once universally empathetic and jubilantly other.]

How horror thriller Orphan (2009) smartly integrated Deafness and Sign Language into the plot...

I should mention beforehand Orphan is a film that contains American Sign Language (ASL) dialogue and I’m a British Sign Language (BSL) user so I can’t vouch for the authenticity of the signing.

For many years we’ve seen deafness portrayed in cinema in so many ways, some were hit and miss, some were lazy but every now and then film makers would get it right like director Jaume Collet-Serra’s Orphan (2009)

Orphan tells the story of Kate (the excellent Vera Farmiga) and John (Peter Sarsgaard) who, after losing a child, decide to adopt a girl, the mysterious Esther (an incredible Isabelle Fuhrman) to join their family but things soon lead to manipulation and murder.

Their family has two children; Daniel (Jimmy Bennett) and, the focus of this article, 8 year old deaf Max played by hard of hearing Aryana Engineer who uses sign language with her family, even with the psychotic Esther.

Orphan is a solid and decent horror thriller relying on strong performances by the cast with a plot that kept me guessing to the absurd-yet-unexpected twist along with sharp visuals and tight direction by Jaume Collet-Serra.

But what fascinated me the most about this film was how well a mainstream Hollywood film portrayed a hearing family with a deaf child as well as smartly integrating Max’s deafness into the plot.

Prior to this film we have seen many cliches that comes with having deaf characters in films. A lot of the time hearing characters repeat what the deaf people are saying just for the benefit of audiences, deaf characters speak and sign at the same time just to make things easier for the film makers in terms of production logistics. Their deafness are served as a plot function which is fine but it makes their characters one-dimensional and, more controversially, casting hearing actors as deaf characters.

Firstly the film makers of Orphan cast Aryana who is hard of hearing in real life and uses American Sign Language (ASL) so this meant the actors who played the family had to learn ASL for the benefit of her as her character Max would be contributing greatly to the plot.

As I said before how hearing characters would repeat what deaf characters were saying, Orphan doesn’t do this. It instead shows burnt in subtitles whenever Max is signing thus giving her an individual voice in the film without relying on other characters to communicate for her, this quickly empowers Max as a deaf character.

Early on in the film we see an entire scene between Max and Kate as they communicate in sign language without any voices when Kate reads Max a bedtime story in ASL followed by a conversation about when Kate lost her baby during birth. Their dialogue is presented in the same burnt in subtitles and it is Max who insists Kate tells her a bedtime story and it is Max who signs to her about baby Jessica, all through ASL.

There’s a dinner table scene where, after Esther has joined the family, we see how the parents use ASL just so Max knows what’s going on but we see Daniel struggling with communicating with his little sister. This is not uncommon in real life, plenty of siblings or even parents don’t use sign language with their deaf relatives and this nicely sets up tension between characters particularly when Esther learns ASL quicker than Daniel has ever done.

Esther soon manipulates Max and uses her deafness to her advantage where she is asked to lipread what Kate is saying on the phone across the supermarket. At first glance this is a bit of a cliche, that deaf people are pretty good at lip reading but this is used purely for dramatic reasons. Jacques Audiard did this to implausible but great effect in his Hitchcockian French thriller Read My Lips (2001) and every film based on real life always exaggerates things for entertainment anyway. Yet again Esther and Max communicate in ASL with burnt in subtitles.

Throughout the film Esther has Max under her spell and she is threatened by Esther if she says anything about what she has done, Max isn’t being shown as a weak person because of her deafness, she is just an 8 year old girl who hasn’t grasped the notion of what’s right and what’s wrong.

It’s worth mentioning at one point in the film Esther threatens Max by speaking in her hearing aids, it’s clear Max is someone who can hear fairly good enough as a hard of hearing person yet relies fully on sign language.

It gets a bit confusing here as hard of hearing people normally have good speech skills on account of being able to hear fairly well and learn what sounds are whereas profoundly deaf people can’t hear sounds that well and often don’t have good speech skills but every person’s deafness varies greatly.

However near the climax Esther hides Max’s hearing aids, this is showing how devious she is and it makes for a very dramatic moment. This is seen as one of the taboos of being deaf - having a deaf person’s hearing aids taken away from them like you would take a paraplegic’s wheelchair away.

Esther soon makes her real self known and sets out on a bloody rampage after Max and her family, we see Max hiding in the greenhouse and Kate is on the roof whilst Esther is looking for Max. Through the glass roof Kate signs to Max to stay hidden, again another nice touch regarding ASL, how we can sign through windows and not using our voices to our advantage in dangerous, life-threatening situations.

This might be a bit random but at the climax there’s a struggle between Esther and Kate on top of a frozen lake, Max picks up a gun and fires a bullet off, a very silly moment yes but it’s not often you see an 8 year old girl like Max brandishing a gun. How many times have you shouted at characters on the screen for standing around, not doing anything whilst their friends or families are in danger?

Orphan has a cast of well-rounded characters and this includes Max who could have been a token disabled character instead is a proactive and layered character who goes through a clear arc of starting off as an empowering and confident deaf girl who then is manipulated and ends up fighting for her family.

This is not window-dressing or ticking the diversity boxes, this is smart writing because her deafness and using ASL, a visual language, is what gives her character and Orphan’s plot that edge so having deaf culture and sign language laced into the plot has contributed massively to the film’s tension and drama.


A rough translation of the Cinema Teaser article featuring Dylan and Taylor. Some parts are paraphrased, sorry I’m not as up on my French as I should be…

Dylan O’Brien, the rebooted version of Taylor Kitsch? The rich idea comes from American Assassin and it caused Cinema Teaser to germinate the desire for a cross-talk. The two actors have some points in common with ten years between them and we interviewed them face to face.

There are similarities in your two paths: you started on TV (FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS for Taylor and TEEN WOLF for Dylan), then on to big productions in the cinema. Dylan you even made an incursion into Taylor’s field, working with Peter Berg (DEEPWATER). Is there a typical route for young actors to be wary of or to embrace in Hollywood?

Taylor: I think the most important thing is to never do what you don’t want to do. You can’t always fight the way people see you in Hollywood, but you can get closer to projects that attract you and you can fight for what you believe. In the end, I refuse any project that I don’t want to devote weeks of time to, that’s all. 

Dylan: I do not have a very definite plan in my mind…It’s a little weird. I did not grow up wanting to become an actor or anything like that. I grew up worshiping movies and I have parents who worked and still work in the industry and I imagine that in a sense they have conveyed to me the love they have for cinema. When I was little, it was what I preferred: watching movies, watching actors, and adoring all kinds of artistic talents too - performers, singers, dancers. And that’s how my interest is. Growing up, I always performed. I always made small films, short films with my friends and my sister and everything started like that. Hollywood is the drive force of cinema today, the experience now has another scale and it is different. When you come into that environment you must master a part of the trade that is not exactly your profession.

Ten years separate you. If you Taylor, you observe the beginnings of Dylan and if you Dylan, watched how Taylor started, do you have the impression that the industry or the way it deals with young actors has changed?

Taylor: It should be kept in mind that when I start on television with FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, the series was not a phenomenon. We never had the following that TEEN WOLF had. My popularity was limited to a fervent public that has a background in American football or that kind of sports fiction. I don’t know if the industry has changed for young actors. When I see Dylan, I have the impression that the younger generation is attacking the business with plenty of intelligence, it’s on! They know what they want and they know how to use the system to their advantage. 

In your opinion, what is your biggest commonality - professionally and personally? 

Taylor: I would say that Dylan and I are always ready to take on a challenge. We are not afraid to look far into ourselves for a character. For example, it was always a wish to play a bad guy, and I very much like the fact that we both went a little against the usual, in the sense that we show that there is a torment, or even an inner hell. We show that there are repercussions for our actions, especially mental ones. And that’s why American Assassin is a bit different in the genre. 

Dylan: I agree with everything Taylor says! (Laughs) The reality is that on the set we did not have too much time to chat or compare our careers because the time we shared is as short as the time we share on screen. But I am sure that now that we are promoting the film we will have more time to discuss.

Taylor, you are Canadian and you don’t stop playing the American Heroes. In Lone Survivor or in American Assassin, there is a rather harsh picture of the American culture of violence. Do you feel like an enlightened observer?

It depends on the script I get. Also, I think more of the character’s hope than his nationality. Whether it as a (Mike) Murphy in LONE SURVIVOR or Ghost in AMERICAN ASSASSIN, what is important is what he has in his head, more than his flag. The thing is, with Murphy, who is a heroic figure and quite iconic - and it’s legitimate - you play someone who represents something strong and you have to be faithful to him. I live in Texas and I have a buddy who has a ranch. For AMERICAN ASSASSIN, I lived there alone for ten days with the script and some weapons and that’s how I put myself in the head scape of Ghost and created him.

That you have both worked with Peter Berg is not insignificant. Peter casts actors who crystallize something from American. Dylan, what relationship do you have with the image of the American hero?

Taylor: Peter was a TV star (between 1995 and 1999, in CHICAGO HOPE, he played Dr. Billy Kronk) before becoming the great director he became. He is a dream director for an actor, especially the young actors, because he knew better than anyone what it takes.

Dylan: Peter, I learned so much by speaking with him, working with him, watching him. The idea of not being the typical action hero in American Assassin is what attracted me first to the film. If you watch movies about assassins or secret agents, you rarely see how they got there, what events or accidents they went through. A year and a half ago I went through something quite traumatizing in my life (Dylan was injured on the set of THE DEATH CURE). Rebounding after that was very difficult, to be honest. So I can easily connect with that part of my character.

Dylan, TEEN WOLF will stop soon. Is there any particular anxiety? Taylor you remember what you felt when FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS stopped? Do the films made while you’re engaged on a series set the tone of the films that you want to do next?

Dylan: I have no problem with leaving TEEN WOLF behind me because I never wanted to stay ‘cornered’ with the same character for too long. I never looked for stability with a job on TV over seven years or more.

Taylor: The end of FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS was bitter sweet. On one side, it was time that it stopped and we all wanted to try other things. But at the same time, we were an extremely close team. We never had big audiences, contrary to what everyone seems to think today. With the rebroadcasts, Netflix and all that, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS is still very much alive and surely has a wider audience today than at the time it aired. But I do not take it badly, a series does not set the tone of your career. The producers will always try to hire you for roles that you have already played if you succeeded at a the box office… And in my case, we know that it never happened like that! (Laughs)

Through your respective series, you have (or have had) a teen fanbase. Does cinema help you get another audience? Is this one of the criteria for choosing a project?

Dylan: I have never reflected in these terms. For me, AMERICAN ASSASSIN was interesting because it was different from what I was known for, okay. But as a comedian, you always want to do new things, to meet different challenges. You do not want to always play the same character. As for my fans or the people who follow my career closely, I respect them enormously but, sorry, I will never let anyone lock me in a box.

Taylor: My teenage fanbase is far behind me. I want to go back in time! (Laughs) No, I’m joking, everything’s fine.

Taylor, after shooting supermovies (WOLVERINE, BATTLESHIP, JOHN CARTER), you finally turned to movies that, even if they have a certain pre-awareness, remained original movies. Is it difficult to find original material while evolving in cinema?

Taylor: I think in terms of character. I do not know if I necessarily like the guy I play in AMERICAN ASSASSIN, but I like the fact that he is anchored in some reality. There is a lot of pyrotechnics but I like that there is no green screen, if one has to compare with WOLVERINE, BATTLESHIP or JOHN CARTER. Green screens are always difficult because you have to use all your imagination to try to fill the void around you. AMERICAN ASSASSIN evolves into a reality, a realism, a viscerality, the rhythm is incredible. I think it is the kind of cinema I prefer.

Taylor, after FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, you took time to re-engage in a TV series. Dylan, would you like to devote yourself to the cinema before eventually returning to a series or mini-series?

Taylor: I did not plan to return TV until I had an interesting and limited proposal for the small screen. I did TRUE DETECTIVE and then I just finished a six-hour mini-series which is called WACO, with Michael Shannon, Paul Sparks and Shea Whigham. In this case, returning to television is not an insignificant option, of course.

Dylan: It may have been different ten years ago when Taylor was on TV, but today, there is no longer a real difference between TV and cinema. You find excellent scenarios everywhere as long as you give yourself the means to look for them and show a little patience. 

Taylor: I will not sign a lengthy contract of something like seven years. On the other hand, I could sign for a mini-series of six or ten episodes, if the character interests me. There is something beautiful to serve and dig into a character over six hours, rather than over 30 minutes.

One of the most serious problems with works addressing films about the Vietnam War is that, to some degree, they will always participate in the reduction of Vietnam the country to Vietnam the war. Where Vietnam is spoken of, it is always in the context of America, as half of an uneasy but seemingly indissoluble historical couple. To reduce Vietnam to the war between that country and America (a war that is significantly referred to as the “American War” in Vietnam), or to any war for that matter, is obviously problematic. Nevertheless, films about war have a unique ability to reveal important historical and cultural aspects of a people as a result of the necessary intersections
of nationalism, art, and history that they contain. Because Vietnam has endured many wars throughout its long history, not the least of which was the American conflict, studying Vietnamese films that treat issues of war might be seen as instructive. […]

When the average American thinks of films about the Vietnam War they no doubt recall canonized classics such as The Deer Hunter (Cimino, 1978), Full Metal Jacket (Kubrick, 1987), and Platoon (Stone, 1986). However, the recognized corpus of American films about the conflict fails to offer a complete and balanced picture of the war, even in the rare instances where these films feature Vietnamese characters. While American fiction films about the war have been duly criticized in recent years for their often blatantly stereotypical or derogatory treatment of the Vietnamese, such criticism does not adequately redress the striking absence of Vietnamese subjectivity in these films. […]

While war as loss is one of the major tropes of American films about the Vietnam War, loss in [Vietnamese war films] is figured on a more material level. It is also significant that these films figure loss through strong women characters, the likes of which are almost completely absent in the canonized American films about the war. Women, as survivors, become repositories for national memory and mourning. The focus in these films on home and loss is particularly relevant to the Vietnamese cinematic style, which often privileges the poetic in order to express a sense of mourning and humanity. […]

At the 1988 premiere of the Vietnam Film Project, director Dinh Quang responded to a question about the fundamental differences between Vietnamese and American films concerning the war by saying, “We’ve lived through 30 years of war, so we don’t have to relive it on the screen. Our films show the impact of the war on people’s lives and thinking. As for entertainment, we lost many, many people in the war. To use that for entertainment would be unworthy.” Dinh Quang’s comment speaks to one of the central aspects of Vietnamese filmmaking, namely an intense focus on humanity. […] In their choices of characters, stories, and settings, Vietnamese films always stress the relationships between people (families, villages, etc) because these relationships are seen as the threads from which the country is woven.

—  Toward a New Canon: The Vietnam Conflict through Vietnamese Lenses by Laurel Westup.
‘The Salesman’ Director Asghar Farhadi Won’t Attend Oscars, Citing Muslim Ban
Following President Donald Trump’s Muslim ban, Irranian director Asghar Farhadi has decided not to try to attend the Oscars.
By Anne Thompson

On Sunday, Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, who won an Oscar in 2012 for “A Separation” and whose second Oscar-nominated film “The Salesman” is playing well to arthouse moviegoers, told the The New York Times that he has cancelled his plans to attend the Oscars ceremony February 26. He cited President Donald Trump’s 90-day visa ban for citizens from seven Muslim countries including Iran; the order also imposed a 120-day blockage for Muslim refugees, with an indefinite ban on all refugees from Syria.

Farhadi was planning to attend the Academy Awards with his cinematographer, but Friday’s executive order offered “ifs and buts which are in no way acceptable to me even if exceptions were to be made for my trip … I hereby express my condemnation of the unjust conditions forced upon some of my compatriots and the citizens of the other six countries trying to legally enter the United States of America and hope that the current situation will not give rise to further divide between nations.”
Review: Love Is Wild, if Not Pretty, in ‘God’s Own Country’
This feature debut of the writer and director Francis Lee is a bracing, sometimes brutal movie.
By Jeannette Catsoulis

Trapped between skies like beaten tin and earth scrubbed raw by wind and rain, the characters in “God’s Own Country” are well used to harshness. Like Johnny (Josh O’Connor), who labors on his struggling family farm in Yorkshire under the critical eyes of his sick father (Ian Hart) and stolid grandmother (Gemma Jones). For relief, he vents his frustrations in binge-drinking and furtive, feral sex with random young men.

These taciturn encounters, unfolding as unsentimentally as the internal exam he gives a pregnant heifer, suggest someone disgusted by his own sorry self. But this bracing, sometimes brutal movie — the feature debut of the writer and director Francis Lee — doesn’t present Johnny’s sexuality as the cause of his self-loathing. Rather, it’s his imprisonment by a legacy he’s not sure he wants that ties his tongue and clots his emotions.

Both are about to be loosened. The arrival of Gheorghe (Alec Secareanu), a gentle, darkly handsome Romanian migrant worker, softens Johnny’s heart and the movie’s tone. Their passion isn’t pretty, but awkward and pasty and explicit: two frantic strangers grappling in the muck of the moors. Yet Gheorghe is skilled at handling more than newborn lambs; and as the men grow closer, the glowering light grows warmer and the whole picture seems to briefly exhale.

Filmed with a naturalism that recalls Andrea Arnold’s 2012 dive into “Wuthering Heights,” “God’s Own Country” weaves a rough magic from Joshua James Richards’s biting cinematography and the story’s slow, unsteady arc from bitter to hopeful. Bodily fluids — bestial and human — stain the screen, punctuating a story that’s as much about rediscovering place as finding love. So when Gheorghe looks out at the brooding countryside and murmurs “It’s beautiful here,” we sense that Johnny really doesn’t need persuading.


15 Reasons Why Madhuri Dixit Will Always Be The Queen Of Bollywood

Madhuri Dixit’s is a face that we all know. Whether we grew up watching her on the screen, or we’ve become acquainted with her work, now, there’s a part of us that will always love the superstar. Our parents loved her, we love. And dear uncle ji, I know you’re reading, and I know you’re still hopelessly in awe of the beauty that she is, but that’s okay cuz so are we. Here are all the times humaara dil dhak dhak kerney luga because of Madhuri ji.

1. First off, Madhuri Dixit is 50 years old and she still looks like this

2. Her adaayein can still make any man go weak in the knees

Known to be one of the most beautiful women in the Bollywood industry, Madhuri Dixit Nene still has it to spellbind any and everyone.

3. From her debut till now, she’s been winning hearts all over the world
While the film didn’t do so well at the Box Office, Madhuri’s talent was recognized by critics and directors alike.

4. She dazzled people with her talent in Dil
Working opposite Aamir Khan proved lucky for Madhuri as her performance in the hit film Dil earned her a Filmfare Award For Best Actress. She wowed everyone with her talent and bagged the award in just four films.

5. And then took it all to another level with this one
Possibly the most sensual song in all of Madhuri’s career, Dhak Dhak Kerne Laga, was a shining point in Madhuri’s career. The song, till today, is on most desi playlists. It’s in every ode to Madhuri. And it’s a song that every bacha bacha knows.

6. Her portrayal of a courtesan in the solid hit Devdas left many hearts broken and many eyes weeping
For a courtesan to fall in love; for a woman to know that the man she loves won’t ever let her touch him, will never be hers. That he will always be in love with the one he left behind. She cared for Devdas and tended to him. She nursed him back to health, and then was willing to give him up when Paro came back.

7. Aaja Nachle was Madhuri’s debut after almost a 5-year long hiatus from the Hindi film industry
The film tanked at the box office, however, Madhuri’s performance was appreciated greatly. Film critics the likes of Rajeev Masand said that it was next to impossible to take your eyes off of this ethereal beauty on screen. While the film didn’t do so well, her acting did.

8. Playing a con woman in Dedh Ishqiya, she stole many hearts
After another hiatus, Madhuri came back in Dedh Ishqiya opposite industry veteran Naseeruddin Shah along with Huma Qureshi and Arshad Warsi. The woman looked gorgeous in every frame and it was hard to not fall in love with her all over again.

9. Gulab Gang is an all-out a woman-centric film, is also the last film Madhuri has acted in
The leader of a gang whose sole mission is to protect women from the vices of society, the film is about the trials and tribulations that she has to go through, in order to protect her gang and the woman of her area. Action, politics, struggle, and emotion. The film was a complete package and a showcase for Dixit’s talent.

10. While we’ve had many films come out, we can’t forget Maya in Dil Tu Pagal Hai
The epitome of grace and beauty, and the realization of Rahul’s dreams, Maya was a character that everyone was in love with. Whether it was Madhuri’s dancing skills, her chemistry with both Shahrukh Khan and Karisma Kapoor, it all presented us with one of the most heartwarming stories we’ve seen in recent times.

11۔ Or the absolutely adorable Nisha in Hum Aapke Hain Kaun The transition of the whacky, crazy Nisha from the first half of the film, to the serious, more mature, and responsible one from the second half, was reason enough for Madhuri to justify her position on top of the acting pyramid. However, there was so much more to the film. Character development, emotional fluctuations and working with such a huge cast. 12. While Radha from Hum Tumhaare Hain Sanam completely blew us away p> She was kind and compassionate but fiercely protective of her family. And even Shahrukh Khan’s character starts doubting her, she tried her best to fix things.It was a simple script but Madhuri, Shahrukh, and Salman took it to another level with their acting prowess. 13. We were absolutely smitten by Mohini in Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani Source: Dharma Productions The fact that Ranbir Kapoor has had the biggest crush on Madhuri has been no secret. And with a seven-minute appearance in Ranbir’s Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, Madhuri proved why she is worth every bit of the adulation that she garners from people of all ages. Madhuri playing a dancer uses her razor-sharp dialogues to put our hero, Bunny, in his place. And then starts the dancing! Ghaghra became a rage, with everyone trying to copy those moves but there really is only one Queen, right? 14. It’s her style and the grace that she exudes that makes her who she is Source: Boney Kapoor Films From being an epitome of grace in desi lehengas and sarees to rocking gowns on the red carpet, Madhuri is equally at ease in everything that she wears – and that has mostly to do with her own innate sense of style. Oh and the perfect accessory that you will never see her without – her million dollar smile! 15. It’s hard not to be in love with the woman Source: Raj Kumar Santoshi Madhuri has been a part of our lives for so long that it is hard to imagine Bollywood without her. She has proven herself time and time again – through her dancing, her acting finesse, and her charm. How can anyone not love her? There hasn’t yet come a woman in the Hindi film industry that can shake Madhuri off of her throne as the Queen of Bollywood. What’s your favourite role of hers?
Olivia de Havilland and the Most Notorious Sibling Rivalry in Hollywood
After winning two Oscars, the Gone with the Wind actress decided to leave Los Angeles and decamp to Paris in 1955. What made her walk out? William Stadiem finds out the answer from the golden-age screen goddess herself, as she approaches her 100th birthday.
By William Stadiem

Vanity Fair, May 2016