Alexei Navalny being interviewed

Daniel Roher’s documentary Navalny starts with a bit of a joke. Roher, interviewing the Russian politician, would-be president, survivor of a gruesome poisoning, and (as I write) prisoner in a Russian jail, asks him how he’d like to be remembered by the Russian people if he is assassinated. Navalny laughs in an affable “guys, do me a favour” kind of way while pointing out to Roher that this film he’s in the process of making can go one of two ways. It can either be a thriller (he survives) or a “boring memoir” (he is killed). Roher then cuts to a very 007-style shot, of a wintry mountain, from high over the trees, … Read more

Mr & Mrs Smith

Mr Smith has Mrs Smith in a headlock

Here’s a strange thing – a screwball comedy by Alfred Hitchcock. Mr and Mrs Smith is the only one he made, and it’s not very good. A “comedy of remarriage”, it’s not a thousand miles away in plot from The Philadelphia Story, about a husband and wife discovering that a legal technicality means their three-year marriage is void. If they want to be husband and wife for real, they’ll have to “remarry”. But, now they’ve got the chance, will they? As a bit of a preamble to all this, some vital character furniture is put in place in an opening scene telling us in broad strokes that David (Robert Montgomery) and Ann (Carole Lombard) … Read more