Discover more from Salty Popcorn
A feature review of Oscar-nomiated 'Close' and how Hitchcock worked around the 3-second kiss ban to film one of the longest kisses in cinema 💋
“Although I hadn't seen him in more than ten years, I know I'll miss him forever.”
~ Stand By Me, 1986
Ask the audience…
Salty Popcorn is very much powered by the dreams, dedication and hard work of our supporters and collaborators. Now, as with any passion project, I’ve often got more ideas than I can put into practice but I’m always thinking about how SP can grow and deliver more content.
A couple of years ago I recorded a pilot for a podcast (Salty Podcorn) with a friend. It was fun (and actually quite funny!) but the time and budget needed to really make it work wasn’t something I had. Since then, I’ve thought about the podcast a lot and I’ve also thought about starting a YouTube channel, an annual print edition of SP, or simply offering weekly emails to premium subscribers…
So this week I’m wondering whether you would be interested in extra content, and what you would want that content to look like. If you could answer the poll below, it would be very helpful in guiding the future of SP.
If you have anything more specific that you’d like to see in SP, let me know in the comments below!
Now for the headlines:
Charlotte Regan’s Scrapper, starring Harris Dickinson, will open this year’s Sundance London Festival. There’s no trailer yet, but the film follows 12-year-old Georgie (Lola Campbell) who lives happily alone until her estranged father turns up. Read more.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are getting a claymation makeover in the upcoming Nickelodeon film. Read more.
It looks like it’ll be a good summer for kid’s films, with Disney’s Haunted Mansion also getting a reboot. Read more.
In more bizarre news, Oscar nominees are to be gifted 1 sq metre of Australian scrubland. Read more.
Speaking of the Oscars, Chris Rock has, for the first time, spoken out about ‘the slap’ in his latest stand-up show. Read more.
Salty Popcorn is 100% free, but if you enjoy SP, please consider buying us a cinema ticket for just £5 per month - or a bunch of tickets for just £30 per year. Thank you!
How To Blow Up A Pipeline
UK: TBC // USA: 7 April
As studios seem to be turning to non-fiction books (and viral anecdotes) for fresh ideas, Neon is releasing this film adaptation of Andrew Malm’s 2021 book of the same name, which argues that property destruction should be considered a valid tactic in the pursuit of environmental justice.
The film itself is set primarily in Texas and revolves around a group of young people who decide to blow up an oil pipeline.
Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman
UK: 31 March // USA: 14 April
Based on a collection of short stories by Haruki Murakami, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman follows the lives of multiple characters — including an unambitious bank employee, his disheartened wife, a delusional accountant, a lost cat and a giant talkative frog — as they navigate post-Tsunami existence and the existential repercussions of urban life.
Fact of the week
It’ll come as no surprise that there were once strict rules around on-screen intimacy, but you might be surprised to learn that the rules were so strict, they helped create one of the most romantic scenes in cinema history.
When it came to kisses, the Hays Production Code prohibited actors from kissing for more than three seconds or in a horizontal position (unless one of them had one foot on the ground) and married couples were required to sleep in twin beds.
But these frigid rules didn’t stop Alfred Hitchcock from filming a two-and-a-half-minute kiss in his 1946 film, Notorious. He instructed Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman to kiss for no more than three seconds at a time, taking short breaks to talk, walk and nuzzle each other.
Apparently, the actors felt awkward filming the scene, but there’s no denying the romance in their closeness. You can watch the scene below, and if you’re a real cinema geek then you might enjoy this version, narrated by Hitchcock himself.
5 (out of 5)
Where to watch:
USA: Apple TV ($19.99)
UK: In select cinemas
The intimately sweet and innocent friendship between two 13-year-old boys, Léo (Eden Dambrine) and Rémis (Gustav De Waele), is put into question when their seemingly unbreakable bond is put under the strain of adolescence and peer pressure.
The review (NO spoilers):
Nominated for Best International Feature Film at the Academy Awards, Close is an intimate and poignant drama, where director (and co-writer) Lukas Dhont explores the very specific sadness of growing up and the loss of innocence.
Dhont has a talent for being able to connect the audience to the film’s characters, particularly Léo (Eden Dambrine), without the need for dialogue. While this is not a pretentiously arty film that puts style before substance — quite the opposite — there are a handful of scenes where no words are spoken and you know exactly what the characters are thinking.
This is a quality many directors strive for in their work, but very few pull it off with such grace and potency. The effect is a film that manages to achieve exactly what every film sets out to do, which is for you, the audience, to believe in it and really feel for its characters.
Of course, this is also a testament to Dambrine and his co-star Gustav De Waele, not just for the unique chemistry they share but for their individual talent as actors. The fact that both have little experience — especially Dambrine, who was approached by Dhont on a train and invited to audition — only makes their performances more exceptional. They play their parts with a subtlety that some of the most experienced actors can’t, and in doing so they deliver an authenticity that’s key to the film’s success.
Close is a remarkably simple film. But it’s remarkable nonetheless.
Scroll down for The Critic’s Cut and to see what’s in the next issue.
If you liked Close…
2021 | UK: Disney+ / Prime Video (£2.49) // USA: Hulu / Prime Video ($1.99)
Flee is, without a doubt, one of the best films to have been featured in Salty Popcorn (read the review in SP#31). This animation tells the true story of “Amin” as he narrates the past he’s had to keep a secret from everyone he knows. While the subject matter is, in some ways, different from Close, both films are coming-of-age tales with similar tones.
For a film that centres more on boyhood friendships, you might enjoy Stand By Me, based on Stephen King’s novella, ‘The Body’.
In the next issue:
UK: 17 March // USA: 31 March | Watch the Trailer