End of the World Film Club #6: The Double-Bill

Join us for our next End of the World Film Club, our first double-bill, in which we’ll watch and discuss a pair of films by two heavyweights of international cinema…

As of this morning, the COVID-19 alert level in the UK has been lowered from four to three and – we hear – some cinemas are considering opening their doors to punters starved of the big screen, communal viewing experience, next month. For now, at least, End of the World Film Club – instigated to give us an appointment with film during lockdown – continues. If you’re new to this, though, the club is a plan we hatched to have a fortnightly catch up with great cinema, then come together with you on Twitter to talk about it. Simple. Safe to say we’ve found the regularity a balm in these still-strangely unsettling times.

How it works: we pick a film (they’re always free and easily accessible), which you can watch at your leisure; then follow and join in with the conversation using the hashtag #EndoftheWorldFilmClub. To select a film, we run a Twitter poll. It’s necessarily dependent on what’s available on any given fortnight, of course, but happily the options available (on platforms like BBC iPlayer, All4, streaming services with a free trial period as well as those films that have fallen into the public domain) have been great so far. We’ve watched a really varied set of films – from classics, to documentaries and hidden gems. To our mind, the selections have been united by their quality, and the list (in reverse order) so far reads as follows: The Black Power Mixtape 1967 – 1975; Tehran Taboo; The Conversation; Assault on Precinct 13; and A Matter of Life and Death.

This week, we went for an international line-up of Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden (top), Pedro Almodovar’s Julieta (both 2016) and Bing Liu’s Minding the Gap: An American Skateboarding Story (2018). After duking it out like the heavyweights they undoubtedly are, The Handmaiden and Julieta couldn’t be separated, each garnering 41.7% of your votes. So, “to hell with it,” we thought, “let’s just do both!” When we gather next Friday on Twitter, then, we’ll discuss them in turn (beginning with The Handmaiden). Of course, you can watch whichever you want, and drop in whenever you like, but feel free to join in with discussion of each film for our first double-bill.

About the films: adapted from Sarah Waters’ Fingersmith, Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden is set in a 1930s Korea under Japanese colonial rule and charts a conman’s plot to defraud an heiress. Full of duplicity and heavy with sexual intrigue, it is at times a brutal (but delicious) watch and won a BAFTA for best Film not in the English Language. Pedro Almodóvar’s melodrama Julieta, meanwhile, takes place in modern-day Spain (though slipping between chronologies, it takes in different phases in the life of its titular protagonist). Its narrative turns on a chance encounter dredging up old, long buried memories of a tragedy. Coincidentally, as with The Handmaiden, it is also a literary adaptation (weaving together three short stories from Alice Munro’s 2004 collection Runaway).

What the critics said:

The Handmaiden

“Commercial and arthouse audiences alike will either thrill to its stylized potboiler elements or swoon over the opiate influence of Park’s signature aesthetic beauty.”

Maggie Lee, Variety

“It is voluptuously beautiful, frankly sexual, occasionally perverse and horrifically violent.”

Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com


“A sumptuous and heartbreaking study of the viral nature of guilt, the mystery of memory and the often unendurable power of love.”

Mark Kermode, the Observer

“Almodóvar at his most reflective and nuanced.”

D.T. Max, the New Yorker

We hope you enjoy the films – catch up with us next Friday (26 June) and let us know.

End of the World Film Club #6: The Double-Bill – The Handmaiden & Julieta

Watch The Handmaiden (on All4) & Julieta (on BBC iPlayer), and join us on Twitter to discuss, Friday 26 June, 7-8pm

The End of the World Film Club has watched:

The Black Power Mixtape 1967 – 1975

Tehran Taboo

The Conversation

Assault on Precinct 13

A Matter of Life and Death

Our poll to select the next film club film will take place Wednesday 1 July

Posted on 19/06/2020 by thedoublenegative