Steve Coogan, James Franco, Mike Leigh and more recommend the cinema you may not have heard ofMore
By Steve Coogan (actor and comedian; Alan Partridge, Philomena)
Harold and Maude did no business when it came out. Got terrible reviews. It’s about a love affair between a 79-year-old woman and a 16-year-old boy. It’s a very dark, dark comedy. It’s one of those films that was only recognised years later. It’s ambitious, bold, innovative and it’s got the most fantastic score by Cat Stevens. It’s really positive, uplifting and inspiring. Yet, in some ways it’s peculiar, odd and dark. It’s about disconnected people. People outside the mainstream. People who are dysfunctional. It’s original in the way it’s told. I was a young teenager when I first saw it. I remember my parents laughing at Harold – he’s really weird, he keeps doing fake suicides, just to shock people for his own amusement. My mother said, “He reminds me of our Steven.” That really upset me at the time. Now, I’m quite pleased.
By Paul Greengrass Writer (director and producer; The Bourne Ultimatum, Captain Phillips)
This documentary by director Jehane Noujaim tells the story of the Egyptian uprising, the people who occupied Tahrir Square and stood up to Mubarak; a powerful film about survival and revolution. More importantly, it highlights how new media has driven political change. It illustrates that young people are no longer apathetic; they’re actually changing the world for the better. I discovered this via Khalid Abdalla (The Kite Runner), a British actor of Egyptian descent. Part of the liberal intelligentsia, suppressed by the old regime, he is one of the activists who goes back to the square. A film has to excite you, it can’t be dull; you need a strong story, strong point of view and something that feels fresh. For me, this is it.