The phrase “blood is thicker than water” has confusing and oft-contested origins, but is still regularly wheeled out to describe the enduring strength of family ties over other allegiances – family is family after all. In a world where we obsess over feuding Game of Thrones clans and various prominent reality TV families, it’s hardly surprising.
Blood itself has a cinematic weight that you could easily write a book about – the staple diet of the horror genre, a powerful visual motif in war cinema and a word that lends any film title a certain morbid gravity – see the Coen Brothers’ first feature Blood Simple, or Kurosawa’s Macbeth adaptation Throne of Blood, or Paul Thomas Anderson’s self-fulfilling prophecy There Will Be Blood.
As we begin a new cinema week at Filmhouse, that scarlet plasma becomes apparent once more. Blood relatives find themselves wrenched apart by the strictures of redemptive Christian blood in Daniel Kokotajlo’s strong debut Apostasy, which is set among the Jehovah’s Witness community. The director joined us at Filmhouse on Saturday 21 July for a Q&A following a preview screening, and we’re proud to champion this quietly devastating UK drama – showing here from Friday 27 July to Thursday 2 August.
If you caught Denis Villeneuve’s pulsating 2015 thriller Sicario, you’ll not be surprised to find more of the red stuff in its sequel, Sicario 2: Soldado. With scripting from Taylor Sheridan (Wind River) once again, it’s a suitably brutal and gripping tale of murder and drug warfare on the US border – directed this time by Stefano Sollima (Suburra).
Bloodshed also drives Felix Randau’s astonishing ‘Neolithic thriller’ Iceman – a revenge tale set over 5000 years ago. With a story woven around the real-life mummified human that was discovered in the Ötztal Alps in 1991, with a bit of artistic license taken, this is a journey of loss, survival and retribution that’s well worth taking.
Reviled and even banned in its native France for its less-than-complimentary view of the religion and its penchant for brutality, Jacques Rivette’s The Nun (La Religieuse) is the latest digitally restored classic to arrive on our screens. French New Wave icon Anna Karina stars as Suzanne – a young woman under siege from the oppressive doctrines of the church, the apparent shame of her bloodline (there’s that blood again) and the bewildering society that exists beyond the convent walls. A lesser-known but still exquisite cinematic work, over 50 years on.