Student Blog Squad

Five Films to watch in the New Year

Hi, I'm Becky and I wanted to share some of our academics' expertise with you. I asked Keith Dando, our course director at Northern Film School, to recommend his top 5 films for you to enjoy over the break from university. 

Film reel

About Keith Dando

Keith Dando is a Course Director at the Northern Film School, based in The Electric Press on Leeds Beckett’s City Site.  He began working in the film, TV and games industry back in the 1990s, and began teaching alongside his freelance filmmaking work.  Currently he is undertaking a PhD, and is very excited to be back studying himself once more.  He sees a lot of similarity between being a student and being a filmmaker – both are personal challenges, ventures into the unknown with the promise of discovery and achievement at the end.  Every day on a film set you learn things, just as you do at University – simply by meeting new people and sharing experiences.  Even when times get difficult, both study and film have the capacity to find a new, better future and to more towards it.  Communication of new ideas, and greater understanding of the good that we already have, are what they are both about. 


Keith's recommendations - five films to watch in the New Year


Groundhog Day (1993)

Think that you don’t need to make any New Year resolutions?  Watch this film and think again.  When American cinema is good, it is very good indeed.  This film has a great idea, and is a funny, thoughtful and eccentric fantasy.  It taps into the way we get stuck in boring routines that never seem to end, and follows one man as he shakes free of the grind.  Bill Murray is an excellent lead man, with great timing and delivery.  


The Secret of Kells (2008)

A truly magical animated film based upon Celtic legend.  Shows the importance of holding on to hope in a time of darkness and danger, and how humanity needs to retain its connection with nature whilst aiming for the future.  Stylistically very different to Disney or Ghibli, it’s also gorgeous to look at and listen to.


The Wages of Fear (1953)

If the days are dull and long, and the winter never-ending, you probably need a bit of suspense and tension to liven things up.  Hitchcock is always a good bet, but Henri Clouzot’s films are terrific, and The Wages of Fear is perfect for our times.  It shows a bunch of greedy lowlifes risking destruction on the promise of a big pay off, and the depths to which they will sink to in doing so.  If you ever needed confirmation that some things aren’t worth doing, this is it.


The Hateful Eight (2015)

In the cold, cold winter there’s nothing better than curling up on the sofa under a blanket and dreaming you are stuck in a shack with a bunch of paranoid villains pulling each other to pieces.  Those with strong stomachs might choose The Thing (1982) for such an occasion, but The Hateful Eight also fits the bill beautifully, and even better, is extremely long so you’ll come to believe that the experience will never end.


Together (2000)

Forget Mamma Mia, Together is the real deal when it comes to our love of Abba, Sweden and the Seventies.  Set in a commune where people’s eyes are opened up to free love, life and happiness this is a warm drama with real heart and the sense that we need to learn to understand and care about each other to get on. 


If you do check out any of these, comment below and let us know what you think!


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