Budding Film Critic named 'Reviewer of the Year' by Filmclub

Posted on Thursday 12 July 2012

Farnborough Teenager beats thousands to receive Award from National Charity

A Farnborough teenager has been named Reviewer of the Year by the education charity FILMCLUB. Elliot, 18, from the The Sixth Form College, Farnborough, was picked from thousands of youngsters across the UK for his review of 1970s thriller Dog Day Afternoon, and received a special award at a festival held in London earlier this month to recognize the best of FILMCLUB talent.

Elliot’s review – which has previously won Review of the Week – was named by film director and FILMCLUB founder Beeban Kidron as the best in the country in the Upper Secondary category. Criteria included interesting film choice, personal connection and well articulated points. This and the thousands of other reviews submitted voluntarily by members of the nationwide organization during the past school year, together with feedback from participating schools, highlights the value of school film clubs as a means of boosting literacy.

Writing reviews for the website (www.filmclub.org) is a popular and important aspect of FILMCLUB, with around 6000 reviews uploaded every week, half of them from boys and many from children who have never before wanted to write. Of almost 1400 club leaders who responded to a recent survey over half said review writing is improving members’ reading and writing skills and more than 80 % said the scheme is developing children’s critical skills. To help teachers develop their pupils’ review writing skills the charity offers a range of incentives and resources available free to members via the website – including two comprehensive guides to review writing, one for primary and one for secondary, the ability for teachers to monitor members’ reviews individually and track their development and progress, and prizes for the best reviews.

Launched in 2008 by educationalist Lindsay Mackie and filmmaker Beeban Kidron, FILMCLUB now has 220,000 members in 7000 schools across the UK, where it provides free access to a curated catalogue of films from across the world and over 100 years of cinema. Through weekly screenings, online reviewing, industry events and hands-on support the charity promotes learning in an informal setting while encouraging critical engagement from young people, with proven educational and social benefits.

For information about FILMCLUB or to sign up for a free start-up session visit filmclub.org/blog/cymru or call 020 7288 4520.

FILMCLUB is a registered charity: 1136558.

Elliot Pavelin, 17, The Sixth Form College Farnborough, Dog Day Afternoon

Dog Day Afternoon' is definitely one of the finest films of the 1970s. It perfectly captures the pessimistic view of America at the time, and succeeds in creating the ultimate anti-hero whom people across America turned to.

The film has a very simple storyline. Sonny (Al Pacino) and Sal (John Cazale) attempt to rob a bank, but only manage to get $1100. To make matters worse, the police arrive and the duo are trapped in the bank with 12 hostages.

Sidney Lumet had already proved his ability to direct long conversational scenes with his masterpiece '12 Angry Men', but Dog Day Afternoon', as mentioned before, does so in a much more sympathetic manner. The audience feels real sympathy for Sonny, despite his criminal intentions. The character struggles through life as so many Americans did at the time. Sonny is kind hearted, and his inexperience and struggles only earn him more sympathy.

Al Pacino portrays Sonny in a very realistic manner, based upon the real life Sonny whose attempted robbery inspired the film. The sympathy and support for Sonny is intensified further when crowds in the film cheer him on, and the issue of homosexuality was raised, being a controversial topic. These make 'Dog Day Afternoon' an almost unbearably realistic film, and this only enhances the quality of its direction.

The mixed pace of the film, sometimes fast and sometimes slow only intensifies the confusion experienced by Sonny, and again intensifies the sympathy toward him. The film is intense, and this is a result of the pace as the audience feels the anger and frustration that the characters do, unaware of what will happen.

This is a very successful feature of the film. However, this does remove the ability to revisit the film regularly as the impact is not the same the second time around. Nevertheless, I consider 'Dog Day Afternoon' to be one of Pacino's best films, and also John Cazale's second best performance. The chemistry between Pacino and Cazale (real life friends) is clearly visible on screen and adds massively to the film's emotion, especially at the end. Had the film not been up against 'One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest' for the Best Picture Oscar in 1976, I am sure that 'Dog Day Afternoon' would have won.

This is a must see film guys, and definitely as fiercely relevant now as it was in 1975 in my opinion!

Elliot Pavelin who has been Awarded 'Reviewer of the Year' by the Filmclub

Elliot Pavelin who has been Awarded 'Reviewer of the Year' by the Filmclub