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Alasdair Bayman

Film Critic

Manchester writer with a penchant for Italian cinema and passion for the dirtiest Queen of cinema

Alasdair Bayman is a recent graduate of English Literature at The University of Manchester. Writing for the Mancunion for two years as a senior film critic, in the process he interviewed Julia Ducournau and artistic director of HOME, Jason Wood. Similarly, covering Q&A events including Ben Wheatley, Ken Loach and Danny Boyle was a highlight of his time at the paper. On the side, Alasdair runs his own independent blog and film essay site, The Film Essayist. Also, he contributes towards Manchester Wire who preview cultural events right across the city. Away from words, he runs The Cinephile Mixtape – a weekly film review show.

A keen admirer of Italian cinema, specifically Neorealism and Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Avventura (1960), these filmsprovoke and question the very essence of cinema. Akin to Antonioni’s film, Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita (also from 1960) is not only admired by Alasdair in his Blu-ray collection but also in the form of a framed original Italian poster.

Unlike the seriousness of these Italian films, he adores the craziness of Dario Argento’s Deep Red (1975) and Suspiria (1977). Elevated by the scores of Goblins, such Giallo films, in Alasdair‘s eyes, present humanities’ basic sadistic nature. In the horror genre, one of his favourite films of all time, The Wicker Man (Robin Hardy, 1973) is ingrained in his brain. Like Argento’s musical collaboration with Goblins, Hardy’s with Magnet in the cult classic is regularly listened to on Spotify. Not only this, the sheer claustrophobic environment the film creates on this remote island needs to be seen by any keen cinephile.

In recent years, Mia Hansen-Love’s Eden (2014) and Things to Come (2016) are two films which have resonated with him, specifically Eden and its focus on his beloved house music. As any good cinephile should have, the film’s in his collection vary from Todd Haynes, Martin Scorsese, Billy Wilder, Dario Argento, Akira Kurosawa and Ira Sachs.

Alongside this collection, Alasdair loves film art and hoarding his film tickets. In his film art, iconic images from Double Indemnity, Taxi Driver (Martin Scorcese, 1968) and 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968) are found. Seeking to add a glorious image of Queen Isabelle Huppert is also a must in his collection. Obsessively tweeting about the female actress and liking all of her Instagram posts is another importante past time for the young Alasdair, besides films. Long live Queen Huppert!!!

You can find Alasdair on Twitter @alasdairbayman and via email at

Other posts by Alasdair Bayman
Racer and the Jailbird (Le Fidèle)
And the Eurotrash stinker of the Summer award goes to... blend of thriller and melodrama entirely devoid of emotions that rescues a notion of femininity that should be deeply buried in the past - in cinemas and now also on VoD [Read More...]

Path of Blood
Tête-à-tête with madness: Al-Qaeda home-movie footage captured by the security services reveals young men brainwashed into a disturbing sense of adventure that quickly morphs into insanity, in this well-crafted documentary - out on DVD Monday, November 26th [Read More...]

A Ciambra
Coming-of-age mafia thriller was exec produced by Martin Scorsese and has elements of Italian Neorealism, but it ultimately fails to hit audiences very hard in the face - now available on VoD [Read More...]

Eighth Grade
Doctor Jekyll and Miss Online: what happens when your online and real-life persona disconnect from each other? Splendid teen drama is out in cinemas Friday, April 26th [Read More...]

Compelling tribute to the fashion genius of 'savage beauty" draws comparisons to Oscar Wilde's Dorian Grey, seeking both to humanise and to immortalise the late artist - now available on VoD [Read More...]

Hair-raising horror about family bereavement starring Toni Collette has some of the darkest imagery you will have seen since Ken Russell's THE DEVILS - now on Netflix [Read More...]

Rewriting history, in the grand and glorious South American way! Argentinian/Paraguayan period drama based on eponymous 1956 novel challenges notions of colonialism and world "disorder" - now available for digital streaming [Read More...]

Show Dogs
Comedy about brooding NYPD dog follows in the pawsteps of family-entertainment movies from the noughties, but unfortunately it fails to bite audiences - in cinemas Friday, May 18th [Read More...]

The Young Karl Marx
Find out what the father of communism and his accolade Friedrich Engels got up to in their early days, and where they got their ideas from - watch it right here and right now [Read More...]

The Wound
Old-fashioned, pious African masculinity is collapsing: very moving drama set in Queenstown exposes thin line between Xhosa initiation and homosexuality - in cinemas and VoD [Read More...]

Lean on Pete
British director's latest film is a sombre and melancholic immersive experience, not dissimilar to his previous films, this time dealing with a young boy emotionally attached to the underperforming titular race horse - on BritBox on Wednesday, March 17th [Read More...]

Let the Sunshine In (Un Beau Soleil Intérieur)
The French beacons of light: Claire Denis lets her visceral and rebellious genius shine through again in this loose adaptation of Roland Barthes's essays, but not without Juliette Binoche's dazzling light - on Mubi on Monday, December 23rd [Read More...]

Nick Cave, Ennio Morricone and a lot of gunshots!
The music in Sergio Leone's 1965 Spaghetti classic A FEW DOLLARS MORE (composed by Ennio Morricone) and in the 2016 American neo-Western HELL OR HIGH WATER (by Nick Cave) have a lot in common, despite being made more than five decades apart - argues Alasdair Bayman [Read More...]

Listen up: this is our BFI Flare podcast!
As the largest LGBT Film Festival in the country draws to a close, Alasdair Bayman talks to very special guests about football, disability, Trump, plus gives his lowdown on the event, in our latest podcast! [Read More...]

When Leon joins Swiss-based BSC Young Boys, Mario and him unexpectedly fall in love with one another. Fighting for the same spot in the first team, they're on and off-field relationship becomes emotionally and professionally attached - now also available on VoD [Read More...]

Boxer Matty Burton (Paddy Considine) suffers a serious head injury during a fight. Impacting his marriage, friendships and his life, he has to fight more than ever to recover - now available for digital streaming [Read More...]

Isle of Dogs
In 2038, Major Kobayashi of Megasaki City exiles all dogs to Trash Island. Searching for his lost dog, Spots, a 12-year-old boy called Atari sets off alone to be reunited with his friend - now available for digital streaming [Read More...]

Love, Scott
Musician Scott Jones was the victim of a hideous hate crime in 2013, leaving him in a wheelchair. Laura Marie Wayne's first full-length documentary follows its main subject through thick and thin as he rebuilds his life - from BFI Flare [Read More...]

The Third Murder
The dirtiest voice of Japanese cinema delivers a very personal noir thriller interweaving profound human emotions - now available on VoD [Read More...]

Walk this Way with DMovies: Docs from around the World Collection
The globe is full of wonders, delights and problems, so Walk this Way and their Docs from around the World Collection bring some of the best documentaries straight to you on VoD. Sit back and absorb yourself in all aspects of our little blue planet! [Read More...]

The curious case of marketing Netflix
After marketing Alex Garland's ANNIHILATION in a strange fashion, we examine other cases and examples on Netflix, alongside their marketing strategies. [Read More...]

Sci-fi starring Natalie Portman evokes Tarkosvsky's Stalker, as woman overwhelmed by grief enters an alien zone where everything acquires a different dimension - on Netflix Monday, March 12th [Read More...]

Sweet Country
Superb Australian drama with photography akin to Lawrence of Arabia paints a human, fallible, credible touching portrait of an aboriginal man, without ever resorting to clichés and caricatures - now available on all major VoD platforms [Read More...]

Little Birdie vs Big Fish, who’s going to win?
This year's Best Picture Academy Award is an epic battle between the Davids and the Goliaths of American cinema; we take a look at recent history of small guys (and girls) making it big in Hollywood, and try to work out where the latest duel is headed! [Read More...]

10 Billion (10 Milliarden)
Where are you gonna get your food from in a few decades, once the world population hits a 10-digit figure? Doc raises urgent questions about overpopulation and sustainability, revealing that we could experience a "food war" - on VoD as part of the Walk This Way Collection [Read More...]

Dark River
British rural drama about woman haunted by her past builds on the success of films like 'The Levelling' and 'God's Own Country', but it lacks the sophistication of its predecessors - now on VoD [Read More...]

Mrs Hyde (Madame Hyde)
Let the beast out of the cage! Isabelle Huppert stars in absurdist drama about powerless teacher grappling with her rowdy and unimaginative pupils, until she begins to morph into something else - now streaming with DMovies [Read More...]

Lady Bird
This is a young lady's world! Family ties, friendship and companionship are the central pillars of the semi-autobiographical directorial debut by a female filmmaker just 34 years of age - now on Netflix [Read More...]

Watch the trailer for Wim Wenders's latest movie, a Pan-European love story disrupted by a Jihadist kidnap, starring Alicia Vikander. Will the German filmmaker ride the wave or will he submerge into a saccharine ocean? [Read More...]

Journey’s End
The greatest folly of all! English filmmaker's adaptation of R. C. Sheriff’s 1928 eponymous play exposes the futile nature of war, as the world commemorates the centenary of World War I - now on all major VoD platforms [Read More...]

Lover for a Day (L’Amant d’un Jour)
L'amour goes black and white: Philippe Garrel's latest drama is a monochrome piece of artistry about two women of the same age and the nature of love - now on MUBI [Read More...]

Suggs: My Life Story
We all go a little MAD sometimes! The frontman of the colorful Camden Town act Madness isn't just a joy to listen to; his life story is also a real pleasure to watch - on Sky Cinema and NOW on Saturday, August 14th [Read More...]

The top 10 dirtiest Christmas movies
A meal laced with family feuds and sexual demons, West Hollywood transsexual prostitutes, Dantesque critters ready to devour Santa Claus, a hellish shopping spree and lots of violence - what else could you possibly wish for this Christmas? [Read More...]

This is rural Britain: lonely and loveless
Isolation, failed masculinity and a forged sense of nationalism are driving people in the rural communities of Britain towards hopelessness - two dirty gems of British cinema send a distress signal to the nation [Read More...]

Scarred Hearts (Inimi Cicatrizate)
Heavy-hearted Romanian drama about man succumbing to TB during Interwar period reflects on our vulnerability, mortality and triggers of the intellect - watch it now with ArteKino [Read More...]

Alita: Battle Angel
Watch the trailer for cyborg sci-fi romance with impressive aesthetics and facial CGI, produced by James Cameron, and guaranteed to generate controversy in the Summer of 2018 [Read More...]

Fast Convoy (Le Convoi)
French thriller plays with the colour palette in order to convey a sense of broken masculinity, partly shunning gravity-defying cars in favour of more psychological depth - watch it now on VoD [Read More...]

The Man Who Invented Christmas
This season, meet the English writer who invented Christmas... and the filmmaker who ruined it!!! Sloppy portrait of Charles Dickens and how he came to write A Christmas Carol is not going to fill your heart with holiday joy - in cinemas [Read More...]

Circles (Krugovi)
What goes around comes around! Serbian filmmaker uses the real story of Serbian soldier who saved Muslim shop owner during Bosnian War in order to reflect on contemporary social-political issues not restricted to the Balkans - watch it now on VoD [Read More...]

Lost in Paris (Paris Pieds Nus)
Belgian-Australian duo direct and star in lighthearted comedy about our inner need to share beautiful moments, also featuring the late Emmanuelle Riva - in cinemas [Read More...]

All of a Sudden (Auf Einmal)
Murder or cruel twist of fate? Convincing German drama delves with a mysterious death, class divides and family allegiances, and it has a nice David Fincher-esque finish - watch now on VoD [Read More...]

It’s Not Yet Dark
Doc about filmmaker Simon Fitzmaurice, who himself directed a movie while suffering from Motor Neuron Disease, will open your heart and fill the darkness with light! Just don't forget the tissues - now on VoD [Read More...]

Chameleon (Camaleón)
It`s dark inside... the human mind! Chilean psychological thriller has a very a taut and insular narrative, which serves a commentary on the country's class system - at the ICA and on DVD [Read More...]

Manchester Keeps on Dancing
Acting as a gateway between past and present, doc remembers the arrival of Acid House and the Hacienda days in the vigorous and energetic Northern City - from the Doc'n Roll Film Festival [Read More...]

School Life
Sir does NOT thwack you on the knee! This Irish boarding school is teeming with tender and doting relationships between headmasters and pupils, unlike in the The Smiths song - in cinemas this week [Read More...]

Blade Runner 2049
Akin to the unicorn referenced in the 1982 movie, the new Blade Runner is truly a rare breed of a film; it is original without destroying any of the achievements of its predecessor - in cinemas everywhere! [Read More...]

Go East! Stay away from this Western, unless you think religious undertones and extreme violence towards women are the right ingredients for the genre - in cinemas now [Read More...]

Good Time
Robert Pattinson plays a scruffy rogue in a crime film SO DIRTY and GRIPPING that it will leave the streets feeling boring and dim after you have left the cinema - in cinemas [Read More...]

Carmen on the Lake
Latin passion with Germanic flavours: Bizet's majestic opera at Lake Constance has been captured in film, so you don't need to travel to Austria in order to witness this elegant spectacle - in cinemas across the UK [Read More...]

London Symphony
A groovy day in London town! Touching tribute to tolerance and diversity is a much needed present for as iconic city tainted right now by fear of terrorism and Brexi-division - silent movie with live music score in cinemas [Read More...]

Le Trou
Is Jacques Becker's masterpiece indeed "the greatest French film of all times"? Our dirty writer Alasdair Bayman takes a fresh look at the highly subversive and innovative flick, and reflects on topics of honour and incarceration - now on DVD, BD and EST [Read More...]

Damned Summer (Verão Danado)
Some like it hot and wild: get lost in this highly visual and melodic template of nightlife with the hedonistic youth of Portugal - available for online streaming for a limited period only [Read More...]

Behind every man there's a great woman; and sometimes there's another one ahead of him: doc about the Williams reveals that profession ambitions and family life can gently complement each other - in cinemas [Read More...]

A Good Day to Die, Hoka Hey
The unbearable darkness of being at war: Jason P' Howe's unflinching desire to capture the grotesqueness of war with his camera is the subject of this highly provocative doc - out on DVD, Blu-ray and VoD [Read More...]

The Midwife (Sage Femme)
A painful delivery: despite a star-studded cast and top-drawer performances, Martin Provost just fails to produce a convincing movie about birth and ghosts of the past - in cinemas this week [Read More...]

Istanbul has an intimate and virtuous relation of respect with its street moggies; this doc follows the footsteps (pawsteps?) of seven stray cats with different and vibrant personalities - from the Cambridge Film Festival [Read More...]

The Graduate
Fifty years on, The Graduate remains as young and refreshing as ever with its simple yet extremely effective message of embracing and pursuing love at all costs... and at all ages - in cinemas this weekend! [Read More...]

Dying Laughing
Comedy isn't always in colour: doc reveals that the life of stand-up artists and comedians is often fraught with sadness and loneliness - in cinemas Friday [Read More...]

Alice Lowe pops out a strange blend of comedy and slasher dealing with pregnancy and a bloodthirsty unborn child - now on DVD and Blu-ray [Read More...]

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