Simon Maddrell was born in Douglas, in 1965 and brought up in Bolton, Lancashire. A Peace Studies graduate, he spent 10 years working at Xerox before setting up the UK and island charity, Excellent Development (now Sand Dams Worldwide) working in Africa supporting communities to build small dams and improve their farming.
Simon’s debut poetry pamphlet Throatbone was published in 2020 followed by Queerfella, which won The Rialto Open Pamphlet Competition. He collaborated with two poets with two anthologies, All About Our Mothers and All About Our Fathers. This month, Polari Press publishes Isle of Sin followed by his third Manx pamphlet, The Whole Island from Valley Press on July 5. Here are Simon’s top 10 films:
1) AFTER SUN
Stunning meditation on childhood memories, snapshots missed, half-taken through home video and concocted memory all put together with stunning cinematography, sound and editing.
More of an experience than a resolved story, it will affect you for days afterwards.
2) ALL THE BEAUTY & THE BLOODSHED
The best documentary for years interweaving at least five stories with photographer Nan Goldin as the centrepiece tracing her childhood, artistic career through the AIDS epidemic and the ongoing opioid crisis, including her campaign against Perdue Pharma and the Sackler family owners’ funding of the arts.
3) DECISION TO LEAVE
Korean detective story with the detective getting rather too involved with the prime suspect – intriguing and beguiling.
4) ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT
The first German production of the German book in all its raw, shocking realism – mud, guts, limbs and heartbreak.
Should win both Oscar Best Film Awards.
Biopic of poet Siegfried Sassoon, both war hero and anti-war activist who renounced his Military Cross – a decoration also received by the man he loved, Wilfred Owen who died a week before Armistice Day.
Not even helping him to be recognised as our greatest ever war poet could help Sassoon overcome his survivor guilt and failure to prevent Owen returning to the front line.
6) TRIANGLE OF SADNESS
Fantastic cruise satire that will remind many of their windiest Steam Packet sailings, starring the wonderful Harris Dickinson (destined to be the next Brad Pitt).
The American communist Captain and a Russian capitalist add to the dark humour.
7) EVERYTHING, EVERyWHERE, ALL AT ONCE
Probably the most fun you’ll have watching a film this year - sci-fi meets comedy meets Jamie Lee Curtis with prosthetic breasts.
Korea’s second best film of the year from the Director of Shoplifting, Broker is a delightful film about trying to sell a baby and discovering something else.
Don’t expect all the loose ends to be tied, but do expect to cry.
9) An Cailín Ciúin (THE QUIET GIRL)
The first Irish Gaelic language film to be nominated for an Oscar.
This is a delightful film, almost folklore, about a young misfit girl who spends the summer away from inattentive parents with sad relatives.
It’s a classic story of family secrets and lies, even those denied, but it’s beautiful and heartfelt with it.
10) THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN
Another Irish, this time more poetic, film based on the fictional island on Inisherin.
Friendships gone bad seems to be a common theme this year but this is also an exploration of happiness, or lack of it, with stand out performances from Kerry Condon and Barry Keoghan: ‘Ah well, another dream gone.’