Belgian director Lukas Dhont’s debut feature, Girl, although a critical success in the festival circuit, hasn’t been without its controversy. On the run up to the film’s release, Dhont has fought to defend his trans coming-of-age film in which critic, Oliver Whitney described as “the most dangerous movie about a trans character in years.”
Nestled on the outskirts of Nepal’s capital sits Snowland Ranag Light of Education School, a non-profit educational organisation committed to providing education to children of remote Himalayan villages. Founded by Guru Ranag Tulkhu Rinchin Rinpoche in 2001, Snowland has been supporting Nepal’s children from early childhood into their teens. Marcus Stephenson and Zara Balfour’s documentary Children of the Snow Land follows three students as they journey back home to see and speak to their families for the first time in twelve years.
Directed by Catherine Hardwicke and written by Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer, based on the 2011 Mexican film of the same name. Miss Bala stars Gina Rodriguez, Ismael Cruz Córdova, and Anthony Mackie, and follows a woman who trains to take down a Mexican drug cartel after her friend is kidnapped.
Gloria (Gina Rodriguez) finds a power she never knew she had when she is drawn into a dangerous world of cross-border crime. Surviving will require all of her cunning, inventiveness, and strength.
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Reviewed by Freda Cooper
Comedians have notoriously unfunny private lives, so Jon S Baird’s Stan And Ollie faces an uphill task right from the get-go. It’s multiplied by the fact that Messrs Laurel and Hardy were at their peak some 80 years ago, which means the film has to walk something of a tightrope. On the one hand, avoiding patronising members of the audience who are familiar with the duo’s films and legendary scenes, but on the other showing newcomers why they were so great and what made them funny. A neat trick, if you can pull it off.
Reviewed by April McIntyre
Adapted from the autobiographical novel of the same name and following Franklin J. Shaffner’s 1973 film, Michael Noer’s remake of Papillon follows the story of safe cracker and thief, Henri “Papillon” Charrière as he serves out his sentence in a penal colony in French Guiana.
Reviewed by Lee Hill
Is it possible for a film to be too well executed? This is the conundrum presented by Possum, an ambitious and brooding portrait of an individual tortured by demons that may or may not be entirely psychological. First time director Matthew Holness, maps out the nightmarish headspace of a disgraced puppeteer returning to his family home in Norfolk. The result is a remarkable vision of suburban England in decline that evokes Kafka, Poe, Beckett, Lynch and Cronenberg, particularly the latter’s 2002 adaptation of Patrick McGrath’s Spider.
Reviewed By Freda Cooper
A Yorgos Lanthimos movie has become something of a tradition at the London Film Festival. The Lobster made its debut in 2015 and last year it was The Killing Of A Sacred Deer but his 2018 offering comes with the loudest fanfare. After winning big at Venice – the Grand Jury Prize and the Best Actress award for Olivia Colman – The Favourite is already looking like one of the major contenders come the awards season.
Reviewed by Lee Hill
After winning the Best Picture for 12 Years A Slave in 2014, expectations for Steve McQueen’s next feature were high. The news that McQueen was going to remake a well regarded, but distantly recalled 1983 ITV mini-series by Lynda LaPlante seemed a tad perverse (would this be his At Long Last Love or 1941?). However, McQueen and his co-writer, Gone Girl’s Gillian Flynn have, for the most part, successfully transformed the original “gangsters’ wives pull off heist” premise to tap into our current preoccupations with race, gender equality and the general cynicism, if not outright contempt, towards politics as usual.
Film can be a depressingly literal medium at times. Certain areas of human experience – religious faith, sex or, as in the case of The Wife, what goes on in a writer’s head – can feel opaque, ridiculous or simply fall flat. In recent years, there have been many well intentioned, but not particularly memorable films about writers as mythic as Ernest Hemingway, Sylvia Plath and Allen Ginsberg. These writers certainly weren’t shut-ins. And yet unless you are hanging out at some groovy film quiz, you might have have trouble remembering Hemingway and Gellhorn, Sylvia or Howl. Although the author in The Wife is a composite of Philip Roth/John Updike (arguably giving the filmmakers sufficient poetic license to keep things exciting), the end result is as unmemorable as these recent films about actual writers.
A claustrophobic close-up of a body, the light bouncing off the skin of an unidentified figure. This is how the film introduces us to Marvin, an aspiring actor and someone whose work is directly influenced by his upbringing. Anne Fontaine’s coming out film has its feet planted both in Marvin’s past and his present. We’re instantly thrust into his childhood and school-life as he struggles with homophobia, sexual abuse and his dawning homosexuality in working class small-town, Vosges.