Film Club: 13-19 September
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Film festival season might not be upon us yet, but there's a twinge of autumn in the air that's making us feel a little giddy in anticipation. While you eagerly await your yearly chance to stalk celebrities while pretending you're actually there for the art films, you can whet your palate with this grab-bag plethora of erotic melodramas, biopics, blood curdling horrors, and thought-provoking docs.
If you're not already acquainted with Frida's life story, take this screening of the Oscar-winning biopic by Julie Taymor as your chance to learn. Salma Hayek plays Frida, chronicling her personal relationships and many affairs, the bus accident that almost paralysed her, her career, and her radical political activism (gurl was a staunch feminist and a communist).
As you might have guessed, we've seen a lot of movies in our day - we're guessing you have too. So when one comes along that truly and wholly blows our minds, it's not to be taken lightly. Arthur Aristakisyan's Palms is one such film - it's a thoughtful and sensitive meditation on the question of homelessness, it's visually stunning, and yet it's criminally underrated.
John Coltrane's life story, narrated by Denzel Washington plays out on screen like chicken soup for our souls. Always an outcast, Coltrane fought hard against both personal demons and a society that wasn't always kind to him (i.e. Jim Crow-era Southern USA) in order to become one of the most influential jazz musicians of the 20th century.
His story will be further brought to life by a live accompaniment from The Binker Golding Trio.
If you want to see the world with painstaking angst, watch it through the eyes of a 15-year-old girl. Such is Maurice Pialat's strategy for A Nos Amours, a provocative rumination on the human condition, first sexual experiences, and coming of age, as told by his protagonist, Suzanne.
The film will be followed by a panel discussion with editor of Little White Lies, David Jenkins, and Adam Roberts, founder of A Nos Amours filmmakers collective.
While it's a solid film in its own right, what makes Insyriated truly scary is how salient the plot point is - a mother of three is stuck inside her apartment with her children and a few houseguests, as war rages on outside. Between cold-blooded snipers, the sounds of rockets, and armed violent strangers breaking and entering, the inhabitants of the house are poised, waiting to see if they'll live another day. None of the big bad threats here are anything outside the ordinary of what Syrian civilians are having to deal with on a regular basis, and that's what's truly terrifying.
Showing at The Barbican Centre, Curzons Bloomsbury, Mayfair, Chelsea, Richmond, and Soho; Ritzy Picturehouse, and ICA.
Belle De Jour
So firstly, Catherine Deneuve's look in this film is amazing, and we'd like for whatever designers might be reading this to bring back the black patent swing coat. Thank you.
Louis Buñuel’s classic soft-core erotic melodrama is getting a shiny new 4k restoration and re-release for its 50th anniversary, and we couldn't be happier. Deneuve plays Severine, your classic bored housewife with some very naughty repressed fantasies - until that is, she decides to no longer repress them and take a daytime gig working in a brothel. As you do.
Showing at Curzon Bloomsbury and Picturehouse Central.
Fans of the original Steven King terrifying clown horror will shit themselves in glee at this remake, which stars Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise. Fittingly tinged with '80s nostalgia vibes, director Andy Muschetti is clearly riding the bandwagon of Stranger Things hysteria, and we can't say that we're upset about it. Focusing more on Pennywise as a character than the original film did, Bill Skarsgard's performance and leering, jeering face peering up menacingly is what takes this remake from simply nostalgic to truly terrifying territory.
Showing at most cinemas.
This isn't Orange Is The New Black - the male inmates at the maximum-security facility at Folsom State Prison are serving hard time for some fairly heinous crimes, and most will never see the other side of the prison walls again. Yet, a group of these inmates are resolved to better themselves, manage their aggression, and help their fellow inmates as well as outsiders to do the same. This winner in the SXSW documentary category follows three free men as they voluntarily spend four days with the inmates, undergoing group therapy. It's a moving story about the power of rehabilitation and how really, anyone can change.
Showing at ICA, Ritzy Picturehouse, Picturehouse Central, Hackney Picturehouse, and The Barbican Centre.