ENJOY THE MOVIES
"He feeds on children." Dark Star Pictures has released an official US trailer for a French-Moroccan horror film titled Achoura, finally getting a release in the US this December after originally premiering in 2018. Following raves at Cinepocalypse, the Brussels Fantastic Film Festival, Bucheon Fantastic Film Festival, and other fests, the US gets to now witness the terrifying tale of a Moroccan legend. Four childhood friends are reunited when one of them surfaces after twenty years, forcing them to deal with a creature straight out of a spine-chilling Moroccan legend. They will have to confront the terrifying events of their youth and fight a monstrous creature from folk lore. "It is sociologically proven that fantasy and horror cinema has always enjoyed a renewed interest from audiences and critics in times of social and economic turmoil," the director explains. Achoura stars Sofiia Manousha, Younes Bouab, Omar Lotfi, Iván González, Moussa Maaskri, & Mohamed Choubi. It's always cool to see the supernatural forces that haunt other cultures.
"We're not there yet, but at least we're free." "Settling for 'good enough' won't change the world…" The Match Factory has debuted an official promo trailer for the German film Dear Thomas, from filmmaker Andreas Kleinert. This black & white biopic is about a German "poetic rebel" named Thomas Brasch, and it just won Best Film playing at the 2021 Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival earlier this month. "Rebel. Poet. Revolutionary: Dear Thomas is a declaration of love to the writer Thomas Brasch." The film tells the story of the writer and artist Thomas Brasch, who escapes the constraints of the GDR in the 1970s by setting out for the West, but does not find fulfillment there either. The expressive imagery and the phenomenal ensemble with an unleashed Albrecht Schuch in the title role make this artist”s biography a cinematic masterpiece. The cast includes Jella Haase, Ioana Iacob, Jörg Schüttauf, Anja Schneider, Joel Basman, Emma Bading, and Peter Kremer. Seems like another fascinating look at the life of a rebel writer who spoke his mind no matter the consequences. We always need more outspoken people like this! Rock on, Herr Brasch.
"Poets have always been God's favourites." Time to meet a poet you have probably never heard of before! Mukagali is an artistic biopic film from Kazakhstan that is premiering at the 2021 Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival (aka PÖFF) which is underway now. An early festival trailer has debuted and it's a must see, as this is a rather unconventional biopic. The film is about a Kazakh poet named Mukagali Makataev, "who since his death in 1976 has become one of the country's most celebrated writers." The film focuses on the final 3 years of Mukagali, who adored Pushkin, Yesenin, Dante, and Shakespeare. He voluntarily leaves the University in Moscow after Brezhnev's rise to power, opposes the virtues of communism, works passionately to preserve the independent Kazakh language. His poem "Raimbek! Raimbek!" about his beloved native village isn't allowed to be published. Sadness and alcohol overtakes his soured heart, but he never abandons a personal motto - poetry loves freedom! Starring Aslanbek Zhanbalayev, Tolganai Bisembayeva, and Raushan Mazhitova. It reminds me of the film Paterson, of course, but much more bleak and depressing.
"Gourmet cuisine is not for the common man." Samuel Goldwyn Films has debuted an official US trailer for a French historic drama titled Delicious, originally Délicieux in French. This premiered at the Rendezvous with French Cinema Festival, and stopped by others including Festival du Cinéma Français in Israel and the Norwegian Film Festival. Set in France in 1789, just before the Revolution. A chef who has been sacked by his master, with the help of a woman, finds the strength to free himself from being a servant to open the very first restaurant. Is this a true story? I've always wondered where restaurants came from, and how they developed! Of course it's France staking claim to the very beginning. The cast of Delicious includes Gregory Gadebois, Isabelle Carre, Benjamin Lavernhe, Guillaume de Tonquédec, Christian Bouillette, Lorenzo Lefèbvre, & Marie-Julie Baup. Looks like it's quite a sumptuous watch, especially for foodies.
"We can't just die here!" CMC Pictures has debuted an official US Trailer for the upcoming US release this month of the Chinese epic war movie The Battle at Lake Changjin, which has already been heralded in China as their highest grossing movie of all time in the country. Set during the Second Phase Offensive of the Korean War, The Battle at Lake Changjin movie tells an epic historical tale: 71 years ago, the People's Volunteer Army (PVA) entered North Korea for battle. Under extreme freezing conditions, the troops on the Eastern Front pursued with fearless spirit and iron will, as they courageously fought against the enemy at Lake Changjin (also known as Chosin Reservoir) - which was the US Army. The battle was a turning point in the Korean War and demonstrated the courage and resolve of the PVA. It's co-directed by a trio of iconic Chinese filmmakers: Kaige Chen & Dante Lam & Tsui Hark. It's honestly a bit strange to see them making this kind of jingoistic movie, but perhaps that's the point. The movie stars Wu Jing, Jackson Yee, Duan Yihong, Zhu Yawen, Li Chen, and Elvis Han. This looks like one of THE most epic war films ever made, with more intense action than usual. It's also an extremely violent trailer - all out war violence everywhere.
"I'm a spy, not a nanny." Madman Films in Australia has debuted an official trailer for the French comedy OSS 117: From Africa with Love, the third movie in the OSS 117 series starring Jean Dujardin. This series is a French riff on James Bond, but with a much dumber agent, and with more crass humor (the first two movies were directed by Michel Hazanavicius, but this one is not). This sequel originally premiered as the Closing Night film at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival this year, which seems like a very odd choice. From Africa with Love is set in 1981, 14 years after Lost in Rio, and follows OSS 117 on a mission in Black Africa ("Afrique Noire" - a made-up country in Africa) where he teams up with a much younger agent, OSS 1001. In addition to Jean Dujardin, the comedy co-stars Pierre Niney, Fatou N'Diaye, Natacha Lindinger, Habib Dembélé, Pol White, Gilles Cohen, Alex Lutz, and Wladimir Yordanoff. This is making fun of the out-of-touch agent to say: out with the old, in with the new. But it still looks extra dumb. Check it out.
"I pray for peaceful days in your life." Peccadillo Pictures in the UK has debuted a new trailer for the UK release of a Japanese indie film titled West North West, from filmmaker Takuro Nakamura. This one has taken years to be released, after originally premiered in 2015 at the Busan Film Festival. It already opened in Japan in 2018 and is finally out on VOD to watch in the UK (but still doesn't have a US distributor). Kei (Hanae Kan) works at a cocktail bar, while Ai (Yûka Yamauchi) is a model. Fearing she'll be ostracized by society, Kei chooses not to admit her sexual orientation to anyone, and becomes distressed and lonely. One day, Kei gets close to Naima (Sahel Rosa), an Iranian student studying in Japan. Ai quickly becomes jealous of them and their budding relationship. All three are embarrassed & insecure but eventually they begin to share emotions. Set in modern day Japan, Nakamura's West North West is "an honest & captivating film that delicately explores the complexities of gender, nationality and religious identity." This looks good.
"Ten years of hard work to perfect three minutes on stage, right?" CMC Pictures has unveiled an official trailer for a biopic drama titled Anita, from Hong Kong filmmaker Lok Man Leung. This recently premiered as the Closing Night film at the Busan Film Festival in Korea, and is opening in theaters worldwide later this week (on November 12th). The film traces the life of Anita Mui, Hong Kong's "disappeared" Cantopop star. The film opens with her final concert and looks back on her life and legacy. The very definition of a cultural icon during Hong Kong's golden age, Anita dedicated almost her whole life to music. Behind stardom, her personal life, passion at work and the love for friends made her an irreplaceable role model as the "Queen of Cantopop". Starring Louise Wong as Anita. This looks like everything you'd expect from a popstar biopic.
"What can we do? We must live our lives." Janus Films + Criterion have debuted an official US trailer for an acclaimed Japanese film titled Drive My Car, the second feature film this year from filmmaker Ryusuke Hamaguchi (his other one Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy won awards at Berlinale). Drive My Car initially premiered at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, where it won three key prizes, including Best Screenplay from the jury. Nishijima Hidetoshi is a stage actor and director happily married to his playwright wife. Then one day she disappears. He's then hired to direct a performance of Uncle Vanya and heads down to Hiroshima to put it on. There he meets a young woman who is assigned to be his driver, and takes him around in his beloved red Saab 900. "Adapted from Haruki Murakami's short story, Ryusuke Hamaguchi's Drive My Car is a haunting road movie traveling a path of love, loss, acceptance, and peace." The film stars Hidetoshi Nishijima as Yûsuke, Toko Miura, Masaki Okada, Reika Kirishima, Park Yurim, and Jin Daeyeon. An intellectual film for intrepid cinephiles that love intricate stories and complex characters.
"Has something like this happened before?" Alief has unveiled an official trailer for an Icelandic mystery thriller titled Quake, which is premiering later this month at PÖFF - the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival in Estonia. After being hit by a fierce epilepsy seizure, Saga's life changes forever when she wakes up with total memory loss. As she struggles to gather bits & pieces from her past, long forgotten repressed memories suddenly start to come back, forcing her to face a disturbing truth about her past, and present, and her role in life as a daughter, sister, partner and mother. Based on a best-selling novel by Audur Jónsdóttir. Starring Anita Briem as Saga, Edda Björgvinsdóttir, Kristín Þóra Haraldsdóttir, and Tinna Hrafnsdóttir. "Quake is a shocking and revelatory exploration of the blurred lines between fact and fiction, reality and imagination, and where mother ends and child begins." There are so many good films from Iceland recently.
"Why didn't he try to find me?" Metrograph has unveiled an official US trailer for the release of acclaimed French filmmaker Mia Hansen-Løve's first feature film titled All Is Forgiven, which originally premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007. It was never released in the US and after all these years, along with six other excellent films, her debut feature is finally getting a chance to shine on the big screen. All is Forgiven will open in theaters and on digital at Metrograph starting November 5th. They've also put together a virtual program of films she selected offering "insight into the cinematic inspirations that have informed her deeply humane body of work." Her newest film, Bergman Island, is also already playing in theaters. All Is Forgiven is about a father and daughter reunited some 11 years after his drug addiction tore the family apart. "With her feature debut Hansen-Løve has already found her great subject: the passage of time and how it moves differently for different people." Starring Victoire Rousseau, Constance Rousseau, Marie-Christine Friedrich, and Paul Blain. This is the only film of hers I haven't seen yet and I'm glad to catch up with it.
"What do I do besides worry about you?" Our friends at Short of the Week have premiered this impressive short film online after it played at last year's London Film Festival. Stray Dogs Come Out at Night is an 11-minute short drama made by Pakistani filmmaker Hamza Bangash. Inspired by the real-life stories of masseurs on the streets of Pakistan, Stray Dogs Come Out at Night "transports its audience to the hustle and bustle of Karachi as we come face to face with a young man who finds himself in a desperate situation." Iqbal is a street-masseur living in Karachi struggling to come to terms with his illness. He asks his uncle to take him to the beach. Starring Mohammad Ali Hashmi as Iqbal and Adnan Shah Tipu. It's described by Bangash as "a revolt against toxic masculinity." There are a few shots that really stand out. Pure cinema.