Emma Watson falls for a beastly Dan Stevens in Disney’s tale as old as time.
When the bright and beautiful young Belle (Watson) is taken prisoner in an enchanted castle in exchange for her father’s freedom, she finds her captor to be a menacing Beast.
Locked away for eternity, she gradually befriends the castle’s enchanted staff who help her to look beyond the Beast’s monstrous exterior and glimpse the trapped soul of the handsome prince within.
As the two slowly begin to bond, a threat to their sanctuary looms large as the selfish and cruel Gaston (Evans) a rival for Belle’s affection, endeavours to hunt down the Beast once and for all.
Following the highly successful adaptations of Cinderella and The Jungle Book, this marks yet another magical entry into Disney’s recent live-action canon.
With and enchanting cast, beautifully crafted songs and a delightful eye for detail. Beauty and the Beast offers a faithful yet fresh retelling that honours its beloved source material.
“A gorgeous, magical, witty pleasure.” (Times)
“Enchanting. Sheer, rococo-spun fantasy.” (Screen International) (research Chris Coetsee)
See if you too find the ‘handsome prince’ rather a plain anticlimax after the Beast’s fabulous horny head.
Ritesh Batra’s follow-up to award-winner The Lunchbox is a symphony of mystery with Jim Broadbent masterfully conducting every scene.
Broadbent plays Tony Webster, a grouchy and embittered retiree and divorcee whose relatively stable relationship with his heavily pregnant daughter Susie is one of the few positives to blossom from an otherwise turbulent marriage.
When Tony is unexpectedly bequeathed an ill-fated diary from the mother of his first love Veronica (Rampling) he slowly reveals the buried secrets of his youth to astonished ex-wife Margaret. Painful memories of the past are brought to the surface as old feelings of jealousy and resentment begin to stir once more.
Adapted from Julian Barnes’ Booker-winning novel of the same name, this is a film which champions its literary roots whilst squeezing every drop from its stellar leading duo.
“What begins as a nostalgic and humdrum family drama grows more and more compelling the darker it becomes.” (Independent)
“With his very nicely judged performance – lugubrious, droll, self-pitying and slightly scared, Broadbent controls the pace and tone of every scene, and the film as a whole.” (Guardian) (Research Chris Coetsee) Forget the masterclass, come for passion which bleeds and oozes from old aching hearts.
Eight-year-old overnight sensation Sunny Pawar steals the show in Garth Davis’ biographical heart-wrencher.
Pawar plays five-year-old Saroo, the youngest of a humble family from Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh. When he is unwittingly whisked away, by train, from all that he knows, he finds himself alone, thousands of miles from home left stranded, to wander the dangerous labyrinths of Calcutta. Flash-forward 20 years and a now adult Saroo, haunted by distant memories, desperately seeks the truth behind his forgotten past.
Ultimately a film of two halves, Lion’s true strength lies in the strikingly raw performance from its youngest star, elevating the first chapter of this remarkable true story. Dev Patel’s unfaltering performance then deftly captures the angst of central character Saroo, while supporting turns from Rooney Mara and Nicole Kidman lend added emotional weight throughout the second act.
A crowd favourite at this year’s Oscars, Lion is inspirational storytelling in its boldest sense, taking you on an emotive odyssey before knocking you back with a climatic roar. (Research Chris Coetsee)
“A heartfelt film combining intelligent attention to detail with a necessary sense of the story’s simplicity and strength.” (Guardian) Come and see and be rapt.
Smurfs can be 'down with the kids' too! Modern culture has seeped into Belgian cartoonist Peyo’s creation in The Lost Village. When even they're doing selfies, it's perhaps time to rethink our lives.
Fun fact: Smurfs, though nominally male, are completely asexual, and that the blonde and womanly Smurfette is in fact a pseudo-Smurf who was created through dark magic by their arch nemesis, the balding and dim-witted wizard Gargamel (Rainn Wilson) but later switched sides.
This is a plot point in Smurfs: The Lost Village, which finds Smurfette, Clumsy Smurf (Jack McBrayer), Brainy Smurf (Danny Pudi), and Hefty Smurf (Joe Manganiello) searching the far reaches of the magical forest for Smurfy Grove, a second, all-female community of Smurfs, with Gargamel and his cat, Azrael, in close pursuit. Along the way, our Smurf heroes befriend bioluminescent bunny rabbits, get chased by fire-breathing dragonflies, and do assorted wholesome Smurfy things.
It's a microwave meal of a kids film; let them have their fill. (research Jack Whiting) Or let them eat cake…
Empowerment at full-thrust in Theodore Melfi’s feel-good bio-flick.
With the Cold War looming on the horizon, the United States and the Soviet Union are locked in a fierce battle to be crowned victor of the Space Race. Joining proceedings at Langley, and as tensions continue to rise, three patient and patriotic African-American women sit just out of the limelight.
Focus soon shifts however when Katherine Goble (Henson) a former mathematical child prodigy, is assigned to work under Al Harrison (Costner) and his team of male engineers who are coordinating the flights of first American astronaut in Space, John Glenn.
Faced with repeated attempts at racial humiliation, Katherine, with help of her two best friends Dorothy (Octavia Spencer) and Mary (Janelle Monáe) strives onwards, continues to commit to the project and with the brilliance of her mathematical calculations finds herself at the centre of the mission.
Having already rocketed to success stateside, Hidden Figures proves to be far more than just an inspirational history lesson, doing justice to a trio of wrongfully ignored figures and tipping the scales of praise rightfully back in their favour. (research Chris Coetsee) This is by far the most enjoyable film on the ‘Diversity’ circuit. Don’t miss.
The lifelong friendship between novelist Emile Zola and painter Paul Cézanne receives a sensitive, contemporary treatment from writer-director Danièle Thompson.
Zola is a poor outsider in Provence when he is first rescued from schoolyard bullies by classmate Cézanne, a promising but hot-headed young artist whose wealthy family disapproves of his vocational pursuits.
Forming a brotherly bond that would last the best part of three decades, their fortunes slowly reverse. The writer becomes the more successful and prosperous of the duo, while the painter can rarely sell a canvas and their contentious friendship finally comes to a head when Cézanne’s objection to being the inspiration for a tragic character in Zola’s “The Masterpiece” tears them apart, irreparably.
As Thompson’s script leaps between time periods, with cameo appearances by renowned associates such as Manet and Renoir, this historical drama primarily becomes a duet of sorts between the two hugely gifted and ambitious men.
“The film wears its luxuriant production design with the same satisfaction as the newly wealthy Zola does his brocade dressing gown.” (Observer)
“Cinéma du papa with an edge” (Guardian) (Research Chris Coetsee) Might even close a curiosity gap in historical art and literary gossip…? Come.
A movie within a movie: one mostly comic, the other mostly dramatic; Their Finest
comments on the futility of war, the flexibility of truth, the sorcery of film and the sexism of man. Wow… and all in one mainstream film - with Bill Nighy!
Gemma Arterton plays Catrin Cole, a young copywriter during the Blitz who, at the outset, is offered a job by the Ministry of Information’s Film Division to bring a female perspective to its popular propaganda shorts that ran between features at cinemas. “Obviously we can’t pay you as much as the chaps,” says her soon-to-be supervisor (Richard E Grant) after making the proposal.
After being assigned to co-script a project centred around the Battle of Dunkirk, Cole immediately begins to butt heads with crabby fellow screenwriter Buckley (the average Sam Claflin) who can’t seem to accept that he has to work alongside a woman. He of course soon morphs from callous to swoon-worthy, eventually taking a keen romantic interest in his colleague.
It's a fab period piece, and Gemma Arterton is gorgeous as always, but the more than always gorgeous, charming, joyous and gloriously himself Bill Nighy; saves the day and the film. (research Jack Whiting) Perfect. Don’t miss.
This haunting little beauty is Oliver Assayas once again entrusting Kristen Stewart to swallow the screen. The key is in the tiny, unassuming details.
It pays off. Personal Shopper sees Stewart delivering a career-besting performance as Maureen Cartwright, a young American working in Paris, who finds herself in a purgatory of grief following the death of her twin brother. She takes a job as the title character for a pampered, high-profile celebrity. She's also a psychic who suffers from the same congenital heart defect that killed her twin, and is waiting to be reached by him from the afterlife; Maureen is used to being a couple of steps closer to death than most people.
It's a mishmash of film categories: part Hitchcock, part haunted house, part psycho-sexual thriller; including a wonderfully tense sequence of exchanged text messages that will leave you exasperated. Stewart has collected a lot of bad rep over the years from Twilight, but this proves she can be as haunting as the house her character inhabits. (research Jack Whiting)
A surprisingly edgy thriller with just the right measure of Assayas’ teasing, timing and thrill. It’s not about shopping, so come for that simple joy. That’s 60% of our audience lost.
Not many franchises can boast eight instalments; not least one led by a team of bald, middle-aged muscle men.
What was once a relatively modest series about street racing is now a globe-trotting, action extravaganza that makes Bond look like Tinker Tailor by comparison. How could they possibly top 7's skyscraper leapfrogging? No problem. Enter a car chase in the Arctic.
Throw in a submarine in tow and you've got yourself the silliest action set-piece in modern cinema.
The plot? Something about Dom (Vin Diesel) turning his back on his petrol-headed cohorts to work for a cyber-terrorist played by a dreadlocked Charlize Theron, who wants to control the world's cars, or something like that, but it doesn’t matter to the ‘plot’. Good guys work for bad guys, bad guys work for good guys. Oh, and Helen Mirren pops in for tea at some irrelevant point. The clumsy melodrama won't get in the way of why you're really here: the square jawed cars. More specifically, cars breaking the jaws of physics. Thankfully The Rock, utilising his namesake, prevents this high-octane mess from launching itself into orbit. Strap in. (research Jack Whiting) Strap-on, more like. Come, to be buggered senseless.
Based on Stephen Fry’s best-selling novel, Hippopotamus follows a washed-up and sombre (not sober) poet as he gets to the bottom of a series of ‘miraculous’ healings. Drink isn’t compatible with Ted Wallace’s (Roger Allam) job writing theatre reviews for a low-grade broadsheet. After one too many fumed stumbles and fantastic indulgence in inappropriate language; he is fired. At the request of his God daughter, and tempted by the promise of money, Ted takes a break from his self-deprecating cycle of wallowing in drunken self-pity, choosing instead to put his world-weary skepticism to better use, and investigate a series of supposed ‘spiritual events’ at the manor house of his aristocratic friends. His disregard for inferior opinion makes him perfect for the job. His mockery of the pretensions of his upper-class companions is the real fun of the film.
“Ted’s crackling observations have the fluency and rapier wit of a diligent, erudite mind.” (Hollywood Reporter) (research Grace Atkins) Stephen Fry’s fabulous play on, and with, words is a gift in Roger Allum’s mouth. Don’t miss the thrill of subtle, intelligent, lewd, sharp and charming language from Fry’s crystal dry observation. The script is wit at its most unapologetic.
William Oldroyd's arresting feature debut explores the repressed passion and sexual deviance lurking beneath the facade of polite Victorian society.
Inspired by Nikolai Leskov’s 1865 novel Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, the story relocates from Russia to rural England and centres on Katherine (Florence Pugh), a miserable and belittled young newlywed trapped in a loveless arranged marriage to the sadistic Alexander (Paul Hilton) a man twice her age. Her new family is cold, unforgiving and offer her nothing but bitter hostility.
When her husband and father-in-law are called away on business, she finds herself succumbing to the lustful advances of groomsman Sebastian and the two embark on a passionate affair which threatens to overcome discretion with drastic and deadly consequences.
Beautifully shot and bolstered by an outstanding performance from the cool, edgy, beauty of Florence Pugh, Lady Macbeth triumphs in moving beyond the tinted vision of 19th century English life associated with Jane Austen adaptations and into something darker and wholly more realistic.
“Sometimes a glorious film appears like a cold dart out of an open sky.” (Times)
“Lady Macbeth plays like a cross between Wuthering Heights and The Postman Always Rings Twice.” (Independent) (research Chris Coetsee) Not to be missed at any cost.
Based on true events, a tale of ever more individuals who saved hundreds of lives during the Holocaust. In 1939 Poland, Zookeepers, Antonina and Jan Zabinski are leading a tranquil life, when everybody’s peace is shattered by the inevitable invasion. With many of the animals destroyed in bombing raids, the zoo is closed under German orders.
The couple decide to use the free space as a haven for Jewish escapees. In such volatile, and horrifically violent times, the lives of Antonina’s children are at risk as a result of her activities. Nevertheless, the Zabinski’s continue. In the duration of the war, over 300 people and many more injured animals inhabit the Zoo. The screenplay is adapted from the 2007 non-fiction biography taken from Antonia’s unpublished diary. The Zabinski’s contribution to the Polish underground resistance was such that they were officially recognised by the State of Israel in 1965 for their heroism. Perhaps not as hard-hitting like Schindler’s List, but maintains a poignancy. And there is something, and someone else here, more sinister than Amon Geoth…? (research Grace Atkins)
“Chastain’s a powerful actor but in the end, it’s the animals who conquer the emotions.” ??? (NY Observer) No it’s not. Come and see.
A member of The Mighty Boosh goes solo as fictional crime-buster Bruce P Mindhorn, whose bionically enhanced eye can ‘literally see truth’.
After years of figure-trimming hosiery adverts, balding has-been Richard Thorncroft (Julian Barratt) is in no position to be picky about his roles. So when a suspected serial killer (Russell Tovey) insists that he will speak only to Mindhorn, Thorncroft grabs his wig and heads across the Irish Sea to the glorious Isle of Man in search of a career revival.
With Steve Coogan heavily involved, you see very quickly that Thorncroft, in all his swaggery awfulness, is a beefed-up Alan Partridge clone, and the film is a variation on Alpha Papa, with the same drift towards accidental day-saving and a poignantly thwarted love life. Its weirdness still pays off when it's not trying too hard, and for fans of Barratt, Boosh and mock-heroic Britcoms, it will mostly hit the spot
As a bit of a primer for this, seek out A Gun for George, a short film by Matthew Holness (he of Darkplace and general cult fame) for a similar '70s detective pastiche. (research Jack Whiting) Barrett keeps a great straight face throughout. Silly, from start to finish. Come for both.
Woody Harrelson’s true-tale comedy escapade is an often hilarious satire of reckless privilege.
After Lost in London became the world’s first ever ‘live film’, screened in select cinemas as it was being filmed back in January, it would be easy to form the skeptical view that the film was nothing more than a publicity stunt.
Now receiving a limited release just a few months later, it can successfully be viewed on its own merits, as it neatly slots into a lineage of celebrated one-take cinema, in particular last year’s German masterpiece Victoria.
Depicting a wild night Harrelson had in London a decade and a half previously, Harrelson, Wilson, and Nelson play themselves to brilliant effect as they recreate this freewheeling caper.
After news publicly breaks that he’s had a one night stand with a gaggle of women, Woody’s wife up and skedaddles with the children in tow, leaving him to spend the night alone. As the story unfolds in real time, an increasingly distressed Harrleson finds his evening plunged into disarray as his inane set of showbiz connections do nothing to improve matters.
A superb, scathing, yet oddly heartfelt view of celebrity culture. (Research Chris Coetsee).
Watch out, there might be a surprise…
Unsurprisingly, age-centric gags about not being able to get out of chairs, mobility scooter chases, old folk taking drugs and OAPs in the underworld are the order of the day. Echoing Hell or High Water by way of Last Vegas and a bit of Ocean’s Eleven, Michael Caine is Joe, he's at war with a New York bank that has tripled his mortgage payments. His best buds, Willie (Freeman) and Albert (Arkin) are also mad as hell, given that the steel company they slaved for is dissolving their pensions. Together they play boules, eat pie and try to guess when they are going to peg it. It's then that Joe has the not so bright idea of holding up their local banks.
The codgers watch Dog Day Afternoon as primer in what not to do, enlist the services of a professional thief and resort to being adorable when all else fails, which it does, quite often and they do grow in the adorable dept.
It’s not original, nor particularly clever, but the geriatric slapstick tickles. You could do a lot worse than kick it with these three loveable oldies. (research Jack Whiting) We’ll show anything, for ever, where Alan Arkin turns up.
François Ozon’s latest feature is a sleek and somber affair, tackling the mystery of grief with subtlety and intelligence.
New star, the serene Paula Beer plays Anna, a young woman who has boxed-in her sorrow and quietly grieves for her fiancé Frantz, killed in battle during the Great War. Adrift from reality and unable to move on with her life, she lacks any sense of purpose until one-day she unexpectedly encounters the pale and mysterious Adrien mourning over her lover’s grave.
After tearfully revealing that he knew Frantz in Paris before the war, Anna opens her family home to Adrien, introducing him to her fiancé’s parents with whom she still lives. As they recount the past, their connections with Frantz as a quartet are gradually and carefully revealed, but a dark secret threatens...
Like much of Ozon’s work, it’s a beautiful film to behold and whilst eloquently shot almost entirely in rich monochrome, there are occasional detours into soft colour for some of the stirring, emotionally charged moments of drama.
“A mature work that transcends pastiche to be intellectually stimulating and emotionally satisfying.” (Screen International) (research Chris Coetsee) Beautiful indeed, in every word and frame. Don’t miss.
It was 50 years ago today that Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play, and somehow Paul McCartney is still going half a century later, though some say he should have called it off long before now. The shops continue to sell Beatles memorabilia, and re-mastered albums to old and the new generations. Fans from all over the world continue to block the road outside Abbey Studios. And absurdly, just when you think there is nothing more to wring from the Beatles tale, they find new footage! This documentary covers the making of Sgt Pepper and ‘All You Need is Love’ beemed live across Europe. It also explores the wider 60s picture from drugs to Jesus. Whether you want to revisit the summery dog days of your youth, or be taken to a decade that you wish you could’ve witnessed, it’s packed with new and old footage exploring the overblown “greatest musical revolutions of our time…” A reminder too that “The Beatles have died in the wrong order” (Victor Lewis Smith)
Director John Madden tackles the high pressure, fast-paced and nasty world of lobbying in this old-fashioned political justice thriller.
Jessica Chastain stars as Elizabeth Sloane, an intensely smart, sassy and ruthless lobbyist who has spent years surrounded by corrupt politicians and other underhanded figures of power.
After balking at the chance to represent the (NRA) National Rifle Association’s advocacy of guns for women’s personal safety, she alienates both the client and her boss George Dupont (Sam Waterston) and takes many of her staff with her to an ethically conscious rival company.
Enraged by her defection to the other side, the NRA launches an offensive and Sloane finds herself going to head-to-head with her former employers, fighting tooth and nail as Dupont and his cohorts set out to destroy her career.
“Hard to root for but mesmerising to watch, Sloane is expertly portrayed by Chastain in this dialogue-heavy lobbyist thriller that should please fans of both actor and style.” (Empire)
“At times furious, at times crestfallen, Jessica Chastain’s Washington lobbyist is not just one or two steps ahead of her adversaries but an entire movie ahead” (Independent) (research Chris Coetsee)
A fabulous low-key release. Mesmerising, don’t miss.
Juho Kuosmanen’s delightful black-and-white debut is a timeless reminder of how powerful and compelling cinema can be.
Olli (Jarkko Lahti), a modest amateur boxer, with a solid fight record and a clean slate is chosen as Finland’s top contender to face the featherweight champion of the world, Davey Moore (John Bosco Jr).
Destined to be the biggest fight in Finnish history, preparation for the upcoming bout subjects Olli to a world of physical hardship, mental toil and emotional strain. While the nation awaits the contest patiently, and those around Olli persist in reminding him about what a significant fight this will be, the only thing he truly wants to win is the heart of his newly found surprise: a girlfriend, Raija!
Awarded the Un Certain Regard Prize at Cannes 2016, Olli Mäki recalls the classic down-and-out boxer stories that enchanted old Hollywood. With many sports biopics tending to emphasise the most dramatic moments of their subjects’ careers, this one celebrates its people, not the sport. (That’s why you must come).
“A gentle, shrewd, somehow mysterious love story, beautifully photographed in luminous black-and-white and drawing inspiration from Scorsese and Truffaut.” (Guardian) (research Chris Coetsee) It is much more than winning’s frail vanity of proving yourself. Come.
Starting with Prometheus, Ridley Scott was itching to tell the events leading up to his original star beast, Alien.
What Prometheus lacked was teeth. Covenant then, is Scott delivering on the gory details: faces are hugged, spines are burst, and xenomorphs wreak terror on naive space explorers.
A space storm causes a bunch of colonists led by a Ripley-like Katherine Waterston to veer off course and pick a nearby world to make settlement. Bad idea. The planet is inhabited by a malevolent android (played with glee by Michael Fassbender), who's Frankenstein-tinkering with a DNA altering substance has birthed all kinds of the late HR Giger inspired, monster creations.
In the second part of a prequel trilogy, and thanks to George Lucas and Peter Jackson, we know how well those turn out! Scott remains bent on squeezing all suspense, mystery and terror out of a franchise which has fuelled our nightmares since 1979. The beauty of Alien was the mystery surrounding the creature, and its aggressive and host body-invading method of reproduction. It terrifies and fascinates still. If you ever wanted to witness a nasty ET head-butt its way out from the inside of someone's back, come along. (research Jack Whiting) Bring your own sick-bag.
At this point Marvel can roll out their most obscure collection of characters and a hit is almost certain.
And when this band of space scallywags became an immediate success in 2014, part two was inevitable. Kickstarting proceedings into gear with infant plant alien, Groot (still the voice of Vin Diesel), dancing to ELO's Mr. Blue Sky, as the rest of the gang: Quill (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana) Drax (Dave Bautista), and, Rocket Raccoon (voice of Bradley Cooper) are fighting a giant space squid; Vol. 2 knows how to make an entrance.
They come into contact with Quill's father (Kurt Russell), a space deity called Ego. He's been searching for his son to help him with important galaxy chores. Quill, naturally, is thrilled to finally meet his only living relative; the other Guardians have their doubts that Ego is indeed the all-loving space hippy he appears to be. Just like its predecessor, Vol. 2 is like an expensive Flash Gordon with a kick-ass soundtrack. It makes very good use of Fleetwood Mac's The Chain. (Jack Whiting)
From Terry George; the Director of Hotel Rwanda and In The Name of the Father comes this drama, set against the backdrop of WWII and the remaining Ottoman Empire. When Michael (Oscar Isaac), a brilliant medical student, meets Ana (Charlotte LeBon), their shared Armenian heritage sparks an attraction that explodes into a romantic rivalry between Michael and Ana’s boyfriend Chris (Christian Bale), a famous American photojournalist, dedicated to exposing political truth.
Oscar Isaac delivers a terrific performance, demonstrating why he’s so quickly rose to fame, while Charlotte Le Bon showcases a lot of potential following on from Robert Zemeckis’s The Walk and The Hundred-Foot Journey. George’s use of colour matches the feelings of both protagonists, as well as the mood of the entire country; the vibrant and eye-catching perspective on Turkey we are shown at the beginning of the film is contrasted by the characters’ descent into a much darker and seemingly inescapable future. “A fresh perspective on a largely untold story, with a compelling love story to boot.”(Little White Lies)
A 60-s style epic with political intrigue. An important recognition of the history of the Armenian genocide.
Hope Dickson Leach’s emotionally-charged debut feature is a powerful, poignant take on grim rural reality.
Ellie Kendrick plays Clover Catto, a trainee vet who returns to her family farm in the wake of her brother’s tragic suicide. Upon arrival, it soon becomes clear that her stubborn, ex-military father Aubrey (David Troughton) is determined to soldier on regardless and refuses to truly acknowledge what has happened, shutting her out in the cold.
Amidst a flood-ravaged Somerset of 2014/15, Clover gradually discovers the details of her brother’s death and the truth about the state of the family business. As old resentments rise to the surface, she struggles to unravel a web of mystery, misery and repressed emotion.
Dickson Leach masterfully uses the bleak countryside as a backdrop for exploring The Levelling’s central themes of guilt and grief, whilst both Kendrick and Troughton deliver superb individual roles, which truly capture a family core at its most vulnerable.
“A modestly scaled, superbly crafted drama.” (Times)
“It may sound bleak, but there is such life and compassion in every frame that the film's tune turns to a song of love.” (Observer) (research Chris Coetsee) Beautifully written Chris, as is the film.
So don’t miss.
This is Woody Allen’s rapturous, poignant, romantic comedy about the fretful life of an obsessive TV writer. In those days Allen put himself at the centre of all his films. Here we find him worrying over his current, ex-girlfriend and future women (Hemingway, Streep and Keaton).
His hypochondria and his contemplated switch to serious literature cause no end of inner turmoil. Above all the film is a declaration of love for the cerebral life and fashion of the gleaming glass of Manhattan Island towering over the Hudson. Set to Gershwin and filmed in silvery widescreen monochrome by Gordon Willis, it is a cinematic masterpiece of its time, in a minor key. If you can stand Woody you’ll love it. If you can’t, but decide to come to see what all the fuss is about, you may have to admit it is a classic, however indulgent… Come and see, then decide.
Master director Aki Kaurismaki returns with his first feature in six years, helming this bittersweet comedy-drama of bleak fate and unlikely friendship.
Desperately avoiding a group of violent aggressors, Syrian refugee Khaled (Sherwan Haji) unwittingly arrives in the distinctly unfamiliar Helsinki by accident after having slipped aboard a departing coal freighter. Separated from his sister and alone in a foreign city, he takes to hiding out behind a small, grotty local dive: The Golden Pint.
When the sour, middle-aged proprietor Wikstrom discovers his uninvited guest camped out, the two come to blows. But when the dust settles, so does their misconceptions and following a warming bowl of soup and a kindly job offer, Wikstrom and his staff soon become Khaled’s allies and protectors in a community thrown together by circumstance.
Winner of the Best Director award at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, Kaurismaki deserves every plaudit for a film which perfectly blends gut-wrenching melancholy with the absurdly hilarious.
“Devilishly funny.” (Guardian)
“A gently loving fable with a straightforward political message that home can be wherever you find it.” (Sight & Sound) (research Chris Coetsee) Sounds fabulous, come and see.