Directed by: Oliver HermanusStaring: Bill Nighy, Aimee Lou Wood, Alex Sharp & Tom Burke
Based on Akira Kurosawa’s film Ikiru with script written by Ishiguro, Living is the story of ordinary civil servant (Bill Nighy) who spends his days pushing paper at work and feeling lonely at home. Upon receiving a shattering medical diagnosis he realises he needs to start living before it’s too late. He finds company in an upbeat young colleague Margaret (Aimee Lou Wood) and together they take pleasure in finding his purpose.
Set in 1953 London, Bill Nighy plays this part perfectly in this beautifully nostalgic film of human emotion that teaches us to embrace life.
Directed by: Pedro AlmodovarStaring: Penelope Cruz, Israel Elejalde, Milena Smit
Janis is commissioned to take photos of Arturo, a forensic archaeologist. After the shoot, she asks him to help with the excavation of a mass grave in her hometown, in which her great-grandfather and nine other townspeople were buried after their murder by Francoists during the Spanish Civil War. After their passionate affair has ended, she finds out that she is pregnant and decides to have the child on her own. In the maternity ward, she shares a room with a young, single woman.
They give birth at about the same time and become fast friends but after discharge, they fall out of touch.
Directed by: Mark MylodStaring: Ralph Fiennes, Anya Taylor-Joy & Nicholas Hoult
The Menu is a dark comedic satire set in an exclusive restaurant on a remote island owned by head chef Julian Slowik (Ralph Fiennes), who has become tired of the vain and greedy clientele who dine there. When a group of 11 arrive for their $1,250 a head meal, Julian has prepared a lavish menu with some shocking surprises.
Ralph Fiennes and Anya Taylor-Joy scooped the Golden Globe awards for best actor and actress.
Directed by: Panah PanahiStaring: Hassan Madjooni & Pantea Panahiha
A charming, sharp-witted, and deeply moving drama. Hit the Road takes the tradition of the Iranian road-trip movie and adds unexpected twists and turns. It follows a family of four, two middle-aged parents and their sons, as they drive across the Iranian countryside. Over the course of the trip, they bond over memories of the past and grapple with fears of the unknown. Unspoken tensions arise and the film builds emotional momentum as it slowly reveals the furtive purpose of their journey.
A far-reaching fable of connection and separation, handled with disarming wit and tenderness. Witty, heart breaking and humane.
Directed by: Charlotte WellsStaring: Paul Mescal, Frankie Corio
Charlotte Wells’ delectable debut movie is a film about the overwhelming power of the past and its terrible, tragic inaccessibility. Sophie reflects on the shared joy and private melancholy of the holiday she took with her father twenty years earlier at a budget resort in Turkey. The title elegantly gestures at something understood only when it has receded into the past, when its heat has cooled and when some balm is needed. The movie ripples and shimmers like a swimming pool of mystery, unspooling naturally, like a haunting and deceptively simple short story.
Directed by: Lukas DhontStaring: Eden Dambrine & Gustav De Waele
A Cannes Grand Prix winner, Close is the story of two thirteen year old boys whose tender friendship is fatally broken. Director, Dhont comments that ‘It’s that childhood connection where love can still be love in its freest form. And then as these boys go to school, arrive on that playground, there’s one of the two that all of a sudden gets injected with consciousness’. The boys’ classmates are not demonised – there’s no bully here – but Dhont subtly shows how those throwaway insinuations impose an irresistible pressure on the pair. The film critiques societal norms from a different angle, delicately tracing the emotionally deadening but invisible frameworks of conformity that are imposed on young people in their most formative years.
It’s a quiet tragedy that’s rendered close to uplifting by its gentle grace and compassion, and by using the sparsest of dialogue the exceptional two young actors make you believe every painful, inexpressible feeling.
Directed by: Chinonye ChukwuStaring: Danielle Deadwyler, Jalyn Hall & Whoopi Goldberg
On 28 August 1955 in Money, Mississippi, Emmett Louis Till (Jalyn Hall), a 14-year-old African-American from Chicago, was abducted, tortured and lynched for seemingly offending a white woman in a grocery store while visiting his relatives. His dead body, mutilated and unrecognisable, was discovered in the Tallahatchie river three days later. It is to the credit of filmmaker Chinonye Chukwu that Till has no interest in depicting and therefore sensationalising the heinous crime. Instead, Chukwu reframes the story through the prism of Emmett’s mother Mamie’s fight for justice, an exceptional performance played by Danielle Deadwyler. It’s a smart move, finding hope in a tragedy without cheapening it, while playing out the narrative on a bigger civil-rights canvas and highlights, until the end, the injustices that persist to this day.
Directed by: Jacques DemyStaring: Catherine Deneuve & Nino Castelnuovo
It is a curious film in which all the words in it are sung, and an unashamedly artificial film, with the cinematography’s strikingly colourful vibrant hues, such that it looks like no other film before it. Yet it is strongly attached to the real world of the coastal town which gives it its name. It features a romance between Genevieve who works in an umbrella shop and car mechanic Guy, with the backdrop of the Algerian war. It is unexpectedly sad and wise, a bittersweet reflection on the way true love sometimes does not (and perhaps should not) conquer all. One of the most revered and unorthodox film musicals of all time.
Directed by: Colm BaireadStaring: Carrie Crowley, Andrew Bennett & Catherine Clinch
Set in rural Ireland in 1981, this is the story of a quiet, neglected 9 year old girl Cait, who is sent away from her overcrowded dysfunctional family to live with foster parents for the summer. Struggling at school and at home, she has learned to hide in plain sight from those around her, but she blossoms in the care of her foster parents, a middle-aged couple Sean and Eibhlin Cinnsealach, distant relatives of her mother, who she has never met before, and discovers a new way of living. However, in this house where affection grows and there are meant to be no secrets, she discovers one.
Directed by: Craig RobertsStaring: Mark Rylance, Sally Hawkins & Rhys Ifans
A feel good finish for this season brings the true story of Maurice Flitcroft, a laid-off crane driver who at the age of 46 chanced his way into the British Open in 1976 having never played a round of golf in his life. Rhys Ifans is the spoil sport as the head of the British Open trying to stop Flitcroft, who responds with wigs, moustaches and entering various tournaments under pseudonyms like Gene Paycheki, Arnold Palmtree, and Count Manfred von Hoffmanstel. In the vein of Eddie the Eagle and Dream Horse this is the quintessential underdog accomplishing outrageous acts against both the odds and the establishment.