Best Of The Fests
Best Of The Fests
Our annual trawl of the finest films at major festivals, including Life in a Fishbowl, which was a hit at Toronto: The Wonders and The Assassin, both prize winners at Cannes; The Wolfpack was a huge success at Sundance and A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night has won festival awards across the globe and is this year's late night frightener.
Winner of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival Grand Prix, The Wonders is a startling second feature from writer-director Alice Rohrwacher. It centers on Gelsomina (Maria Alexandra Lungo) the eldest daughter of a bee-keeping family in rural Tuscany. Her late-in-life exposure to the modern world - in the form of a chintzy reality TV show and its glamorous hostess (Monica Bellucci) – are at odds with her father's proudly traditional way of life. Within its framework this film delivers an intimate response to the age-old conflict between modernity and tradition.
Val (Regina Casé) is a hard working live-in housekeeper in modern day Sao Paolo and is very used to looking after the everyday needs of her wealthy employers. However, when faced with her estranged daughters sudden appearance, Val is forced to reassess the social boundaries that have kept her set apart from the rest of the household. This is a fast paced and humorous dissection of Brazilian social inequalities that delivers a warm and "deeply moving examination of the essence of family" (USA Today).
A winner at many festivals!
Polisse won the Jury Prize at Cannes and featuring Paris' Child Protection Unit (Polisse is a child's misspelling of police) it portrays some difficult issues and reminds us that abuse is not as far away as we would like to think.
Polisse features multiple story-lines centred on the (often harrowing) experiences of the police men and women in the Unit. Director Maiwenn plays the role of a photographer, assigned to the Unit by the Ministry of Justice and gradually becoming drawn into the lives of those around her.
It is easily forgotten that Iceland was something of an economic powerhouse in the last decade. Life in a Fishbowl is the tale of 3 individuals, each with a hidden life, whose stories intertwine in the run-up to the financial crash of 2008.
Eik, a young mother and nursery teacher cannot make ends meet and starts to moonlight; she meets Mori, a poet and novelist and apparent down and out; whose property is coveted by Solvi a banker with eyes towards redevelopment.
A huge hit in its native Iceland 'Fishbowl' is now set to enthral a much wider audience on the Festival circuit.
When the sledgehammer of the State decides that the nut of an irritant folk singer needs to be cracked, the legal process becomes a heavy weapon.
Court exposes the convoluted workings of the Indian judicial system and seems to have touched a nerve, with Indian censors mandating edits before approving the film for release.
A courtroom drama like no other, Court contrasts the lifestyles of the defence and the defendant, the prosecutor and the judge.
Jennifer Peedom started out to make a documentary about a Sherpa on his 22nd ascent of Everest, again in support of a well-financed foreign climbing team. For such teams, Sherpas are as essential to their success as ropes or oxygen equipment but valued significantly less.
During filming tragedy struck as an ice fall killed 16 Sherpa guides, which brought many years feelings of injustice to a head – the Sherpas went on strike. The focus of Peedom's film changed immediately and the result is compelling.
This is a Charity Performance in aid of Cumbria Flood Relief.
Described as a slow burning, very Japanese coming of age drama, Still the Water is a lyrical and moving film set on the sub tropical island of Amami where the land and seascapes provide a compelling backdrop to the story.
Kyoko and Kaito are teenagers with complex relationships with their parents – their own developing relationship is brought into focus by the discovery of a tattooed body washed up on the beach.
Ninth-century China: 10 year-old general's daughter Nie Yinniang is abducted by a nun who initiates her into the martial arts, transforming her into an exceptional assassin charged with eliminating cruel and corrupt local governors. One day, having failed in a task, she is sent back by her mistress to the land of her birth, with orders to kill the man to whom she was promised - a cousin who now leads the largest military region in North China.
Described as cool, funny, but with substance, this sounds like the vampire movie for people who would never go to a vampire movie. This film has garnered wins from festivals from Buenos Aires to Dublin.
Iranian/American director Ana Lily Amirpour describes her debut film as an 'Iranian Vampire Spaghetti Western'. Her film wrong-foots the audience deviously with its aura of shivery nocturnal threat, the point being that the central character is the predator, not the prey. Never given a name, and played by Argo actress Sheila Vand, this apparition in a chador, skateboarding along the black-and-white streets of a fictional Iranian backwater called Bad City, turns out to be a vampire. She feeds mainly on those who've earned it.
In the mountains of Pakistan, a mother and her ten-year-old daughter flee their home on the eve of the girl's marriage to a tribal leader. A deadly hunt for them begins.
After a rousing reception at Toronto International Film Festival 2014 and in over 20 countries since then, the critically acclaimed Dukhtar comes to Keswick from Pakistan for its release.
An over-protective father locks his seven children in their New York apartment in order to prevent them experiencing the dangers of life outside. Film becomes their window on the world and gorging on all-night sessions of VHS, the brothers turned their prison-like conditions into a site of creativity and play.
A chance meeting with a filmmaker on a rare trip outside the apartment led to the making of this extraordinary documentary, re-enacting scenes from their favourite films - homemade costumes and all - and seeing the interaction between the brothers and their strange patriarch.
Maya, a choreographer at a Jerusalem dance troupe, is married to Yoav, a senior official at the Ministry of Justice. A pair of career driven parents with two demanding children, each day requires planning and juggling, a great deal of hubbub.
One evening Maya spots a figure from her past and her evident distress reveals that she is hiding something.
"AKA Nadia is a film about choice: the choice of life, even at the price of sacrifice. It's about mothers and daughters, identities and truth and lies" - Tova Ascher