This weekend ASFF selects five new films – four fiction and one documentary – that stem from both home and abroad. From horror and fable to social realism and the experimental, it’s a diverse array of cinema that grapples with the political and social issues of today.
Forty years on from the original Halloween, David Gordon Green resurrects the John Carpenter-crafted horror franchise, bringing Jamie Lee Curtis back to the role of Laurie Strode that made her famous. This latest installment – the eleventh if you count the remake and its sequel – ignores the earlier films. Curtis’ Strode is still haunted by killer Michael Myers, despite him being incarcerated for the past four decades in a psychiatric institution. But the victim will soon have to once again confront her tormentor.
Matteo Garrone, the Italian director of Gomorrah and Tale of Tales, arrives with another out-there urban fable. Marcello, a well-liked but put-upon dog groomer, gets involved with a violent criminal detested in the local neighborhood, with disastrous, life-changing results. Marcello Fonte and Edoardo Pesce star in a film that swings between the down-and-dirty and a fairytale-like quality, with a world beset by ogres. Strange but strangely compelling.
The ever-provocative documentary filmmaker Michael Moore is back with the film we all knew he’d make. Except that Fahrenheit 11/9 isn’t really a take-down of Donald J. Trump, but a look at a broken system and a divided nation that led to the billionaire reality TV star becoming the 45th president of the United States. Moore’s scattershot approach will annoy some, with detours into the Flint, Michigan water crisis that don’t quite synch with the overall picture, but this is still the director’s most telling film in years.
Winner of this year’s Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival, Touch Me Not is directed by Romanian artist and director Adina Pintilie. Back in Berlin, this study of a middle-aged British woman (played by Laura Benson) with intimacy issues caused shockwaves amongst audiences for its frank exploration of female sexuality. But there is much to consider and debate as Benson’s character enlists the help of sex workers and therapists to help her overcome her problems with physical contact.
Writer-director Ed Lilly makes his feature debut with this drama set around the UK rap battle scenes. Like a homespun 8 Mile – just swap Detroit for Southend – Connor Swindells plays Adam, a young man trying to pick his way through the scene and craft his own identity. Adding to the authenticity, real-life Mancunian rapper Shotty Horroh appears as Adam’s rival Slaughter in a film is clearly destined to appeal to an urban youth market somewhat underserved since the days of Kidulthood.
All films released on 19 October.
1. Still from Dogman.