5 to See: This Weekend

This weekend ASFF selects five new films ranging from big-scale fantasy to social realism, true-life biopic to literary adaptation, big themes are the order of the day: war, sex, family, violence, power and magic. 

A Private War(Altitude)

Rosamund Pike gives a gutsy performance as real-life Sunday Timesjournalist Marie Colvin, a Long Island-born war correspondent who covered some of the world’s most brutal conflict zones before losing her life in Syria in 2012. Documentary director Matthew Heineman (City of GhostsCartel Land) makes his feature debut here, with Pike’s co-stars including Jamie Dornan as Colvin’s photographer Paul Conroy. Authentically portrayed, it’s a stirring look at the personal toll that war-time takes. 

Jellyfish(Republic Film)

After a series of shorts, British director James Gardner makes his feature debut with Jellyfish, a startling coming-of-age story about a young schoolgirl, Sarah (Liv Hill), who is just about keeping her family together, with two younger siblings to care for and a mother who can barely get out of bed. Hill, who appeared in last year’s Lenny Abrahamson movie The Little Stranger, is flat-out fantastic in this, delivering an unforgettable performance.  

Mektoub, My Love(Curzon Artificial Eye)

Abdellatif Kechiche’s first film since his Cannes-winning stunner Blue Is The Warmest Colouris another film fascinated by youth and sexuality. Set across a summer holiday in the early 1990s, in the Mediterranean port of Sète, it follows film student Amin (Shaïn Boumedine) as he watches while others eat, talk, flirt, dance and more. It’s a loose-limbed, three-hour exploration, and this is only “Canto Uno”; Kechiche recently finished filming a sequel. 

Piercing(Vertigo Releasing)

Ryu Murakami’s controversial novel makes it to the big screen in this equally unsettling adaptation by Nicolas Pesce (The Eyes of My Mother). Moving the action from Tokyo, Christopher Abbott plays Reed, a husband and father who decides to channel his urge to kill by hiring a prostitute and luring her to a hotel room. Mia Wasikowska co-stars as the call girl who is anything but a victim in this twisted drama that is littered with disturbing imagery. Piercing is exactly what this is. 

The Kid Who Would Be King(Twentieth Century Fox)

Joe Cornish – one half of comedy duo Adam and Joe and director of 2011’s Attack The Block – returns with his second film as director, a children’s Arthurian-style fantasy. Louis Ashbourne Serkis plays Alex, a modern-day schoolkid who finds a mysterious sword that turns out to be Excalibur. Soon enough he’s meeting Merlin and the Lady of the Lake for an exotic adventure. Rebecca Ferguson and Sir Patrick Stewart co-star. 

All films released on 15 February.  

James Mottram

Credits:
1. Still from
Piercing.
2. Still from A Private War.
3. Still from Jellyfish.
4. Still from
Mektoub, My Love.
5. Still from
Piercing.
6. Still from The Kid Who Would Be King.