This weekend ASFF selects five films that transport and delight in equal measure. One re-release, one documentary and three features explore issues of faith, family, politics and class, taking us across four continents from Europe to the Middle East and the Americas.
Brad Anderson continues the unique career path that’s seen him make Next Stop, Wonderland, The Machinist and Transsiberian with this intelligent political thriller starring Jon Hamm. Written by Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton), Hamm plays a former U.S. diplomat who returns to Beirut in 1982 to negotiate the release a kidnapped friend and colleague. Rosamund Pike and Breaking Bad’s Dean Norris co-star in a story that treats the Middle East with the complexity it deserves.
Michael Lehmann’s 1988 feature debut now receives a 30th anniversary re-release. At the time of its original cinema run, Heathers was a genuine cult: a too-cool-for-school tale of classroom cliques starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater. Arriving the same year as Beetlejuice for Ryder and Tucker: The Man and His Dreamfor Slater, it propelled both to stardom and reinvigorated the teenage movie. Has it aged well? See for yourself with this brand new restoration.
Wim Wenders, the esteemed German filmmaker behind Wings of Desire, Kings of the Road and The American Friend, returns to the documentary form with this portrait of the Pope. Interviewing Pope Francis, a divisive figure who has ruffled feathers in the Catholic Church, the film explores his core beliefs as he suggests we could all do with less material wealth in our lives. Unafraid to tackle issues such as the sexual abuse scandals that rocked the Catholic faith, it’s frank and life-affirming.
Films from Iceland don’t come around too often. So here’s a chance to watch a suburban satire from director Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson (who made 2011’s Either Way). It begins as Atli (Steinþór Hróar Steinþórsson) gets kicked out of his house by his wife after being caught watching an intimate film featuring him and another woman; it doesn’t get any less strange or bleak as he moves back in with his parents. For those who like their comedy black and dry.
A triple-prize winner at this year’s Berlin Film Festival – including Best Actress for Ana Brun – The Heiress marks the feature debut of Paraguayan Marcelo Martinessi. The story sees Brun play a wealthy middle-aged Paraguayan woman who must strike out and live on her own after her partner is convicted of fraud. A canny character study that looks at privilege in the elite classes of Paraguayan society, it’s an acutely-observed tale that demands to be seen.
All films released on 10 August.
1. Still from Heathers.
2. Still from The Negotiator.
3. Still from Heathers.
4. Still from Pope Francis: A Man of His Word.
5. Still from Under the Tree.
6. Still from Heiresses.