5 to See: This Weekend

This weekend ASFF selects five films that examine notions of childhood, justice, hypocrisy, creation and memory. Three features and two documentaries, these films are as varied in their styles as they are in their themes.

Christopher Robin (Disney)

Marc Forster, director of Quantum of Solaceand Finding Neverland, delivers his first out-and-out children’s movie with Christopher Robin. Inspired by author A.A. Milne’s woodland creatures, Ewan McGregor plays a grown-up version of the titular boy, who is paid a visit by the honey-loving Winnie-the-Pooh in 1940s London. With Pooh, Tigger and the gang all beautifully rendered in CGI, it’s a handcrafted work of real childhood nostalgia.

The Equalizer 2 (Sony Pictures)

Denzel Washington reprises his role as the justice-seeking vigilante Robert McCall in this second film based on the original 1980s TV series starring Edward Woodward. Remarkably, it’s the first sequel of Washington’s distinguished career, although it’s his fourth outing with director Antoine Fuqua, who previously steered him to an Oscar on Training Day. Bill Pullman and Melissa Leo also return in a violent and uncompromising story.

The Eyes of Orson Welles (Dogwoof)

Mark Cousins turns his attention to the great filmmaker Orson Welles in this personal look at his work and life. It’s a hugely informed documentary, made more so by the inclusion of never-seen-before sketches and drawings by Welles that dovetail intriguingly with his movies. Narrated by Cousins, as if a letter written to Welles, it’s the sort of cinematic essay that will make you reassess the way you look at Citizen Kaneand his other landmark works.

The Guardians (Curzon Artificial Eye) 

If you saw Claire Denis’ Let The Sunshine Inearlier this year, then you’ll know Xavier Beauvois, as he popped up in a small role. Here he goes behind the camera with this tale of women worked the land in France during the First World War, just as the men were being marched off to fight in the trenches. Based on the 1924 novel by Ernest Pérochon, Nathalie Baye takes the lead as a widow who must now run the family farm.

Distant Constellation (ICA)

Shevaun Mizrahi’s prize-winning documentary is set in an Istanbul retirement home, where the ageing residents take centre stage. While the landscape on the outside is ravaged by construction work, inside Mizrahi paints a delicate picture of lives lived – from a woman who faced the Armenian genocide to a man who once attended Parisian sex parties. Full of piquantly observed moments, it’s no surprise to learn that Mizrahi was once an assistant to the great Todd Haynes cinematographer Ed Lachmann.

All films released on 17 August.

James Mottram

Credits:
1. Still from The Equalizer 2 (Sony Pictures).
2. Still from Christopher Robin (Disney).
3. Still from The Equalizer 2 (Sony Pictures)
4. Still from The Eyes of Orson Welles (Dogwoof).
5. Still from The Guardians (Curzon Artificial Eye).
6. Still from Distant Constellation (ICA).