This week, the East End Film Festival gets underway in London. First formed in 2000, this year opens with a real coup. Boom For Real: The Late-Teenage Years Of Jean-Michel Basquiat is a documentary portrait of the artist directed by Sara Driver, celebrating Basquiat’s pre-fame years and looking at just how New York’s art and culture scene shifted in the 1970s and 1980s. Driver, a long-time partner of indie filmmaker Jim Jarmusch, was very much a part of that scene, making her the ideal choice to explore the enigmatic Basquiat.
Driver will also be appearing for an In Conversation event to discuss her life and work, as will German-Turkish director Fatih Akin, who brings his new film In The Fade to the festival. The winner of this year’s Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Movie, In the Fade is a controversial tale of a woman who loses her husband and son in a nail bomb attack perpetrated by a neo-Nazi couple. Starring Diane Kruger, who won Best Actress in Cannes for the performance, it’s a brutal look at just how such atrocities can inspire feelings of vengeance.
Deborah Heywood’s British film Pin Cushion has been touring the festival circuit ever since it opened Critics Week in Venice, and also comes recommended. It stars Joanna Scanlan (who you’ll recognise from The Thick of It) and newcomer Lily Newmark as an eccentric mother Lyn and her shy daughter Iona, who arrive in a new town in the hope of starting afresh. Directed and designed with a real singular vision, it’s a growing pains tale every bit as uncomfortable to watch as Mike Leigh’s Bleak Moments.
For those looking for something more visceral, French debut director Coralie Fargeat’s Revenge is a pulpy blood-soaked thriller that first played in Toronto’s Midnight Madness strand last September. Matilda Lutz played Jen, a trophy girlfriend who is assaulted but turns the tables on her attackers. It’s a gory ride, reminiscent of other French horrors like Martyrs and Inside, but a fine example of why the East End Film Festival really does cater for all tastes.
The East End Film Festival runs from 11 April to 29 April. For more details, click here.
1. Coralie Fargeat’s Revenge.