ASFF selects five films for release on demand. Hailing from America, Britain and Italy, this mixture of documentary and feature offerings run the gamut of genres, from music documentary to literary biopic to satirical thriller. Among the diverse themes explored are identity and the self, capitalism as exploitation and the devastation of grief.
Rosamund Pike offers a delicious turn as an immoral businesswoman who spends her days exploiting elderly vulnerable people in the American healthcare system. Written and directed by J. Blakeson, who made the excellent The Disappearance of Alice Creed, this is a blackly comic thriller with a provocative sheen to it. Pike has never been more unlikeable – a real out-on-a-limb performance that will have you admiring her chutzpah and rooting for her downfall. Peter Dinklage and Dianne Wiest co-star.
This award-winning Italian drama comes from the D’Innocenzo Brothers – Damiano and Fabio. Their second film, following 2018’s Boys Cry, it picked up the Silver Bear at last year’s Berlin Film Festival for Best Director and has already drawn comparisons to their fellow countryman Matteo Garrone. Set in a housing estate in the suburbs of Rome, the story follows several families as tensions brew in the sultry weather. Elio Germano (a Best Actor winner in Cannes and Berlin) stars.
To Olivia (Sky Cinema)
A snapshot of the life of author Roald Dahl, before he became famous for penning Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. With Dahl played by Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville, the film covers a period of great personal pain in his life, when he and his Hollywood actress wife Patricia Neal (Keeley Hawes) suffered the devastating loss of their daughter. Directed by John Hay (Lost Christmas), that acting is terrific, with supporting roles equally impressive – including Outlander’s Sam Heughan doing a pretty mean impersonation of Paul Newman.
After facing the music last year, Bill & Ted star Alex Winter gets back to his day job, with this new documentary about legendary Sixties musician Frank Zappa. The director has raided the Zappa vaults for some unique archive – even from his teen years – and interviewed a bunch of cool people who were there, from Alice Cooper to Gail Zappa, his wife and mother of their four children. That it’s a must-see for Zappa fans is stating the obvious, but even newcomers to his music will get a kick out of this.
White Colour Black (Peccadillo Pictures)
Quite why it’s taken five years for British-Nigerian Joseph Adesunloye’s directorial debut to arrive on these shores is a mystery. But here it is, the 2016-made story of a successful fashion photographer Leke (model-actor-boxer Dudley O’Shaughnessy) who returns to Senegal for his father’s funeral. As he begins to find new meaning abroad, even finding romance with Badewa (Yrsa Daley-Ward), the contrast between London and Dakar and even his father’s village make for fascinating viewing.
All films released on 19 February.