5 to See: This Weekend

ASFF selects five new films released on demand this week. Coming from around the globe – America, France, Ukraine and Britain – this mix of documentary and dramatic features examine a mix of themes. Among them, the stasis that grief can cause, the purity of love and the perils of artistic expression.

Spring Blossom (Curzon Home Cinema)

Suzanne Lindon, the daughter of French acting royalty Vincent Lindon and Sandrine Kiberlain, writes, directs and stars in this coming-of-age tale. She plays Suzanne, a young girl who falls for a much older man (Arnaud Valois) in a story that blends naturalism and fantasy. A script she wrote at 15 and filmed at 19, it’s a remarkable achievement for someone making their directorial and screen debut.

Homeward (New Wave)

A Crimean Tatar by birth, filmmaker Nariman Aliev follows his series of shorts with this feature debut, a searingly personal work that sees a father, Mustafa (Akhtem Seitablayev) travel to Crimea with the body of his oldest son Nazim who was killed in the war between Russia and Ukraine. Accompanied by his youngest son Alim, Musfata’s journey will be a painful reckoning. But Aliev, who is not yet 30, has a bright future.

Black Bear (Vertigo Releasing)

A film about art, anxiety and alcoholism, Lawrence Michael Levine’s indie stars Aubrey Plaza as Allison, an actress and director who rents a room in a rural retreat from two former Brooklynites, played by Christopher Abbott and Sarah Gadon. That’s just the first part of an increasingly head-scratching work that goes very meta in its second half, as Plaza’s character goes off-the-rails in the best movie about indie moviemaking since Living In Oblivion.

Sisters with Transistors (Modern Films)

Not only does this documentary come armed with the best title of the year, it also contains a fascinating untold story about electronic music’s female pioneers. Directed by Lisa Rovner (who previously made the documentary short Constellations), its narrated by Laurie Anderson and examines several whose work redefined the form and broke boundaries, including Clara Rockmore, Daphne Oram, Bebe Barron and Laurie Spiegel.

The Last Photograph (Sparky Pictures)

Actor Danny Huston goes back behind the camera for the first time in over twenty years with this modest but affecting tale of grief. He plays London bookstore owner Tom Hammond, who becomes an emotional wreck when the last ever photograph he took with his late son goes missing. Co-starring Jonah Hauer-King as his offspring, the film also features Stacy Martin, Michelle Ryan and Jaime Winstone.

All films released by 26 April.

James Mottram