5 to See: This Weekend

ASFF selects five new films released on demand this week. One documentary and four features, these movies each explore a diverse range of human experience, from adolescence to advancing years, from the trauma of illness to the inspiration of artistic expression.

The Artist’s Wife (Vertigo Releasing)

Bruce Dern plays the artist, a famous abstract expressionist painter, who is now sliding, terrifyingly, towards dementia. But this film by writer-director Tom Dolby is, as the title suggests, the story of the woman behind him, Claire – a former painter who long since gave up her ambitions to support her husband. Played by Lena Olin, who gives a terrific performance, this may not have the power of the Oscar-winning The Father, which also deals with the devastating trauma of dementia, but it’s a fine showcase for several great talents.

Beast Beast (Blue Finch Film Releasing)

An American indie from writer-director Danny Madden, who worked with Jim Cummings on his breakout film Thunder Road, this adolescent drama follows three youngsters in a small southern town. Theatre kid Krista (Shirley Chen), loner skate kid Nico (Jose Angeles) and recent graduate Adam (Will Madden), a gun nut who likes to post videos on YouTube, are on separate paths that will see them, inevitably, collide.

Aviva (Matchbox Films)

The curious career of Boaz Yakin continues. After his 1990s indie hits Fresh and A Price Above Rubies, he disappeared into the world of Hollywood blockbusters – scripting films like Now You See Me and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. Aviva is more back to his roots, with a radical telling of a transatlantic romance between Aviva and Eden – two characters portrayed by a quartet of actors, playing either a ‘male’ or ‘female’ side of the personality. Fascinating.

Wild Mountain Thyme (Lionsgate)

When the trailer for John Patrick Shanley’s Irish romantic drama first dropped, there was a lot of mirth, particularly from those living in the Emerald Isle. Well, now’s the chance to see what all the fuss was about. Adapted from Shanley’s play, Emily Blunt stars as a farmer’s daughter and Jamie Dornan is the local lad who fails to romance her. Christopher Walken co-stars as Dornan’s father, while Jon Hamm pops up as an American banker who has plans to jack it all in for the pastoral life.

Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation (Dogwoof)

Two authors for the price of one, Lisa Immordino Vreeland’s cultured documentary examines the rollercoaster friendship between Breakfast at Tiffany’s author Truman Capote and Glass Menagerie playwright Tennessee Williams. Stitching together archive footage with extracts from their letters and writings, voiced by Jim Parsons and Zachary Quinto, this is an elegant attempt to bring to life two men who shared a rivalry and a great deal of pain.

All films released by 30 April.

James Mottram