This weekend ASFF selects five new films – one documentary, one animation and three live-action features – that set out to enlighten, amuse and thrill. Addressing art, architecture, religion and love, these films promise to take you on a faraway journey.
Sam Rockwell has enjoyed a fine year, winning an Oscar for his racist cop in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. It certainly explains why Hadi Hajaig’s crime film – shot two years ago – is getting a belated release, with Rockwell and Ben Schwartz playing a pair of New York ex-cons embroiled in a scam to steal the eponymous rare gemstone. Simon Callow, Amanda Donohoe and Peter Polycarpou complete the cast.
Heather Lenz’s documentary charts the unexpected but appealing rise of Japanese-born Yayoi Kusama, who has hustled her way to becoming one of the world’s most beloved artists. While Lenz covers Kusama’s background, when she fell in love with art and the polka-dot designs that became her trademark, the film takes great pains to examine how her work has been rediscovered and reassessed by contemporary audiences.
One of the more unusual animations geared towards adults to emerge in recent times, Ali Soozandeh’s Tehran Taboo tells of three women and one man living under the strict religious laws in Iranian society. Beautifully rendered using the rotoscope technique – previously seen on Richard Linklater’s A Scanner Darkly and Waking Life – it’s a fascinating insight into everyday Iranian life and the difficulties faced by citizens, particularly women.
The acclaimed video essayist Kogonada makes his directorial debut with this Lost In Translation-esque tale of two people who meet in Columbus, Indiana. John Cho, who is having a strong year after Searching, plays Jin, the estranged son of a university professor who has just fallen into a coma. Haley Lu Richardson plays a librarian and lover of architecture. Together, they find each other – two lost souls surrounded by modernist design and Kogonada’s exquisite framing.
Rowan Atkinson returns for a third outing as the bumbling British spy in another 007-lite spoof. Directed by David Kerr, who cut his teeth in television on shows like Fresh Meat and That Mitchell and Webb Look, the story casts Johnny as the analogue agent in the digital world, as he comes up against a scheming but charismatic tech billionaire, played by Jake Lacy. Emma Thompson pitches up as the PM while real-life Bond girl Olga Kurylenko plays the femme fatale.
All films released on 5 October.
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