This weekend ASFF selects five new films from around the world, ranging from Jamaica to Japan. Arriving in varied forms – animation, experimental documentary and live-action – this impressive quintet covers a diverse array of themes, from childhood troubles to revolution, romance and the exploration of a nation’s identity.
Ethan Hawke plays faded (and fictional) rock star Tucker Crowe in this adaptation of Nick Hornby’s novel by Girls director Jesse Peretz. Co-starring Chris O’Dowd as Duncan, an obsessed Tucker Crowe fan, and Rose Byrne as Annie, Duncan’s long-suffering girlfriend, the film explores mid-life crisis, as Annie strikes up a secret e-mail correspondence with the singer. Impressively, Tucker’s original music is penned by Conor Oberst, Ryan Adams and Robyn Hitchcock.
Mamoru Hosada, the Japanese animation director behind Wolf Children and The Boy And The Beast, returns with his latest film, Mirai. Inspired by his own experiences as a parent, it tells of a 4 year-old boy named Kun and how he copes when his parents bring home his new baby sister Mirai. Prone to flights of fancy, Kun retreats into a magical fantasy world where he meets his sister’s future self. The result is a touching, charming exploration of childhood imagination.
Christmas is clearly coming with this latest Disney live-action fairytale, based on E.T.A. Hoffman’s short story The Nutcracker and the Mouse and Marius Petipa’s The Nutcracker Ballet. Mackenzie Foy (Interstellar) stars as Clara, a young girl given a toy nutcracker that comes alive and transports her to a magical world. Along the way, she meets the Sugar Plum Fairy (Keira Knightley), Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren) and many more. Lasse Hallström directs, although Joe Johnston came in to film re-shoots and takes joint credit.
Mike Leigh’s latest is an epic re-telling of the ‘Peterloo’ massacre of 1819, when a peaceful pre-democracy rally in Manchester was broken up by militia, leading to the deaths of fifteen people and hundreds of injuries. In a huge ensemble – far bigger than Leigh’s usual domestic-scale dramas – stand-out performers include Rory Kinnear as the arrogant reformer Henry Hunt and Maxine Peake as the matriarch of a working-class family. The climactic finale is also hugely powerful.
Photographer turned director Khalik Allah turns his lens on Jamaica in this poetic documentary essay, as he soaks up urban and rural areas and focuses on ordinary Jamaicans and their experiences. With much shot in 16mm black-and-white, it’s experimental in form as collages are crafted by Allah with numerous voices narrating the visuals in an effort to meditate on the nature of identity, spirituality and the Jamaican soul.
All films released on 2 November.