This weekend ASFF selects five new films from around the world, ranging from madcap satire to period drama and true-life crime drama. Exploring themes from identity to family crisis to corporate exploitation, it’s an engaging crop to take your pick from.
Sorry To Bother You (Universal)
Musician Boots Riley makes his directorial debut with this absurdist satire set in a nightmarish world of reality television shows and insidious corporations. Lakeith Stanfield plays a telemarketer who rises through the ranks, with invaluable contributions from Danny Glover, Tessa Thompson and Armie Hammer. Fuelled with some surreal interludes, Riley has crafted a unique look at African-American identity, every bit as spot-on as Get Out.
In what is said to be his last film, Robert Redford stars as real-life gentleman robber Forrest Tucker, a career-criminal with an uncanny ability to escape from prisons. Directed by David Lowery, who previously made Pete’s Dragon with Redford, co-stars include Casey Affleck, as the detective pursuing Tucker, and Sissy Spacek as his love interest. A nostalgic paean to Seventies cinema and Redford’s career, this is a beautiful work.
Premiering at the Berlin Film Festival, where it won the Silver Bear Jury Prize, Mug is a low-key Polish drama directed by Malgorzata Szumowska. The story leans towards the bizarre side, as it follows a man named Jacek (Mateusz Ko?ciukiewicz) from the southern farmlands becomes Poland’s first recipient of a face transplant following an accident. Maudlin black comedy, with an East European twist.
A deeply sad true story, Yann Demange’s follow-up to his acclaimed ’71 tells of Richard Wershe Jr, who became the youngest FBI informant at the age of 14 and later a convicted drug dealer. Starring the energetic newcomer Richie Merritt as Wershe Jr., this 1980s Detroit-set tale co-stars a feckless Matthew McConaughey, a crack-addled Bel Powley and an irascible Bruce Dern as maybe the most nightmarish family ever committed to film.
Long, long delayed, Justin Chadwick’s period movie was previously shelved before being caught up in the fallout from the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Alicia Vikander heads an all-star cast, including Judi Dench, Christoph Waltz, Cara Delevingne and Jack O’Connell, in this adaptation of Deborah Moggach’s novel about Jan van Loos, a 17th Century portrait painter. Scripted by Moggach and Tom Stoppard, Chadwick (The Other Boleyn Girl) at least ensures it’s handsomely mounted.
All films released on 7 December.