This weekend ASFF selects five new films from around the world, all due for release this Friday. Drawing from Belgium, Israel, France, England and Ireland, these dramas of the mind explore such pertinent issues as guilt, grief, lust and our need for affection.
The former Israeli tank-gunner turned filmmaker Samuel Maoz made a stunning debut with Lebanon and this follow-up is no less remarkable. Divided into three parts, it begins with two parents receiving the worst news in the world – the death of their son whilst on duty. But things aren’t quite as they seem in a story replete with surreal touches. Winner of Venice’s Grand Jury Prize, this is a dense, demanding but ultimately satisfying film that takes a frank look at modern-day Israel.
Winner of 2017’s Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival, Charlotte Rampling excels in Andrea Pallaoro’s drama of guilt and regret. Set in Belgium, she plays the title role – a woman who must contend with the fact her husband (André Wilms) is going to jail for an unspecified child sex offence. With minimal dialogue or exposition, Rampling is left to do the heavy lifting in a primal scream of a part, one that shows the anguish that a loved one’s actions can cause.
Writer-director Camille Vidal-Naquet reputedly spent three years interviewing young male Parisian prostitutes before conjuring up Sauvage, an intimate drama about a twentysomething Léo (Félix Maritaud) living – or rather barely surviving – in Strasbourg. A cautionary tale, full of the impetuousness of youth, at its heart it’s a love story, with Léo seeking affection and finding it in the form of fellow prostitute, Ahd (Eric Bernard).
James Kent, director of the excellent World War I drama Testament of Youth, stays in this universe, albeit shifting his attention to post-WWII. Based on Rhidian Brook’s novel, the story sees British army couple Keira Knightley and Jason Clarke arrive in a ruined Hamburg, forced to share accommodation with Alexander Skarsgård’s widowed architect and his troubled daughter. Beautifully shot and acted, it’s a romantic drama full of aching longing.
Echoing last year’s more broadly comic horror Slaughterhouse Rulez, with its sinkhole plot-line, Irish debut director Lee Cronin delivers a creepy mother-son tale. Seána Kerslake plays Sarah, who is looking to start afresh with her son Chris (James Quinn Markey), but moving to a rural backwater where the neighbours are terrifying and the aforementioned (hell) hole is close-by probably wasn’t such a good idea.
All films released on 1 March.
Lead Image: Still from Sauvage. Courtesy of Peccadillo Pictures.