5 to See: This Weekend

This weekend ASFF selects five new films from around the world that are set to arrive in UK cinemas. One documentary and four features, these films will transport you to different worlds – from asylum seekers in modern-day France to a rambunctious family in upstate New York – as themes such as ambition, sexuality and addiction are all explored.

Still from The Hummingbird Project.

The Hummingbird Project (Vertigo Releasing)

Though it’s entirely fictional, Quebec native Kim Nguyen’s intriguing drama is like The Social Network for the stock exchange. Jesse Eisenberg and Alexander Skarsgård star Russian-Jewish cousins who set out to build a high-speed fiber-optic route from Kansas to New Jersey to aid clients on Wall Street. Co-starring Salma Hayek as the ruthless ex-boss out to trump their idea, it’s less about hi-tech and more about human endeavor, ambition, greed and the way we live our lives in the fast lane now.

Diego Maradona (Altitude Films)

Following on from his award-winning docs Senna and Amy, Asif Kapadia’s latest tale of a fallen hero traces Maradona’s eight years playing football for Napoli – during which time he steered the Italian club to domestic and European success as well as help Argentina win the 1986 World Cup. Scrupulously researched, it also features fresh audio interview material with Maradona, as he unburdens himself about the numerous controversies surrounding his life.

Still from We the Animals.

We the Animals (Eureka Entertainment)

Based on the novel by Justin Torres – who apparently was involved throughout the adaptation – Jeremiah Zagar’s gay coming-of-age drama has already been gaining favourable comparisons to Barry Jenkins’ Oscar-winner Moonlight. Shot on grainy 16mm, and even featuring animated sequences, it stars Evan Rosado as Jonah, a young man growing up in a mixed-race family in upstate New York who not only must contend with his volatile father but also his emerging sexuality.

A Season In France (New Wave)

After premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2017, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s film is given a belated release in the UK. With a title like this, you might expect an old-fashioned Gallic period piece, but this is a contemporary tale of refugees seeking asylum in Europe. Eriq Ebouaney plays Abbas, a college professor who fled his African nation after a civil war and now must tackle the byzantine French immigration system as he applies for political asylum. Featuring Sandrine Bonnaire as the woman he falls for, it’s a delicately told tale of human anguish.

Sometimes Always Never (Parkland Entertainment)

Veteran screenwriter Frank Cottrell-Boyce (Millions, 24 Hour Party People) meets debut director Carl Hunter for this quirky, offbeat and very eccentric comedy-drama. Bill Nighy, at his most droll, plays a retired tailor and father-of-two sons – one of whom disappeared years earlier after a row over the game Scrabble. Co-starring Sam Riley and Alice Lowe, alongside appearances from Jenny Agutter and Tim McInnerny, it’s the sort of film the English make very well and will undoubtedly leave some scratching their heads in bemusement.

All films released by 14 June.

James Mottram

1. Lead Image: Still from
A Season in France.