5 to See: This Weekend

This weekend ASFF selects five new films from around the world set to open in UK cinemas. A mix of British, American and French cinema, telling stories of immigration, occupation and asylum, these strongly explore themes and issues ranging from identity and love to isolation and racism.

Still from The Captor.

The Captor (Signature Entertainment)

Canadian director Robert Budreau and actor Ethan Hawke, who made the fine Chet Baker biopic Born To Be Blue together, reunite for this true-life tale of the bank robbery that inspired the phrase “Stockholm Syndrome.” Set in 1973, Hawke plays criminal Jan-Erik Olsson, who heads for the Swedish capital’s Kredibanken, where he and fellow robber Gunnar (Mark Strong) hold up the financial institution and take captive three hostages (including Noomi Rapace’s teller). An off-kilter tale that lets Hawke off the chain. 

The Flood (Curzon Artificial Eye)

Anthony Woodley directs and Helen Kingston scripts this moving British film about the refugee crisis. Ivanno Jeremiah plays Haile, who arrives in Britain seeking political asylum after a torrid journey from his own war-torn land. Game of Thrones’ Lena Headey is the troubled immigration officer called in to assess Haile’s case, with a story that flashes back to his time in the infamous Calais ‘jungle’. A film not afraid to show its sensitivity or humanity towards this most shocking modern-day nightmare.

Still from Amin.

Amin (New Wave)

Philippe Faucon (Fatima, The Betrayal) co-writes and directs this French drama about Amin (Moustapha Mbengue), a Senegalese immigrant who arrives in Paris looking for work, leaving behind his wife and three children. Finding employment with a building company, he eventually strikes up a relationship with Gabrielle (Emmanuelle Devos), the white, middle-class divorcée whose house he is helping to renovate. A quietly textured and intimate film, it’s bold in its choices and performances.

Toy Story 4 (Disney)

Long-time Pixar animator Josh Cooley makes his feature debut with the fourth entry into the company’s signature franchise, as Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the other talking toys return for another outing. Featuring new characters including the Keanu Reeves-voiced Canadian stunt-rider Duke Caboom, and a story that explores love, loss and loyalty, it’s another sublime mix of action, comedy and emotion from a company that simply refuses to let the quality of its films drop an inch. 

Still from Mari.

Mari (Verve Pictures)

After several shorts that have made the festival circuit, British writer-director Georgia Parris makes her move into features with Mari, a film that weaves dance into the narrative (as have her previous works from 2012’s Brighter Borough onwards). Bobbi Jene Smith plays Charlotte, a dancer who is dealing with the decline of her grandmother Mari, alongside other familial tensions involving her mother and sister. Featuring original choreography from Maxine Doyle, it’s an empowering study of the search for the self.

All films released by 21 June.

James Mottram

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