5 to See: This Weekend

This weekend ASFF selects five films from around the world heading to UK cinemas. Taking us to Spain, Ireland, Scotland, Turkey and Mumbai, these features all represent impressive and unique voices in cinema. With female perspectives very much on offer, themes range from toxic friendships to unrequited love and devastating familial loss.

Holiday (Anti-Worlds Releasing)

Isabella Eklöf makes her feature debut with this startling look at male violence. Victoria Carmen Sonne plays Sascha, a naïve girl who joins a Danish gangster and his pals on holiday in a Turkish coastal villa. Shot clinically, in a manner reminiscent of a Michael Haneke movie, it’s a disturbing work that benefits from a cast willing to go to extremes. Liable to be one of the more controversial films on release this year, it’s a case of classic counter-programming.

Victoria Carmen Sonne appears in Holiday by Isabella Eklf.

Animals (Picturehouse Entertainment)

Adapted by Emma Jane Unsworth from her own novel, and directed by Sophie Hyde (52 Tuesdays) Animals stars Holliday Grainger and Arrested Development’s Alia Shawkat as two party girls in Dublin, locked in a cycle of drink, drugs and co-dependency. It’s been compared to Withnail and I and also Fleabag – two high bars to measure up to – but when it comes to offering a frank take on modern-day female friendships, it leaves a distinct impression.

Balance, Not Symmetry (Pinpoint)

Co-written and directed by Jamie Adams, this Glasgow-set tale of grief is notable for several reasons. Among them, Biffy Clyro frontman Simon Neil is credited as co-writer and his band provides the soundtrack. It also stars two rising Americans – BlacKkKlansman’s Laura Harrier and The Florida Project’s Bria Vinaite – who play flat-mates. Set around the Glasgow student art scene, as Harrier’s Caitlin mourns the loss of her father, it’s well worth exploring.

The Candidate (Signature Entertainment)

Not to be confused with the Robert Redford 1972 classic, though this is also a tale of politics. Set in Spain, Antonio de la Torre is regional vice-secretary Manuel Lopez Vidal who sets out to take revenge on his party after his own corrupt dealings get exposed in a newspaper. Directed by Rodrigo Sorogoyen, who also co-wrote the script along with his regular writer Isabel Peña, it’s a slick and dazzling dip into Spanish politics.

Still from Ritesh Batra’s Photograph.

Photograph (Curzon)

Ritesh Batra, director of The Lunchbox, returns to his native India for this tale of the relationship between a street photographer (Bollywood star Nawazuddin Siddiqui) and a shy trainee accountant (Sanya Malhotra). Initially pretending they’re a couple to fend off interest from his overbearing grandmother, what follows is a gentle, slow-paced tale that explores the difficulty of finding love in the modern age.

All films released by 2 August.

James Mottram

Lead Image: Still from Animals.