This weekend ASFF selects five films that will be coming to cinemas in the UK. Four feature films and one documentary, coming from Britain, America, Mexico and Palestine, these set out to tell a diverse range of human stories, where racism, violence and poverty are too often the norm.
Blinded By The Light (Entertainment One Films)
Gurinder Chadha tries to recapture some of her Bend It Like Beckham magic with this 1980s-set coming-of-age tale inspired by the early life of Guardian journalist Sarfraz Manzoor. Viveik Kalra plays a Luton-raised teenager who faces the usual issues of adolescence, only to find solace in the words and music of Bruce Springsteen. Features plenty of music from The Boss, as you might expect, and a support cast including Rob Brydon and Hayley Atwell.
With films like The Florida Project and the upcoming masterpiece The Lighthouse, Willem Dafoe is in a hugely rich vein of form right now. This latest film, from first-time filmmaker Daniel Graham, falls on the arthouse side of the fence. Dafoe plays Paul, a composer who arrives in a small Mexican village where his father just died in search of answers to some of life’s biggest questions. Graham, a former line producer on Carlos Reygadas’s Post Tenebras Lux, delivers a modest film with wide-ranging intellectual ambitions.
Simon Curtis, the British director behind My Week With Marilyn, is at the helm for this mushy talking dog movie, based on the 2008 novel by Garth Stein. Milo Ventimiglia plays Denny Swift, a racing driver who adopts a pup and calls him “Enzo.” Voiced by Kevin Costner, Enzo acts as the narrator to Denny’s life as he marries, becomes a father and faces what life throws at him. For those that enjoyed the recent A Dog’s Journey, this should fill the spot just nicely.
Belatedly arriving in cinemas with no fanfare, Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s second film after the excellent 2015 effort Mustang is conceived on a much grander scale. Set in the run up to the contentious verdict in the Rodney King trial in Los Angeles, which led to an outpouring of violence on the streets, it follows a foster family in South Central. Halle Berry takes the lead, while Daniel Craig co-stars in one of his smaller roles.
Directed by Garry Keane (Deafening, The Writing in the Sky) and award-winning conflict photographer Andrew McConnell, Gaza is a feature documentary that attempts to unveil a rarely-seen side of the Palestinian territory, far away from the countless news reports on television. With filming during May 2018, one of the most violent periods in the history of the Gaza Strip, the film follows a variety of people – lifeguards, musicians, paramedics – as they tell their stories.
All films released by 9 August.
Lead Image: Still from Opus Zero.