This weekend ASFF selects five films that are set to open in the UK. All fictional, these movies come from Colombia, France, America and Scotland, telling stories about displacement, loneliness, corruption, abuse and the power of collective action.
Recently winning Best Film in the Official Competition strand at the London Film Festival, Alejandro Landes’ feature is a poetic and beguiling study of a group of teenage soldiers in an unnamed Latin American country. Julianne Nicholson stars as an American doctor kidnapped and held, but the focus is really the dynamics of the group, who live between the mountains and the jungles of an inhospitable landscape. It’s completed with a thunderous composition by Mica Levi, the British artist also behind the music for Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin.
François Ozon’s latest is a real ‘ripped from the headlines’ drama, an ongoing news story in France involving sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic Church. Melville Poupaud, Denis Ménochet and Swann Arlaud play three men who band together to take on the Church and confront Father Bernard Preynat, the man that abused them when they were young, as well as Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon, who overlooked the priest’s multiple crimes. A forensic examination, it’s like the French answer to the Oscar-winning Spotlight, and it’s just as powerful.
A major award winner at this year’s Sundance Film Festival – taking Best Director for Joe Talbot and a Special Jury Prize for Creative Collaboration – this tale is partly inspired by the life of Jimmie Fails, a young man living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Fails stars as himself, wandering around a city that is facing gentrification, evolution and radical change. His own grandfather, he says, built the Fillmore District, in what feels like an elegy to history and the past.
Connect (Angel Face Productions)
Shot in North Berwick, Connect marks the directorial debut of Marilyn Edmond, tackling the very real issue of male suicide – apparently the biggest killer of men under 45. Kevin Guthrie, who is best known to audiences for his role as Abernathy in Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, stars as Brian, a man who despite the network around him, is tortured by loneliness and thoughts of suicide. There are moments of hope, however – whether it be the presence of single mother Sam (Siobhan Riley) or care home owner Jeff (Stephen McCole).
Black and Blue (Sony)
Directed by Deon Taylor (who made this year’s The Intruder, with Dennis Quaid), Black and Blue is a corrupt cop drama lifted by the presence of Britain’s Naomie Harris, who plays Alicia West, a US army veteran who becomes a rookie cop in New Orleans. Just three weeks into the job, she discovers that her peers – including Frank Grillo’s narcotics head – are involved in all manner of law-breaking. Scripted by Peter A. Dowling (best known for the Jodie Foster thriller Flightplan), West must expose the bad apples in her department before she’s silenced – permanently.
All films released on 25 October.
Lead Image: Still from Black and Blue.