ASFF selects five films set for release in UK cinemas this Friday. These movies are truly global, hailing from Mexico, America, Britain and Argentina, with directors using science fiction, satire, and documentary, among other forms, to explore such issues as inequality, friendship, health and ethics.
Steve Coogan reunites with Michael Winterbottom once again, this time playing a high-street fashion entrepreneur, Sir Richard McCreadie, in this savage comedy. Loosely based on Topshop’s Sir Philip Green, ‘Greedy McCreadie’ is about to celebrate his 60th with a lavish birthday bash on a Greek island. Featuring Isla Fisher, David Mitchell and Sophie Cookson, it’s an angry swipe at the elite from Winterbottom as it explores, Parasite-like, the ever-widening gap between rich and poor.
Little Joe (BFI)
Austrian director Jessica Hausner (Lovely Rita, Lourdes) makes her first English-language film. Emily Beecham, who won Best Actress in Cannes for her work, plays a scientist who develops a strain of plant – nicknamed ‘Little Joe’ – that spreads happiness and well-being. Until, that is, it starts to modify the behaviour of those around it. Featuring Kerry Fox and Ben Whishaw and some pristine direction from Hausner, this is a clinical and clever work of art.
Miguel Arteta swaps his indie roots on films like Chuck & Buck and The Good Girl for a mainstream female-driven rib-tickler. Rose Byrne and Tiffany Haddish play best friends who run a cosmetics company. Salma Hayek, complete with red-dyed hair, is the high-heeled mogul who threatens their outfit when she invests heavily. Singer Billy Porter also features as does Friends alumni Lisa Kudrow, in what promises to be a comedy as broad as they come.
Directed, shot and edited by American filmmaker Luke Lorentzen, his sophomore feature is a documentary that follows the Ochoa family, who run a for-profit ambulance service in Mexico City. While this is likely to be difficult to grasp for Brits reared on the National Health Service, the film examines the ethics of emergency healthcare as the Ochoas compete with other EMTs for patients in a city where there are less than 45 ambulances serving 9 million people.
End of the Century (Peccadillo Pictures)
Argentine film director Lucio Castro makes his feature debut with a searing relationship drama that spans space and time. Juan Barberini plays a poet who fantasies about a romance with a man, played by Ramón Pujol, whom he spots whilst on his balcony during a holiday in Barcelona. What follows is a sensual gay romance that transitions from casual hook-up tale to something more profound, as it becomes clear these two men have met in the past. Like a fast-growing seed, it sprouts huge ideas from the ground up.
All films released on 21 February
Lead Image: Still from Like a Boss.