5 to See: This Weekend

ASFF selects five films set for release in UK cinemas and online this Friday. These five features span the globe – hailing from Algeria, America, Belgium, England and Denmark – whilst tackling a range of themes from religious extremism to modernization and adolescent trauma.

Young Ahmed (Curzon)

The two-time Cannes winning Dardenne Brothers are back with another prize-winner. This brisk tale of a young Belgian-Arab boy (Idir Ben Addi) won Best Director in Cannes last year, tracing what happens when he becomes radicalized and resolves to kill his “infidel” female teacher, Ines (Myriem Akheddiou). With the story dealing with Muslim extremism – albeit in a classic understated Dardenne way – this is yet another fascinating addition to the siblings’ impressive body of work.

Perfect 10 (606 Distribution)

After directing a series of shorts, Scottish filmmaker Eva Riley writes and directs her first feature here. The story focuses on 15 year-old gymnast Leigh (Frankie Box), who comes from a troubled home life in the suburbs of southern England but finds new focus when an older half brother Joe (Alfie Deegan) she knew nothing about unexpectedly arrives. Leading her into a world of petty crime, it’s a classic case of adolescent angst run amok, all set over one long, hot summer.

Papicha (Peccadillo Pictures)

After playing in Cannes in 2019, Algerian drama Papicha arrives in the UK. Written and directed by Mounia Meddour – and produced by her husband, controversial French auteur Xavier Gens – the story is set in the 1990s, during the Algerian Civil War, a time also known as the ‘Black Decade’. Lyna Khoudri plays university student Nedjma, who harbours dreams of becoming a fashion designer but – despite the solidarity she finds with friends – faces repression at every turn.

An American Pickle

Based on the short story Sell Out by Simon Rich, An American Pickle boasts one of those great ideas you’d wished you’d thought of. Venturing into the realms of time-travel comedy, Seth Rogen plays Herschel Greenbaum, an Ashkenazi Jew from 1920s America who falls into a vat of pickles whilst working in his factory job. Perfectly preserved, he wakes up a century later in present-day Brooklyn, with his great-grandson Ben (also Rogen) on hand to help out. Newcomer Brandon Trost directs.

Giraffe (MUBI)

Writer-director Anna Sofia Hartmann (Limbo) delivers her sophomore feature, Giraffe. Lisa Loven Kongsli plays Dara, a photographer and ethnologist who arrives on an island in the south of Denmark to study the locals, just as an under-construction tunnel that connects the country to Germany is threatening to destroy their homes. With Dara sidetracked by her feelings for a Polish migrant worker (Jakub Giersza?), Hartmann’s film is a mysterious and moody look at geographical and emotional upheaval.

All films released by 7 August.

James Mottram