ASFF selects five films set for release in UK cinemas and online this Friday. An impressive selection of world cinema, with titles coming from Vietnam, Italy, Australia, America and Holland, the subjects covered range from familial dysfunction to the lure of notoriety and the nature of memory.
Adapted by Rita Kalnejais from her own play, Babyteeth deals with a whirlwind of emotion. Teenager Milla (Eliza Scanlen) is terminally ill but desperate to discover life when she falls for Moses (Toby Wallace), a small-time drug dealer. Against their better judgment, her parents (Ben Mendelsohn, Essie Davis) invite him to stay in what emerges as both a shattering coming-of-age drama wrapped inside a tale of familial dysfunction. Director Shannon Murphy makes an auspicious debut.
Pinocchio (Vertigo Releasing)
Italian auteur Matteo Garrone (Gomorrah, Tale of Tales) returns to his nation’s most classic fairytale: Pinocchio. A faithful re-interpretation of Carlo Collodi’s 1883 children’s classic, Garrone casts Roberto Benigni as Geppetto, the poverty-stricken wood-carver who inadvertently creates a boy (Federico Ielapi) from an enchanted tree. Filled with wondrous special effects that bring to life Collodi’s dream-like 19th Century landscape, this is an enchanted magical tale that, genuinely, will be loved by young and old.
For art lovers everywhere, Oeke Hoogendijk’s documentary is an intimate exploration of the world of Dutch old masters. Telling a series of stories, Hoogendijk introduces us to collectors, art dealers and museum curators as they wax lyrical about their love for Rembrandt. Exploring the spell this Dutch artist still holds over people 350 years after his death, as one dealer goes on the hunt for two ‘new’ paintings, My Rembrandt also emerges as fascinating thriller-of-sorts that will keep you hooked.
Social media gets taken to task once again in Spree, a thriller directed by Eugene Kotlyarenko (Wobble Palace). Premiering at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, the film stars Stranger Things’ Joe Keery as Kurt, a 23 year-old cab driver who plants cameras in his vehicle to livestream his crazed rides in the hope of gaining viral infamy. Among the co-stars: David Arquette, Mischa Barton and Saturday Night Live’s Sasheer Zamata, who plays Jessie, a stand-up comedian who may be the only one able to stop Kurt’s road rampage.
A Singaporean-Vietnamese-German-French-Chinese production, The Tree House comes from the mind of Vietnamese writer-director-editor Truong Minh Quý. The set-up is that of a filmmaker who has landed on the planet Mars in the year 2045, although this is no Asian answer to Ridley Scott’s The Martian. Instead, the character muses on the indigenous peoples he filmed in the jungles of Vietnam. An elegiac and poetic exploration of the fragile quality of memory and place.