5 to See: This Weekend

ASFF selects five films for release this week both digitally and in cinemas. Taking audiences across the world – from the suburbs of Paris to the outskirts of São Paulo and to the kingdoms of ancient China – this varied crop of movies tackle head-on such issues as adolescent trauma, ageing, police violence and courage.  

Les Misérables (Altitude)

From the opening, set around the 2018 World Cup victory celebrations in France, this contemporary Parisian story never lets up. Winning the Jury Prize in Cannes last year, its depiction of police violence and brutality feels even more apt after the events in America these past months. Debut director Ladj Ly pumps the film full of tension, while Damien Bonnard, Alexis Manenti and Djebril Zonga – as the three cops at the heart of the film – give everything to their performances.

I’m Thinking of Ending Things (Netflix)

Charlie Kaufman’s latest meta-fiction comes from the pages of Iain Reid’s celebrated debut novel, though he’s entirely made it his own. Jesse Plemons plays Jake, a young man driving his new girlfriend (Jessie Buckley) to meet his parents, while she is thinking of calling time on their relationship. An increasingly bizarre journey ensues that’ll feature Toni Collette, David Thewlis and a lot of downright weirdness.

Mulan (The Walt Disney Studios)

A remake of the 1998 Disney animation, Niki Caro’s sumptuous live-action re-telling of the legendary Chinese folklore tale, The Ballad of Mulan, is quite something to behold. Only Disney + subscribers can see it in the UK, but this story of the titular female (Liu Yifei) who disguises herself as a man to fight in the Imperial army is stunning to look at. Featuring iconic Chinese stars Gong Li, Donnie Yen and Jet Li, this is a show-stopping action epic.

The New Mutants (The Walt Disney Studios)

Long delayed – it was shot in 2017 – Josh Boone’s adolescent X-Men spin-off finally hits screens. It stars Another Life actress Blu Hunt as Dani, a young girl admitted into a secure facility for mutants who have yet to comprehend their powers. Featuring Charlie Heaton, Maisie Williams, Anya Taylor-Joy and more, Boone aims for a mix of teenage trauma and horror scares – although the relationship to the X-Men movies feels superficial at best.

Socrates (Peccadillo)

Brazilian-American director Alexandre Moratto makes his directorial debut with Socrates, a film that’s been co-written, produced, and acted by at-risk teenagers with the support of UNICEF. Christian Malheiros plays the 15 year-old Socrates, whose life on the margins of São Paulo’s coast is turned upside down after the sudden death of his mother. Facing issues from the social services and his own estranged father, Socrates is forced to grow up quickly in an unfeeling society.

All films released by 4 September.

James Mottram