5 to See: This Weekend

ASFF selects five films on release this week available in cinemas and on demand. With movies hailing from Britain, Ireland and America, the directors tackle such big social issues as female genital mutilation, dementia and drug-running.  

A Girl from Mogadishu (Bohemia Media)

An Irish-Belgian co-production, A Girl from Mogadishu stars Aja Naomi King as Irfah Ahmed. Inspired by real events, it follows Ahmed’s journey from escaping war-torn Somalia to becoming a crusading and celebrated activist who has campaigned against the horrifying practice of female genital mutilation. Irish director Mary McGuckian, no stranger to truth-based stories having made footballer George Best biopic Best, takes the reins here. Barkhad Abdi, of Captain Phillips fame, co-stars.

Falling (Modern Films)

Actor Viggo Mortensen makes his directorial debut with Falling, a tale of family dynamics that sees a career-best performance from Lance Henriksen, who plays Willis, an ageing father who is suffering from dementia. Mortensen plays his long-suffering son, John, a gay man living with his husband and adopted daughter in Los Angeles who appears to have the patience of a saint dealing with his foul-tempered father. Laura Linney co-stars in a film that will leave you slack-jawed by Henriksen’s powerful work.

County Lines (BFI Distribution)

Henry Blake’s directorial debut, finally getting a release after Covid-19 delays, is a hugely impressive slice of British social realism. Based around the ‘county lines’ phenomenon, as urban youngsters are groomed to sell drugs across rural Britain, it stars newcomer Conrad Khan as Tyler, a 14 year-old Londoner who gets recruited by the older Simon (Harris Dickinson) with the lure of easy money. Inspired by Ken Loach – in particular, 2002’s Sweet Sixteen comes to mind – it’s a damning indictment of a shameful epidemic in this country.

Host (Vertigo Releasing)

The perfect horror movie for 2020, Rob Savage’s innovative tale of six friends who undertake a seance over Zoom is both scary and slick. With the entire screen framed like a Zoom chat, your eye will never quite know where to look as this seemingly innocent summoning of the spirit world goes horribly wrong. The in-camera special effects are surprisingly impressive – given the slightly homespun look of the film – making Host the best example of the mini-genre of ‘desktop’ movies (see also: Searching, Unfriended and Profile) out there.

Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan (Altitude)

The Pogues’ lead singer Shane MacGowan gets his own documentary with Crock of Gold. Behind the camera is Julien Temple, who adds another fine effort to his earlier music docs The Filth and the Fury, Glastonbury and Ibiza: Silent Movie with this intimate portrait of MacGowan. Brilliant archive and some choice interview footage – with MacGowan hanging out with the likes of Johnny Depp and Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie – weave together this poetic portrait of the soulful, spiky Irishman.

All films released on 4 December.

James Mottram