A Bigger Splash
Every now and then something wild and original blasts onto our screens and blows everything else away. Few of the superlatives you’ll read about Luca Guadagnino’s (I Am Love) devilishly clever psychodrama will do it justice, so just trust me: This is great – a thoughtful, sexy, full-frontal, loopily deranged thriller – and easily one of the most fantastically enjoyable movies you’ll see all year.
Ralph Fiennes steals the show as Harry, a motor-mouthed record producer who drops in on his ex (Tilda Swinton), a Bowie-like superstar and her current beau (Matthias Schoenaerts) holidaying on a Sicilian island. Harry has his 22-year-old daughter (or is she?) in tow, played by Dakota Johnson, at last giving us the erotically charged performance we were promised (but never got) in 50 Shades…
Old jealousies and new passions are ignited, unfinished agendas are slowly revealed. One of this privileged and gloriously decadent lot will leave the island in a body bag. But who, and how?
MA15+ from Mar 24.
* Thanks to StudioCanal we have 5 double in season passes to give away. See our Giveaways page for details.
See the trailer and find out more about the film here
The Lady in the Van
So what would happen if someone in need took your “Refugees Welcome Here” slogan seriously, and parked in your driveway?
That’s pretty close to what actually happened to playwright Alan Bennett (Alex Jennings) in Nicholas Hynter’s wry navel-gazing satire of gentrified manners.
He’s a resident of a leafy North London (say Balmain) street, helpless with liberal guilt after a cantankerous homeless woman (Maggie Smith) deftly manipulates his bleeding heart while (literally) defecating all over his front yard. But you’d call the cops, right?
M on now.
French Film Festival hotties
Why are the French so open and honest about sex, and share so few of our own prurient inhibitions about naked bodies? Most likely that’s not the only the reason the Alliance Française French Festival is so popular on Norton St. But then again, it could be…
• Contempt. Jean Luc-Godard’s supercharged 1963 satire of the movie business is compulsory viewing for lovers of both serious cinema and Bridget Bardot. Check the trailer on the AFFF website. Is it the world’s best ever tease?
• One Wild Moment. An underage teen getting off with her dad’s best friend? Locally we’d turn that into a moralistic victim-story, but in France, it’s just light comedy.
• La Belle Saison. Forget our tame, PC-inspired same-sex slog-fests, this period pot-boiler set in the emerging feminist movement of the 70’s delivers the goods (It opened the recent Mardi Gras Film Festival).
• Bang Gang. Likened to Larry Clark’s Kids and likely to just as confronting, Eva Husson’s dreamlike debut seems destined to be considered one of the great films about sex.
At Palace Cinemas 1–24 March. Bookings and info: www.affrenchfilmfestival.org
Premiering at last year’s Sydney Film Festival but inexplicably delayed, finally we get to see the Inner West’s own Odessa Young really shine. This young star didn’t even get to finish Year 12 at Newtown School of Performing Arts, the job offers were rolling in too fast.
She’s also lovely in the still-screening Looking For Grace, but it’s her revelatory gut-wrenching performance as the vulnerable Hedvig in Simon Stone’s adaption of his own stage version of Ibsen’s The Wild Duck that will cement her role as our brightest new It-Girl.
Easily holding her own amongst veterans Geoffrey Rush, Miranda Otto and Sam Neil, she plays a young teen whose family in a dying timber town is torn apart by some explosive revelations after an old friend of her dad (Ewen Leslie) turns up.
Though beautifully filmed in NSW’s forests, some of the melodramatic flourishes are overwrought, and could seem too obviously signalled. But you won’t feel that at the time, not through a veil of tears.
M from Mar 17.