After the miss-fire of I’m So Excited, Pedro Almodóvar’s fans can rejoice that he’s returned to fine form in Julieta, an adaption of three Alice Munro stories about guilt, passion and loss. There’s none of his trademark gender-bending though– only the barest hint of queerness and that’s gone in a flash.
It’s another of his female-centric tales, which begins with Julieta (Emma Suárez) about to leave Madrid to start a new life in Portugal when she runs into an old friend of her daughter Antía. The meeting sends her reeling – she hasn’t had any contact with Antía for years. The reasons for the estrangement is then explained in meandering flashbacks (Adriana Ugarte stars as the younger Julieta), which all contain messy plot twists and highly charged personal dramas at every turn, the significance of which are teasingly kept from us until the very end.
Typically, it’s all vibrantly colourful with an expressive score and lots of spellbindingly beautiful scenes. Bravo, Pedro, welcome back…
M From Oct 13. View trailer.
Thanks to Transmission Films we have five double in-season passes to give away.
See our Giveaways page for details.
23rd Greek Film Festival
Its economy may have taken quite a hit, but from the looks of the very strong line up at this year’s film festival, Greece is well on the way to a multi-award-winning recovery. A couple of the features have already had popular outings at this year’s Sydney Film Festival (the confronting Suntan and the subversive feminist black comedy Chevalier), while dystopian puzzler The Lobster also wowed (and confused) audiences late last year.
Just as exciting are new highlights – like Joyce A. Nashawati’s stunning pre-apocalyptic slow-burn, Blind Sun, about a immigrant house sitter facing a variety of threats, and critically acclaimed filmmaker Christopher Papakaliatis’s romantic drama Worlds Apart, starring J.K. Simmons – the highest grossing Greek film since 2009. Another gem is the inspired culture-clash comedy by Aron Lehman, Highway to Hellas (pictured), which has lots of fun with the distrust between Greeks and German bankers. Maybe both are right to be suspicious!
A more dramatically ambitious look at the same problematic relationship is the highly charged melodrama One Breath from German filmmaker Christian Zübert. It follows a Greek and a German woman in a story of class tension and mutual exploitation that doubles as a commentary on cultural differences within the Eurozone. The closing night film What If, is one of Christopher Papakaliatis’s early hits – a sliding doors-inspired comedy that deals with love, death, and the financial crisis.
Thanks to the Delphi Bank 23rd Greek Film Festival, we have 5 double passes to giveaway. See our Giveaways page for details.
DVD: Florence Foster Jenkins
We’ve all heard of men who devote their lives to the careers of precipitously talented wives. But what if the woman not only has absolutely no ability at all and is actually atrociously awful? The funny thing is that Meryl Streep actually can sing (Ricki and the Flash), but here the only notes she hits on stage are likely to break light bulbs. With an impressively padded girth and more good humour and gusto than anything we’ve seen her in for a decade, she plays a deluded heiress who desperately wants a career as a diva.
To help her out her scheming husband (Hugh Grant) bribes tutors, critics and audiences alike. Grant was clearly right to pass on playing second fiddle to Bridget Jones again, here director Stephen Frears has allowed him a touching, heart-warming career-best performance. Of course all that delusion can’t last, especially as a Carnegie Hall performance approaches. Or can it?
PG Available of DVD and Digital from Oct 6. View trailer.
Thanks to eOne, we have five DVDs to give away.
See our Giveaways page for details.
Early on working class hero (Mark Wahlberg) shakes a bottle of coke and punctures the top. We get it, then wait for the real thing, the oil rig blow-out that cost 11 workers their lives and caused a environmental catastrophe in Gulf of Mexico in 2010. Peter Berg’s stirring and slyly subversive re-telling angrily points the finger at the capitalist bastardry responsible (represented by a slimy John Malkovich – excellent in a thankless role).
Hollywood products don’t usually contain quite so much bile and unrestrained malice towards the corporate dollar that feeds us all. This one feels good – to be blockades, comrades!
M from Oct 6. View trailer.
Census figures tell us the inner west contains a disproportionate number of highly-paid women in corporate and government jobs – way more than men. So why doesn’t a movie about them even get a screen here? Actually, it not showing anywhere in Sydney (Melbourne and Perth are luckier), you’ll just have to remember that name in a couple of months as you flick through all the other titles you’ve never heard of on your streaming service or airline list …
And you really should: Equity is that rarest of beasts – a shrewd and satisfying tale about women in corporate life and the glass ceiling, corruption and bastardry. Rarer still, its also directed and written by women (Meera Menon, Amy Fox).
Three of them make up this story – top banker Naomi (Anna Gunn), her younger associate Erin (Sarah Megan Thomas) and Samantha (Alysia Reiner), a corporate regulator and former college friend of Naomi’s, who’s looking into cases of insider trading. Samantha is so inner west that she drinks wine out of a jar – even at home. But this is a wake-up call for anyone who believes the world would be a better place, and capitalism just that little a bit nicer if everything was run by women. It turns out the ladies are just as brutally ambitious, money-hungry and talented at back-stabbing as blokes. Damn…
M from Sept 29.
* Reviews – Russell Edwards