Nominated for a best foreign film Oscar in 2016, Deniz Gamze Ergüven’s portrait of female empowerment and teenage hi-jinks is really quite something… It’s simply a delight, and rare for such a powerful message film, one with real heart hardened alongside its sharp-edged suspense.
We’re in remote provincial Turkey, and five high-spirited sisters, all orphans, are being raised by their grandmother and a mean uncle. After an innocent romp at the beach with some local boys scandalizes the village, they’re “quarantined” in their house, which quickly become a prison.
Their purity thus protected, aunts and elderly crones visit to prepare them for the drudgery of arranged marriages. “Our lives have turned to shit,” says the youngest and boldest Lale (Günes Sensoy), and she’s right.
Resistance grows of course, but tragedy lies ahead, and for while I thought the film was going to break my heart. It does, in a way, but the ending is just magnificent. And you’ll be watching that through tears of joy.
M from June 23.
Thanks to Madman Entertainment we have five double in-season passes to give away. See our Giveaways page for details.
Only Juliette Binoche could look so exquisite – even when she’s grieving. Here she plays Anna, a woman whose son has just died, and she’s just dazzles us right from her very first scenes, her dark expressive eyes staring into the void.
It takes a brave young actress to play alongside such a formidable talent, but hot new French talent Lou de Laâge proves to have just as much poise, intelligence and precision.
She’s Jeanne, the son’s girlfriend who’s unaware of his recent death, and turns up to visit at Anna’s Sicilian villa. Anna’s way of dealing with her loss is denial, and after they meet, director Piero Messina, who’s been pretty economical in letting us know what’s going on, gets even trickier.
He forces us to wait – wait for Anna to tell Jeanne, wait for a man who will never appear, wait for something to happen. It would be almost unbearable to watch these two warily circling one another, if the film wasn’t so good – so full of atmospheric tension and foreboding.
We know an explosive reveal must come, eventually. Till then, we wait.
M from June 30.
Thanks to Palace Films we have five double preview passes to give away valid for the weekend of June 24 –26. See our Giveaways page for details.
Docos have proved to be hot ticket items at the Sydney Film Festival – a surprising number have already sold out. Clearly there’s a big appetite for hard hitting fact-based films, something the adventurous programmers at Palace Cinemas have also noticed.
And for the first time this year, they’re bringing the renowned Canadian festival Hot Doc to Australia – with 24 inspiring and thought provoking films from 15 countries.
In Sydney the festival will open with League of Exotique Dancers, a provocative and eye-opening “backstage tour” of the golden age of Burlesque through the colourful lives of unforgettable women who made it glitter. Other highlights include Jim: The James Foley Story, about the journalist who was executed by ISIS in 2014, which won the audience award at Sundance this year; and What Tomorrow Brings, which looks at a woman’s fight to educate young girls in Afghanistan.
Two Australian documentaries – Charlie Hill Smith’s Motorkite Dreaming and Helen Kapalos’s A Life Of its Own – also have their world premiere at the festival.
At Palace Verona from June 21 – July 3.
More info at: www.hotdocsoz.com
Thanks to Palace Cinemas we have five double festival passes to give away. See our Giveaways page for details.
SFF: At Dendy Newtown
Sydney Film Festival has again fallen for the myth that “Newtown is weird” and put their Freak Me Out selection there, along with a smattering of their more daring films.
Top lunacy is surely The Lure, a Polish musical about two mermaid sisters who are also vampires. Then there’s Wild, a startling German drama about a girl who forms a rather too close relationship with a wolf.
Stranger things than that happen in Newtown, but why do we have to travel to city venues for The Road, a Chinese doco about corruption and a motorway? WestConnex, anyone?
From June 8 –19, full program at sff.org.au
Me Before You
Much will made of the fact that this unabashed sudser stars Queen Daenerys Targaryen. Which just shows that like other GoT superstars (yes you, Kit Harrington), Emelia Clarke really should choose her big screen outings more carefully. Not that there’s anything particularly wrong with what she does here, she plays the perky “free spirit” Lou perfectly adequately, but that’s about it.
Early on Lou lands a job as a carer to a paraplegic named Will (Sam Claflin), who just happens to not only be handsome and a squilionaire, but also own a real castle bigger than anything in Westeros. She’s employed by Will’s worried Mum (Janet McTeer), not to do any of the mucky stuff – apparently Will only has to go to the toilet once a day when an Australian (Stephen Peacocke) turns up – but to cheer him up.
And, this is implied; maybe indulge in a bit of handicapped hanky panky… Not that we ever actually see anything quite so tasteless – this is the sort of weepie you could take your gran too.
Trouble is, even though it tries so hard to make us cry – it doesn’t.
PG from June 16.
We first meet legendary jazz great Miles Davis as an incoherent, drug-addled and washed-up man wandering around in his PJs. Who knows if that was true – he did suffer from an extended 5-year fallow period in the late 70s, but the plot here, which includes gangsters, the theft of a master tape, gunplay, a sleazy Rolling Stone journalist (Ewan McGregor) and a car chase, is pure fiction.
Don Cheadle, who wrote produced, directed and stars in Miles Ahead follows two storylines through two time periods. In the earlier one Davis is a young man at his musical peak and mostly pining over the love of his love Frances (Emayatzy Corinealdi). And cheating on her…
Now of course we know that being a genius doesn’t necessarily mean that you are a nice person and great to be around. But given Davis’ world-wide army of adoring fans, who exactly is this movie for? Yes, Cheadle didn’t want to make a standard bio-pic, yes, the actor has never been better, and yes the music is sublime. But if only we could have had a little more of just how it came to be made…
M from June 16 at Dendy Newtown only. Advance screenings June 10 – June 13.