James Gill gives us a quick look at what’s on this week at HOME Cinema
Films opening at HOME this week:
Blade Runner 2049
Directed by Denis Villeneuve — Rated 15
Thirty years after the events in Ridley Scott’s seminal sci-fi, a new Blade Runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Deckard (Harrison Ford) who has been missing for 30 years. Acclaimed director Denis Villeneuve (Sicario) delivers perhaps the most eagerly anticipated film of the year.
The Glass Castle
Directed by Destin Cretton — Rated 12A
Chronicling the adventures of an eccentric, resilient and tight-knit family, The Glass Castle brings Jeannette Walls’ best-selling memoir to life as a young woman who, influenced by the joyfully wild nature of her deeply dysfunctional father (Woody Harrelson), found the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms. Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, of the acclaimed Short Term 12.
The Reagan Show
Directed by Sierra Pettengill, Pacho Velez — Rated PG
The Reagan Show is an all-archival documentary about the original performer/president’s role of a lifetime. Teasing apart the spectacle at the heart of finger-on-the-button global diplomacy, the film follows Reagan’s rivalry with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, tracing how the Communicator-in-Chief used his public relations expertise to overcome Soviet mistrust, the objections of a sceptical press corps, and the looming threat of WWIII. Brimming with wit and political irony, and told solely through 1980s network news and videotapes created by the Reagan administration itself, the film explores Reagan’s made-for-TV approach to politics as he faced down the United States’ greatest rival.
Blood Simple: Director’s Cut
Directed by Joel Coen, Ethan Coen — Rated 15
Joel and Ethan Coen’s thrilling debut feature; a stylish, imaginative and hard-boiled neo-noir marked their arrival as distinctive new cinematic voices. This new restoration has been overseen by the Coens and the film’s cinematographer, Barry Sonnenfeld. Immediately pulpy and cultish in feel, Blood Simple possesses all the characteristics that propelled the Coens to later success: razor-sharp dialogue; a predilection for lethal and futile violence; ironic, fatalistic humour; and an inventive focus on the tragicomic lives of idiosyncratic misfits.
The Road to Mandalay
Directed by Midi Z
Taiwan-based Burmese filmmaker Midi Z returns with his fourth feature, The Road to Mandalay, and arguably his best work to date. Continuing his preoccupation with Burmese exiles in this love story about two illegal immigrants searching for a better life in Bangkok, Midi Z powerfully presents the trials and tribulations of those seeking to escape conflict and poverty in Burma, resorting to human traffickers to cross the border into a less than welcoming Thailand.
An eerie soundscape alongside dreamlike, and almost surreal sequences amplify the disillusionment, displacement and alienation felt by both the characters, albeit with quite differing views of starting a new life as immigrants.
Midi Z’s regular actress Wu Ke-xi gives a striking performance alongside Taiwanese star Kai Ko in this outstanding drama, firmly placing Midi Z among the top contemporary Asian social realist filmmakers today.
Directed by Slavko Martinov — Rated PG
Join members of the 148-year-old ‘Christchurch Poultry, Bantam and Pigeon Club’ in the lead up to the New Zealand National Show, as they battle history (and each other) in their quest for glory. Audiences will be introduced to an endearing and eclectic group of ‘chick fanciers’, each hoping to take away the top prize, including Doug the determined Club President, Rhys the young upstart, Sarah the chicken whisperer, Ian the exacting judge, Mark the voice of reason and Brian the lovable champion.
Films continuing this week:
Directed by Peter Mackie Burns — Rated 15
Scottish filmmaker Peter Mackie Burns marks his transition into features with this tightly focused, remarkably authentic character study of brittle 31-year-old Londoner Daphne (Beecham). Daphne has ‘sort of given up on people’ as she goes through the motions of her busy life, working as a cook in a London restaurant and through a series of drug-fuelled hook-ups. She resists genuine intimacy in her few friendships and rejects her mother’s attempts to engage. When she witnesses a violent robbery, she’s thrown into chaos and finally begins to confront the person she’s become.
Cut from the same explicit, ironic, confessional cloth as Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s internationally successful BBC TV series Fleabag, Daphne offers us a female protagonist who can be as fiercely unlikeable as she is compelling to watch.
Directed by Maysaloun Hamoud — Rated 15
In director Maysaloun Hamoud’s remarkable feature debut, three Palestinian women sharing an apartment in the vibrant heart of Tel Aviv find themselves caught in the same balancing act between tradition and modernity, and citizenship and culture.
Directed by Darren Aronofsky — Rated 18
A couple’s relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence. From filmmaker Darren Aronofsky of Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream fame, Mother! stars Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer in a potent psychological thriller about love, devotion and sacrifice.
God’s Own Country
Directed by Francis Lee — Rated 15
Johnny, a young sheep farmer from Yorkshire, has sacrificed his own life choices to run the family farm. As lambing season approaches, much to Johnny’s initial resentment, migrant worker Gheorghe is hired to assist. Gheorghe proves he not only understands this farming life but more importantly, he understands Johnny.
Special events taking place this week:
7th October — The Sleep Curse + Q&A
Directed by Herman Yau — Rated 18
This blood-drenched horror reunites the legendary duo of director Herman Yau and actor Anthony Wong for this tale of a neurologist whose father worked for the Japanese in occupied Hong Kong, and whose legacy of guilt lives on in his son’s dreams… and nightmares. Be warned: this is Asia Extreme! This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Herman Yau.
8th October — Sara + Q&A
Directed by Herman Yau — Rated 18
Director Herman Yau returns to a more socially conscious filmmaking in this morally complex, but ultimately moving story of a woman who, following a life of exploitation, decides to try and do something so others don’t have to suffer as she did. This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Herman Yau.
8th October — Metropolis
Directed by Fritz Lang — Rated PG
This visionary Fritz Lang classic from 1927 is celebrated for the first appearance of a robot in a feature-length film. Created in female form, the fake Maria leads factory workers to rise up and destroy the machines that rule them.
9th October — Raving Iran
Directed by Susanne Regina Meures — Rated 15
Anoosh and Arash are at the centre of Tehran’s underground techno scene. But dodging police, lying to government officials and having to peddle their recordings on the black market takes its toll. They decide to organise a final secret rave in the desert when Anoosh is arrested. In a country where the routine ‘eat, sleep, rave, repeat’ is a punishable political act, salvation comes when they are invited to perform at the biggest techno festival in the world.
10th October — Blade Runner: The Director’s Cut + Intro
Directed by Ridley Scott — Rated 15
Set in 2019, Deckard (Harrison Ford) is assigned to ‘retire’ six rogue replicants who have returned to earth from an off-world colony. During his search, he becomes obsessed with Rachael (Sean Young), an advanced replicant who causes him to question the nature of humanity.
This screening will be introduced by writer and presenter Gia Milinonvich to talk about the underlying theme of ‘female’ robots in the DM17 selection of films at HOME this year.
10th October — Handsworth Song
Part of HOME’s Black History Month season
Directed by John Akomfrah — Rated 15
A Grierson-winning film essay on race and civil disorder in 1980s Britain and the inner city riots of 1985, Handsworth Songs takes as its point of departure the civil disturbances of September and October 1985 in the Birmingham district of Handsworth and in the urban centres of London. The ‘song’ in the title does not reference musicality but instead invokes the idea of documentary as a poetic montage of associations, familiar from the British documentary cinema of Grierson and Jennings.
11th October — Her
Directed by Spike Jonze — Rated 15
Set in the near future, Spike Jonze’s prescient film follows Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix), a man who develops a relationship with Samantha, an artificial computer operating system, personified with a female voice (Scarlett Johansson).
12th October — October (Ten Days that Shook the World)
Part of HOME’s A Revolution Betrayed Film Season
Directed by Sergei M. Eisenstein, Grigoriy Aleksandrov — Rated PG
One of the most famous productions by one of the Soviet Union’s most important filmmakers, October was commissioned to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the October Revolution. Its official status meant that Eisenstein had great resources to hand as he recreated iconic events, such as the storming of the Winter Palace. However, his formal experiments meant that the film met with some disapproval within official circles.