Films opening at HOME this week:
Directed by Mercedes Grower — Rated 15
If you knew where it would end, would you ever begin?
Split into two halves, Brakes follows the tumultuous stories of nine couples, plunging straight into the brutal and absurd endings of their relationships before travelling back in time to the moment when the spark of love between them first emerged. Shot in a loose, improvisatory style, the film features an array of contemporary British comedy talent.
Directed by Michael Haneke — Rated 15
Michael Haneke revisits familiar ground with some brilliance in Happy End, a portrait of a bourgeois Calais family with a number of skeletons loudly rattling around in their closets. Other familiar Haneke preoccupations recur including the nature of evil, race, death and the role that technology plays in our lives. It’s elegantly done with Huppert and Kassovitz both excelling in an ensemble cast that also welcomes Toby Jones.
Directed by Shaul Schwarz, Christina Clusiau — Rated 15
Endangered species like elephants, rhinos and lions march closer to extinction each year. Their devastating decline is fueled by a global desire to kill these majestic animals for sport. Trophy investigates the powerhouse industries of big-game hunting, breeding and wildlife conservation through their eyes of impassioned individuals who drive them.
From an American trophy hunter to the world’s largest rhino breeder in South Africa, the film grapples with the consequences of imposing a cash value on animals. What are the implications of treating animals as products? Do breeding, farming and hunting offer some of the few remaining options to conserve animals. In Trophy‘s richly cinematic safari, anything is possible, and nothing is as you would expect.
Films continuing this week:
Battle of the Sexes
Directed by Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris — Rated 12A
Following the recent documentary by James Erskine and Zara Hayes, Dayton and Farris (Little Miss Sunshine) recreate the legendary 1973 tennis match that pitted Billie Jean King against the boorish Bobby Riggs. Featuring Emma Stone and Steve Carell in the central roles, the film succeeds both as a comedy but more importantly also as a commentary on sexism from a historical and contemporary perspective.
Directed by George Clooney — Rated 15
George Clooney returns to the director’s chair and re-teams with Joel and Ethan Coen — as co-writers — for this dark and complex tale of very flawed people making very bad choices in a seemingly idyllic 1950s community. With a cast including Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, and Oscar Isaac, Suburbicon has the look and feel of a Coens movie and doesn’t skimp on the irony.
Directed by Eliza Hittman — Rated 15
Frankie, an aimless Brooklyn teenager is having a miserable summer. With his father dying and his mother wanting him to find a girlfriend, Frankie escapes with his delinquent friends and flirts with older men online. When his chatting and webcamming intensify, he finally starts hooking up with guys at a nearby cruising beach while simultaneously entering into a cautious relationship with a young woman.
With a smouldering lead performance from newcomer Harris Dickinson, this exquisitely crafted, scrupulously authentic, dark, and dangerous film confirms the promise of director Eliza Hittman’s arresting earlier work.
Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool
Directed by Paul McGuigan — Rated 15
Annette Bening and Jamie Bell star in this adaptation of the memoir by British actor Peter Turner, recounting his romance with the legendary — and legendarily eccentric — Hollywood star and film noir stalwart Gloria Grahame during the later years of her life. Detailing a trail of broken marriages and affairs, the film also offers a look at the underside of stardom.
The Florida Project
Directed by Sean Baker — Rated 15
Sean Baker’s follow-up to the astonishing Tangerines is another lucid, brilliantly realised portrait of life on the margins. The Florida Project tells the story of a precocious six-year-old and her rag-tag group of close friends whose summer break is filled with childhood wonder, possibility and a sense of adventure, while their parents and the adults around them struggle with hard times. A synthesis of Mark Twain, Gummo and Andrea Arnold’s American Honey, this is a bold, visionary work.
The Killing of a Sacred Dear
Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos — Rated 15
Steven (Farrell), an eminent cardiothoracic surgeon is married to Anna (Kidman), a respected ophthalmologist. They are well off and live a happy and healthy family life with their two children, Kim and Bob. Their lives take a darker turn when Martin (Keoghan), a fatherless youth with whom Steven has a strained friendship ingratiates himself further into the lives of the family. Lanthimos’s follow-up to The Lobster is a brilliantly realised, Kubrickian look at human behaviour.
The Death of Stalin
Directed by Armando Iannucci — Rated 15
Based on the graphic novel The Death Of Stalin by Fabien Nury and Thierry Robin, writer and director Armando Iannucci’s (Veep, The Thick of It) acerbic satire is set in the days following the Russian leader’s stroke in 1953 as his core team of ministers tussle for control. An all-star cast includes Steve Buscemi, Simon Russell Beale, Paddy Considine, Rupert Friend, Jason Isaacs, and Olga Kurylenko.
Special events this week:
Saturday the 2nd of December — Eglantine
Directed by Margaret Salmon — Rated U
Eglantine is an intimate and vivid account of a young girl’s real and fantastical adventure in a remote forest one evening. It’s not only a loving homage to classic children’s films such as Ray Ashley’s Little Fugitive, Jean Renoir’s The River and Albert Lamorisse’s The Red Balloon, but draws from nature studies of the past, such as Mary Field’s Secrets of Nature series.
Shot on 35mm in various locations around Scotland, this film draws inspiration from a range of cinematic movements as well as wildlife documentaries to produce a lyrical and sensual portrait of a child’s eye perspective on the natural world.
After the screening, we will be joined for a Q&A with director Margaret Salmon and Chris Paul Daniels, Lecturer in Filmmaking, at Manchester School of Art, MMU.
Saturday the 2nd of December — Stand in the Stream
Directed by Stanya Kahn — Rated 15
Stand in the Stream is an ambient, narrative, digital film that follows perspectives of a subjective body in time, family, community, work, action and in the daily mundane. Kahn’s most ambitious and complex filmic work to date, it layers a dizzying multitude of facets into a roaring and deeply moving visual opera that pays homage to life and the inevitability of time. History here is speeding and dynamic, a storm to be watched and catalogued, even while it resists categorization, soaking and tearing the notes.
Shot over the course of six years, Stand in the Stream was made using multiple video devices — from cell phones to point-and-shoots, spy and POV cams, large format HD and webcams, and real-time screen recordings of live streams, but contains no found footage.
Driven by its images and sounds — a multiplex of information from Kahn’s indexical collection of footage — the film braids threads of narratives in relation to change: the deterioration of the artist’s worker/activist mother, Kahn’s own role as a mother, and the shifting demands, tactics and digital visibility of resistance movements across the globe.
Sunday the 3rd of December — The Flight + Intro & post-screening discussion
Directed by Roland Graf — Rated 12A
One of the final films made in East Germany featuring the great actor Armin Mueller-Stahl – he would later memorably link up with Costa-Gavras in the US for Music Box (1989). In The Flight, he plays a doctor who, when he dutifully follows procedure and applies to travel outside the GDR to attend a conference, is refused permission. Dismayed by the state bureaucracy, he becomes involved with an underground network who promise they can get him out of the country. Given it was made in the East, all does not go to plan.
This screening will be introduced by artist Declan Clarke and will be followed by a post-screening discussion with Declan Clarke and season curator Andy Willis.
Monday the 4th of December — Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll
Directed by Mat Whitecross — Rated 15
A piece of British music history comes to the big screen in Mat Whitecross’s outstanding biopic of punk and New Wave icon Ian Dury. Starring the ever-impressive Andy Serkis as the flamboyant and unforgettable musician.
Tuesday the 5th of December — Twilight’s Last Gleaming + Intro
Directed by Robert Aldrich — Rated 15
A West German-US co-production shot mainly at the Bavaria film studios, this neglected work is one of Robert Aldrich’s best films. It is driven by a wonderful performance from Burt Lancaster who plays a renegade US general disillusioned by his country’s involvement in Vietnam and aware of a top secret document that acknowledged the war could not be won. To try and make the powers that be reveal the document to the public he hijacks a nuclear silo and threatens to launch a series of bombs. Utilising split screens to great effect, this is a taut political thriller of the highest order.
This screening will be introduced by Andy Willis, Professor of Film Studies at the University of Salford.
Wednesday the 6th of December — Unrest + Panel Discussion
Directed by Jennifer Brea — Rated 12A
Jennifer Brea is working on her PhD and months away from marrying the love of her life when she gets a mysterious fever that leaves her so ill she becomes bed-bound. Disbelieved by doctors and determined to live, she turns her camera on herself and her community, a hidden world of millions confined to their homes and bedrooms by Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.
This screening will be followed by a panel discussion featuring actor and disability campaigner Melissa Johns, activist and lecturer Denis Queen, and actor Natalie Amber.
Thursday the 7th of December — Preview Menashe + Q&A
Directed by Joshua Z Weinstein — Rated U
Shot in secret entirely within the Hasidic community depicted in the film, and one of the only movies to be performed in Yiddish in nearly 70 years, Menashe is a warm, life-affirming look at the universal bonds between father and son that also sheds unusual light on a notoriously private community. Based largely on the real life of its Hasidic star Menashe Lustig, the film is a strikingly authentic and deeply moving portrait of family, love, connection, and community.
We will be joined by director Joshua Z Weinstein and star of the film Menashe Lustig for a Q&A following this preview screening.