Harry Dean Stanton shines in his final role as Lucky, a cantankerous, desert-dwelling, chain-smoking 90-year-old atheist. A heartening meditation on mortality, human connectedness and enlightenment.
Having out lived and out smoked his contemporaries, this fiercely independent atheist’s life has revolved around a daily routine of yoga, crossword puzzles, TV game shows, and cigarettes. But as he contemplates the end of life, Lucky finds himself on a late journey of self-exploration.
Harry Dean Stanton’s final on-screen performance is funny, touching and beguiling, and particularly poignant in the knowledge that he passed away just days before the film’s US cinema release. It’s an award-winning first feature from actor-turned-director John Carroll Lynch (Fargo, Zodiac).
No one who cares about movies and those rare actors who can elevate them into something unforgettable would dream of missing this scrappy, loving tribute to a virtuoso. – Rolling Stone
A child’s sense of wonder is at the heart of Sean Baker’s joyful story of people living on the impoverished fringes of Florida’s tourist traps. –★★★★★
“The Florida Project is a song of innocence and of experience: mainly the former. It is a glorious film in which warmth and compassion win out over miserabilism or irony, painted in bright blocks of sunlit colour like a child’s storybook and often happening in those electrically charged magic-hour urban sunsets that the director Sean Baker also gave us in his zero-budget breakthrough Tangerine.
This also has the best child acting I have seen for years in its humour and its unforced and almost miraculous naturalism. These kids don’t look cute or over-rehearsed or rehearsed at all; they look as if everything they do and every word that comes out of their mouths is unscripted and real. Yet what they do also has the intelligence and artistry of acting. In his own grownup role, Willem Dafoe gives a performance of quiet excellence and integrity.
The drama is set in a budget motel in Florida in the shadow of Walt Disney World: one of many long-stay welfare places for transients and mortgage defaulters. But, for the little kids who live there, this rundown place does look weirdly like paradise, a place where one summer they enjoy pure, magical freedom, running around its walkways and stairwells and far afield into Florida’s unofficial countryside. These kids do something that is a distant memory for most of us: they roam (a word I hadn’t even thought of for years before seeing this film) just the way children were supposed to in some former age. They wander from dawn to dusk and have fun.
Moonee (Brooklynn Prince) is a fearless six-year-old girl whose mother Halley (Bria Vinaite) has failed to get work waitressing or lapdancing. Soon Halley may have to resort to a more obviously lucrative evening business from her motel room. As for Moonee, she can just hang out endlessly with loads of other kids like her friend Scooty (Christopher Rivera), whose own mom lets them have leftover food from the diner where she works.
Dafoe plays Bobby, the hotel manager, who is perennially irritated with late-paying, trash-talking Halley but looks out for her and is a veritable catcher in the rye for Moonee and all the other little kids.
There is an adult narrative thread running through The Florida Project, a narrative of disillusion and suppressed fear; but it comes encased in the children’s heedless, directionless world of fun.
Sean Baker creates a story that is utterly absorbing and moves with its own easy, ambient swing. He has the gift of seeing things from a child’s view. There is a kind of genius in that.” ★★★★★ – Peter Bradshaw in The Guardian
A vibrant, bold and bright portrayal of American childhood which just has to be seen…among the best films ever made about childhood.★★★★★ – The Irish Times
Ruth Wilson stars in British filmmaker Clio Barnard’s atmospheric and layered drama about the old wounds and bitter new grievances that come to light when a woman returns home to settle the tenancy of her family’s Yorkshire farm.
Five years after her provocative breakthrough, The Selfish Giant, director Clio Barnard returns with a highly atmospheric and emotionally charged drama that proves she is one of England’s most distinctive new voices. With Dark River, Barnard uses the Yorkshire countryside as a beautiful silent witness to the troubling tale of a family that, though previously ripped apart, is now trying to reconcile.
After a 15-year absence, Alice (Ruth Wilson) returns to the family farm following the death of her father. She finds the place in complete disrepair. Her deeply troubled brother, Joe (Mark Stanley), is ostensibly in charge, but appears to be in no state to make smart decisions. The two siblings have become like strangers to each other. Alice, bold and decisive, bolts into Joe’s life, determined to impose order and give the farm a future. Joe bristles at her every move, and sparks fly as years of resentments resurface. Slowly, layers of their past are stripped away to expose a dark secret between them. But life goes on. Landlords come knocking.
Barnard is both an energetic and a reflective filmmaker — deeply poetic, but with a realist’s eye. Here she has carefully brought to life the story of damaged people trying to cope with the past while reassembling their lives. – Toronto International Film Festival
It’s the summer of 1983 in the north of Italy. Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet) is a precocious 17-year-old American who spends his days in his family’s 17th century villa lazily transcribing music and flirting with his friend Marzia (Esther Garrel). Oliver (Armie Hammer), a handsome graduate student working on his doctorate arrives as the annual summer intern tasked with helping Elio’s father (Michael Stuhlbarg), an eminent professor specializing in Greco-Roman culture.
Elio and Oliver discover a summer that will alter their lives forever.
Directed by Luca Guadagnino, written by James Ivory, and based on the novel by André Aciman.
Luca Guadagnino’s tale of budding gay romance in 1980s Italy is one of the most mesmerizing films of the year. – The Atlantic
This gorgeous gay love story seduces and overwhelms.★★★★★ – The Guardian
THIS FILM HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED TO THURSDAY 26 APRIL. THE ORIGINAL SCREENING DATE WAS 19 APRIL.
Three female flatmates in Tel Aviv fight the constraints of their Muslim faith and families in an inspiring directorial debut.
While films and TV series about the trials and tribulations of female friends living, loving, and working in a big city may be fairly common (‘Sex and the City’ and ‘Girls,’ to name two), Arab-Israeli writer-director Maysaloun Hamoud refreshes the genre’s tropes with her energetic feature.
Layla, Salma, and Nour – three Palestinian women with Israeli citizenship – share an apartment in the vibrant center of Tel Aviv. Despite being ‘independent’, each of them struggles with the restrictions imposed on their lives by a blinkered society
What makes this spiky dram/comedy so compelling are the Palestinian-Israeli protagonists, whose split lives have rarely been depicted on screen. These strong, modern, sexually active women, living away from their families and the weight of tradition, struggle to be true to themselves when confronting the expectations of others.
Director Martin Provost (Violette, Seraphine) unites two of France’s favourite actors in his tender comedy drama about female friendship and rediscovery. Catherine Deneuve and Catherine Frot play very different women whose shaky reconnection after a number of decades allows them to learn valuable life lessons from one another. Claire (Frot) is the conscientious Midwife of the title, a single mother whose reservations and self-restraint have left her living an isolated life. Until the day her deceased father’s ex-girlfriend makes contact. Beatrice (Deneuve) is a free-spirited, professional gambler who wishes to reconnect with Claire’s father. Shocked at the news that he has passed away, she implants herself into Claire’s life instead, bringing chaos, joy and memories of happier times.
‘A bittersweet delight…rich, thoughtful, frequently funny.’ – Screen International
‘Offering plum roles to Catherine Frot and Catherine Deneuve…a crowd-pleaser about friendship, forgiveness and rolling with the punches.’ – Indie Wire
‘Provost has once again proven to be a sensitive and sure-handed director of what used to be called “women’s films,” with this one somewhat of a cross between Douglas Sirk and the Dardennes.’ – The Hollywood Reporter
‘Deneuve and Frot excel as contrasting women with an account to settle in a tale that combines realism and melodrama.’ – ★★★★ The Guardian
SAGE FEMME | France, 2017 | Language: French | 117 minutes | Cert: 15A
Season 17 concludes with our ‘bonus’ 11th film, the Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, A Man Called Ove. It’s one of the feel-good films of 2017, and well-timed for the start of the Christmas season.
Ove (Rolf Lassgård) is a retiree struggling to come to terms with the death of his wife – a struggle that he angrily takes out on his neighbours by strictly enforcing the estate rules. Ove’s world is unexpectedly turned upside down when a young family move in next door. Despite his initial resistance, Ove slowly forms a bond with his new neighbours and discovers a whole new side of life.
Based on the best-selling novel by Fredrik Backman [translated into more than 40 languages], this Swedish hit is a bittersweet but charming tale of one man rediscovering himself after a devastating tragedy. Darkly comic but sensitively told, this is a true crowd-pleaser held together by a remarkable lead performance.