Venice – The Upcoming http://www.theupcoming.co.uk Culture, trends, fashion from London and beyond | The Upcoming Mon, 20 Nov 2017 15:46:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.1 Venice Film Festival 2017: Team Hurricane | Review http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/2017/09/08/venice-film-festival-2017-team-hurricane-review/ Fri, 08 Sep 2017 21:00:00 +0000 http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/?p=309894 Every generation is critical of the one that follows. Being unable to understand the language and logic of young people will always frustrate their elders into dismissing and marginalising them. This has never been more true than when talking about the ambivalent moniker of “Millennial”. Team Hurricane (aka Forever 13) won the most innovative award at this year’s Venice Critic’s club for creating a vital, new aesthetic based on the world of Instagram filters and Tumblr motifs to tell a vital story of a group of young people.

Team Hurricane follows a group of teenage girls in a small town in Denmark, who meet at a youth club over the course of a summer. This simple story alternates between the elated adventures they go on together and the crushing insecurities they struggle with in private. Each girl has a loud, individual style that thrives in this team of vagabonds but when they’re alone they reveal their true vulnerable selves.

Every colour on screen is saturated and explosive; every scene unfolds like a DIY music video with break-neck cuts, over-the-top angles and a cloud rap soundtrack that takes the audience along for the ride. While it’s true we’ve seen big corporations desperately scramble to adopt a similar style to reach the kids on social media, director Annika Berg achieves authenticity by providing substance behind the style.

We witness the growth and development of the characters over this summer together as they crash parties, wander aimlessly through their suburbs and explore their sexual identity. John Hughes would be proud to see his legacy live on. 

The focus rests permanently on the young girls, men play minor roles (the misguided SexEd guidance counsellor) so the narrative delivers a poignant and inclusive exploration of burgeoning femininity in a variety of forms. Annika Berg’s debut feature is a bold imagining of what cinema could look like in the future: brash aesthetic combined with a heart-on-the-sleeve, emotionally driven narrative.

Sean Gallen

Team Hurricane does not have a UK release date yet.

Watch the trailer for Team Hurricane here:

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Venice Film Festival 2017: Under the Tree | Review http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/2017/09/08/under-the-tree-movie-review/ Fri, 08 Sep 2017 16:43:20 +0000 http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/?p=309056 Portrayals of suburban grudges, tension, and dullness have a surprisingly lively cinematic history. Films such as American Beauty, Happiness, and Lantana find fertile territory in the occasional unease and air of anxiety that can offset suburban stillness. Icelandic director Hafsteinn Gunnar Sigurðsson attempts to mine similar ground in Under the Tree, a hit on the festival circuit, that explores the clash between two families as tensions escalate over an overgrown tree in one’s backyard. However, the absurdist humour and unlikeable protagonists of this jet-black comedy overwhelm its best intentions.

Casting us in medias res, as Atli (Steinthor Hroar Steinthorsson) and Agnes (Lara Johanna Jonsdottir) slide silently into bed, presumably post-argument, we follow the dissolution of their relationship before the credits even roll – she catches him watching homemade porn with an ex-girlfriend, and kicks him out of the house, whereupon he seeks refuge at his parents’ home.  He gradually attempts to win back his wife as his parents delve into increasingly tense arguments with their neighbours about their shadow-casting tree. Tyres are slashed, pets are threatened, insults are cast – with the micro aggressions of both parents and child veering into more straightforward domestic disturbance territory.

If the plot sounds better suited to television, that’s because it is. The comedy is pitch black, but there’s little to laugh at in the childish, petulant way all the characters behave. Certain lines and scenes play out in such a way that cause the viewer to stop and consider “does anyone actually talk like this?”. Similarly, there’s little subtext – other than the suggestion that the  mundane intensity of suburbia can drive us all a little mad and make otherwise rational people behave irrationally. With little conviction, however, that these are otherwise rational people, we are with a carousel of cynical, borderline sociopathic characters. Someone like Michael Haneke is a master at using his off-kilter aesthetic to view character’s miniature aggressions in a comedic way. Here, the gradual devolution plays out predictably and unpleasantly, as we can sketch how this comedy of manners will escalate, with little joy to be found along the route.

Similarly, Sigurðsson tries to place a lot of import on the tree of the title. Swirling pans around it, light fanning through it, attempts to imbue it with some mythic status – or at least a metaphor – are all made, but there’s neither humour nor meaning to be found in such shots. This is reflective of the film as a whole – it simply bites off more than it can chew. Divorce, missing children, apartment living, mental health and sex are all examined, all accompanied by the thumping, discordant xylophone score. One amusing scene around the audible sex lives of one of the building residents suggests the sort of satire the movie is aiming for – it’s a pity it doesn’t hit such marks as incisively or frequently as it should. Look instead to winning features like Force Majeure that conjure the same questions of familial dissolve, loyalty and tension with more nuance and humour.

Jonathan Mahon-Heap

Under the Tree does not have a UK release date yet.

Read more reviews from the festival here.

For further information about the 74th Venice Film Festival visit here.

Watch the trailer for Under the Tree here:

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Venice Film Festival 2017: West of Sunshine | Review http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/2017/09/07/venice-film-festival-2017-west-of-sunshine-review/ Thu, 07 Sep 2017 11:47:00 +0000 http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/?p=308721 Catharsis and a man’s attachment to his automobile are two overarching themes that are introduced in the opening scene of West of Sunshine. The blue colour palate in the first sequence and the use of running water foreshadow Jimmy’s (Damian Hill) dreary and unlucky day, which is about to unfold. His troubles stem from his gambling and his need to pay back a loan shark on the same day he needs to deliver packages for work and care for his estranged son Alex (Tyler Perham). Jim’s prized possession, his pristine vintage car, has been his primary focus rather than his family.

In his debut feature, Australian writer-director Jason Raftopoulos allows a full four minutes to pass before any speech enters the story. If only the entire narrative could be told through the images and soundtrack rather than the poorly constructed dialogue. Hill’s delivery is not that believable and takes away from the interesting camera angles and great cinematography provided by director of photography Thom Neal. The images and music are given a front seat to conversation but that isn’t enough to make up for some strange lines.

Jim’s precious car moves the plot along not only physically but also emotionally. It’s unfortunate that the big climactic scene is a bit of a letdown, with unrealistic direction and odd editing. A script doctor should have cleaned up the dialogue and made the interaction between Jim and bad guy Banos (Tony Nikolakopoulos) more tense, more something, just more.

Some of the most memorable moments are when Jim and his son are travelling around in his beautiful car, delivering a variety of packages around Melbourne’s West. The camera framing and sun-drenched lighting are spot on and the interactions with an array of people make for interesting storytelling. The shots in and around Jim’s car are well-paced and reflect its importance in his world; one camera placement shooting the car’s wheels is a fun choice.

As this is an indie film, there seems to be some sort of gritty or lesser quality to the shots. The images, while very moving and convincing, occasionally look cheap, which is probably a purposeful choice. It will be fascinating to see where Raftopoulos’s filmmaking career goes from here after his impressive premiere in the Orizzonti section at the 2017 Venice Film Festival. At least, visually speaking, his feature debut is a success and it would be nice to see him direct something penned by a more seasoned screenwriter.

Lindsay Bellinger

West of Sunshine does not have a UK release date yet.

Read more reviews from the festival here.

For further information about the 74th Venice Film Festival visit here.

Watch the trailer for West of Sunshine here:

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Venice Film Festival 2017: Mother! is Darren Aronofsky’s descent into madness | Review http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/2017/09/05/venice-film-festival-2017-mother-is-darren-aronofskys-descent-into-madness-review/ Tue, 05 Sep 2017 10:02:44 +0000 http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/?p=308484 After the 2010 triumph of Black Swan, Darren Aronofsky is back in Venice with another dark picture. Mother! could be summed up as “Jennifer Lawrence walks around a house while really crazy s**t happens”, but of course there’s so much more than that. A couple (the names are never told) lives in a countryside house so that he – a poet (Javier Bardem) – can find inspiration again. One day a stranger knocks at the door (Ed Harris), and soon his wife too (a marvellous Michelle Pfeiffer); from that moment on, a series of increasingly disturbing events take place. It’s a slow descent into madness, reaching the goriest and most violent moments ever seen in a film from Aronofsky.

Jennifer Lawrence is brilliant in conveying a palpable sense of uneasiness; she’s always on camera and the key to her performance (one of the best of her career) is keeping it as understated as possible. The uninvited guests in this house make her life unbearable, doing whatever they want and ignoring her presence. As if that wasn’t enough, the poet acts so unreasonably and irritatingly it becomes almost impossible not to despise him; until he shows off – on close-up – his comforting, incredibly humane smile. From a casting point of view, there’s a similarity with Black Swan: there’s a young actress carrying the weight of the entire film, whose character depends on a man interpreted by a very charming foreign actor (Bardem/Cassel), and there’s also a female glory from the 90s playing an upset lady (Pfeiffer/Ryder).

Jóhann Jóhannsson is the perfect choice for the score, very few composers can deliver the necessary edginess and eeriness for this brutally insane film; the soundscape matches the visual boldness of Aronofsky without ever overstepping it (Jóhannsson’s trademark). Whether you like this love/hate picture, your reaction will be: what the hell did I just watch? Unforgettable, probably the most powerful film of the year.

Filippo L’Astorina, the Editor

Mother! is released nationwide on 15th September 2017.

Read more reviews from the festival here.

For further information about the 74th Venice Film Festival visit here.

Watch a clip from Mother! here:

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Venice Film Festival 2017: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri | Review http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/2017/09/04/venice-film-festival-2017-three-billboards-outside-ebbing-missouri-review/ Mon, 04 Sep 2017 13:32:07 +0000 http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/?p=308483 In Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Frances McDormand gives a phenomenal performance, so powerful and convincing it would be impossible not to expect at least a nomination from the Academy next February. Martin McDonagh’s latest picture is a step (or two) up from Seven Psychopaths and In Bruges; the “smart, razor-sharp black comedy” label doesn’t fit any longer. While it’s not a complete departure from his previous work, Three Billboards is profoundly dramatic, and cinematically bordering on the epic.

Mildred (McDormand) is a mother who lost her daughter (Kathryn Newton) in the most horrific way: she was raped and murdered. The case gets stuck and, to draw the police force’s attention, she rents out three huge billboards outside Ebbing to deliver a daring message to the sheriff, William Willoughby (Woody Harrelson). As the tension rises, the town’s violence and racism awaken.

McDonagh will – and should be – praised for the near-perfect script: a series of dialogues that seamlessly click and make the audience feel not only engaged but also clever. The film is solid and striking as much as its protagonist is; it’s a very American story that anyone can relate to, with Western-like confrontational moments between the raging mother and the uncooperative people who live around her. Inspired by a similar array of billboards he saw 20 years ago while travelling through the US, the British filmmaker had McDormand in mind while he wrote the script, which marks the first time he has a female lead for one of his pictures.

Woody Harrelson’s acting and accent naturally belong to this “small town America” realm, however, apart from the obvious protagonist, it’s Sam Rockwell who steals the show with his obnoxious character whose path will challenge and impress the movie goers. It’s not all acting and script though, Three Billboards is directed with the touch of an auteur but the consistency of a mainstream director. Basically, it’s a film that found the balance.

Filippo L’Astorina, the Editor

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is released nationwide on 12th January 2018.

Read more reviews from the festival here.

For further information about the 74th Venice Film Festival visit here.

Watch the trailer for Three Billboards here:

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Venice Film Festival 2017: Victoria and Abdul | Review http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/2017/09/03/venice-film-festival-2017-victoria-and-abdul-review/ Sun, 03 Sep 2017 17:00:34 +0000 http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/?p=308381 Stephen Frears is a master of British humour and sarcasm. If that was a genre, he would be today’s most preeminent representative. He owns a special quality, he can switch between drama and comedy like no one else; he does it with elegance and fluidity. And there must be a box of fairy dust Frears brings with him on the set that he sprinkles on most of his films, this time also with the help of Thomas Newman whose score accompanies perfectly every scene.

Victoria and Abdul depicts a very tired monarch (Judi Dench); she’s rough, she eats fast – even with her own hands – and sleeps most of the time. She has no interest in any official celebration, she despises aristocrats and the people around her – her son Bertie (Eddie Izzard) in particular. A handsome servant, Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal), taken from India just to present a colony’s gift to the Queen for the Golden Jubilee, catches her attention and quickly becomes the closest person to Victoria: not only a friend but also a munshi (teacher) and clerk. There’s a great deal of speculation about the relationship between the Queen and her former helper John Brown (Dench starred in a film about that too, Mrs Brown), and any information is even blurrier when it comes to Abdul. What is certain, though, is that he had a subversive effect on her household.

Judi Dench is the best possible actress for this role; her understanding of the character is unique, and also of the script: she delivers with equal confidence the lighthearted and more serious moments (there’s a particularly striking monologue at the end). Hers is a portrait of a ruler unaware and distant from the on-site actions of the British Empire. Victoria looks at Abdul with the eyes of a child, and protects him like a mother: “How dare you look down on Abdul,” she tells her highest-ranking staff.

Frears’s mockery of the royal (and colonial) traditions, customs and beliefs is mildly provocative but extremely entertaining: when the Indians arrive in England, the British officer proudly exclaims “oh this is civilisation” whilst a group of homeless people beg for food and money; everything served to the Queen is royal by definition whether it’s a disgusting jelly dessert (royal pudding) or an organ checked by her doctor (royal colon). The Indian characters and Her Majesty are portrayed as the only reasonable ones.

There are corny moments – for instance Abdul’s metaphor “life is like a carpet, we thread fibres to make it beautiful” – but overall it’s a joyful celebration of diversity and the British-Indian heritage. It’s another film about integration (with a particular focus on Muslims and the use of the veil for women) and the public will love it.

Filippo L’Astorina, the Editor

Victoria and Abdul is released nationwide on 15th September 2017.

Watch two clips from Victoria and Abdul here:

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Venice Film Festival 2017: Suburbicon press conference, Clooney:”We wrote it during Trump’s campaign trail” http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/2017/09/02/venice-film-festival-2017-suburbicon-press-conference-clooneywe-wrote-it-during-trumps-campaign-trail/ Sat, 02 Sep 2017 21:02:49 +0000 http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/?p=308436 Suburbicon is George Clooney’s latest film. This grotesque and political crime story is the result of the juxtaposition of two scripts: one written by Clooney himself and Grant Heslov, the other by the Coen brothers. The director and main cast were all present at the official Venice Film Festival press conference to discuss the work behind this picture.

This script was written a while ago, did you expect it to be so current because of the racial tension in the US?

George Clooney: Well. The genesis of the screenplay started when I was watching a lot of speeches of the Trump campaign trail, on building fences and scapegoating minorities. Many times in our history we fell back into these things. I found this story that happened in Levvitown, Pennsylvania. We tried to make a movie about this story and the Coens wrote a script about Suburbicon, so I thought they would be a good match. Making American great again is a concept from Eisenhower, from the 50s, if you were a white straight man maybe it was great, otherwise not so great. The real problem of this country is it didn’t come to terms with it, unfortunately these are issues that are never out of vogue in our country. We are still trying to exorcise them.

There’s a great balance between normality and madness in Matt Damon’s character. Why did you mix his story with a 1950s America that, instead of going forward, goes backwards?

GC: I would agree that the insane side of Matt Damon has never been so awful. We looked at the idea of talking about these issues. I grew up in the south in the 60s/70s during civil right movements. We had to put to bed many issues, including segregation. And they were coming back every few years. The idea of juxtaposing these two stories was that you are looking in the wrong direction if you think to blame this African American family for the problems of the world. You can’t blame it on minorities. Putting the insane family in the middle of the story has nothing to do with that, the idea of putting inside this great story about the Meyers family feels right for this movie that looks in the wrong direction.

How do you feel about your character?

Matt Damon: I agree with what George said. I think it’s the definition of white privilege to run around the bike with blood on you and the black family is blamed for it. We didn’t expect Charlottesville, that race riots could be like that again. It explains these issues are not going away in our country. About the character, George told me: “This is the stuff you’ve never been able to do so far in your career.” It was fun to play those scenes and take a leap with George.

Would you like to play characters different than your usual in future?

MD: I don’t get to play the bad guy a lot but I have a good range of guys. Directors tell me “I like you because you don’t look like a movie star”. He meant I look like an average American person so directors can have fun playing with different variations of what that means. George knew exactly what he wanted to say with the film. I was useful to him in that way.

Grant Heslov: Can I just add this character is the closest thing to the real Matt Damon we’ve ever seen! [laughs]

And you Julianne, did you enjoy playing two characters?

Julianne Moore: George asked me to play both characters and I said:”Ok, that’s fun!”

GG: I was trying to save money.

JM: It was interesting that one of the two sisters was so desiring the other one’s life. Margaret has no agency, she’s not married, she doesn’t own a home, she has a job in the grocery store. For her the sister Rose has a perfect life. She’s the one who initially tells Nicky: go across the street to play with the new neighbours. She notices what she means to be marginalised because she’s marginalised herself. Then she changes. The comedy and “bad” parts were really interesting to me.

GC: She made it so creepy, it was her idea to get the hair dyed like her sister!

Is the message that the traditional family isn’t that reassuring after all?

GC: You got it, that was the idea. The idea that iconic American families doing terrible things. Particularly because when we started working on this Trump started to run. There was the impetus for the whole thing, he talked about building fences and marginalise people.

It’s such an angry film, what are you angry at?

GC: I think you need to see a therapist. We’ll talk after. [laughs] It’s an angry film. The reality is, in general, it takes two years to make a movie, so by the time your movie comes out, you have moved on. It puts a pin in a time/place in history, so we can look back where we were emotionally, physically involved. That’s when a film works really well. If you go to our country, it’s probably the angriest I’ve ever seen it and I lived through the Watergate period. There’s a dark cloud hanging over our country. I’m optimistic, I believe in youth that they will get over these things. I think the institutions of this government tend to work with the press but people are angry. At ourselves, at where the world is going. This seems to reflect that, I think that’s ok. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, i think it’s a fair thing to do. The idea was that we didn’t want this to be polemic or a civil lesson. We wanted it to be funny and mean. But it was angry and we got angrier as we were shooting.

The point of view is the kid’s and the real criminals are the family.

GC: What Jack Saw was the very original screenplay, early 80s. We didn’t want to give him anywhere to go, to tell anybody. We wanted him to feel uncomfortable about it. When they are together at the end, we didn’t want the kid to get adopted. We felt as if these two boys went through the worst night of their lives and they will be ok. That was the most important thing, watching it through their eyes. I’m still very patriotic. I’m a positive person, optimistic. I look at them and how they see the world. That they want to make it better. That’s the sense we got when we worked on the screenplay. Because we didn’t write a scene about the afterwards. I went to Alexandre and said “we haven’t written anything here, they will just play baseball. The music will tell what happens” and he wrote this insanely beautiful piece of music. It’s their point of view but heightened by the beautiful music of Alexandre.

Alexandre Desplat: This violence, anger, and the light of these two boys on top of it. The rest is – in this ideal little city which was created out of love – falling apart. I just had to keep in mind all these elements while I was composing. And you are a movie star. [laughs]

GC: Sexiest man alive you know.

MD: Once! Not two times.

The bad guys are actually bad, usually they aren’t that bad in Coen’s films

GC: I think they are very sweet people [laughs]. It’s a funny thing about monsters. They way they are formed is not that they twist their moustaches and they’re bad people …you are formed and it happens through a series of really stupid mistakes and compounding them. These two characters make a plan, not the best plan, and every single fork in the road they make the wrong choice. Every single opportunity they get, they don’t really know how, it’s no stupidity. They hire killers because they don’t become killers. They become monsters. What he tells to the son at the end, by then he had changed. Same Julienne, she originally only wanted a happy life and a happy family.

JM: Monsters are created by the monsters that we make. Playing a complicated character, you realise each choice is the wrong one and you understand we can make the wrong choices.

GC: The suburbs are a big part of our lives, big part of World War Two, a new way for the middle class to have a home with a garden, swimming pool and school. Everybody could get a little piece of it.

MD: If you were white!

GC: That’s exactly the point. Only certain people were allowed to play in that swimming pool. It’s not a movie about Donald Trump, it’s about the fact of us coming to terms constantly that we have never addressed our issues with racism. We tried. The petition, it’s the actual petition we found from Levvitown, Pennsylvania. When they say the black people aren’t educated yet. That subtlety we are trying still to cope with. It will be part of our history for a long period of time. The Suburbicon script didn’t have the African American family in it. It was just people killing each other. After Fargo they didn’t want to go back to a film like this.

Is there hope for the next generations?

JM: Young generations should be better, more ethical, egalitarian. Every generation wants that but the only way for it to happen is that the generation before does it too. In the US people argue about confederate monuments. They must be removed, you can’t have these people from civil wars in our town square for children to see. As a parent and citizen I need to be active. We have to take responsibility for it. We can’t just say the next generations have to do that.

GC: This discussion is happening right now in the US, about the confederate flag. I grew up in Kentucky. They would do civil war reenactments. You could pick if you wanted to be unionist or rebel. I didn’t understand the history of the confederate flag. It was a flag designed to fight against the US and in favour of slavery. And they lost. If you want to use it, go on, see what happens. But don’t put it in public building, they cannot stand, with Afro American people paying taxes. It’s important.

JM: I went to a high school in North Virginia for two years. The name was the name of a confederate general. We didn’t realise it was a general. Now I’m part of a coalition at Fairfax County School – I’ll be there next week – to change the name. Now as adult we feel like we can change this. The children can’t change it, but we can if we insist. We need to take these actions.

Let’s get back to the subject of monsters. The scenes with Oscar Isaac. Why him and how was working with him. These scenes were really the turning point for the monster quality.

GC: Originally in the 90s when they tried to get this movie made they offered me to play that part and I wanted to do it. When they came around to do the film again I thought of Oscar for this because, did you see Ex-Machina? he’s the real deal. He’s an actor of real substance and someone I just adore watching. The fact he was gonna come and take this in a new direction with a shot of energy, we knocked it out. We shot it in a day and a half.

JM: Oscar is a brilliant actor. Feels the part so beautifully. He’s so powerful and delightful and funny to work with.

Did you ever consider playing that part?

GC: It’s not really fun to direct yourself. Saying “and cut'” on the scenes is a terrible thing to do. I really didn’t want to do it. I couldn’t imagine him doing it any better so no.

MD: I did 7/8 movies with George. The key is that when you get direction you do the opposite. He’s like he’s the greatest director in the world, you always know what to do, everything works out great. [laughs]

JM: Ok…well…when you look at the calibre of talent he attracts, and how often he works with Matt Damon, great DOPs, composers, it’s really really impressive. I was thrilled and delighted.

Some say you’ll run for president

GC: I’d like to be the next president? Yeah that sounds like fun. Can I just say I’d like anyone to be the next president right away [laughs].

Filippo L’Astorina, the Editor
Photo: Laura Denti

Read our review of Suburbicon here.

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Venice Film Festival 2017: Suburbicon | Review http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/2017/09/02/venice-film-festival-2017-suburbicon-review/ Sat, 02 Sep 2017 19:00:44 +0000 http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/?p=308379 There are two mad stories within Suburbicon and what’s awful is that one of them is true. In the 50s the Meyers family moved into a “perfect” suburban housing development called Levittown in Pennsylvania, causing a revolt; and the only reason was that they were black. When the postman met Mrs Meyers at the door, he assumed she was the maid, and by the end of that day hundreds of people had signed a petition to get them forced out. The same petition is read out in the film: the community states they aren’t racist, it’s just that black people haven’t been “educated” yet. That’s what George Clooney and Grant Heslov were working on.

Then there’s the Coen brothers story, coming from a script that was sent to Clooney in the 90s; the filmmaking duo chose to ditch it as they wanted to move on from Fargo, however the glamorous director revitalised it, setting it at the time when the Meyers moved in. As the protest rises in Suburbicon, Gardener (Matt Damon) attempts to make changes to his unsatisfying love and professional life; he’s married to wheelchair-bound Rose (Julianne Moore) but is in love with her younger sister Margaret (again Julianne Moore). The gruesome and fun intertwine in Damon’s desperate effort to fulfil his American dream. And all this is shown through the eyes of the couple’s innocent child Nicky (Noah Jupe) whose naivety makes him see the evil in each character and unsee the “difference” between his new neighbours and everyone else.

Suburbicon pinpoints, grotesquely, how it feels to be unjustifieldy ostracised and how it’s actually the diverse the normal. Julienne Moore is splendid at embodying this unsatisfied 1950s housewive and her descent into madness; there’s also a short but show-stopping performance from Oscar Isaac (the Coens thought of Clooney for that, back then) as a meticulous insurance investigator. This picture might have lost some of its original subtlety, it gained George Clooney’s political imprint and general sense of hope.

Filippo L’Astorina, the Editor

Suburbicon is released nationwide on 24th November 2017.

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Venice Film Festival 2017: Foxtrot | Review http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/2017/09/02/venice-film-festival-2017-foxtrot-review/ Sat, 02 Sep 2017 12:06:45 +0000 http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/?p=308370 Foxtrot is this year’s second serious contender for the silver lion (best direction award), and it’s once again a film from the Middle East. Based on a classic Greek tragedy, it tells the story of two parents – Michael and Daphne – who receive the saddening news of the death of their son Jonathan; we are then shown the life of Jonathan at the Israeli checkpoint where he works, in the desert, with three other fellow soldiers. A decision, made for a very good reason, will prove to be fateful.

The spectacular camera work of Samuel Maoz – who won the coveted golden lion in 2009 with his previous film, Lebanon – masterfully takes the viewer within the state of shock and desperation of the father. The bourgeois, ample apartment suddenly feels like a claustrophobic prison. Michael’s despair clashes with an army officer who treats the happening like a normal occurrence, describing each step of the soon-to-be-held funeral in a cold, admin-like fashion. At that point -– the peak of the clash between the two – Foxtrot begins to reveal its sarcastic, black-humorous traits; it’s subtle, a series of details that make you smile, or even laugh. In the following scene Michael visits his mother to tell her about the tragic news: in a ballroom, old ladies dance at the back of the shot and, as the trumpet solo plays, a younger lady happily dances along the front of the screen – classy irony.

Maoz’s style becomes darker (the cinematography is fantastic, and so are the dystopic elements) and more entertaining in every checkpoint sequence; the loneliness of these four young men is the consequence of the absurd necessity to control a road in the middle of nowhere, where one of the most regular travellers is a camel they need to open the gate for.

Foxtrot is a film about coincidences that aren’t casual, that seem part of a bigger plan. It was inspired by a real episode experienced by the director, who nearly lost his daughter the day he told her she’d have to take the bus to go to school. She was late and she missed it, a few moments later a terrorist detonated his suicide vest on it.

Filippo L’Astorina, the Editor

Foxtrot doesn’t have a UK release date yet.

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Venice Film Festival 2017: Our Souls at Night | Review http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/2017/09/01/venice-film-festival-2017-our-souls-at-night-review/ Fri, 01 Sep 2017 18:02:57 +0000 http://www.theupcoming.co.uk/?p=308367 Our Souls at Night sees the long-awaited return of Robert Redford and Jane Fonda as an on-screen couple, 28 years after The Electric Horseman. It’s a film about love and how it doesn’t fade over time – it could actually even heighten. But it’s also a story of second chances and being brave when we would normally think it’s too late to start a new life.

Louis (Redford) and Addie (Fonda) are neighbours, they both lost their spouses and have been living alone for years. One day, Addie knocks on Louis’s door to make a somewhat audacious proposition: she invites him to sleep with her. Not in a sexual way, just not to feel alone, because “the nights are the worst”. It starts as a necessity but it develops into a genuine relationship.

The two actors are undeniably comfortable with each other; the romance between them looks really natural and they clearly share some traits with their own characters, too. Just like Redford, Louis wanted to become an artist before starting his professional career.

When asked at the press conference why he didn’t direct this film (Redford bought the rights to adapt the book and produced it), he pointed out that he wanted to give the opportunity to a young director, Ritesh Batra, whose debut film The Lunchbox became a success at Sundance (the festival founded by the American actor, which fosters new, independent cinema). Our Souls at Night is a picture admittedly conceived for an older audience – a segment often neglected – but with an appeal for any age. It’s a lesson in acting too: mainly from the protagonists but Matthias Schoenaerts and Judy Greer, as the son and daughter of Addie and Louis respectively, do a great job. With a relaxing, heartwarming pace and music reminiscent of Nebraska, it just feels right to see Bruce Dern in a cameo role as a coffee friend of Redford.

Filippo L’Astorina, the Editor

Our Souls at Night is released this autumn on Netflix.

Watch three clips from Our Souls at Night here:

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