FILM OF THE WEEK

THE PHANTOM OF THE OPEN

The eccentric real life story of Maurice Flitcroft fits the extraordinary talents of Mark Rylance like a glove. Rylance began his spectacular career on stage with stunning performances in PETER PAN and HAMLET for the RSC before he became the director of the Shakespeare Globe. He was always too busy for the movies until Steven Spielberg cast him in BRIDGE OF SPIES for which he won an Oscar and since then he has been a solid character actor.
Flitcroft is a crane operator from Barrow-in Furness and dreams of entering the 1976 British Open. He miraculously manages to gain entry despite the fact that he has never played golf in his life. His loving family and friends are all supportive and encouraging, so he now must begin to practise…
The delicious screenplay opens in America where Maurice is being interviewed – a clever devise in telling his story before he becomes The World’s Worst Golfer. It is a genuine crowd pleaser and director Craig Roberts creates a warm, gentle world with just the right touch of eccentricity. Rylance is superb and endearing as the determined Flitcroft to succeed against the odds. He is well supported by Sally Hawkins as his loyal wife Jean and Rhys Ifans as the outraged Scottish secretary of the Royal and Ancient golf Club.
You don’t have to be a golf fan to enjoy this sweet and charming comedy!

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Ti West, the director of THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL and CABIN FEVER 2, sets the action of his latest horror in 1979 and tells the story of a group of young filmmakers as they travel to rural Texas in order to make an adult film. Their location is a remote farm by the lake which is owned by an elderly reclusive couple who welcome them with a rifle in their hands mistaking them for trespassers. And once the shooting of the porn feature begins the fear amongst the group escalates to epic proportions…
It is hugely enjoyable – porn with horror and a solid cast that includes Mia Goth and Martin Henderson as two members of the group. THE TEXAS CHANSAW MASSACRE meets CRAWL. One of the best horror films I have seen since Frightfest!

MASTER
A fascinating premise for writer/director Mariama Diallo’s feature film debut, who sets her action in a prestigious college in New England. The new Master (Reginal Hall) and a fresh student (Zoe Renee), both black, are plagued by similar nightmares, while everybody keeps reminding them that their legendary college is cursed as well as haunted by ghosts from the past…
An intriguing first half before the story changes gear turning into a social comment about race. The original CANDYMAN in 1992 pioneered this cocktail of horror combined with strong race issues much more successfully. This is finally an uneven film but thankfully Hall’s committed performance manages to hold the whole thing together.

HIVE

This powerful film from Kosovo is sensitively told by Blerta Basholli, who gives a voice to many silent woman following their country’s devastating tragedy. The story, which is based on true events, plays like a sequel to the recent powerhouse QUO VADIS AIDA where hundreds of men either perished or went missing during the Kosovo War in the late nineties. Fahrie (Yilka Gaesh), like many women in her village, struggles to make ends meet and her only hope for survival is to launch a business selling local food product. She inspires other women to join her effort despite the conservative men’s disapproval…
It is a story of hope and optimism in a bleak, sad environment where women are left to their own devices to heal their past traumas as well as control their future.

PARIS, 13TH DISTRICT

The original French title of Jacques Audiard’s new film is LES OLYMPIADES, a striking black and white feature which follows the story of Emilie Wong (Lucie Zhang), a young woman who reluctantly agrees to let Camillle Germain (Makita Samba) rent a room in her flat in the fashionable Paris 13th District, situated on the left bank of the Seine. There is an immediate attraction between these two strangers until Nora (Noemie Merlant) enters the scene…
Audiard, the daring director of A PROPHET and RUST AND BONE, effortlessly switches genre with each of his films and here his modern take on JULES & JIM is a genuine delight!

LINGUI, THE SACRED BONDS

Writer/director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun tells the story of Amina (Achouackh Abakar Souleymane), a free spirited single mother living with her 15-year old daughter Maria (Rihane Khalil Alio) on the outskirts of N’djamena, Chad. But when Maria gets pregnant Amina begins yet another struggle against a deeply religious patriarchal society where female circumcision is part of their daily life while abortion is strictly forbidden…
Haroun celebrates his protagonists’ resilience and fighting spirit in an engaging, original way and photographs their beautiful yet harsh environment in bright, colourful compositions where every shot is a work of art. A must-see! (MUBI)

TASTE

A highly original film from Vietnamese first time director Le Bao, who follows the story of Bessley, a Nigerian footballer now living in Vietnam and unable to work since his leg injury. He ends up in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City with four middle aged woman hiding away from society…
Bao creates a dark, grey environment, a world without words inhabited by lost souls. A striking film with perfectly framed compositions! (MUBI)

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