First up, we have some great film festivals! From Fri 10 – Tue 14 Sep habeshaview will be presenting Ethiopian Film Week, right on time for Ethiopian New Year 2014 on Sat 11 Sep. They will be showcasing five films ranging from coming-of-age stories and historic tales. We will also be hosting Alyssa, the Tunisian Film Festival on Sat 25 – Sun 26 Sep. Alyssa are showcasing an expanse of films from documentary to family dramas and Cannes Film Festival contenders, and all films will be followed by a live or virtual Q&A.
We’d like to congratulate Nia DaCosta on reaching the belated milestone of becoming the first Black woman to debut at number one at the US box office with the superbly thrilling Candyman, which is currently showing on our screens.
New for us is Sean Durkin’s Sundance darling The Nest, a fraught family drama set in 1980s Surrey; we see Jude Law (The Talented Mr Ripley, The Grand Budapest Hotel) and Carrie Coon (Gone Girl, The Leftovers) deal with family dysfunction and indulge in upper-middle class excess. This is Durkin’s second feature, coming nine years after the cult classic Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene, about a young woman struggling to manage the PTSD that comes from leaving an abusive cult. Durkin has a penchant for interpersonal family drama The Nest might be the perfect dose of 1980s England to tide you over until Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir II. Read the Guardian’s 4 star review of The Nest.
In keeping with the independent and obscure, nine years in the making, French director Leo Carax (read an in-depth profile into Carax by The New York Times) makes his return to the big screen with the bombastic Annette. Starring Adam Driver (Marriage Story, Paterson) and Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose, Inception) Annette is an out-there musical sensation that follows the tumultuous marriage of a beloved opera singer Ann (Cotillard) and her boundary-pushing comedian husband (Driver) and the birth of their prodigious puppet daughter Annette.
Driver and Cotillard are at the top of their game delivering some wonderfully humorous and emotive songs, with the film itself playing like a Greek tragedy, exuberant and full of heart. Annette is a meditation on fame, love and jealousy that turns the audience on its head.
The Sparks Brothers – who you may remember, had their own documentary earlier this year – provide the music for this film, with some of the songs currently available to stream. If a truly original cinema experience is what you’re after this month, Annette might just be the film for you.
Next up we have the hotly anticipated Respect, a stunning biopic of the late Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin. At the request of the late Ms Franklin, Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls, The Secret Life of Bees) embraces the role of a young Aretha, portraying the early years of her career and the perhaps little-known struggle she had to achieve her first hit single (it took 12 albums!). With a star studded cast of Forest Whittaker (The Last King of Scotland, Black Panther), Marlon Wayans (White Chicks, Requiem for a Dream) and Audra McDonald (The Good Fight, Grey’s Anatomy), director Liesl Tommy (Queen Sugar, Insecure) carries us through mid 20th century America, imbuing every notable historical instance with the presence of Aretha.
Herself is the next feature film from lauded director Phyllida Lloyd (Mama Mia!, The Iron Lady). Set in Ireland, it follows Sandra (played by Clare Dunne, who co-wrote the film) a young mother of two fleeing an abusive relationship who decides to build her own house as a response to the government’s inadequate protections and housing policies. Herself is an inspiring tale of resilience and community with a grounded but heart wrenching performance from Dunne, ideal for fans of Ken Loach or Mike Leigh.
In the middle of the month we welcome the enthralling Rose Plays Julie, a story of Rose (Ann Skelly) a young adoptee on a quest to find her real parents, only to make a startling discovery. Co-writer/directors Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy construct an intimate and eerie world that challenges the way we think about trauma and power.
A Brixton Tale is another London-based saga that focuses on teenage YouTube star Leah, played by Lily Newmark (Pincushion), and her voyeuristic project to document the lives of Brixton locals; the story takes a turn when she falls in love with her films subject and has to reckon with the class and racial differences dividing them.
If you’re one of the many people who spent a good chunk of lockdown rewatching (or finally getting round to watching) the hit 2000s HBO show The Sopranos, then you did so right in time for the cinematic prequel. The Many Saints of Newark stars Michael Gandolfini filling the shoes of his late father James Gandolfini as a young Tony Soprano. The film promises to take a look at the formative years of Tony and introduce us to the infamous characters we’d heard so much about throughout the show.
And finally (enthusiastic drum roll) BOND is back! James Bond 007: No Time to Die is finally being released after several Covid-related delays, creating what might just be the longest anticipation period of all time. Starring, for the final time, Daniel Craig and directed by the equally suave Cary Joji Fukunanga (Beasts of No Nation, True Detective) this film sees Bond coaxed out of retirement only to confront a dangerous villain with advanced, unheard of technology. Watch the final trailer for No Time To Die here.
Words by Rōgan Graham.
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