All the best films from the New York and London film festivals
Our cinema programmers pick the best movies from the roster
Wednesday 19 October 2022 By Jo Addy
The past few weeks have been busy in the world of cinema. With the New York and London film festivals in full swing, our programmers from North America and the UK attended both events, and they’re here to share the movies they loved. Check out all upcoming screenings across the Houses here.
New York Film Festival: Lisa Ogdie, North America Cinema Programmer
She Said, directed by Maria Schrader
Based on the novel of the same name, She Said depicts the investigation led by Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor that broke the Harvey Weinstein scandal and revealed the allegations of sexual assault and harassment he had evaded for decades. Both Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan are exceptional, as are the supporting actresses who appear as those who became sources, including the always phenomenal Samantha Morton. Written by Rebecca Lenkiewicz and director Maria Schrader, the film covers a lot of ground, hitting all the important beats of a journalistic procedural drama while still managing to elevate the genre.
Corsage, directed by Marie Kreutzer
Austria’s official entry for the Oscars Best International Feature category, Corsage reimagines the life of Empress Elisabeth of Austria. Reminiscent of Pablo Larraín’s Spencer and Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette, Marie Kreutzer’s beautifully directed film takes a liberal license with historical events. She frames each scene with a witty subversion of the usual tropes, and the ethereal Vicky Krieps as the Empress delivers a fierce performance that is enrapturing.
The Inspection, directed by Elegance Bratton
Director Elegance Bratton crafts an emotional and moving portrait with his deeply personal feature, The Inspection. With a supporting cast of Gabrielle Union, Bokeem Woodbine and Raúl Castillo, the film follows Ellis, a young man whose mother has rejected him. Left with few options, he decides to join the military in an effort to connect with her and also prove something to himself. Jeremy Pope’s portrayal of Ellis is truly fantastic, and both he and Bratton are talents to watch.
All That Breathes, directed by Shaunak Sen
In the documentary All That Breathes, we meet two brothers who have dedicated their lives to the rescue of birds of prey in India. Their passion for these animals is evident, and as the audience follows their work a larger question presents itself. What is the impact of living in a modern polluted country? Winning the Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema at Sundance and the L’OEil d’or for Best Documentary at Cannes, Shaunak Sen’s film is a small, yet mighty delight.
London Film Festival: Toby King, UK Cinema Programmer
White Noise, directed by Noah Baumbach
Based on the cult novel White Noise by Don DeLillo, writer-director Noah Baumbach flexes his cinematic muscles as never seen before in this ambitious family drama that at times feels like a creative mash-up of Steven Spielberg’s familial emotional complexity with David Lynch’s weird uncanny depictions of Americana. The film follows college professor Jack Gladney (played with typical relish by Adam Driver), who’s comfortable work and family life is upended by a disastrous chemical leak that causes the local community and his family circle to come apart in unexpected ways. This is Baumbach working on his biggest canvas, yet showcasing a grander visual style to great effect. There are tremendous performances from Driver and the supporting cast that includes Greta Gerwig, Jodie Turner-Smith, Raffey Cassidy, Don Cheadle, and Andre Benjamin.
Blue Jean, directed by Georgia Oakley
One of the breakout films from the festival circuit is this debut feature from British filmmaker Georgia Oakley. Set in the midst of Thatcher’s 1980s, Blue Jean stars one-to-watch Rosy McEwen as Jean, a PE teacher who hides her sexuality from her work colleagues as anti LGBTQ rhetoric is broadcast across the media. She has learnt to successfully navigate a dual life, one at work and another with her long-term partner and frequenting the local lesbian bar. When a new student arrives at her school and then again at her bar, Jean is forced into a conflict that presents an impossible choice. Filmed with a gritty aesthetic with astounding performances and a story that challenges in ways you might not expect, Blue Jean represents an exciting new voice in British filmmaking.
Living, directed by Oliver Hermanus
Bill Nighy has been a staple of British cinema for what feels like forever, and here we see him in what will be a career-defining performance. Living is based on Akira Kurosawa’s classic Ikiru (1952) and has been adapted by acclaimed writer Kazuo Ishiguro (Remains Of The Day) and director Oliver Hermanus. Set in 1950s London, Nighy plays Mr. Williams, a stoic civil servant at London County Council, dedicated to his job but stuck to a zombie-like existence of the same routine every day. Upon receiving a terminal diagnosis, he attempts to reassess his life and endeavours to make a meaningful impact on the world and the people around him. Influenced by meeting new acquaintances, including a local decadent in Brighton (wonderfully played by Tom Burke) and his former colleague Margaret (a truly heart-warming and nuanced performance by Aimee Lou Wood), Living is beautifully acted drama that quietly packs a huge emotional weight.
The Eternal Daughter, directed by Joanna Hogg
Tilda Swinton plays opposite herself in Joanna Hogg’s latest, The Eternal Daughter. Swinton stars as Julie, a filmmaker on a quiet retreat in a rural hotel with a mysterious past. She is accompanied by her elderly mother, also played by Swinton. Hogg has cultivated a unique filmic style and language over the years with films that on the surface have an austere simplicity, but are full complex emotional drama. In The Eternal Daughter, she uses her toolkit to create a truly eerie horror film with all the visual cues you might expect from a 1960s Hammer horror, a spooky mansion in the fog, things that go bump in the night, and a creepy presence lurking in the dark. Hogg and Swinton are great collaborators, and seeing them bring this very unique mother-daughter drama together is a spellbinding cinematic experience. With two incredible performances from Swinton, a special mention must also be made to co-star Carly-Sophia Davies who plays the hotel’s seemingly only member of staff, and achieves some hilarious comedic moments as the most inhospitable hotelier since Basil Fawlty.