Soho Film Club: Telluride, Venice, and Toronto film festival round-up
The best features from the Big Three, as selected by our crack cinema team
Thursday 15 September by Teo van den Broeke
We take film incredibly seriously here at Soho House. Each and every day, we host screenings of the biggest and most important releases, as well as talks with some of the leading names in the industry, at our Houses across the world.
This week, the Soho House cinema team rounds up all the best films from three of the most important festivals in the business.
1 | Telluride Film Festival
Words by Jo Addy
No paparazzi, no red carpet, just a festival crowd of film lovers and critics flocking to screenings and filing their words on the go as they dash to the next film. That, in a nutshell, is what Telluride – which takes place in the Colorado mountains – is all about. This year, the movies were quite divisive and chatting to critics and festival goers riding the gondola between screenings, there were very mixed reactions.
Tár was a standout favourite for me and will most likely snag Cate Blanchett her eighth Oscar nomination. She dominates the screen with a captivating performance in this psychological drama about renowned classical conductor and composer, Lydia Tár. Not to be outdone, Nina Hoss gives a powerful performance as her wife and a violinist in the orchestra Tár leads.
Women Talking – adapted from Miriam Toews novel of the same name by its director, Sarah Polley – tells the story of an isolated religious community brought low by a series of sexual assaults as a collective of women and children grapple with whether to stay or move on. Its stellar ensemble cast features Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, Frances McDormand, Michelle McLeod and Ben Whishaw. John Horn led a tribute for Sarah Polley ahead of the screening in which she talked about becoming aware of the Toewes novel from her local book club – led by none other than Margaret Atwood – which, she said, she had to beg her to be allowed to join.
Fans of Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s dramas about human connection (Nobody Knows, After the Storm, Shoplifters) will devour Broker. Set in South Korea, the film opens with a young woman leaving her baby in a box at a local church, only for it to be taken before the orphanage opens, from which lots of twists and turns ensue. Song Kang-ho (Parasite), winner of the Best Actor gong at Cannes Film Festival, gives an outstanding performance alongside Gang Dong-won, Lee Ji-eun, Bae Donna and Lee Joo-Young.
2 | Venice International Film Festival
Words by Toby King
The Banshees Of Inisherin, Martin McDonaugh’s first film since his Oscar-winning Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, sees the filmmaker return to his Irish homeland alongside two of the cast from his breakout feature, In Bruges. Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson star as friends living on the fictional isolated island of Inisherin in the 1920s. The plot centres around the day Padraig (Farrell) calls by to collect Colm (Gleeson) to go for their daily pint at the pub only to find that Colm inexplicably does not want to be his friend anymore. He offers little in the way of exploration, but threatens terrible consequences if Padraig persist with their friendship. Cue a razor-sharp script that seamlessly oscillates between comedy and tragedy, backdropped by the stunning scenery of the West-Ireland coast. A real contender for major awards this season.
When an early press shot of Brendan Fraser in his new film The Whale was released showing him as a dangerously overweight, balding teacher many people took notice. Not least because the once formidable Hollywood A-lister – remembered for fun action-comedies in the late 1990s and early naughts – has been relatively absent from the silver screen for many years. Most of the weight on Fraser is a remarkable prosthetic bodysuit and what the actor does with his character Charlie is truly remarkable. Acclaimed director Darren Aronofsky has adapted the stage play of the same name into a powerful psychological drama about grief and redemption, in which a man desperate to reconnect with his estranged daughter is forced to finally face up to his feelings of guilt. Fraser is a lock for acting nominations and he is supported by an impressive supporting cast, featuring Samantha Morton, Sadie Sink and Hong Chau.
Walking past the Sala Grande on the Lido at 8am one morning, I couldn’t help but notice devoted fans of Timothée Chalamet already camped out in the hope for a glimpse of the young icon and holding homemade signs asking for him to eat pasta with them. Chalamet co-stars in hotly-tipped new film Bones And All, which reunites him with Call Me By Your Name director Luca Guadagnino in a cannibalistic love story about two lost young souls, Maren (Taylor Russell) and Lee (Chalamet). The pair embark on a road trip across the US in search of Maren’s mother in the hope of getting some answers as to why they have the insatiable need to ‘feed’. Gorgeous cinematography, powerful performances and some shocking horror beats ensure this film is guaranteed to be generating a lot of buzz in the coming months.
For better or worse, probably the most talked about film of the festival was Don’t Worry Darling, which also received a much-anticipated red carpet gala. It seems the only fans more eager than Chalamet’s are the ones who camped out for Harry Styles. Despite all the controversy and press frenzy that preceded it, we are left with a very impressive psychological thriller, beautifully filmed, featuring an astounding lead performance from Pugh and twist ending you may not expect.
3 | Toronto International Film Festival
Words by Lisa Ogdie
With a filmography that includes the iconic Oldboy and psychological thrillers Lady Vengeance and The Handmaiden, few would dispute that Park Chan-wook is an auteur. Decision to Leave won him the Best Director award at Cannes this year and the film is a beautifully shot labyrinth starring the wonderful Park Hae-il and Tang Wei.
Bros makes history by not only featuring an all-LGBTQ+ principal cast, but because Billy Eichner is the first openly gay man to write and star in his own film to be released by a major studio. Co-written with director Nicholas Stoller, Bros is the delightful queer rom-com we all need in our lives right now.
Steven Spielberg always delivers and The Fabelmans is his most personal feature to date. Co-written by Tony Kushner and Spielberg himself, this ‘movie memoir’ features a stellar cast, with Michelle Williams, Paul Dano and Seth Rogen, among others. Audiences will be wowed by what is essentially a love letter to the director’s parents and to cinema itself.
Since her acclaimed debut feature, Love & Basketball, director Gina Prince-Bythewood’s work is something I always seek out. Her recent action turn, The Old Guard, proved her skills to be next-level. The Woman King incorporates some of those same action elements, as well as showcasing the talents of Viola Davis, Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch and John Boyega in a moving emotional epic.
Look here for screenings of these films and others across the Houses soon.