April, come she will… and with her, she’s all geared up to bring us a bumper pack of excellent cinema from around the globe. Whether it’s capitalist parables from China, a novel origin story from Italy or a good ol’ gun-slinger from the U S of A, there’s sure to be something to whet that cinematic whistle of yours this month at the Edinburgh Filmhouse and the Glasgow Film Theatre. Check out some of the highlights of their programmes below.
Kristoffer Nyholm / UK / 2019 / 107 mins
The Vanishing is inspired by the Flannan Isles mystery, which saw three lighthouse keepers completely disappear without trace in 1900. There is just something about Scottish isolated settings, particularly remote and sea-battered lighthouses, that are potentially unruly premises for a thriller story and exploration of human nature, and this film’s attraction lies in discovering the director’s perspective on the unsolved history, the eerie atmosphere and the inevitable drama among the men.
Alice Rohrwacher / Italy / 2018 / 137 mins
Italian peasant Lazzaro wouldn’t say boo to a goose, and his overly sweet nature means people often assume he’s simple-minded and manipulate him for their own ends. When Lazzaro finds an unlikely pal in the son of the local tobacco baroness, he’s cajoled into staging a dramatic scene that has far-reaching consequences. Both a touching tale of simple humanity and a conceit for the decadence of modern Italy, this magic-realist film is packed with stunning visuals and superb acting.
Jordan Peele / USA / 2019 / 116 mins
Jordan Peele follows up the runaway success of Get Out (winner of the Best Original Screenplay at last year’s Oscars) with another sideways take on the horror genre. Adelaide Wilson and her family return to her childhood home in Santa Cruz for a much-needed getaway. However, the sense of dread that seems to follow her around after an unexplained traumatic event in her youth is ramped up to new levels when the family encounter perfect doppelgangers of themselves at their California beach house.
Paolo Sorrentino / Italy, France / 2019 / 153 mins
Veteran filmmaker Paolo Sorrentino (Youth, The Great Beauty) turns his camera lens on one of Italy’s most polemic political figures of recent memory: former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Homing in on one of the most turbulent periods of Berlusconi’s life, during which his marriage to his second wife begins to fall apart, we see how the man’s friends, enemies and perfect strangers react to the change in his circumstances, putting both his and their personalities firmly under the microscope.
Sara Colangelo / USA / 2018 / 97 mins
A US remake of the 2014 Israeli film of the same name, The Kindergarten Teacher features Maggie Gyllenhaal as the eponymous educator who dreams of becoming a poet and escaping her doldrum marriage and family life. When she stumbles across a five-year-old child who she believes to be a prodigy, she sees a chance to live vicariously through the young ankle-biting bard and goes to extreme lengths to allow his talents to flourish.
Jacques Audiard / France, Spain, Romania, Belgium, USA / 2018 / 121 mins
Based on the novel of the same name, which was nominated for the 2011 Man Booker Prize, this Western tale sees John C Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix play the eponymous brothers, who are a pair of gun-slinging assassins sent to kill a man accused of owing their boss money. The mission will test their relationship to the limit and feature no small amount of soul-searching along the way. The darkly comic film is French auteur Jacques Audiard’s first foray into English language cinema.
Tom Harper / UK / 2018 / 101 mins
This free-spirited comedy-drama focuses on Rose, a Glaswegian tearaway with a lust for life and singing in her soul. Fresh from release after her latest illegal misadventure, and with two young children in tow, Rose dreams of escaping to Nashville, Tennessee to forge her music career, but her long-suffering mother forces her to face up to her responsibilities by taking a cleaning job in a middle-class house. Here, she finds an unlikely ally and sponsor for her talents.
Wolfgang Fischer / Germany, Austria / 2018 / 94 mins
Emergency doctor Rieke is en route from Gibraltar to Ascension Island by boat, only to stumble across the wreckage of a craft carrying several half-drowned refugees in desperate need of rescue. With her bosses directing her to leave them adrift and retain focus on her initial mission, Rieke faces the unenviable moral dilemma of flouting their authority or risking the consequences falling on her own conscience if she turns a blind eye to the plight of the shipwrecked.
Jia Zhangke / China, France / 2018 / 150 mins
When street-smart dancer Qiao falls for small-time gangster Bin, she soon finds herself embroiled in a turf war between rival gangs. During one fateful skirmish, Qiao pulls a gun on her beau’s attackers and finds herself behind bars for the pleasure. Five years on, Qiao emerges from jail and attempts to rekindle her passionate romance with the man she served time for. A touching love story that doubles up as a parable on capitalist China.