What's on at Arts Picturehouse Cambridge - Big Scream
Director: Kleber Mendonça Filho.
Starring: Sônia Braga. Brazil /France 2016. 146 mins. Portuguese with English subtitles.
A tale of individual resistance in the face of rapacious corporate greed, Aquarius takes its title from the Recife apartment block that has been home to widowed music critic Clara (Braga) for close to 40 years. Situated overlooking a popular beach, Aquarius has been earmarked by a slick property developer as an investment opportunity. His determination to turn the aged apartment block into luxury flats is matched by Clara’s refusal to be ousted from a place that, to her, is rich in memories and secrets. Giving one of the year’s very best performances, Sônia Braga is outstanding as the feisty, proud but vulnerable Clara.
Kleber Mendonça Filho’s 2012 feature debut, the slow-burning thriller Neighbouring Sounds, boldly announced a major new voice in Brazilian cinema, and Aquarius is every bit as impressive as its acclaimed predecessor.
Director: James Gray
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller. USA 2016. 141 mins.
Lost City Of Z centres on the story of real-life explorer Colonel Percy Fawcett (Hunnam), who in the 1920s journeyed into the Amazon jungle searching for a lost civilisation. Having left behind his sparky, intellectual and protesting wife (Miller), and accompanied by his aide-de-camp Henry Costin (Pattinson), he faces all manner of human and natural obstacles on his quest to find the mythical city.
Director: Ben Wheatley.
Starring: Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer, Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Jack Reynor, Sam Riley, Noah Taylor. UK 2016. 91 mins.
Ben Wheatley (Sightseers, A Field In England) follows hot on the heels of his last feature, High-Rise, with this all-guns-blazing action thriller.
In America in 1978, Justine (Larson) has arranged a deal on behalf of two Irishmen (Cillian Murphy, Michael Smiley) to buy a stash of guns from gangsters Vernon (Copley) and Ord (Hammer), but then there’s a misunderstanding and shots are fired… The standout cast have great fun with this shoot-’em-up and the playful script’s wry dialogue as the manic standoff escalates into a bloody game of survival.
Filmed over three years by first-time director Jenny Gage, this empathetic and incisive documentary follows a group of Brooklyn teenagers as they make the sometimes uneasy transition from late childhood to womanhood. Sweet, shy Lena has to fend for herself owing to a troubled family life, while her best friend, Ginger, becomes besotted with make-up, clothes and partying. The girls’ changes in character and physicality remind us how rapidly life can progress, often with awkward or unexpected consequences.
Director: Terrence Davies. Starring: Cynthia Nixon, Jennifer Ehle, Keith Carradine.
UK 2017. 125mins.
The story of 19th century American poet Emily Dickinson is brought to vivid life, in a remarkably sensitive biopic by director Terence Davies, exploring her early days as a young schoolgirl, through to her later years as a recluse. Now recognised as a genius that penned some of the most important verses in American literature, the poet was virtually unknown in her lifetime, leaving behind a legacy of stunning, astute work that still resonates deeply today.
Featuring a curated selection of her poems in voiceover, A Quiet Passion details every facet of Dickinson’s character: her wit, her humour and the intimate, close-knit relationship she had with her family. Cynthia Nixon commands a superb performance in the title role, while Davies’ elegant direction allows the audience to connect with the hopes, dreams and disappointments of one of the greatest poets of all time.
Director: Pablo Larraín.
Starring: Luis Gnecco, Gael García Bernal, Mercedes Morán. Chile/Argentina/France/Spain 2016. 108 mins. Spanish with English subtitles.
Pablo Larraín (The Club, No, Tony Manero) turns to his compatriot, the Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda, for his sixth feature. Describing this inventive 1940s-set detective thriller as an ‘anti-bio’, he weaves a dizzying fable around the 1948 hunt for celebrated poet and politician Neruda, who goes underground when Chile outlaws Communism and finds himself pursued by an ambitious police inspector (Bernal) hoping to make a name for himself by capturing the famous fugitive. With a trio of outstanding performances from Bernal, Luis Gnecco as the poet on the run and Mercedes Morán as his wife Delia, this is a hugely refreshing and entertaining tale that boldly tests the limits of filmic biography.
Director: Chan-wook Park.
Starring: Min-hee Kim, Tae-ri Kim, Jung-woo Ha. South Korea 2016. 145 mins. Korean with English subtitles.
After shooting his first English-language feature in 2013, the Nicole Kidman-starring Stoker, acclaimed South Korean director Chan-wook Park reverts to his native language for the erotically charged psychological thriller The Handmaiden. Those familiar with the popular director’s films will be glad to know that Park’s penchant for studied framing, black humour and dark subject matter is present and correct. Inspired by, rather than adapted from, Sarah Waters’s 2002 novel Fingersmith,
The Handmaiden switches the Victorian England setting for that of Korea under Japanese colonial rule in the 1930s. Featuring stunning period production design by Seong-hie Ryu, The Handmaiden is a deliciously twisty tale of revenge, centring on an heiress, her con man uncle and the lady-in-waiting for whom she begins to fall. A real feast for the senses, and as stylishly executed as one would expect from Park, this thriller will leave audiences swooning at the power of both the imagery and the storytelling.