What's on at Arts Picturehouse Cambridge - Big Scream
Director: Aki Kaurismäki. Starring: Sakari Kuosmanen, Sherwan Haji. Finland/Germany 2017. TBC mins. Finnish/Swedish/Arabic with English subtitles.
Acclaimed writer-director Aki Kaurismäki’s poignant follow-up to Le Havre sensitively weaves together the struggles of two men who flee their homes, albeit in very different circumstances. The first is Khaled (Haji), a Syrian refugee separated from his family, who arrives in Helsinki hidden as a stowaway on a coal freighter. After his transfer to a bleak, impersonal holding centre, the details of his tragic story come to light. Meanwhile, a parallel, equally desperate tale unfolds courtesy of spiky salesman Waldemar Wikström (Kuosmanen), who leaves his drunken wife and quite literally gambles everything on financing a failing restaurant. Typically of Kaurismäki, there’s much dark humour as Wikström and Khaled’s paths cross, yet antagonism eventually yields to sympathy, spawning a surrogate family unit that touchingly fills in for absent kin.
Director: Michaël Dudok De Wit. France/Belgium/Japan 2015. 81 mins.
Renowned Japanese animation giant Studio Ghibli’s first-ever international co-production is a perfect collaboration with Oscar-winning Dutch animator Michaël Dudok De Wit. The Red Turtle, almost a decade in the making, is a dialogue-free fable about a castaway on a desert island, and a touching ode to the cycle of life and the resilience of family. Presented with an elegant simplicity, the sublime visuals pack a real emotional punch. Described by critics as a ‘quiet little masterpiece’ and a ‘wordless wonder’, The Red Turtle won the Special Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard section at this year’s Cannes. Michaël Dudok De Wit previously made the Oscar-winning animated short Father And Daughter in 2000.
Swiss director Claude Barras’s debut feature is a beautifully rendered, stop-motion animation, adapted by the gifted screenwriter Céline Sciamma (Girlhood, Tomboy) from Giles Paris’s eponymous novel. The improbably nicknamed Courgette (Schlatter) is a shy, bug-eyed kid, consigned to an orphanage after his alcoholic mother’s sudden death. However, Courgette’s unhappiness is tempered by the kindly policeman who escorts him to his new home and adventures with the other misfit children – a football-loving tomboy, shy Alice and an introverted dinosaur fan – are cleverly wrought to show how lessons learnt can shape a child’s character and prepare them for adult life. The story of the growing pains of youngsters is lovingly told, the animation and colouring terrific - all brilliantly befitting the narrative of a film that’s much more than simply kids’ entertainment.
Director: John Jencks.
Starring: Roger Allam, Fiona Shaw, Matthew Modine. UK 2017. 89 mins.
After he is fired from his job, disgraced poet Ted Wallace (Allam) is summoned to Swafford Hall, the country manor of his friends Lord and Lady Logan (Modine and Shaw), to investigate a series of unexplained miracle healings. Ted tracks down the perpetrator of the phenomena, fifteen-year-old David Logan (Tommy Knight), whose parents believe he has healing hands. Unaware that David is using some unorthodox methods, the Logans are set on sharing their son’s gift with the world. With a poet’s passion for the truth, Ted hurries to debunk the miracles and save a young man from a lifetime of embarrassment. His natural cynicism makes him the ideal candidate to get to the bottom of events – and some good whisky bottles – in this hilarious tale based on Stephen Fry’s seminal novel.