Graduation, Romanian director Christian Mungiu’s new film opens this week at the Showroom. Set in the familiar environment of a mainstream high school, this is his most accessible film to date. (Previous films include the incredible yet nightmarish, 4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days, the story of a woman’s struggle for an illegal abortion in 1980s Romania, and the chilling Beyond the Hills, a shocking drama based on the true story of an attempted exorcism in a rural monastery.)
Graduation is a film that’s difficult to write about without giving the game away, but it’s safe to say that it is an expert study of the role and responsibilities of a parent; of the relationship between a daughter and her father and the social systems behind them; as well as the ultimate stakes that ride on life-changing school exams.
Winner of the best director prize in the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, this is a brilliant and dramatic story as well as a battle of ethics that challenges audiences to tread the line of right and wrong as the story plays out.
There can be little question of right and wrong in Ben Wheatley’s latest, Free Fire.
The film begins with an underground arms deal in a murky warehouse in 1970s Boston - a group of criminals hoping to purchase multiple machine guns wait in anticipation to meet a group of traders with goods to sell.
It’s no spoiler to reveal that not everything goes to plan! This brilliant, gun frenzy of a film will not disappoint Ben Wheatley fans out there, and hopefully the appeal of the brilliant cast will help Free Fire reach out to an even wider audience. With a catalogue of fantastic performances including Oscar-winning actress Brie Larson; long-time Wheatley collaborator Michael Smiley; man of the moment Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy, Sam Riley and South African actor Sharlto Copley. This ensemble cast shine through to bring tension, rage and some brilliantly funny dialogue to what might otherwise have been a fairly bleak affair.
Ben Wheatley recently previewed Free Fire at the Showroom and we were delighted to welcome him for a Q&A following the film.
Re-released to cinemas this week, and screening at the Showroom from today is Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Fear Eats the Soul. Fassbinder, part of the New German Cinema movement is also the focus of a short retrospective season over the next month. Including some of his best-loved films, The Marriage of Maria Braun, The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant and Effi Briest, this season will hopefully convert a few more fans to Fassbinder’s work and provide a great opportunity for many to see these films on the big screen, possibly for the first time.