Portrait of a Lady on Fire
France, 1760. Marianne is commissioned to paint the wedding portrait of Héloïse, a young woman who has just left the convent. Because she is a reluctant bride-to-be, Marianne arrives under the guise of companionship, observing Héloïse by day and secretly painting her by firelight at night. As the two women orbit one another, intimacy and attraction grow as they share Héloïse’s first moments of freedom. Héloïse’s portrait soon becomes a collaborative act of and testament to their love. Winner of a coveted Cannes prize and one of the best reviewed films of the year, Portrait of a Lady on Fire solidifies Céline Sciamma as one of the most exciting filmmakers working in the world today.
Jane (Ozark’s Julia Garner) is a recent college graduate and aspiring film producer, who’s just landed her dream job as a junior assistant to a powerful entertainment mogul. Her day is much like any other assistant, making coffee, ordering lunch, arranging travel accommodations and taking phone messages. But as Jane follows her daily routine, she grows increasingly aware of the abuse that insidiously colours every aspect of her workday – an accumulation of degradations against which she decides to take a stand.
Writer and director Rian Johnson (Brick, Looper, The Last Jedi) pays tribute to Agatha Christie in Knives Out, a fun, modern-day murder mystery in which everyone is a suspect. When renowned crime novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) is found dead at his estate just after his 85th birthday, the inquisitive and debonair detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is enlisted to investigate. From Harlan’s dysfunctional family to his devoted staff, Blanc sifts through the red herrings and self-serving lies to uncover the truth behind Harlan’s untimely death. An excellent cast also includes Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette, LaKeith Stanfield and Katherine Langford.
Who Do You Think I Am
Juliette Binoche plays Claire, a university lecturer and mother of two teenage boys. She’s also contending with the approach of middle age and the sting of betrayal by her ex-husband, who is building a new life with another partner. Claire has a new lover too, the handsome Ludo, but is under no illusions as to his fidelity. She impulsively creates a fake Facebook profile in which to keep an eye on him: now she’s ‘Clara’, vivacious, blonde and 24 years old. Ludo doesn’t take the bait, but his close friend Alex does, and their online connection soon becomes flirtatious. Titillated by the opportunity to be young again, Claire’s deceptions lead both of her identities into increasingly dangerous territory.
Young couple Tom (Jesse Eisenberg) and Gemma (Imogen Poots) want to purchase a house. They visit a strange estate agent, Martin, who tells them of a new development called Yonder. The pair drive out to the development, where the houses are identical suburban homes. The place is silent, empty and otherworldly. Martin shows the couple around house #9 and then vanishes. Gemma and Tom attempt to leave Yonder, but become lost –every route returns them to #9. When the car eventually runs out of fuel, they decide to stay the night in #9. Lorcan Finnegan’s satirical sci-fi thriller smartly skewers the banality of domestic life.
From acclaimed writer-director Joanna Hogg comes an enigmatic and personal portrait of the artist as a young woman. Hogg combines passionate emotions and exquisite aesthetics into a lush, dreamlike story of young adulthood and first love. A shy but ambitious film student (Honor Swinton Byrne) begins to find her voice as an artist while navigating a turbulent courtship with a charismatic but untrustworthy man (Tom Burke). She defies her protective mother (Tilda Swinton) and concerned friends as she slips deeper into an intense, emotionally fraught relationship that comes dangerously close to destroying her dreams.
A new release from the director of The Full Monty, Military Wives follows a group of women in England whose partners are away serving in Afghanistan. Faced with the men’s absences, they form a choir and quickly find themselves at the centre of a media sensation and global movement. Inspired by the real-life phenomenon of military wives’ choirs, this uplifting story celebrates a band of misfit women who form a choir on a military base. Kristen Scott Thomas and Sharon Horgan star.
American Woman is the story of Debra (Sienna Miller), a working-class woman in Rust Belt America. Having become a mother at 16, then seen her daughter Bridget (Sky Ferreira) do exactly the same, her life is changed forever when Bridget mysteriously disappears. Deb is left to raise her young grandson and navigates the trials and tribulations of the following 11 years, until a long-awaited discovery of the truth. Also stars Aaron Paul and Christina Hendricks.
And Then We Danced
Merab has been training from a young age at the National Georgian Ensemble with his dance partner, Mary. The pair have diligently crafted their painstakingly perfected technique, yet it all comes crashing down when the carefree and handsome Irakli arrives and becomes both Merab’s strongest rival and desire. Featuring breathtaking dance routines and tour-de-force performances from its talented young Georgian cast, And Then We Danced is an extraordinary watch.
A surprise hit at Sundance film festival, Animals follows Laura and Tyler, who’ve been close friends for a decade, partying hard and running wild in Dublin. It charts their choices when it comes to life’s big crossroads and reveals the complexity of female friendship, celebrating both its mess and joy. It’s based on the 2014 novel by Emma Jane Unsworth, who has described Animals as “a lot to do with questioning our desires and our physicality,” which as women we’re encouraged to downplay. But the film’s not only about lust, it’s also an examination of love in its romantic and platonic forms.
After premiering to rave reviews at the Toronto Film Festival, Beast was an understated hit once it landed in cinemas. An intense psychological thriller, it’s a fairytale romance-meets-gripping murder mystery. In a small island community, a troubled young woman falls for a mysterious outsider, who empowers her to escape her oppressive family. When he comes under suspicion for a series of murders, she defends him at all costs. Stars Johnny Flynn and Jessie Buckley.
From the writer and producers of An Education comes Brooklyn, which follows Eilis (Saoirse Ronan), a young Irish woman who leaves her small town in Ireland hoping for a brighter future in 50s Brooklyn. Despite her initial homesickness, she falls in love with Tony (Emory Cohen), an Italian-American who opens her eyes to her new surroundings. A family tragedy leads Eilis back to Ireland, where her American sophistication catches the eye of the charming Jim (Domhnall Gleeson). Eilis finds herself confronting a terrible dilemma – a heartbreaking choice between two men and two countries.
Martin Margiela: In His Own Words
An intimate profile of Martin Margiela, one of the most revolutionary and influential fashion designers of his time. From Jean Paul Gaultier’s assistant to creative director at Hermès to leading his own brand, Margiela never showed his face publicly but reinvented fashion with his radical style for over 20 years, delivering 41 provocative collections. For the first time, the ‘Banksy of fashion’ reveals his drawings, notes and personal items, giving us an exclusive peek at his vision and career. The film features interviews with, among others, Gaultier and Carine Roitfeld.
This 2016 thriller is based on the novel Oh... by Philippe Djian. Michéle Leblanc (Isabelle Huppert) is a successful CEO of a video game company who tries to find out for herself the identity of the masked assailant who raped her, having decided not to report it due to her past experience with police. Huppert’s performance was widely acclaimed: she was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar and won several awards, including a Golden Globe. A must-watch.
Monte (Robert Pattinson) and his baby daughter are the last survivors of a damned and dangerous mission to the outer reaches of the solar system. The crew – death-row inmates led by a doctor (Juliette Binoche) with sinister motives – has vanished. As the mystery of what happened on the ship is unravelled, father and daughter must rely on each other to survive as they hurtle toward the oblivion of a black hole. A staggering and primal film about love and intimacy, suffused with anguished memories of a lost Earth.
Newly married to a rich industrialist twice her age, Katherine (a pitch-perfect Florence Pugh) finds herself confined to the house and starved of companionship. Forced to spend her days in endless tedium, when her cold husband is called away to one of his collieries, she begins a passionate and fiery relationship with a young groom from the estate, beginning a conflict with her stern and unforgiving family that will end in tragedy.
From Park Chan-wook, the celebrated director of Oldboy (also available to watch on Curzon Home Cinema), comes this ravishing crime drama. Park presents a gripping and sensual tale of two women: a young Japanese lady living on a secluded estate; and a Korean woman who is hired to serve as her new handmaiden – but is secretly plotting with a conman to defraud her of a large inheritance. Inspired by the novel Fingersmith by British author Sarah Waters, this Bafta-winning adaptation borrows the most dynamic elements of its source material and combines it with Park’s singular vision to create an unforgettable film.
Only Lovers Left Alive
Artistic, sophisticated and centuries old, two vampire lovers (Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston) ponder their ultimate place in modern society. Set against the romantic desolation of Detroit and Tangiers, an underground musician, deeply depressed by the direction of human activities, reunites with his resilient and enigmatic lover. Their love story has already endured several centuries, but their debauched idyll is soon disrupted by Swinton’s wild and uncontrollable younger sister (Mia Wasikowska). Can these wise but fragile outsiders continue to survive as the modern world collapses around them?
Like many of Joon-ho’s previous films, this year’s winner of the Oscar for Best Picture deals with class politics. At the centre of the plot is the Kim family. With both parents out of work and their children unable to afford a university education, the family limps between meagre meals, expired phone contracts and the occasional flicker of wi-fi from a neighbouring café. Their fortunes shift when Ki-woo’s friend heads abroad to study, leaving vacant his job as a tutor for a wealthy Seoul family. A couple of forged documents later and Ki-woo is installed in the Park household, teaching English to teenage daughter Da-hye. Before long, the Kims hatch a plan to dispatch each of the Park’s staff, filling the positions themselves. The twist? None of the Park family know the foursome are related.
Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s
Bergdorf Goodman is the most mythical of American emporia – and the scene of many an ultimate fashion fantasy. Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s explores the history, inner workings and untold stories behind the store’s rise from a modest ladies’ tailor shop to a mirror of contemporary culture. Karl Lagerfeld, Giorgio Armani, Candice Bergen, Manolo Blahnik, Isaac Mizrahi and others take viewers through the backroom doors and into the inner workings of Manhattan’s most iconic department store.
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