Six of the best films to see in cinemas this weekend

New this weekend: The Souvenir, Aniara, A Faithful Man, The Mustang

Picnic at hangdog rock: Honor Swinton-Byrne and Tom Burke in The Souvenir

Picnic at hangdog rock: Honor Swinton-Byrne and Tom Burke in The Souvenir

 

THE SOUVENIR ★★★★★
Directed by Joanna Hogg. Starring Honor Swinton-Byrne, Tom Burke, Tilda Swinton, Richard Ayoade, Jack McMullen, Frankie Wilson. 15A cert, lim release, 120 min
Striking, austere drama concerning the relationship between a young film student (Swinton-Byrne) and a well-off man (Burke) with an addiction issue. Set in the early 1980s, the picture is clearly autobiographical but, teased out by the cast from a rough outline, it takes on a bitter, brooding life of its own. Swinton-Byrne (daughter of Tilda) is convincingly fragile as the protagonist. Burke allows dark depths as her difficult lover. Hogg’s aesthetic is not always welcoming, but the raw honesty is daunting. DC Full review

ANIARA ★★★★☆
Directed by Pella Kagerman, Hugo Lilja. Starring Emelie Jonsson, Bianca Cruzeiro, Arvin Kananian, Anneli Martini, Jennie Silfverhjelm, Peter Carlberg, Emma Broome, Jamil Drissi, Leon Jiber. 18 cert, gen release, 106 min

Emelie Jonsson in Aniara
Emelie Jonsson in Aniara

Aboard the Aniara, a spaceship taking passengers from the Earth to Mars, the job of Mimaroben (Jonsson) involves operating the a machine designed to recreate viewers’ cherished memories as virtual reality. The ship collides with debris, is thrown off-course and left without fuel reserves. By year four, there are horrific suicides and religious cults. This second film adaptation of Swedish poet Harry Martinson’s 1956 cycle of 103 cantos – Aniara has previously inspired a 1960 TV movie, a heavy metal album, and an opera – feels like the Rapture translated into elegant science fiction. TB Full review

A FAITHFUL MAN/L’HOMME FIDÈLE ★★★☆☆
Directed by Louis Garrel. Starring Laetitia Casta, Lily-Rose Depp, Joseph Engel, Louis Garrel. Club, Triskel, Cork, 75 min

Lily-Rose Depp in A Faithful Man
Lily-Rose Depp in A Faithful Man

“Got a sec?” Marianne (Casta) asks Abel (Garrel) as he is about to head out to work. She cooly tells him that she’s pregnant, that he’s not the father, that the father is a mutual friend, that she is marrying this mutual friend, and that Abel needs to move out before the wedding – in 10 days. Years pass, and the now widowed Marianne is pursued by Abel, despite claims from her eight-year-old son (Engel) that she poisoned his father. Abel, meanwhile, is pursued by his late friend’s younger sister (Depp), who, echoing the film’s opening romantic dismissal, calmly tells Marianne to get out of her damned way. This uneven but tremendously enjoyable film feels like a series of MacGuffins as it slyly shifts from fake murder-mystery to romantic-comedy to family melodrama. TB Full review

THE MUSTANG ★★★☆☆
Directed by Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre. Starring Matthias Schoenaerts, Jason Mitchell, Gideon Adlon, Connie Britton, Bruce Dern. 15A cert, gen release, 96 min

Matthias Schoenaerts and Jason Mitchell in The Mustang
Matthias Schoenaerts and Jason Mitchell in The Mustang

A prisoner (Schoenaerts) trains horses in the desolate deserts of Nevada. Boasting Robert Redford as executive producer (and you’d know it), The Mustang is a film about a rough diamond who gains some polish when asked to care for a needy animal. It’s a prison movie. It’s a horsey movie. The expected beats are struck with such commitment that it proves hard to resist. DC Full review

PAIN AND GLORY/DOLOR Y GLORIA ★★★★★
Directed by Pedro Almodóvar. Starring Antonio Banderas, Asier Etxeandia, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Nora Navas, Julieta Serrano, Penélope Cruz. 16 cert, lim release, 113 min

Antonio Banderas and Nora Navas in Pain and Glory
Antonio Banderas and Nora Navas in Pain and Glory

Banderas is hypnotically captivating as a blocked film director in an exquisite, autumnal drama that escapes 8½ comparisons to breathe fresh Almodóvar air. The dextrous flitting between past and present and between trauma and comedy is, no doubt, the result of meticulous paring, but, on screen, it flows as smoothly as the most linear of narratives. Cruz spreads warmth as the protagonist’s mother in flashbacks. The images gleam. A great later work from an original for the ages. DC Full review

HAIL SATAN? ★★★★☆
Directed by Penny Lane. Club, QFT, Belfast; Light House, Dublin, 95 min

Hail Satan?
Hail Satan?

Thank God for Satan. In 2013, two Harvard chums made headlines for a press conference at the Florida state capitol. Billing themselves as the Satanic Temple, they heaped praise on governor Rick Scott for signing a Bill to permit student-led “inspirational messages” at school events, which they welcomed for “allowing our Satanic children the freedom to pray in school”. That act of prankster activism (prankstivism?) became a blueprint for what has become one of the fastest growing religions in America. We say religion, but the Satanic Temple praises neither gods nor devils. This devilishly entertaining documentary chronicles the growth of the Satanic Temple as it blossoms from a small group of outsiders into an international movement. Satan hasn’t looked this appealing since John Milton’s romantic write-up in Paradise Lost. TB full review

Other ★★★★★ and ★★★★☆  films out and about: Apollo 11, Crawl, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Gaza, Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love, Midsommar, Never Grow Old, Once Upon a Time in . . . Hollywood, Yesterday. All current films reviewed here.

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