Six of the best films to see in cinemas this weekend

New this weekend: Bait, Rojo, The Shiny Shrimps

Hook, line and thinker: Edward Rowe and Chloe Endean in Bait

Hook, line and thinker: Edward Rowe and Chloe Endean in Bait

 

BAIT ★★★★★
Directed by Mark Jenkin. Starring Edward Rowe, Simon Shepherd, Mary Woodvine, Giles King, Isaac Woodvine, Chloe Endean, Georgia Ellery. Club, QFT, Belfast; Triskel Cork, 89 min
Cinema can still be magic and light! Jenkin achieved a degree of prominence among film anoraks with his 2015 exposé of Cornwall’s housing crisis, shot on a clockwork Bolex cine-camera on monochrome 16mm and developed in a coffee solution. The promising auteur brings the same evocative and ghostly methodology to his extraordinary debut. There is heft behind the phantasmagoria and a story that is certain to resonate with many Irish fishing communities. Martin (Rowe, glowering magnificently) and Steven (King) are bickering brothers in a Cornish fishing village. Martin continues to eek out a living by selling fish and lobster door-to-door; Steven uses their late father’s boat to ferry tourists along the coast. It doesn’t help that the family home has been sold to well-heeled interlopers (Shepherd and Woodvine) as a weekend getaway. A romance between the couple’s daughter (Ellery) and Martin’s apprentice (Woodvine) adds to a sour atmosphere. There are battles concerning everything from parking spots to lobster pots, between the tourists and the traditionalists, disputes that gradually escalate from clipped exchanges to violence. Full review TB

ROJO ★★★★☆
Directed by Benjamin Naishtat. Starring Darío Grandinetti, Andrea Frigerio, Alfredo Castro, Laura Grandinetti, Diego Cremonesi, Susana Pampin, Claudio Martínez Bel. Club, lim release, 109 min

Alfredo Castro and Darío Grandinetti in Rojo
Alfredo Castro and Darío Grandinetti in Rojo

A country lawyer, involved in a terrible crime, wrestles with a determined detective in another South American film that uses oblique disquiet to deal with the tyrannies of the 1970s. Naishtat, one of Argentina’s great younger hopes, moves from experimental work to something a little more conventional here, but Rojo remains an awkward film that demands patience from viewers. Genre tropes abound. Few of them lead where the viewer expects. The Columbo allusions will excite fans of that detective. Full review DC

THE SHINY SHRIMPS/LES CREVETTES PAILLETÉES ★★★☆☆
Directed by Maxime Govare and Cédric Le Gallo. Starring Nicolas Gob, Alban Lenoir, Michaël Abiteboul, Geoffrey Couët, David Baïot, Romain Lancry. 15 cert, lim release, 103 min

The Shiny Shrimps
The Shiny Shrimps

Gruff Olympic swimmer Matthias (Gob) is at the tail end of his career. When a TV commentator asks him about retirement and he blurts out a homophobic slur, Matthias’s punishment is to coach the Shiny Shrimps, a failing yet fabulous water polo players the media dubs “the worst gay sports team”. They’re a predictable bunch of misfits: the angry older one, the young naive one, the soulful one, the harried married one, and the one who has chopped off his penis. “Trans is complicated” cries the angry older one. “The swimsuits!” Of course Matthias and the gang bond as they prepare for the Gay Games in Croatia. the characterisation is broad but the actors are game and the tragic third act appropriately teary. Full review TB

THE SOUVENIR ★★★★★
Directed by Joanna Hogg. Starring Honor Swinton-Byrne, Tom Burke, Tilda Swinton, Richard Ayoade, Jack McMullen, Frankie Wilson. 15A cert, QFT, Belfast; IFI/Light House, Dublin, 120 min

Honor Swinton-Byrne and Tom Burke in The Souvenir
Honor Swinton-Byrne and Tom Burke in The Souvenir

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. Full review DC

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, IFI, Dublin, 106 min

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. Full review TB

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. Full review DC

Other ★★★★★  and ★★★★☆  films out and about: Apollo 11, The Chambermaid, Crawl, Do the Right Thing, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Gaza, Hail Satan?, Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love, Midsommar, Never Grow Old, Once Upon a Time in . . . Hollywood, Transit, Yesterday. All current synopses here

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