Something for the Weekend (31 July to 2 August)

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Glasgow Film Festival Co-Director Allan Hunter is back with his weekly look at the best films to watch over the weekend and beyond.

Christopher Nolan’s long-awaited Tenet will open in UK cinemas on 26 August. At least, that is the plan at the time of writing. Russell Crowe road-rage thriller Unhinged has been released in Germany and reaches our cinemas this Friday (31 July). Peninsula, the follow-up to zombie thrill ride Train To Busan, has already opened in seven countries and grossed more than $36million. This week the Venice Film Festival announced a tempting  programme that includes Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland with Frances McDormand, Nicole Garcia’s The Lovers, Roger Michell’s The Duke with Helen Mirren and Jim Broadbent, and Hopper/Welles, a documentary built around an interview between Orson Welles and Dennis Hopper during the shooting of The Last Movie. All that unfolds in cinemas on the Lido from 2-12 September. It may be far from business as normal at present but it does feel as if there are lots of little comforting lights beginning to appear at the end of a long dark tunnel. Your very own GFT will re-open on Monday 31 August, but until then here are things to keep you watching at home and in some cinemas over the weekend.


Curzon releasing
Available to watch: Curzon Home Cinema from Friday 31 July

There is lashings of atmosphere in writer/director Claire Oakley’s impressively crafted debut Make-Up. There are echoes of Andrea Arnold and Nicolas Roeg in a swirl of gothic melodrama, kitchen sink realism, unsettling desire and coming of age story. Naive teenager Ruth (Molly Windsor) joins her boyfriend Tom (Joseph Quinn) at an end of season Cornish holiday park where he is employed. The location is as bleak and windswept as a Yorkshire moor in a Bronte novel. Winds howl, foxes screech in the night and plastic coverings flap on the sealed, abandoned holiday homes. The setting seems designed to exacerbate Ruth’s isolation and paranoia. Life with Tom is a series of disappointments and soon she finds herself increasingly drawn to the beguiling Jade (Stefanie Martini).

The Fight

Dogwoof releasing
Available to watch: Curzon Home Cinema and digital platforms from Friday 31 July

Civil rights have been a bloody battleground throughout the Trump administration. Everything from reproductive rights to LGBTQ protections have come under fire. The Fight follows four cases that reflect the work of the American Civil Liberties Union as they labour to defend individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution. The cases concern abortion rights, voting rights, family separation, and transgender in the military. The sharp editing and emotional storytelling lend this documentary the feel of a dynamic Aaron Sorkin television series. We get a vivid sense of the high stakes, the pressures on individual lawyers, and the dilemmas that result from a belief that civil liberties must be for all and not just the people with whom you agree. There are landmark victories and significant setbacks but the fight always continues in this compelling insight into Trump’s America.  


Picturehouse releasing
Available to watch: in cinemas from Friday 31 July

Director Alice Winocour joined us for the UK premiere of Proxima at this year’s Glasgow Film Festival. Now, a wider audience beckons with the start of its cinema release. Eva Green stars as Sarah, an astronaut training for a one-year mission to the International Space Station. Separated from her husband and sensitive to the needs of her seven-year-old daughter, Sarah is increasingly torn between professional ambition and the responsibilities of motherhood. Green gives one of her best performances in a meticulously well-observed and thought-provoking drama.

Story of a Love Affair

Cult Films releasing
Available to watch: on Blu-Ray and digital on demand from Cult Films

Michelangelo Antonioni’s haunting 1950 debut feature was said to have taken its inspiration from James M. Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice. There is a fatalistic, film noir quality to the story of a passionate affair that seems to require the elimination of any human obstacles in its path. Set in post-War Milan, the film echoes the melodramas of Sirk or Ophuls but has some of the style of Orson Welles. Paola (Lucia Bosè) is the spoilt, bored wife of industrialist Enrico (Ferdinando Sarmi). His jealous nature prompts an investigation into her past and the discovery of an affair with Guido (Massimo Girotti) that may have had lethal consequences. The affair is rekindled and past sins return to haunt them and shape their future. Restored under the supervision of cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno (now 97) this is beautifully framed, strikingly photographed in black and white, and has all the signs of what would become Antonioni hallmarks, from ennui and emptiness to despair and the way architecture has a physical and emotional presence. Martin Scorsese considers it a masterpiece and who would disagree?

Also Showing...

Talking Pictures TV (TPTV) have a tough guy double-bill this Saturday night that would be hard to beat. The Desperate Hours (1955) on TPTV, 1 August at 6.15pm, was the penultimate film of Humphrey Bogart and a return to the kind of roles that made him a star in the 1930s. Bogie plays one of three convicts who have escaped prison, hiding out in a suburban home where they have taken a family hostage. Fredric March co-stars in a role once intended for Spencer Tracy. That is followed by The Friends Of Eddie Coyle (1973) on TPTV, 1 August at 9.10pm, with Robert Mitchum as a small-time crook desperate to avoid jail time even if that requires betraying his friends.

Other TV highlights include Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now: Final Cut (1979/2019) on BBC2, Saturday 1 August at 9.30pm; and Lynne Ramsay’s first feature Ratcatcher (1999) on BBC Scotland, Saturday 1 August at 10.30pm.

Finally, if you are looking for something to mark the passing of the remarkable Dame Olivia De Havilland at 104, then TCM UK have a further screening of her Oscar-winning performance in the splendid melodrama To Each Her Own (1946) on Friday into Saturday 1 August, starting at 1am. They are also showing They Died With Their Boots On (1941) on Monday 3 August at 10.30am, the last of the eight films she made with Errol Flynn.

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