He Named Me Malala
Based on the memoir I’m Malala, the documentary tells the unbelievable story of an 18- year-old Pakistani activist fighting for female education. The youngest ever Nobel prize winner was shot, aged 15, by a Taliban gunman because she spoke up against the school ban the regime had created for girls. She survived and continued to fight her battle, however, as a refugee in the UK. The film unveils the loving, tender relationship Malala has with her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, poet and activist for education. Stemming from the name she was given at birth, the documentary explores the reasons which led Malala to become engaged in human rights advocacy.
The Lady In The Van
Originally a West End play, in 2015 Alan Bennett decided to turn The Lady In The Van into a film. Starring British icon Maggie Smith, The Lady In The Van tells the true story of the friendship between the author and Miss Mary Shepherd. It all began in the 70’s, when Bennett allowed the lady to park her van in his driveway, in the London borough of Camden. The vehicle and its owner remained there for 15 years — during which the two protagonists got to know each other — with Bennett learning about the adventurous life of the old woman, who is really Margaret Fairchild, gifted pianist and former pupil of acclaimed musician Alfred Cortot.
Sam Backer’s film was presented this year at the Sundance Film Festival. It narrates, rather hilariously, the fury of a betrayed woman. After transgender protagonist Cindy finds out her boyfriend/pimp Chester cheated on her with a ‘real fish’, she begins — joined by her loyal friend — a desperate search for the girl and for Chester. The result is a road trip movie among the subcultures of L.A., full of humour and melodrama.
A stunning Cate Blanchett stars in the romantic film Carol. Set in New York in 1952, Carol is a beautiful married woman with a daughter. Therese, a young department store clerk, falls in love with her when Carol enters the store to buy a Christmas present. Based on a Patricia Highsmith novel — whose works already served for cinematic masterpieces such as Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train and Anthony Mingella’s Mr. Ripley’s Talent — the story revolves around the womens’ love and the effect of their relationship on the people around them.
British actor Paul Bettany makes his directorial debut with Shelter. Hannah is a drug addict, Tahir is a refugee from Nigeria. They are both homeless and they both have a cumbersome past. While trying to escape their dire situations, they fall in love. The spectator is taken on a journey into the darkest secrets of the film’s protagonists, as Hannah and Tahir start to figure out that it is precisely their unfortunate choices that have brought them together.
Family ties are often complicated, and they get more delicate as the family members grow older. This couldn’t be more clear than in Radiator. Maria reluctantly calls her middle-aged son for help: she can’t get her husband Leonard off the sofa. Daniel drives to his parent’s trash-filled, small cottage to make his father come to sense. There the background of a life-long marriage and the mechanisms of affection will be unveiled. A darkly funny story, told in a sadly tender way.
Kill Your friends
It’s the The Wolf Of Wall Street, music industry edition, but with darker twists. Kill Your Friends is set in England. Steve Stelfox works for a major record label where drugs, money and girls are simply part of the business. He loves his job and he’s willing to do everything and anything it takes to get a promotion, and he truly does. Based on the bestseller by John Niven, this seedy film sees Nicholas Hoult step into the role of the lead psychopath.
Fear of 13
Part documentary, part fiction, Fear Of 13 is the story of a death row inmate, who 23 years after conviction asks to be executed. Nick is the sole protagonist and storyteller, whose tale appears to be the perfect crime drama. One thing is clear, nothing is as it seems.
Here we have another L.A. road movie, this time following a grandmother and her granddaughter. When the 18-year old turns to Elle asking for help and money to terminate her unwanted pregnancy, the sharp-tongued old lady can’t say no. From the director of About a Boy, Grandma displays with lightness and tenderness the trickiness of relationships, whether they are familiar or sentimental ones.
The love triangle is a formula which always works, and becomes even better when spread across continents. Brooklyn, the Irish protagonist, emigrates to the United States in the 50’s where she falls in love with an Italian-American boy. However, when something happens at home she is called back to Ireland, where she is amongst her beloved family and friends. When she encounters an old lover, the story begins. Nick Hornby’s adaptation of Colm Tóibín’s novel is delicate, amusing and luckily never feels too sugar-coated.