ANIMATION OF THE WEEK: ALOIS NEBEL
Czech director Tomáš Luňák’s beautifully made, melancholy black-and-white animation Alois Nebel is set in the late ‘80s in a village close to the Polish border. A train dispatcher starts to suffer mysterious hallucinations, in which his present merges with dark wartime memories. Based on a comic-book trilogy by Jaroslav Rudiš and Jaromír 99, it’s playing around the UK through March and April as part of the Made in Prague touring festival, and hits London’s Ritzy Brixton cinema on Sunday 31 March.
NEW FILM OF THE WEEK: IN THE HOUSE
French director Francois Ozon revisits the murky, psychosexual territory of his 2003 film Swimming Pool with this sly and playful film about a pupil (Ernst Umhauer) whose salacious writing spices up the bored lives of a high-school lit teacher and his gallery-owner wife. The student in the tale tutors his classmate so he can infiltrate his middle-class home - and maybe seduce his mother. As the film swings back-and-forth between the characters’ reality and the expanding tale the line inevitably crumbles, and the question of who's exploiting who becomes trickier to answer. Out in the UK on Friday 29 March.
TRAILER OF THE WEEK: UPSTREAM COLOR
This follow-up to Shane Carruth's low-budget debut Primer has been much anticipated. The director again delivers with Upstream Color, a more ambitiously mind-bending sci-fi that's a bold and vivid barrage of fragmentary images and atmospheric sound. Drugged by a small-time thief, Kris (Amy Seimetz) is left with a worm in her body that also moves through plant life and pigs. Her trauma draws her close to Jeff (Carruth himself) who’s experienced something similar. Screening in the MOMA and Film Society of Lincoln Center's showcase New Directors/New Films this week in NYC, it will also be in Sundance London in April.
OLD FILM OF THE WEEK: SCARFACE
Baroque and bloody, Brian de Palma’s Miami-set gangster classic Scarface traces the rise and fall of Tony Montana (who else but Al Pacino) from Cuban immigrant to drug cartel kingpin during the ‘80s coke boom and finally blow-fuelled megalomaniac. Awash with OTT rococo, palm-tree murals and mahogany, the sensory assault is defo one for the big screen. London’s Rio Cinema in Dalston has a late-night screening on Saturday 30 March.
EVENT OF THE WEEK: ERARTA MOTION PICTURES FESTIVAL
St Petersburg's Erarta gallery - Russia's largest private museum of contemporary art - has launched a unique film fest of short films about painting. The first edition has kicked off this week, with a jury headed by Russian heavyweight Alexander Sokurov (Faust's director), and Dazed is here. Outside the main competition selections I'm screening a side-bar of Icelandic films (including Baroque pop painter Erró's rarely shown, demented '60s mash-up Grimaces) and Spanish curator Xavi Garcia Puerto is behind two special programmes. The fest runs until Saturday 30 March, and we'll be reporting back on what goes down.