TRAILER OF THE WEEK: Only God Forgives
Premiering in competition at the Cannes film fest this week is the latest pairing between director Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling – a Bangkok-set crime thriller in which the Drive star plays an underworld figure who’s running a Thai boxing club as the front for his family’s drug racket, and is asked by his mother (Kristin Scott Thomas, blonde-bleached and hardened up as a mafia matriarch) to exact revenge on the man who killed his brother. By the looks of the trailer, we’re back on dingy, neon-lit and hyper-bloody terrain. Screening at the Cannes film fest in France on 22 May, and out on UK general release in July.
NEW DOCUMENTARY OF THE WEEK: Beware of Mr Baker
Former boxer and Vogue cover-model turned director Jay Bulger developed this intriguing doc out of an article he penned for Rolling Stone mag based on extensive chats with Ginger Baker - the seminal, flaming-maned drummer of ‘60s super-group Cream. The film opens with Baker – who began in London’s jazz clubs, pioneered rock drumming and decamped to Nigeria to work with Fela Kuti, while cradling a long-term heroin habit - smacking Bulger across the face with his metal walking stick, prepping us for a warts-and-all portrait about a man as cantankerous personally as he was gifted professionally. Eric Clapton, Charlie Watts and Johnny Rotten are among musos that weigh in, along with the numerous wives and grown children that were casualty to Baker’s tumultuous personal life. Out in the UK on Friday 17 May.
OLD FILM OF THE WEEK: Heavenly Creatures
Before director Peter Jackson became immersed in Hollywood and all things Hobbit and when Kate Winslet was an as-yet unknown actress, they made Heavenly Creatures – a dark, brilliant gem of New Zealand cinema. Based on a notorious 50s murder case which saw two teens in an obsessive relationship bludgeon to death one of their mothers, it’s interwoven with vibrant, plasticine-rendered fantasy sequences of the elaborate alternate world the girls imagined. The film balances the sensationalised press of the time – which branded the pair (played by Winslet, in her film debut, and Melanie Lynskey) as pure evil – with a more humane version of a bond which, condemned by society, went horrifically wrong. Screening at London’s BFI Southbank on Tuesday May 21.
SEASON OF THE WEEK: Lars von Trier at the BFI
With Lars Von Trier’s much-anticipated latest Nymphomania not ready for Cannes and still in the works, it’s the perfect time to revisit the innovative and controversial Dane’s past films – currently showing in a BFI season. Highlights include his Europa trilogy of hypnotic mediations on post-war Europe; Dogme 95 provocation The Idiots, about bourgeois pals who seek inner freedom by acting disabled; fable of fervoured dedication and masochism Breaking the Waves, about a woman’s total submission to the will of her oil rig worker husband; and harrowing musical Dancer in the Dark, with Bjork as a near-blind factory-worker with a tenuous grip on reality. The retrospective is on at London’s BFI Southbank throughout May.