NEW FILM: ONLY GOD FORGIVES
Nasty, stylishly coloured and hyper-violent, director Nicolas Winding Refn's most over-the-top yet pairing with actor Ryan Gosling is a Bangkok-set crime thriller shot through with '80s slickness and eerie Lynchian weirdness. The Drive star plays Julian, an underworld figure running a Thai boxing club as the front for his sociopathic family’s drug racket. When his brother gets his just desserts in an act of retribution their mother flies into town (a scene-stealing Kristin Scott Thomas, blonde-bleached and hardened up as a brutal mafia matriarch) and orders an ambivalent Julian to exact revenge. Released in the UK on Friday 2 August.
NEW FILM: PARADISE: HOPE
Spoilt for new releases this week, you also shouldn’t miss the last in Austrian director Ulrich Seidl’s boldly confrontational Paradise trilogy about three female relatives and their idiosyncratic searches for sexual fulfillment. Paradise: Hope sees puberty-age Melanie – whose mother travelled to Kenya as a sex tourist in the first of the series – pursue an infatuation with a doctor decades her senior at diet camp. "If you walk through this life with open eyes and ears you have little room for optimism or hope,” Seidl told us by phone from Vienna about his often blackly grotesque yet socially concerned work. “But despite the terrible things people do to each other, they also long for more dignity. That's why I make films." Out in the UK on Friday 2 August.
OLD FILM: PINK NARCISSUS
Shot mostly on 8mm in a downtown Manhattan loft, this intensely coloured, hallucinogenic 1971 cult classic took six years to make. In it, a young gay hustler fantasises about worlds in which he’s variously a matador, a Roman slave boy, and a male harem keeper. The anonymity of its director James Bidgood initially led to false rumours that Andy Warhol was behind the film. Screening at London’s ICA on Wednesday 7 August.
The Swiss-Italian town of Locarno is about to be taken over for its annual film festival, beside Lake Maggiore. One of the oldest fests in the world, it has a strong rep for discovering emerging new talent. It hosts a chunk of its stellar, wide-ranging programme in the open air of the town's main piazza on Europe's largest screen. This year, new fare from the likes of South Korean auteur Hong Sang-soo and the Romanian New Wave’s Corneliu Poremboiu will compete in an International Competition of 20 films with a jury headed by Filipino director Lav Diaz. The festival runs from August 7 to 17.
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