Film news

Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine, the New York post-punk scene, plus our MUBI pick Naked Lunch

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Woody Allen, hit-and-miss in recent years but still prolific as ever, is on good form with Blue Jasmine. Tapping the comedy he's revered for while leaning toward more serious drama in the vein of his prior Match Point (but without the cringeworthy nods at English culture), the director enlists Cate Blanchett as an insufferably narcissistic trophy wife. With her marriage fallen apart on the back of her husband's philanderings and shady business dealings, she instals herself in the San Francisco home of a sister decidedly lower down the social ladder, who she'd avoided with contempt in more flush times. In a stew of pill-popping neurosis, she tries to engineer a swift return to the lifestyle she's now all too accustomed to.

On 19 September at the Cambridge Film Festival, and out UK-wide on 27 September.

A Cambridge Film Festival highlight is its retrospective of German cult director Roland Klick, with restored shorts and three of his brilliantly bizarre features. Soundtracked by legendary krautrockers CAN, acid westernDeadlock sees three men and a mute girl manoeuvre around a suitcase of heist money amid desert sun-glare. Young down-and-outs in Hamburg’s dingy Reeperbahn district plot a mall heist to escape their welfare misery in 1974’s Supermarkt. Klick himself will present cynical ‘80s downfall tale White Star, shot with Dennis Hopper at his most coke-unhinged playing the violently unpredictable manager of a synth-playing Berlin wannabe rock star. New documentary Roland Klick: The Heart Is a Hungry Hunter will also screen.

The festival runs from 19 to 29 September in Cambridge.

Directed by Bette Gordon from a script by Kathy Acker, this scuzzy-edged, low-budget take on female voyeurism on the darker side of town is a hallmark of the New York post-punk scene. It was made in 1983, a time Madonna was starting to push her sexuality, and a pro-sex strand of feminism was making waves. Christine (Sandy McLeod) is a wannabe journo who takes on a stint in a porn cinema’s box office to pay the rent, and becomes fascinated by a male patron. Iconic photographer Nan Goldin plays Christine’s barmaid pal, while John Waters muse Cookie Mueller is among cameos from the underground pantheon of the era.

At London’s ICA on Sunday 15 September as part of Scalarama.

The 19th Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival is set to kick off in Bristol, screening the latest crop of homegrown and international short filmmaking talent. This year sees a spotlight on Switzerland, with Franz Treichler of Fribourg-based post-industrial rockers The Young Gods providing a live soundtrack for seminal experimental films of the 20th Century, from Dadaist Hans Richter through Fluxus to Stan Brakhage. Other highlights include a music video showcase in partnership with Soho Shorts and a selection of the latest from the blossoming Estonian animation industry, presented by key Baltic festival Animated Dreams.

The festival runs from the 17 to 22 September at the Watershed and Arnolfini at Bristol’s harbourside. 

It took master of visceral weirdness David Cronenberg to successfully adapt controversial, "unfilmable" landmark of American lit Naked Lunch by Beat pioneer William S. Burroughs. Rather than try a straight take on the bent masterpiece, the Canadian director ingeniously made the writing of the novel itself central. William Lee (Peter Weller at his deadpan best) is a New York exterminator whose wife Joan (Judy Davis) is stealing his bug powder to get high. Having fled to a Tangier-like Interzone after accidentally shooting her dead in a game of "William Tell" (echoing Burroughs's own life), he starts to type - on a machine that morphs into a giant insect, issuing demands from its illicit flesh. The grotesque body-horror Cronenburg's known for suits Burroughs's extravagantly nightmarish vision of occult societal victimisation and sexual guilt.

Available to watch on MUBI.