Film news

Catch Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel, Czech surrealism, and MUBI's cult French gem

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The trailer is out for Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel, which was shot in Germany and amps up the ostentatious Old World grandeur. Set to open in March next year, it tells the story of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famed European hotel between the wars. He befriends lobby boy Zero Mustafa, and the two become embroiled in the theft and return of a valuable Renaissance painting. The impressive cast roll-call includes Ralph Fiennes, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Harvey Keitel, Ed Norton, Lea Seydoux, Owen Wilson, Saoirse Ronan, Jeff Goldblum and Jude Law.


The macabre, black-humoured surrealism of Czech filmmaker Jan Švankmajer, inspired by puppet theatre, has influenced legions of directors with a taste for the weird, from Tim Burton to Terry Gilliam. A Brighton exhibition marks the 50th anniversary of his first film and a career that has included a creepily dark take on Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, a frenetically nightmarish, eerie hammer fight between Victorian puppets Punch and Judy, and a Kafkaesque, Prague-set reworking of the Faust legend using claymation. The show includes sets, puppets and costumes, drawings and storyboards, as well as prints and sculptures of imaginary creatures made of bones, shells and stones from Švankmajer's art practice.

On now at the University of Brighton Gallery, until 2 December.


Warsaw filmmaker Tomasz Wasilewski's festival hit Floating Skyscrapers depicts an intense gay romance - groundbreaking for Poland's cinema. The elegantly shot, intense pressure-cooker drama sees Kuba (Mateusz Banasiuk), who represses occasional cruising hook-ups with men, reach crisis-point with his taboo inclinations after he meets Michal (Bartosz Gelner) at an art opening. It's soon impossible for his girlfriend to ignore what deep down she already knows. The film's as much about the poison of living an enforced lie as it is about budding love. Wasilewski told us he sees promise in a new generation of eastern European directors: "We don't feel pressure now to talk about communism, we're kind of free. I was eight when communism collapsed. I still remember it, but now we're looking for a new language to talk about emotions and human truth."

Screening at the London Film Festival on Sunday 20 October.


Tackling one of Hollywood’s most enduring myths, director Liz Garbus in her new documentary unearths a lesser-known side to ill-fated icon Marilyn Monroe. Excerpts of the star’s diaries, poems and letters – discovered 50 years after her death at the home of her acting coach Lee Strasberg – are read by the likes of Glenn Close, Lindsay Lohan and Viola Davis, accompanying archival footage of her life. These intimate reflections depict an ambitious, curious and hard-working but painfully self-analytical artist, who savvily engineered her image but was frustrated by her “dumb blonde” sexpot persona and an industry’s refusal to take her seriously, becoming crippled by self-doubt as she turned her back on typecasting, and was equally boxed-in by her marriages.

Out in the UK on Friday 18 October.


A washed-up French film director endeavours to remake classic silent-era serial Les Vampires in this 1996 cult gem from Olivier Assayas. Hong Kong actress Maggie Cheung stars as herself, flown in to Paris to play jewel thief Irma Vep in a black latex catsuit. Exoticised as the object of a crush by costume designer Zoe (Nathalie Richard) and bearing the brunt of hostility from journalists and crew for the unravelling director’s unpopular artistic decisions, Cheung’s experience on the chaotic set is a comic, bittersweet parody of the state of the French film industry.

Available to watch on MUBI.