Trans rights, animal fights and a wild night on the Berlin club circuit – here’s what you missed in film this past month
Summer is a notoriously dry season for arthouse fare at the box office, as blockbusters and kiddie-magnets sap all the life out of the cinema. It’s mostly because it’s near impossible to convince the beachgoing public to surrender the few daylight hours Mother Nature affords us to spend two hours huddled in a dark room watching something that isn’t Blockbuster Sequel 3: Totally Milking It. Sad, but true. Yet through all the mindnumbing din, some smaller films are making themselves heard through good old word of mouth.
WILL THIS BE THE BEST FILM ABOUT WHAT IT’S LIKE TO BE TRANSGENDER?
Now that Caitlyn Jenner has elected her super-squad of “power trans ladies”, everything we thought we knew about the trans experience is slowly being reshaped and ushered into the mainstream. Ya know, so we finally realise that what it may be like for one person is not exactly the same for the next. Cue the release of Mala Mala, a timely yet powerful new documentary about nine trans-identifying Puerto Ricans. It runs the gamut of issues trans people may face, from working in the sex industry to campaigning for recognized rights from the government. Not many films are actually a “must-see”; this one, however, most definitely is.
THE BIZARRE TALE OF SIX BROTHERS AND THEIR BID FOR FREEDOM AFTER BEING LOCKED AWAY IN A MANHATTAN APARTMENT FOR YEARS
The Wolfpack – the much-talked-about debut feature from Crystal Moselle – deserves even more chatter. The documentary introduces six brothers who were socked away in a Manhattan apartment for most of their childhood, passing time by watching and reenacting cult films. It’s an absolute thrill ride, a story that can never be told the same way again. Our writer Hanne Christiansen took a trip to the boys’ NY apartment to discover just how they’ve coped with going from minimal human attention to becoming internet sensations.
BRENDAN FRASER IS THE MOVIE STAR THAT HOLLYWOOD FORGOT
Poor, shelved actor Brendan Fraser – once a Hollywood pin-up in films like School Ties and a serious tour de force in With Honor, the actor was then relegated to eye-rolling, money grab roles in films like Dudley Do-Right and George of the Jungle. Have we forgotten, since he Nic Cage-ified his career, that he can take on serious roles and dole out an unfuckwithable performance? It appears so; but this writer argues – no, begs – for the powers that be to recall Fraser’s true potential and throw him a monkeybone, before it’s too late.
A SUPERCUT OF PEOPLE GIVING THE FINGER
This is the supercut you never knew you needed: unleash your pent up anger by watching all of the inventive ways people flip the bird in film.
LOST CREATOR AND STAR WARS DIRECTOR JJ ABRAMS WAS ONCE SENT A TONGUE IN THE POST FROM HIS CHILDHOOD IDOL
You might know him from his maze runner plots and hit shows like Alias and Lost. If not that, you’ve certainly seen his name attached to the next Star Wars installment. However, you might not have known film obsessive-turned-director JJ Abrams penned a fan letter to his childhood idol – Godfather of Makeup Dick Smith – only for it to receive a rather interesting response: a fake tongue. In this feature, Abrams details how Smith, who did make-up for films like The Godfather and The Exorcist, became his penpal and even introduced him to a young, Mexican filmmaker on the rise named Guillermo del Toro.
“My heart pounded as I opened the box. The enclosed note read, ‘Dear J.J., Here’s an old, but clean, tongue from The Exorcist. Put peanut butter inside it, to stick it on. Or moisten inside and put dental-plated adhesive powder inside it. Yours, Dick.’
My mother was very concerned. ‘Who is this man named Dick sending you tongues?’”
IS THIS FILM THE NEW CHRISTIANE F.?
Victoria is a serious feat. But what makes it so unique? “The entire film was shot in a single take,” explains one Reddit user. “Not like Birdman, which was stitched together from hundreds of takes to appear like a single continuous shot, Victoria was actually SHOT in only one take. It was based on a 12-page screenplay and many if not most of the dialogues were improvised. They rehearsed the film many times and then shot it in a single take – three times. The final version was left in a single piece, there isn't a single cut in this film. It was shot on April 27th 2014 between 4:30am and 7:00am in Berlin-Kreuzberg and Berlin-Mitte.”
The film takes a fresh look at Berlin’s nightlife as Spanish expat Victoria (Laia Costa) bumps into four German dudes who turn her night up to 11.
IS ROAR THE MOST DANGEROUS MOVIE EVER MADE?
“My first thought was, ‘I cannot believe this movie exists,’” says James Shapiro, Chief Operating Officer of Drafthouse Films. “I didn't even have to finish it. I started emailing [League] and was like, ‘Get everybody to watch it. Now.’”
The film Shapiro is talking about is Roar, which follows a family that lived among 150 wild animals. “For 11 years, producer-director Noel Marshall (The Exorcist), his wife, the actress Tippi Hedren (The Birds), and their children, including then-fledging actress Melanie Griffith, lived, ate and slept in the company of 150 lions, tigers, cheetahs and jaguars.”