Scottish drama Aftersun by writer and director Charlotte Wells has been knocking audiences for six on the film festival circuit. The plot follows dad Calum, played by Normal People star Paul Mescal, and his daughter Sophie on an all-inclusive week in the sun. Beautifully told through the memories of an older Sophie as she reflects on the holiday years later, the film explores how our perception of our parents can change over time. I was fortunate enough to sit down with 12-year-old Frankie Corio who plays the young Sophie in the film. Already shortlisted for various awards, this is just the beginning for this rising star!
There are elements of Aftersun that are incredibly dark and melancholic but, at the same time, it’s all shot in the summer sun. Did you have fun on the shoot and what was your favourite part of the experience?
All of it! Filming was really fun and most of the stuff I was doing didn’t really feel like work. It was great and it was so hot, so I loved all of it but mainly the nice hot weather!
Filmmakers often tell the story of their childhood through their pictures; recent examples of this include Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma and Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast. Acclaimed writer and director James Gray looks back at his own formative years in Armageddon Time, a coming-of-age drama set in Queens, New York City in 1980. The semi-autobiographical plot follows schoolkid Paul (Banks Repeta) who becomes friends with black student Johnny (Jaylin Webb) on his first day of sixth grade, bonding over their fascination with space travel. His mother Esther (Anne Hathaway) and father Irving (Jeremy Strong) struggle to cope with their son’s regular mischievous behaviour, but he always listens to his grandpa Aaron (Anthony Hopkins) who inspires and mentors the youngster, delivering nuggets of wisdom and teaching him about the importance of his family’s Jewish roots.
Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne have been favourites at Cannes Film Festival for many years and were awarded the special 75th anniversary award for their latest effort. The film, their twelfth collaboration as both writers and directors, is Tori & Lokita, a drama which follows two youngsters seeking asylum in modern-day Belgium. Posing as brother and sister though in fact they are really good friends who met on the boat from Benin, Tori (Pablo Schils) and Lokita (Mbundu Joely) turn to petty crime to make ends meet whilst they wait for their immigration paperwork.
Maika Monroe attracted the attention of cinema audiences in 2014 with a double whammy of excellent turns in creepy horror It Follows and neon-synth flick The Guest. Since then, she’s largely been relegated to supporting parts, but returns to centre stage for Watcher, the feature debut of writer and director Chloe Okuno. The psychological thriller follows Julia (Monroe) who moves to Bucharest with her husband Francis (Karl Glusman) when he lands a new job. He speaks the language thanks to his Romanian family roots, but she begins to feel isolated, and is unnerved when she spots a man in the building opposite who appears to be looking into their apartment.
Love him or loathe him, writer and director Quentin Tarantino has had a huge impact on the landscape of modern cinema. One of the most distinctive auteurs in the industry, his work is almost instantly recognisable through his razor-sharp scripts, excessive use of violence, and of course, extreme close-ups of manky feet. To mark the 30th anniversary of his feature-length directorial debut Reservoir Dogs, I’ve ranked my favourite five from his filmography…
Over a decade on since the trio collaborated on cult classic In Bruges, writer and director Martin McDonagh reunites with actors Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson for his latest black comedy. The Banshees of Inisherin tells the tale of dairy farmer Pádraic (Farrell) and fiddle player Colm (Gleeson) who have an abrupt falling out after years of friendship. Reeling from the news that his old pal doesn’t like him anymore, Pádraic turns to his sister Siobhan (Kerry Condon) and local idiot Dominic (Barry Keoghan) for support. Their row has repercussions across the small rural island where they live, and soon takes a very sinister turn.
B.J. Novak will be best known to many as Ryan in the American version of The Office, but he has many strings to his bow. As well as being an actor, comedian, TV writer, and children’s book author, he has now written and directed his first feature film. Vengeance is a black comedy thriller which follows New York-based journalist Ben (Novak, casting himself in the leading role), who flies to Texas for a funeral when his ‘girlfriend’ Abilene (Lio Tipton) dies of a suspected drug overdose. Her brother Ty (Boyd Holbrook) suspects foul play and asks for help to avenge her death, which gives Ben an idea for a new true crime podcast series.
After an acting career that has spanned almost thirty years, Neil Maskell is finally pursuing his long-time passion to write and direct. His debut feature is black comedy thriller Klokkenluider and centres around a government whistleblower and his wife. Ready to tell their story to the press, they are joined by a pair of eccentric bodyguards to protect from any potential threat. I was fortunate enough to chat with the filmmaker ahead of the film’s premiere at the London Film Festival…
You’ve got a wealth of experience in acting, but this is your first time behind the camera. Have you had the desire to direct for a while, or was there something in particular about this film that meant you needed to give it a go?
Definitely the former. I’ve been really quite desperate to be directing something for a long, long time. I’ve been writing for the last 15 years, trying to get either a TV project or film made. Klokkenluider was actually something I didn’t think would really come to fruition. It’s so fucking weird, you know!? The allusion I keep drawing on is that it was like the car in the garage with an old fella sort of tinkering with it, you know, you never get that thing started again! I really enjoyed working on Klokkenluider so even when I was on another project as an actor or a writer, I was always going back to it because I enjoyed being with the characters. I’d get ideas for it when I was in the supermarket after having not written for weeks and I felt I was always slowly getting somewhere with it. It’s kind of amazing that it ended up being the first thing I’ve directed because it wasn’t what I expected it to be, but I’m really glad that it did end up being that because I’m very proud of the script and felt very close to it as a piece.
Known for his menacing portrayals as an actor, Neil Maskell has stepped behind the scenes to write and direct his first feature film. Titled Klokkenluider, which is Dutch for whistleblower, the comedy thriller follows civil servant Ewan (Amit Shah) and his partner Silke (Sura Dohnke) who are sent to a secluded farmhouse in Belgium after the former accidentally uncovers a huge government secret. They await the arrival of a journalist in order to tell their story and are joined by close protection officers Benjamin (Roger Evans) and Kevin (Tom Burke), assigned to provide security from any potential threats of danger or unwanted attention.
Amidst a series of sensationalised tabloid rumours that led to a much-talked-about premiere, the anticipation around Olivia Wilde’s latest film has been rife. Following on from her acclaimed debut Booksmart, she’s back in the director’s chair for psychological thriller Don’t Worry Darling. Florence Pugh stars as mid-century housewife Alice who enjoys steamy marital bliss with Jack (Harry Styles) in suburban company town Victory, California. After a few red flags, she becomes suspicious of the community around her, in particular of her husband’s mysterious boss Frank (Chris Pine), and soon their idyllic existence is called into question.