After a film career that has spanned around half a century so far, veteran writer and director Woody Allen gets nostalgic about reckless youth in his latest comedy A Rainy Day in New York. The plot follows a student couple whose impromptu getaway to Manhattan inadvertently splits into two separate adventures. Rich kid Gatsby Welles (Timothée Chalamet) runs into old friend Chan (Selena Gomez) as he dodges a reunion with his family, whilst his aspiring journalist girlfriend Ashleigh (Elle Fanning) gets more than she bargained for when interviewing a hotshot filmmaker for the school paper.
Venezuelan writer and director Jonathan Jakubowicz presents an untold WWII story through the lens of a biopic with Resistance. The plot centres around aspiring mime artist Marcel (Jesse Eisenberg) who joins his brother Alain (Félix Moati) and friend Emma (Clémence Poésy) in the French Resistance. With sadistic Gestapo agent Klaus Barbie (Matthias Schweighöfer) hunting them down, they attempt to escort a group of orphans from Nazi-occupied France across the border to safety.
British filmmaker Thomas Clay made an impression on the scene back in the noughties with two controversial films that had began to establish him as a rising star to pay attention to. After strangely going off the radar ever since, he’s returned to the director’s chair with period drama Fanny Lye Deliver’d. Set on an isolated Shropshire farm shortly after the English Civil War, the plot centres around the bleak lives of Fanny (Maxine Peake), her abusive husband John (Charles Dance) and their son Arthur. When young couple Thomas (Freddie Fox) and Rebecca (Tanya Reynolds) arrive unannounced to seek shelter in their barn one night, the Lye’s strict puritan lifestyle is challenge by radical new ideas.
World War II drama Enemy Lines is the English-language debut from Swedish director Anders Banke who learned his filmmaking trade in Moscow. Set against the glacial backdrop of Nazi-occupied Poland in 1943, the plot follows US soldier Major Kaminski (Ed Westwick) as he embarks on a dangerous assignment. Under the command of Colonel Preston (John Hannah), a plan is hatched for a commando squad to infiltrate enemy lines to free rocket scientist Dr. Fabien (Pawel Delag) from the control of the German army.
After a foray into English-language cinema with historical drama Jackie a few years ago, acclaimed Chilean director Pablo Larraín returns to his mother-tongue to tell an intimate story set in his hometown. The plot follows dancer Ema (Mariana Di Girólamo) in the aftermath of a tragedy that ended her marriage with choreographer Gastón (Gael García Bernal). When their adopted son Polo started a housefire which had dire consequences for the family, he was subsequently taken away from the couple. Reeling with grief and frustration, we see Ema react in unpredictable, volatile ways.
Documentary filmmaker Kitty Green transitions from fact to fiction for her fourth feature The Assistant. Inspired by the Me Too movement, the drama tells a day in the life tale of Jane (Julia Garner), a fresh-faced assistant to an influential figure in the film industry. Feeling isolated and under pressure in a male-dominated environment, she naively turns to Wilcock (Matthew Macfadyen) in the HR department when she suspects untoward behaviour from the powers that be.
In a male dominated industry, filmmaker Sarah Gavron flies the flag for female-led cinema. Her works tells important stories from a women’s perspective, and her latest feature is no different. Rocks is a high school coming-of-age drama set in the hustle and bustle of East London. The story follows the path of Shola (Bukky Bakray) after she and her little brother are abandoned by their struggling mother.
I watched it at Glasgow Film Festival earlier this year (you can read my review here) and grabbed the opportunity to ask Gavron some questions…
With a largely non-professional cast and an improvised script, high school drama Rocks is a daring, some might say risky, third feature from director Sarah Gavron. The London-based plot centres around Shola (Bukky Bakray), a fun-loving teenager whose nickname gives the film its title. On what first appears to be like any other school morning, she wakes up to discover that her mother has absconded, leaving behind only a letter of apology and some cash in an envelope. Fending for herself and her little brother Emmanuel (D’angelou Osei Kissiedu), she is forced to grow up fast and puts on a brave face whilst trying to make ends meet and avoid unwanted attention from the local authorities.