The Big Issue : Edition 501
FILM 38 THE BIG ISSUE 26 DEC 2015 – 7 JAN 2016 REBECCA HARKINS-CROSS > Film Editor CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA Juliette Binoche plays an ageing actor who is to star in a remount of her breakthrough play. Fiction and reality merge as she rehearses with her assistant (Kristen Stewart), meditating on the nature of performance, desire and the mentor–protegee relationship. One of French director Olivier Assayas’ best. INHERENT VICE Paul Thomas Anderson’s adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s stoner detective novel is paranoid, absurdist and stylish as hell. A mutton-chopped Joaquin Phoenix is our addled guide to LA in the wake of the Manson murders, where hippy benevolence has been forsaken for addiction, corruption and murder. MOMMY Quebecois wunderkind Xavier Dolan cracks the mainstream with his fifth film, Mommy, awash with saturated colours, power ballads and big sentiments. Antoine Olivier Pilon is unforgettable as the troubled teen alongside Dolan regulars Anne Dorval and Suzanne Clément in this huge-hearted melodrama. INSIDE OUT Pixar returns to form in this heartbreaking animation. After moving cities, 11-year-old Riley suffers a crippling depression; her mind is envisaged as a control station where Joy struggles to keep the more destructive emotions in check. Its lessons about change and letting go are surprisingly adult. HOLDING THE MAN Adapted from actor Timothy Conigrave’s devastating memoir, 20 years after it was published, this is at once a swooning and bittersweet romance, a queer coming-of- age tale and a unique portrait of the AIDS epidemic in Australia. A pivotal moment in queer Australian cinema. THE LOOK OF SILENCE This companion to doco The Act of Killing returns to Indonesia to examine the effect of the 1965 slaughter of Communists on victims’ families. Joshua Oppenheimer challenges viewers to reconsider documentary ethics and the camera’s gaze, again proving his directorial bravery and uniqueness of vision. IT FOLLOWS David Robert Mitchell brings to the fore the sexual tensions that steer the teen horror flick. Mitchell knows that the scariest thrills come from what we can’t see – here, the threat that our sexual histories will haunt us forever, if they don’t kill us first. Elegant, funny and genuinely terrifying. TANGERINE On Christmas Eve, transgender streetwalker Sin-Dee Rella is out of jail and celebrates by dragging her bestie Alexandra around LA pursuing her pimp/boyfriend. This micro- budget buddy comedy is a breakneck tour of the mean streets and a paean to friendship. THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY Director Peter Strickland presents a fresh take on S&M relationships. Fantasy blurs with the real when a student of butterflies enacts her submissive fantasies with her older female lecturer. A complex study of eroticism and a droll portrait of domestic power plays. COMING UP IN 2016 Awards-season hubbub may drown out the bells ringing in 2016. January is bursting with Oscar favourites, but first there are the Golden Globes. Carol (14 Jan), an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt, is making the loudest din, and for once it’s warranted. This romance may just be Todd Haynes’ masterpiece, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara (both received best actress nominations). The other literary contender is Room (28 Jan), based on Emma Donoghue’s claustrophobic thriller. Also out: GFC comedy The Big Short (14 Jan), journo drama Spotlight (28 Jan) and Tarantino Western The Hateful Eight (21 Jan), which will see the man himself gracing Australian shores. We can also look forward to many of 2015’s festival favourites. Hungarian director László Nemes took out the Grand Prix at Cannes for his debut Son of Saul (25 Feb), a World War II drama that many believe deser ved the main prize. Animation Anomalisa (4 Feb) is the long- awaited film from Charlie Kaufman, which took out the Grand Jury Prize at Venice. And Andrew Haigh’s relationship drama 45 Years won Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay best actor and actress at the Berlinale. As for Australian releases, Sue Brooks reprises some of the themes from the much-loved Japanese Stor y (2003) in Looking for Grace (26 Jan). Theatre director Simon Stone turns his hand to filmmaking with The Daughter (3 Mar), an adaptation of his unforgettable stage production of Ibsen’s The Wild Duck. And to round out the year, Red Dog will have his day, again, with the sequel True Blue (26 Dec). Summer 2015 Top 10 LEVIATHAN 2015 Standout RUSSIAN DIRECTOR ANDREY Zvyagintsev (The Return; Elena) has proven himself a master of domestic disquiet, but in his latest film familial ruin becomes an allegory for political despair. Kolya’s (Aleksey Serebryakov) rickety home has been passed down through generations, and he won’t bequeath it to the local government (who want the land) without a fight. Under the watchful eye of Putin’s portrait, the parochial tyrant of a mayor (Roman Madyanov) punishes Kolya for his resistance. Zvyagintsev sees the bleak comedy in this small- scale yet epic drama, with vodka-soaked antics and a corrupt bureaucracy worthy of Joseph Heller. But that doesn’t make Kolya and his family’s destruction any less devastating. The leviathan of the film’s title is multifaceted: a whale skeleton sits on the town’s shore, the decaying yet immovable beast a potent symbol for enduring problems, harking all the way back to the Bible. In a world that seems forsaken, the town priest tells Kolya that, like Job, he must endure and submit. It is a symbol of the havoc wreaked by rulers as susceptible to self-interest as their subjects. This is Zvyagintsev’s magnum opus, at once grand and forbidding.