The Big Issue : Edition 474
FILM 38 THE BIG ISSUE 26 DEC 2014 – 8 JAN 2015 REBECCA HARKINS-CROSS > Film Editor MUCH OF AMERICAN director Richard Linklater’s cinema is studies in temporality. His plotless debut Slacker (1991) followed misfits over a day in Austin, Texas. Ta p e (2001) unfolded in real time in a hotel room, while the series Before Sunrise/ Sunset/Midnight (1995–2013) has seen him return to the same couple every seven years. Boyhood is the culmination of these experimentations, and his crowning achievement. It was shot over 12 years, meaning you see protagonist Mason (Ellar Coltrane) evolve from a wide-eyed six-year-old to awkward teen to curious adult. But the entire family must grow up: single mother Olivia (Patricia Arquette) returns to college to make a new life for her kids, while father Mason Sr (Ethan Hawke) – after absconding to experience a youth of his own – must eventually trade in his Pontiac GTO for a minivan. Time’s advance is ordinary, yet the everyday moments accumulate to create a milestone in verisimilitude, and present a changing nation, too. Like Before Sunrise, there’s a naturalism that comes from co-devised scripts that make these loquacious characters feel very real – sometimes unbearably so. Linklater finds both poignancy and beauty in that most universal of experiences: life itself. BOYHOOD THE MISSING PICTURE Cambodian director Rithy Panh has repeatedly investigated the Khmer Rouge, but in this haunting doco he shares his personal experiences of Year Zero. Propaganda footage is merged with clay tableaux to recreate an obliterated history, addressing how we document horrors that exist only in memory. MAPS TO THE STARS In David Cronenberg’s Hollywood, reality and fantasy become dangerously blurred. No amount of money or fame will save this constellation of fallen stars (played by the likes of Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska and John Cusack) from their depravity. It’s Cronenberg at his wondrously perverse best. GLORIA A divine performance from Chilean actor Paulina García makes this portrait of a middle-aged mother so memorable. Gloria is multifaceted: yearning and unsatisfied; winsome and reckless. Her search for love in Santiago is given a complexity and grace rarely afforded to the desiring older woman. THE SELFISH GIANT Clio Barnard is the most exciting new voice in British cinema. The artist-turned-director returns to impoverished Bradford (where her 2010 debut, The Arbor, was set) for this social- realist adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s shor t stor y. Barnard finds warmth under grey skies in this devastating tale of childhood friendship. WHIPLASH Tension reaches sickening heights in Damien Chazelle’s exploration of artistic ambition. 2014 STANDOUT Top 10 Films of 2014 The vicious relationship between an aspiring drummer and his despotic teacher raises questions about the cost of greatness and the quest for perfection that linger long after the percussion solos cease. FORCE MAJEURE Swedish director Ruben Östlund says he hopes this film will make more couples get divorced. A brush with death during a skiing vacation sees a bourgeois family’s dream life unravel. Funny as their squabbles are, they’re also excruciatingly familiar. UNDER THE SKIN Consensus says Scarlett Johansson is not of this world. Jonathan Glazer toys with this premise by placing her on the rough streets of Glasgow, playing an extraterrestrial who preys on mere males’ desires. In a lesser director’s hands, this would be schlocky. WE ARE THE BEST Three girls in 1980s Stockholm form a band, defying everyone who insists punk is dead. Brimming with riot grrrl energy, it’s a paean to youthful rebellion and rejecting gender norms. Beneath the trio’s plucky exterior swirls all the romance and rivalry that characterises teenage female friendships. CHARLIE’S COUNTRY Rolf de Heer wrote this film for David Gulpilil after the actor was jailed on alcohol-induced domestic violence charges. This powerful drama asks where an older generation of Aboriginal people fits in a society that denies Indigenous traditions yet simultaneously refuses them a role in the modern world. COMING UP IN 2015 Twenty-five-year-old Québécois director Xavier Dolan is already considered an auteur. Not that we’d know in Australia, where none of his five films has been released. So the news that Dolan’s Mommy will come out early in the new year is generating much excitement – an exquisitely shot portrait of the dependence between a volatile son and his mother that took out the 2014 Cannes Jury Prize. We’ll also get to see festival favourite Leviathan, from Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev (Elena, 2011). As the Oscars race draws near, we’ll soon see Hollywood’s finest of ferings. Michael Keaton plays a washed- up superhero actor attempting a thespian comeback in Birdman (out 15 Jan). Moneyball director Bennett Miller returns with another sports drama, Foxcatcher (29 Jan), where Steve Carell and Channing Tatum reinvent themselves as a wrestling coach and his protégé. And JC Chandor follows up All Is Lost (2013) with the acclaimed A Most Violent Year (26 Feb), portraying one of New York’s most violent years. It will also be a big year for literary adaptations. Reece Witherspoon’s new production company hit a home run with its first project, Gone Girl; the next chapter takes on Cheryl Strayed’s bestselling memoir, Wild (22 Jan). Next up, Paul Thomas Anderson tackles Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice (5 Feb), starring Joaquin Phoenix. Later, Mia Wasikowska will star as Flaubert’s heroine in Madame Bovary. Oh, and who could forget erotic juggernaut Fif ty Shades of Grey, set to send hearts and groins aflutter on Valentine’s Day. There’s much to love in 2015.