Three to see today: Wednesday 11 October
Three unmissable films with tickets still available at today's BFI London Film Festival.
Expanding from the claustrophobic confines of his award-winning Lebanon, Samuel Maoz presents a provocative portrait of the mind-set of generations subject to Israeli military conscription.
One to savour on the biggest screen, Foxtrot highlights the absurdities of conscripted military service, examines the relationship between a father and his remote son, and sees a couple grapple with every parent’s worst nightmare. Michael and Daphna Feldmann (Lior Ashkenazi and Sarah Adler) have barely begun to accept the horrific news about their son, when they discover that all is not what it seems. Meanwhile, teenage Israeli soldiers fight boredom at a military checkpoint, placing bets on whether their dilapidated barrack is sinking into the mud. After winning Venice’s Golden Lion with his exceptional and controversial Lebanon, Samuel Maoz once again contemplates the reality-altering nature of militarised life. Pulling back from the extreme proximity of his previous film (entirely set within a tank), Maoz adopts a wider perspective with Foxtrot, examining the impact of regimented behaviour – whether it’s an Israeli family living an ordered middle-class city life, young people asked to control who comes and goes at a border, or military personnel blindly following protocol. Amidst this, Maoz reflects on a son’s shifting perception of his father (with Lior Ashkenazi superbly conveying an aging father’s chiselled vulnerability). Giora Bejach’s cinematography finds thrilling ways to convey meaning with every precise shot, ensuring that Foxtrot combines a breathtaking cinematic experience with a resonant reflection on modern Israeli life.
Jusqu’à la garde
Winner of the Best Director and Best First Feature prizes at the Venice Film Festival, this taut, tense drama heralds an exciting filmmaker to watch.
Myriam (Drucker) has recently left husband Antoine (Ménochet), and while she’s happy to let her 17-year-old daughter decide for herself, she’s doesn’t want her youngest, Julien (Gioria), to see a father she claims is violent. But the judge rules otherwise, and the boy becomes a pawn in a bitter parental conflict… Legrand confirms the promise of his Oscar-nominated short with one of the most impressive feature debuts of recent years. From the first scene, his all-round expertise is immediately apparent in the astute dialogue, the meticulous framing, cutting and pacing, the expressive use of sound, and the superb performances of a uniformly excellent cast. Psychological precision and the skilful building of suspense are foremost among the film’s many virtues, while Legrand makes eloquent use of ambiguity throughout, so that the characters – all prone to contradictory impulses while trying to do their best – remain sympathetic and utterly human, however badly they sometimes behave. Frighteningly credible and, we should remember, all too relevant.
Anurag Kashyap delivers a knockout thriller in this gripping tale of a boxer who must make an impossible choice between his two passions.
A young and talented Indian boxer dreams of being champion, but is knocked sideways when he falls for the niece of the man blocking his road to success. The acclaimed director of Gangs of Wasseypur delivers another knock-out with his new feature. Talented boxer Shravan trains relentlessly to achieve his dream of becoming a champion. But things go awry when he falls in love with strong-minded Sunaina, niece of the head of the state boxing federation. Despite beatings and threats, Shravan is determined to marry Sunaina. However, it is conditional on his winning the boxing championship and securing his future. That seems unlikely with Sunaina’s uncle blocking his every move. It looks like he will have to choose between his career and the woman he loves. Vineet Singh’s charismatic performance and Anurag Kashyap’s thrilling cocktail of street fights, bawdy ballads and punchy females ensures The Brawler hits home with every entertaining blow.
Cary Rajinder Sawhney
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