Three to see today: Saturday 14 October
Three unmissable films with tickets still available at today's BFI London Film Festival.
A teenage girl taps into some long-dormant powers, in this chiller from Joachim Trier (Oslo, August 31st).
Warning: this film contains strobe lighting
Acclaimed filmmaker Joachim Trier switches gear for this supernaturally-tinged tale of a young woman’s macabre coming of age. Known for his trio of astute human dramas (Reprise, Oslo, August 31st and Louder Than Bombs), a horror film might seem a bold departure for Trier. Yet this subtle shocker is every bit the kind of intricate character study we have come to expect from the filmmaker, with its genre stylings used to heighten the emotions rather than dictate them. Thelma is a young biology student living away from her strict family for the first time. While she attempts to enjoy her new-found independence, her parents’ influence remains palpable, thanks to regular phone calls in which they check up on their daughter’s every move. But Thelma’s life is turned upside down when she meets beautiful classmate Anja, whose presence appears to awaken long-dormant, supernatural powers within her. Calling to mind the melancholic frights of female-focused coming-of-age tales such as Carrie, Ginger Snaps or, more recently, Julia Ducournau’s Raw, Trier’s imaginative and beautifully realised film places the emotional journey of its heroine front and centre, resulting in an experience as deeply moving as it is slyly chilling.
Danish actress and singer Trine Dyrholm astounds as iconic performer Nico in this fascinating biopic.
Although her stint with the Velvet Underground in the late 1960s was relatively fleeting, the subsequent recording career of Christa Päffgen (better known as Nico) was often eclipsed by her iconic collaboration with the revered band. Desperate to liberate herself from the shadows of her former glories, Nico continued producing music right up until her untimely death in 1988, and in this powerful and authentic biopic, director Susanna Nicchiarelli documents the final two years in the often tragic life of the frustrated artist. Eschewing nostalgic navel gazing in favour of gritty, and often uncomfortable honesty, the film explores the destructive sides of Nico’s personality – her heroin addiction, her combative nature, her swollen ego – all brought vividly to life by Dyrholm (who also recorded her own vocals for the film). The result is an absorbing, poignant, and most importantly, deeply empathetic portrait of a flawed icon.
Relaxed and insightful British drama with a mumblecore edge.
Four thirtysomethings find some much-needed time to reconnect in this beautifully observed and subtly insightful debut. On a balmy English summer afternoon, Zooby and Jon set aboard the canal boat they have hired for the weekend. Collecting friends Red and Simon along the way, the foursome bask in each other’s company, laughing, catching up and getting drunk. But while the opportune break provides a welcome respite from the responsibilities of daily life, Jon appears distant and introspective, hinting at a personal tragedy that the others are hesitant to address. Taking place almost entirely in the tight confines of the narrowboat, Tupaq Felber’s agile first feature is a work of striking intimacy, filled with subtle observations and quiet insight. With the striking black and white photography lending a subtle sense of the cinematic and uniformly excellent performances from the small cast, this naturalistic drama is a heartfelt testament to the power of friendship.
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