It’s been a while since I did one of these posts, but what better time to reassess and look forward than the new school year? (Yes, I know, it’s October but bear with me).
A Cannes critical darling, that until just last week was banned in it’s native country Kenya for the portrayal of homosexuality, this promises to be a big future contender in the race for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars next year.
It tells the story of two young women who fall in love among the world of political drama and intrigue, as Kena (Samantha Mugatsia) and Ziki (Sheila Munyiva) attempt to navigate their relationship in a country where being gay is illegal. It looks like a heart-breaking yet tender drama, with beautiful, colourful and vibrant cinematography from a country and continent that is too often only ever portrayed in a certain way.
Filmed in English and Swahili, this will no doubt be a film that has to be searched for, but if the reviews and acclaim are anything to go by, it will be worth it.
Rafiki will premiere in the UK at the London Film Festival on 13th October.
2. An Evening With Beverly Luff Lin
If there was even an award for most incomprehensible trailer, then this might be it. The arrival of performer Beverly Luff Lin (Craig Robinson) at a small town somewhere in America causes chaos in Lulu Danger’s (Aubrey Plaza) life, and she sets off on some sort of mission.
What exactly that mission is is completely unclear from the trailer, but the array of comedy talent in the cast which includes Jermaine Clement and Matt Berry, promises that while the plot might not make much sense, it probably will make you laugh.
UK Release: 26th October
3. Bad Times at The El Royale
The star-studded trailer for Bad Times At the El Royale promises a neo-noir thriller, a slightly bonkers concept and plenty of chills. Set in a quiet hotel bang on the California/Nevada border, seven strangers navigate each other’s secrets, the bizzarre hotel and the feeling that everything is not quite as it seems.
John Hamm leads as the manager of the hotel in his continuing streak of interesting roles post-Mad Men, with Jeff Bridges, Dakota Johnson, Cynthia Erivo and Chris Hemswoth all as residents with their own demons and pasts who are constantly watched in the hotel with hidden windows.
It promises to be odd, funny, and hopefully interesting in a year that has seen plenty of individual and unique voices being given large budgets and big casts.
UK Release: 12th October
Jinn follows the coming-of-age narrative, but with an interesting and important twist. Summer (Zoe Renee) is a dance-loving seventeen year old who finds herself struggling with her identity and religion when her mother converts to Islam.
Her mother’s dedication to her new faith, and Summer’s desire to find her own path in the world that allows for both faith and her own passions and desires causes conflict between the two. Summer also develops feelings for fellow classmate Tahir (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) which further challenges her ideas of faith and relationships.
I’ve been keeping an eye on this film for a while, as director Nijla Mu’min came to my attention through twitter, and Jinn has been going from strength to strength, winning awards and acclaim at SXSW. More importantly it is a coming of age film from a different and important perspective, an interesting narrative from a promising director who will hopefully have many more great films in the future.
Jinn is currently playing at London Film Festival and does not have a UK release date yet.