We haven’t done a new releases round-up in a while, so here’s a quartet of filling treats for pre-Turkey Day enjoyment. Get them now, before they’re available in theaters!
For his fifth film, Bertrand Bonello (Tiresia) conjures a highly cinematic, sexy and atmospheric look at the final days of a turn of the century brothel when much of the Parisian sex trade was confined to grand maisons, populated by elegant madams and vetted clientele (including French filmmakers Jacques Nolot (Before I Forget) and Xavier Beauvois (Of Gods and Men)). Within L’Apollonide’s walls, Bonello tracks the lives of the Madam (Noemie Lvovsky) and close to a dozen girls among them: Madeline (Alice Barnole) who is horribly disfigured by a client and becomes known as “the woman who laughs”, Clotilde (Celine Sallette) the veteran who longs to be a “respectable woman” and Pauline (Iliana Zabeth), the newcomer whose eyes are quickly opened to reality. Despite the fact that desire often mixes with danger and disease rears its ugly head, the film is filled with moments of intimacy and camaraderie amongst the girls. Using a bag of cinematic techniques which include split screen, time shifts and a modern soundtrack, Bonello has made a provocative and beautiful film on not only the world’s oldest profession but also a commentary on history as remembered by art and literature.
A young New York pickpocket Bobby (Peter Facinelli) is confronted by a woman (Jamie Alexander) with whom he has a passionate one-night affair. She tells him she’s pregnant, and Bobby is forced to reevaluate a lifetime of missteps, take responsibility for his new child and win over the girl who might just be perfect for him.
Sleeping Beauty is a fascinating depiction of a young woman’s reckless decent into a shocking world of erotic desires. Lucy (Emily Browning) is a young university student possessed by a kind of radical passivity. She lets a flip of a coin decide the outcome of a random sexual encounter and she displays an uncomplaining patience when facing the repetitions of her various menial jobs that fund her studies. One day she answers an ad in the student newspaper and interviews for a job to be a lingerie waitress. But she is secretly being initiated into a world of strange new work; one where she will have to give into absolute submission to her clients by being sedated; becoming a Sleeping Beauty. Eventually this unnerving experience begins to bleed into her daily life and she finally develops the will to break the spell by discovering what happens to her while she sleeps. With a fearless performance by Browning, Leigh creates a bold cinematic vision; one where Lucy, both in her clandestine sexual adventures and in her mundane daily existence, lives with the same unflinching and brutal honesty.
Every summer, Ängsbacka plays host to The No Mind Festival, a multimedia happening built on the notion that the present moment – the here and the now – is the only true reality. And through a series of workshops and shared experiences, involving music, singing, meditation and dancing, this one-week event shows festival goers how to get into direct contact with their inner selves and make the most of each moment as it arrives. For some, Ängsbacka is a profound and even mystical event. To others, it’s just mumbo-jumbo. But to filmmakers Corinna Villari-McFarlane and Robert Cannan, it’s something in between both. Filmed exclusively at the 2007 No Mind Festival, their film Three Miles North of Molkom is the story of what happens to seven very different people who take seven very different journeys to get one step closer to the person they really are.