Category: War

 

Love or hate him Jesse Eisenberg has become one of the most important and diverse actors of modern cinema. His over seventy acting performances in cinema and theatre has seen him play roles as vast as one of DC Comics most well known villains in the form of Lex Luthor, a zombie hunter in the Zombieland franchise and of course Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in the award winning film The Social Network.

Perhaps though it is Eisenberg’s most recent role that has most touched his heart. From Jewish descent himself Resistance sees Eisenberg play legendary mime Marcel Marceau before he found fame – at a time when he rescued and protected thousands of Jewish children during the Nazi invasion of France during World War II.

“The unfortunate thing is that Holocaust films always seem to resonate with modern day audiences,” says Eisenberg when asked whether or not the events in Resistance are things that audiences today can easily relate to. “With themes like racism, prejudice and tribalism and brutality they are things that still exist today…. unfortunately. More acutely while we were filming The Tree Of Life synagogue shooting happened in Pennsylvania, my neighbour’s from across the street sadly had their friends there at the time. Luckily they survived but that showed that anti-Semitism still exists and it reared its head while we were filming the movie.

While the film does look at one of the darkest times in human history Eisenberg says he does believe though that the film does have a silver lining.

“I think one of the nice things about the movie though, is that is about a guy who is unlikely hero who is a civilian who ends up becoming this important person without ever intending to be,” he explains. “I think it really does speak to us all and what we have the ability to do now. The world might be a crazy and chaotic place right now but this movie shows someone that uses their own skill set, which in this case was being mime – the last guy you would think could be helpful during a war – to help others. That makes me think about how we are calling people heroes today that we would never have three months ago. You re-look and redefine what bravery is and I think this movie clearly shows that.”

There has never been a shortage of powerful Holocaust era films over the years with films like The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas and Schindler’s List being considered classics while even last year the powerful yet quirky Jo Jo Rabbit reduced many people to tears and Eisenberg says as an actor he understands why filmmakers are drawn to making films about this time period.

“I think there are millions of reasons why filmmakers want to make films about this era,” he says slowly. “I can only speak for myself though, but when I was about twenty years old I started to research my family’s history and I discovered that my cousin who lives in Poland was a survivor of the War and I started to learn more about her story more intimately… I had even met her a couple of times when she had visited New York.”

“But then I went to Poland and stayed with her,” he says continuing his personal story. “And I learnt about her story and her story to me just felt like this unbelievable miracle and also included people like Marceau who were selfless but put their own lives on the line to protect and save people like her and her survival when she was a little girl and I wrote a play about that. It is a kind of Holocaust play but it is my take on it because it is a contemporary play and it talks about both modern day culture and the Holocaust, so to me when somebody says that there are a lot of stories that have been told about the Holocaust it is because different stories tell different themes. The thing I wrote is about a really important time in my family’s history and I thought it was important to tell.”

He goes on to say that he believes it was very similar for the writer/director of Resistance Jonathan Jakubowic. “I think for Jonathan he grew up hearing these stories because his family were Holocaust survivors and some of his family actually died in Krakow during the Holocaust so he felt like he had a thick connection but he did want to approach the story of a different angle so he told the story of Resistance by telling the story of an artist who come to terms with his inner kindness and comes to terms with a way to create his art in the worst possible circumstances so you could say that rather than being a Holocaust film it is the story of an artist with the Holocaust as a back drop.”

 

Resistance is currently unrated in Thailand but is for adults and is currently available on a number of streaming platforms.

 

Summary: During World War II a group of soldiers are ask to take a ‘break’ at a mansion once taken over by the Nazis. The stay at the mansion is not exactly what they expected though.

Year: 2020

Australian Cinema Release Date: TBA

Thailand Cinema Release Date: TBA

Australian VOD Release Date: 5th August 2020

Country: UK

Director: Eric Bress

Screenwriter: Eric Bress

Cast: Skylar Astin (Eugene), Laila Banki (Mrs. Helwig), Kyle Gallner (Tappert), Vivian Gray (Ann), Shannon McKain (Lieutenant Morgan), Yanitsa Mihailova (Christina), Matthew Reese (Sergeant Elks/Echo 11), Alan Ritchson (Butchie), Theo Russi (Kirk), Brenton Thwaites (Chris), Shaun Toub (Mr. Helwig), Billy Zane (Dr. Engel)

Running Time: 94 mins

Classification: MA15+ (Australia)

 

 

OUR GHOSTS OF WAR REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Dave Griffiths’ Ghosts Of War Review:

 

While a lot has happened during 2020 it seems that this is the year where filmmakers realised that you can make a horror film set during World War II without it turning into something schlocky. Of course earlier this year we were delivered the sensational Blood Vessel and now director Eric Bress returns to the director’s chair for the first time in sixteen year with Ghosts Of War.

To me Bress has had one of the most unusual careers in Hollywood that you could imagine. He first amazed me as a filmmaker with the captivating The Butterfly Effect back in 2004 and then as a screenwriter kick-started one of highest grossing horror franchises ever with Final Destination. Despite the success of these films though Bress never returned to the director’s chair – not even with his hit TV series Kyle XY. Now Bress returns to a chair that probably should be considered his throne, and it makes you wonder what we have missed out on while this talented filmmaker has been locked away in the writer’s room.

Ghosts Of War sees five American soldiers including Chris (Brenton Thwaites – Maleficent), Eugene (Skylar Astin – Pitch Perfect) and the mysterious Tappert (Kyle Gallner – American Sniper) arrive at a French Chateau towards the end of World War II. While they see the posting as a cushy place to get some respite they are soon shocked to learn that the chateau was the site of a Nazi atrocity that has left some ghosts looking for retribution behind.

The real reason why I loved Ghosts Of War is something that can’t mention here as I hate reviewers who spoil films. All I will say is that this is a decent supernatural thriller that contains a twist that nobody will see coming win a million years. It is that twist that once again reminds me why Eric Bress is such a fascinating filmmaker.

I remember that there something amazing about The Butterfly Effect the first time I watched it. It was a film that too its audience on a journey of twists and turns and you never really knew where you were going to end up. It was a good strange, the kind of strange that makes Christopher Nolan (Inception) the cinematic God that he is. That same feeling is conjured up with Ghosts Of War – a film that sees the suspense level continue to rise throughout before leaving the audience with a finale that they could never predict.

Also making Ghosts Of War memorable is the fact that despite the supernatural element Bress doesn’t just simply let his characters be walking clichés. Many screenwriters would have taken the easy route here and made the five soldiers a blend of each other, that isn’t Bress’s style though and instead he gives each character a personality, strengths and weaknesses. That of course endears to the audience which again raises the suspense through the roof.

With great special effects, interesting characters and a sensational plot that ends with a bang there is a lot to love about Ghosts Of War. In a lot of ways the horror elements of the film are some old school ‘ghostly’ scares but it is the interesting plot points that Bress throws into the mix that makes this film so different to what we have seen in the past. There is no doubt about it this film shows why we need to see more cinematic magic from Eric Bress over the next few years.

 

 

 

 

Kyle McGrath’s Ghosts Of War Review:

 

 

 

 

 

Average Subculture Rating:

 

 

IMDB Rating:

Ghosts of War (2020) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Ghosts Of War Reviews:

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Trailer:

 

 

Summary: A group of teenage soldiers are left to look after a hostage as their militia comes under attack from authorities.

Year: 2019

Australian Cinema Release Date: 26th March 2020

Thailand Cinema Release Date: TBA

Australian VOD Release Date: TBA

Country: Colombia, Argentina, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Uruguay, United States, Switzerland, Denmark, France

Director: Alejandro Landes

Screenwriter: Alejandro Landes, Alexis Dos Santos

Cast: Moises Arrias (Pastagrande – Bigfoot), Sofia Buenaventura (Rambo), Sneider Castro (Bum Bum – Boom Boom), Laura Casttrillon (Sueca – Swede), Paul Cubides (Perro – Dog), Julian Giraldo (Lobo – Wolf), Julianne Nicholson (Doctora Sara Watson), Karen Quintero (Leidi – Lady), Deiby Rueda (Pitufo – Smurf)

Running Time: 102 mins

Classification: MA15+ (Australia)

 

 

OUR MONOS REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Dave Griffiths’ Monos Review:

Does a good film always have to mean a pleasurable experience? That has been a question that I have asked myself a lot over the years. As a cinema lover I’ll admit that some of my favourite films can sometimes make for an uncomfortable viewing experience. Films such as Trainspotting, Baise Moi and Bully tackle some pretty invasive subjects. And yes while they are hard to watch they are films I turn to time and time again when I want to watch something decent. Now I think I will be adding new Columbian film Monos to that list.

From director Alejandro Landes (Porfrio) Monos follows a group of child soldiers who are part of a rebel alliance designed to try and take a stand against Columbia’s Government and armed forces. The group’s Commander (newcomer Wilson Salazar) runs a tight ship. He makes his troops train hard so when he gives them a mission he expects them to pull it off with ease.

The task at hand is to look after a milking cow named Shakira and to guard a young foreigner (Julianne Nicholson I, Tonya) who has been kidnapped for ransom by the rebels. However, kids being kids things get out of hand as they celebrate the union between Wolf (newcomer Julian Giraldo) and Lady (newcomer Karen Quintero).

With the camp in disarray it comes under attack from the Army so their Commander sends them deep into the jungle to guard their prisoner in a more secure environment. However, the disturbance amongst the group leads to Bigfoot (Moises Arias – Ender’ Game) making a grab for power while the more sensitive Rambo (newcomer Sofia Buenaventura) becomes the group’s punching bag.

There  was no way I was ever expecting a film about child soldiers to be something light and fluffy, but there was something about Monos that was very, very different than what I expected it to be. On the surface these kids are going through all the things that you would expect from a coming-of-age film. There is romance, bullying, drinking, drug use and even moments of sexual exploration. But when you add guns and a military regime into the mix the suspense is driven sky-high.

What I thought was remarkable about the film though was how easily you warm to group of kids who are basically putting a young girl through the most traumatic experience of her life. Somehow though the screenplay even finds a way to bring in moments of true tenderness between the group and their victim… it sounds strange but believe me it works and it is what makes this such a stunning film.

Throughout watching Monos I also found myself blown away by the natural feel that the film conjures up. Maybe it is because one of the cast was an actual child soldier in real life or perhaps it is because most of the cast have never previously acted so were easy for the director to mould to what he needed, but for some reason there are times in Monos when I felt like I was watching a documentary and not a scripted thriller.

Monos shares a lot of similar themes to Lord Of The Flies and I have to say that it could easily become a cult classic just like its predecessor. How Monos escaped Oscar attention I will never know – that is a crime in itself.

 

 

 

 

Average Subculture Rating:

 

 

IMDB Rating:

Monos (2019) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Monos Reviews:

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Trailer:

Summary: A detemined journalist hunts down the solider that was in charge of her brother’s unit when he disappeared. She is shocked to find though that the incident has left the solider facing demons of his own.

Year: 2019

Australian Cinema Release Date: NA

Thailand Cinema Release Date: NA

Australian DVD Release Date: 10th June 2020

Country: Australia, United Arab Emirates

Director: Storm Ashwood

Screenwriter: Storm Ashwood

Cast: Gus Bohn (Billy), Warwick Comber (Father Batty), Firass Dirani (Welshy), Jai Godbold (Tan), Sonny Le (Thong), Steve Le Marquand (Carl Boddi), Jett Lowen (Bo), Josh McConville (Seth), Lydia Mocerino (Imogen), Rena Owen (Michelle Pennyshaw), Natalie Rees (Sarah), Jessi Robertson (Lizzy), Hugh Sheridan (Josh), Bonnie Sveen (Rebecca), Juwan Sykes (Stretch), Oliver Wenn (Phil)

Running Time: 92 mins

Classification: MA15+ (Australia) TV-14 (USA)

 

 

OUR ESCAPE AND EVASION REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Dave Griffiths’ Escape And Evasion Review:

Often in cinema we see war glorified. The action star seemingly singlehandedly taking on a whole Army and coming out on top. Occasionally we do get to see the thought-provoking war film – films like Saving Private Ryan or Hacksaw Ridge that such us the horrors of the battle field and have us questioning whether or not war is the necessity that we are led to believe it is.

What we rarely get to see though is the aftermath of war. What happens when the solider has left the battlefield and is now back at home trying to live an everyday life? Or what happens when somebody doesn’t return from war, is there family left wondering how they died? Was it quick, was it slow?

Those are the themes that Australian filmmaker Storm Ashwood (School) chooses to focus on in his latest film Escape And Evasion and the result is a sensational film made even better by the performance of a leading man that deserves to pick up an award or two for his portrayal of a returned soldier at breaking point.

The plot is driven by Rebecca (Bonnie Sveen – Home And Away) a determined journalist who is trying to find out what happened to her solider brother who never returned from active service in Burma. To her frustration she finds that there is no record of what happened or even what Australian soldiers were doing there.

She finally hunts down the man that was in charge of her brother’s unit – Seth (Josh McConville – Fantasy Island) – a soldier who is so haunted by his experience that he has turned to alcohol to try and cover the pain. That has left him with a torn apart family but helps him deal with the secrets that his superior, Michelle Pennyshaw (Rena Owen – Once Were Warriors), asks him to keep.

As a film Escape And Evasion never gives its audience a chance to take a break. Whether it be tense dialogue-driven scenes between Seth and Michelle or Seth and Rebecca or combat sequences Atwood floods the film with tension. Instead of making the film an uncomfortable watch this instead just adds to the experience. You literally feel the tension building inside as you become desperate to know what happened to Rebecca’s brother and what the hell occurred that has left Seth the broken man that he is now.

Ashwood may well be one of the directional finds of 2020. His debut feature film – School – did show us that there was a gifted director just waiting to break out. While some were sceptical of the film it did show an artistic side and was brave enough to be different than other films in its genre. With Escape And Evasion Ashwood loses the artistic or experimental side but again goes about things differently as he mixes tense dramatic scenes between characters with emotional charged war and torture scenes. The result is a well-rounded film that leaves the audience not asking any questions at all.

Even with all the brilliance that the director shows with this film it would have fallen in a heap if he did not have the right leading man to bring the story to the screen. Luckily Ashwood found the exact right person to have play Seth in the form of under-rated Australian actor Josh McConville. With known actors like Hugh Sheridan (Packed To The Rafters) and Steve La Marquand (Last Train To Freo) also attached to the project you could easily understand if Ashwood had given one of them the leading role. Instead though he takes a chance on McConville who repays him with one of the best performances you are likely to see on screen in 2020.

Escape And Evasion is one of the cinematic shining lights of this year. An intense and dramatic film – it is one of those movies you will find wanting to watch two or three times to really embrace it. One thing the film will leave you with though is the knowledge that Josh McConville and Storm Ashwood need to be noticed by Hollywood.

 

 

 

 

Average Subculture Rating:

 

 

IMDB Rating:  Escape and Evasion (2019) on IMDb

 

Other Subculture Entertainment Escape And Evasion Reviews:

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Trailer:

Universal Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is delighted to announce that war epic 1917 will be available to own on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital from 22 April 2020, with a wealth of bonus features revealed for home entertainment.

After winning the top prize at leading awards shows earlier this year, including the Academy Awards, BAFTAs and Golden Globes, 1917 is heading for living rooms across the country, providing fans with the opportunity to learn the secrets behind this immersive masterpiece.

1917 is a must-own visual action spectacle that demands viewing on high-definition home entertainment formats, with HD technical specifications including HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision high dynamic range with Dolby Atmos audio.

There is a feature-length director’s commentary from Sam Mendes, as well as a solo feature commentary from Roger Deakins, the film’s director of photography who won an Academy Award for his work on the film.

A full list of special features is listed below:

Blu-ray & 4K Ultra HD

  • Feature commentary with Sam Mendes (full movie run time)
  • Feature commentary with Roger Deakins (full movie run time)
  • The Weight of the World: Sam Mendes (4 mins 45 sec)
    • Academy Award® winner Sam Mendes discusses his personal connection to World War 1
  • Allied Forces: Making 1917 (12 mins 15 sec)
    • Learn how the one shot, 360-degree format was executed and the pivotal role Academy Award winner Roger Deakins served in bringing Sam Mendes’ vision to life
  • The Score of 1917 (4 mins)
    • Composer Thomas Newman and filmmakers discuss the important role of the Academy Award®-nominated score
  • In the trenches (7 mins)
    • Go behind the scenes with the cast of 1917
  • Recreating history (10 mins 30 sec)
    • Filmmakers offer a detailed look at the production design challenges of recreating the First World War.

 

DVD

  • Feature commentary with Sam Mendes (full movie run time)
  • Feature commentary with Roger Deakins (full movie run time)
  • The Weight of the World: Sam Mendes (4 mins 45 sec)
    • Academy Award® winner Sam Mendes discusses his personal connection to World War 1
  • Allied Forces: Making 1917 (12 mins 15 sec)
    • Learn how the one shot, 360-degree format was executed and the pivotal role Academy Award winner Roger Deakins served in bringing Sam Mendes’ vision to life
  • The Score of 1917 (4 mins)
    • Composer Thomas Newman and filmmakers discuss the important role of the Academy Award®-nominated score

1917 will be available in-store and online nationwide from 22 April 2020

Summary: A young boy in Hitler’s army finds out his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their home.

Year: 2019

Australian Cinema Release Date: 26th December 2019

Thailand Cinema Release Date: 21st March 2020

Australian DVD Release Date: TBA

Country: United States, New Zealand, Czech Republic

Director: Taika Waititi

Screenwriter: Taika Waititi, Christine Leunens (novel)

Cast: Alfie Allen (Finkel), Gabriel Andrews (Herr Klum), Brian Caspe (Herr Mueller), Roman Griffin Davis (Jojo), Robert East (Herr Grusch), Luke Brandon Field (Christoph), Sam Haygarth (Hans), Adolf Hitler (himself – archival footage), Scarlett Johansson (Rosie), Thomasin McKenzie (Elsa), Stephen Merchant (Deertz), Billy Rayner (Herr Frosch), Sam Rockwell (Captain Klenzendorf), Taika Waititi (Adolf), Joe Weintraub (Herr Junker), Rebel Wilson (Fraulein Rahm), Archie Yates (Yorki)

Running Time: 108 mins

Classification: M (Australia) TBC (Thailand)

 

 

OUR JOJO RABBIT REVIEWS & RATINGS:

 

Dave Griffiths JoJo Rabbit Review:

Is it okay to ever try to get a laugh out of somebody’s misfortune? How about trying to get a laugh out of one of the worst massacres to have ever happened in human history? It sounds like a brutal question, yet it was a question many were asking after the announcement that filmmaker Taika Waititi was going to be making a comedy that featured himself playing Adolf Hitler while centering on a young Hitler Youth member.

The idea of something funny coming out of such a tragedy is almost unfathomable. To be honest, as someone who has interviewed a Holocaust survivor in person I was one of the people that was questioning whether or not JoJo Rabbit should ever have been made. That was before I saw the film though, afterwards I now find myself championing the film, encouraging others to see it as it delivers a powerful message that is still very relevant to society today.

The reason for my turnaround is that Waititi takes his central character, named JoJo (Roman Griffin Davis – Silent Night), on a journey of learning, discover and intense character building. While early on JoJo is excited about the training he is receiving from his military trainers Captain Klenzendorf (Sam Rockwell – Moon) and Fraulein Rahm (Rebel Wilson – Pitch Perfect) and the adventures that his training will lead to, his values are later put to the test when he discovers that his mother, Rosie (Scarlett Johansson – The Avengers) is hiding a Jewish teenager, named Elsa (Thomasin McKenzie – The King), in a secret room in their house.

There are several things that make JoJo Rabbit such a brilliant and interesting film. First it is told from a point-of-view that we have rarely got to see in cinematic history. Normally when a Nazi is shown in a film that are pure evil, and therefore the events of World War II are rarely shown from their point of view. Here we see these events through the eyes of a young member of the Hitler Youth and it is a different perspective to what many of us would have assumed it would be.

Through the eyes of JoJo we see the hatred that has been forced into him by those around him and of course the propaganda that he sees daily from the man he idolises – Adolf Hitler. But then we also see the utter confusion that he goes through as he meets Elsa. For the first time he is forced to see a Jewish person as a human and he is forced to question whether or not the stories he has been told about them being monsters is true or not. Then there is also the fact that by his own beliefs his mother is now an enemy of the State.

Audiences should be prepared to be put through a range of emotions when they watch JoJo Rabbit as well. Waititi is a smart enough filmmaker to know where the right places are to get a laugh and when it is not acceptable to do so. In fact his timing and pace throughout the film are quite genius and there is one moment in this film I can guarantee where every member of the audience will be in tears.

In his own performance as Hitler Waititi puts in a comical yet balanced performance. The audience needs to remember that this is not Waititi’s view of what Adolf Hitler was like and his slap-stick portrayal is not there to simply garnish laughs – instead it is there to show how the dictator may have been viewed by those that idolised him during the time period.

As a film JoJo Rabbit is also lifted by its fantastic performances. The young cast of Thomasin McKenzie and Roman Griffin Davis put in performances well beyond their years and it is easy to see that the two are destined to become stars. Scarlett Johansson is amazing despite her limited screen time but the true brilliance here comes from Sam Rockewell. This often under-rated actor again puts in a stunning performance as he manages to mix both comedy and drama together sensationally well. It is almost criminal that his performance here didn’t warrant more attention when it came to awards time because as he did in Richard Jewell and The Way, Way Back he once again steals the limelight in every scene he is in.

Any cinema goer has the right to be sceptical over whether or not they think JoJo Rabbit will work as a film. As I mentioned earlier it seems almost inconceivable that any filmmaker could make a comedy about the time of Holocaust and have the film work tastefully – yet somehow Waititi has done just that right here.

As a film JoJo Rabbit takes its audience on a journey alongside its main character. The film does have the power to make you laugh but it also has the power to make you cry. At times the film may not be easy to watch but at the end of the day this is a film so powerful that it deserves to be mentioned alongside great Holocaust films such as Schindler’s List and The Boy In The Striped Pajamas.

 

 

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IMDB Rating: 
Jojo Rabbit (2019) on IMDb

 

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Our JoJo Rabbit review that appeared in ‘The Phuket News’ can be read at this link – https://www.thephuketnews.com/down-the-nazi-rabbit-hole-%C2%A0taika-waititi-creates-a-comedy-classic-from-tragedy-75360.php

Trailer:

 

Australian filmmaker Storm Ashwood is quickly becoming a director that the world is sitting up and taking notice off. His 2018 horror film The School was an eerie film that Del Toro would have been proud of and now Ashwood returns with the hard-hitting dramatic war thriller Escape And Evasion. In one sense Escape And Evasion is another type of horror as it depicts a soldier’s whose life is in ruin after a brutal covert operation in Burma has left him with PTSD.

When I get the chance to talk to Ashwood he is in a remote area of Thailand and he is overjoyed when I tell him how much I enjoyed the film. “Thank you, thank you,” he says humbly. “The film sort of matured out of two places. The first one came about when I was working on a documentary with a priest who funnily enough looked like Gandolf in Chang Mai who was smuggling refugees from Miramar over the border.”

“A close friend of mine who was ex-military and I got very close to being able to go on one of these jungle runs with this priest,” he explains. “We were going to see exactly what was going on and film it. But sadly the documentary was never finished because that priest was murdered, so it never got finished because I only had a little bit of footage. So, on top of that I also had a story that I had developed with a friends about events that had occurred in Iraq, it was quite tragic and it really showed the struggles of this particular guy trying to fit back into civilian life. Like he would be saying things like ‘I can shoot tanks and fly helicopters but I can’t get a job as a labourer, what is going on?’”

As Ashwood keeps talking to me about this solider it is easy to see the comparisons between him and the soldier that actor Josh McConville plays in Escape And Evasion. “He was having a lot of trouble with his family,” says Ashwood continuing. “Through all of that I was able to put together a story and I just kept hearing these stories. Then I also helped on a script on another documentary about child soldiers in Sierra Leone which was also another horrific story about children who were being abused and put into sex trafficking and drugs and stuff. Then I did a short film about refugees so I thought I would then put all these tales and stories into one script – one feature film. That was the birth of Escape And Evasion.”

One of the things that will stick with you after you watch Escape And Evasion are the harrowing scenes about PTSD and as Ashwood and I chat I soon learn that the amount of soldiers returning back to Australia with the terrible disorder is absolutely alarming. “Statistically they say about twenty per cent,” he answers when I ask what percentage of troops returning to Australia would be suffering from PTSD. “I think that it is more along the line of fifty percent, and it may even be a lot higher than that. I’m thinking about it rationally now because every single solider I have spoken to who has been in service you can see that they have undergone some form of suffering due to the events that they have been through.”

Perhaps the event though that has really shown Ashwood that his film hit its mark has been the reception it has received from military veterans with the film even picking up awards at the Veteran’s Film Awards. “That meant so much,” he says when I mention those awards. “One hundred percent hands down I knew that soldiers wouldn’t be the harshest critics. I know a lot of soldiers and I know some will say things like ‘I walked out of Black Hawk Down because Eric Bana was wearing the something wrong on his uniform for that time.’ They are really tough critics they’ll tell you that an actor has an elbow wrong when holding a gun or that he is looking over the barrel the wrong way so to hear that our film won those awards I was so honoured and so chuffed.”

 

The award winning Escape And Evasion is in cinemas now.

 

 

Poised to thrill audiences around the nation, the Alliance Française French Film Festival has today unveiled the full line-up for its eagerly anticipated 31st season at www.affrenchfilmfestival.org

Spreading its cinematic stardust across 8 cities and 4 satellite locations, the Festival, which is proudly presented by the Alliance Française in association with the Embassy of France in Australia, Unifrance Films and screening partner, Palace Cinemas, will commence its national tour from 10 March until 19 April and is set to thrill audiences with a stupendous selection of 49 contemporary and classic French films, many enjoying their Australian premiere.

 We’re also delighted to announce that dynamic filmmaker, Justin Kurzel (The Snowtown Murders, Macbeth, True History of the Kelly Gang), who has long taken inspiration from French cinema, will be the 2020 Festival Patron.

 Additionally, acclaimed director/actor, Zabou Breitman, whose lyrical, animated drama, The Swallows of Kabul (Les hirondelles de Kaboul), has won plaudits from critics and audiences alike on the international film festival circuit, will be visiting Melbourne to introduce a screening of this, her latest feature, which she directed with Éléa Gobbé-Mévellec. This special Festival event is slated for the evening of Tuesday 17 March at Palace Cinema Como, and will be followed by a filmmaker Q&A.

 On a more sombre note, this year has already experienced horrific bushfires ravaging our land and robbing so many of their lives and homes.  The Alliance Française, and venue partners thereby invite you to join us in helping those impacted by this tragedy by supporting special previews of How to Be a Good Wife and In the Name of the Land (both screening courtesy of Palace Films) to be held in all capital cities on 9th and 10th of March.  100% of tickets sales for these sessions will be donated to the Australian Red Cross Bushfire Appeal and Rural and Remote Mental Health.

And in celebration of mankind’s great capacity for kindness and compassion – which often comes to the fore in times of crisis – the Festival will launch the 2020 season with The Extraordinary (Hors normes)one of the most gloriously uplifting films to emerge from France in recent years, which will screen courtesy of Madman Entertainment.

 The latest feature from renowned filmmakers Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano (who delighted with The Intouchables and C’est la vie!), The Extraordinary is inspired by a true story and was honoured as the Closing Night Feature at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. For twenty years, Bruno (Vincent Cassel) and Malik (Reda Kateb) have run two separate non-profit organizations where they train young people from underprivileged areas to be caregivers for autistic youth abandoned by the state system. But the authorities, concerned that they’ve never sought certification and that many of their carers aren’t ‘officially’ qualified, decide to mount an investigation.

 The result of two years’ immersion in the lives of the two associations, The Extraordinary is a crowd-pleasing charmer, which will have viewers experiencing a gamut of emotions as they fall in love with a host of extraordinary characters in exceptional circumstances.  It’s a testimony to the great things that can be achieved when people support one another in the face of adversity.

 And concluding the 2020 season, on a deliciously whimsical note, will be The Bare Necessity (Perdrix)the directorial debut of Erwan Le Duc, starring Swann Arlaud, Maud Wyler, Fanny Ardant and Nicolas Maury.  Set within a tiny town nestled in the woody mountains of Vosges, this sweetheart of a movie, which delighted hardened cynics when it premiered in Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes 2019, looks at the romantic mayhem that ensues when an enigmatic young woman forces a stagnant family to re-define their boundaries and begin to truly live.

 With so many highlights bursting from this year’s programme, it’s impossible to list every film, but read on for some of the delights to be savoured:

 

A FRIENDLY TALE (Le Bonheur des uns)

Director:  Daniel Cohen                                                        

Cast:  François Damiens, Vincent Cassel, Bérénice Bejo

In this delicious tale of tested loyalties, the close friendship of two long-time couples is put at risk when one of the two wives unexpectedly becomes a best-selling author, upsetting the intricate balance of this formerly close-knit quartet.

 

AZNAVOUR BY CHARLES (Le regard de Charles)

A Film by Charles Aznavour, Directed by Marc di Domenico                                                                 

Narrator: Romain Duris

Crooner, Charles Aznavour, beguiled his legions of fans with a dream of romance.  But his life beyond music was even more extraordinary.  An actor, political activist, diplomat and filmmaker, this enthralling documentary, with rare footage, reveals a complicated, multi-talented man who entertained for the greater part of a century.

 

DEERSKIN (Le daim)

Director:  Quentin Dupieux                                                                 

Cast:  Jean Dujardin, Adèle Haenel, Albert Delpy

With his life in disarray, Georges might not be able to control his circumstances but he can control his wardrobe.  Believing that the deerskin jacket of his dreams is the answer to all of his problems, Georges’ delusions gradually increase each time he wears it, edging his obsession closer to a violent delirium.

 

EDMOND

Director: Alexis Michalik                   

Cast: Thomas Solivérès, Olivier Gourmet, Mathilde Seigner, Dominique Pinon

Paris, 1897. Although not yet thirty and clearly gifted as a writer, Edmond Rostand already has two children, many anxieties, but scant literary success.  When given three weeks to write a play for a mercurial star of the stage, all he has is the title, Cyrano de Bergerac.  Can he accomplish the impossible?

 

FAREWELL TO THE NIGHT (L’adieu à la nuit)

Director: André Téchiné                                                                            

Cast: Catherine Deneuve, Kacey Mottet Klein

Muriel, a respected member of her idyllic local community, is horrified to discover that her visiting grandson, who claims to be heading to Canada for work, has in reality been radicalised by Islamist extremists.  His plans to fight for ISIS in Syria expose this ordinary woman to a moral dilemma of heart-breaking proportions.

 

HOUSE OF CARDIN

Directors: P. David Ebersole, Todd Hughes

Synonymous with glamour, refinement and sophistication, this documentary provides a rare glimpse into the world of a 20th century icon. Allowing unprecedented access to his personal archives, we follow Cardin from his birth in the Italian countryside circa 1922, to his move to France where he made his name in fashion.

 

HOW TO BE A GOOD WIFE (La bonne épouse)

Director: Martin Provost                             

Cast: Juliette Binoche, Yolande Moreau, Noémie Lvovsky, Edouard Baer

In 1968 amidst the lush regions of Alsace, the head of a housekeeping school that transforms teenage girls into ideal housewives, has her pristine life implode when she encounters her long-lost first love whilst simultaneously learning that her business is on the brink of financial ruin.

 

IN THE NAME OF THE LAND (Au nom de la terre)

Director:  Edouard Bergeon                                                     

Cast: Guillaume Canet, Veerle Baetens, Anthony Bajon

Returning to France in the late 70s, Pierre marries his sweetheart and takes over his father’s farm.  But twenty years onwards, Pierre is exhausted.  With mounting debt, what was once satisfying begins to take an insidious toll on his family who risk being torn apart by the property that binds them, in this powerful tale of resilience.

 

LA BELLE ÉPOQUE

Director: Nicolas Bedos                                                                    

Cast: Daniel Auteuil, Guillaume Canet, Doria Tiller

Disillusioned, his long-term marriage on the rocks, a man is given a second chance when he encounters a company offering a unique theatrical service that enables customers to revisit memories through carefully orchestrated re-enactments, thus allowing him to return to 1974 and the peak of his happiness.

 

THE LOST PRINCE (Le prince oublié)

Director: Michel Hazanavicius                                                           

Cast: Omar Sy, Bérénice Bejo, François Damiens

Djibi, a devoted single father, transforms into a heroic Prince in the nightly fairy-tales he tells his beloved 7 year-old daughter, Sofia. But as the years pass, Sofia is ready for her own stories with different heroes.  But is the Prince ready to become just a memory of his daughter’s childhood?

 

LOVE AT SECOND SIGHT (Mon inconnue)

Director: Hugo Gélin                                                                         

Cast: François Civil, Joséphine Japy, Benjamin Lavernhe

After waking in a parallel universe, Raphaël finds his wife, Olivia, is nowhere to be seen and his professional achievements have vanished.  Without Olivia, his life is empty, but winning her back proves harder than he could have imagined – especially when he realises she doesn’t even know who he is!

 

MY DOG STUPID (Mon chien Stupide)

Director: Yvan Attal                                                                             

Cast: Yvan Attal, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Eric Ruf

Henri, a writer in the depths of a mid-life crisis who hasn’t released a successful book in 25 years, strikes-up an unconventional friendship with a stray, bad-mannered dog who inspires him and his dysfunctional family to re-examine their lives and attitudes towards each other.

 

THE MYSTERY OF HENRI PICK (Le mystère Henri Pick)

Director: Rémi Bezançon                                                                                 

Cast: Fabrice Luchini, Camille Cottin, Alice Isaaz

The late Henry Pick, in life an unassuming Breton pizza marker, is celebrated as a brilliant author when a lost manuscript, attributed to him, becomes a literary success.  But one outspoken intellectual thinks the whole thing is a sham, and, after losing his wife, his job and his prominence due to his opinion, decides to uncover the truth.

 

ONLY THE ANIMALS (Seules les bêtes)

Director: Dominik Moll                                                             

Cast: Denis Ménochet, Laure Calamy, Damien Bonnard

Set in an isolated town in the lush, wintery mountains of southern France, the film opens with the departure of Evelyne, a local woman whose disappearance during a snowstorm soon reveals itself as murder. This act of violence gradually unveils the hidden agendas of several locals, setting the unexpected into motion.

 

PROXIMA

Director: Alice Winocour                                                              

Cast: Eva Green, Zélie Boulant- Lemesle, Matt Dillon

As the only woman in the European Space Agency astronaut-training program, single mother Sarah struggles with guilt over the limited time spent with her young daughter, which escalates when she’s invited upon a year-long space mission – Proxima – forcing her to choose between her work and her child.

 

ROOM 212 (Chambre 212)

Director: Christophe Honoré                                           

Cast: Chiara Mastroianni, Benjamin Biolay, Vincent Lacoste

After Maria reveals a long history of affairs to her husband, she opts to spend the night at a hotel opposite their home. But this is a “magical night”, and it’s not long before time collapses upon itself opening a window into the past where young passions are revisited and the very concept of love, questioned.

 

SIBYL

Director: Justine Triet                                                           

Cast: Virginie Efira, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Gaspard Ulliel

Dissatisfied with her life, Sibyl, a psychiatrist, decides to pursue her dream of becoming a writer.  Casting professional ethics aside, she secretly uses the private sessions of her actress patient, Margot, as inspiration for her novel, a decision that irreversibly impacts upon both their lives.

 

SPREAD YOUR WNGS (Donne-moi des ailes)

Director: Nicolas Vanier                                                          

Cast: Jean-Paul Rouve, Mélanie Doutey, Louis Vazquez

Christian, a visionary scientist, studies wild birds. For his son, a teenager obsessed with video games, the idea of spending a vacation with his father in the middle of nature is a nightmare. However, father and son soon bond over a daring project to save an endangered species, which takes them on an incredible journey.

 

THE SWALLOWS OF KABUL (Les hirondelles de Kaboul)

Directors: Zabou Breitman, Éléa Gobbé-Mévellec                        

Voice: Simon Abkarian, Zita Hanrot, Swann Arlaud

Based on the cherished novel of the same name, this critically acclaimed, animated drama follows two couples living in the Afghan capital during the 90s and the impact Taliban rule has on each relationship. Through their individual love stories, unforgettable characters emerge amid the devastating impact of armed combat.

 

THE TRANSLATORS (Les traducteurs)

Director: Régis Roinsard                                                 

Cast: Lambert Wilson, Olga Kurylenko, Riccardo Scamarcio

Nine language experts, hired to translate the final book of a bestselling trilogy, are in lockdown within a luxurious bunker. But when the top-secret manuscript’s first ten pages appear online, their dream job implodes.  The culprit has to amongst them and the publisher is ready to do whatever it takes to unmask who it is.

 

TWO OF US (Deux)

Director: Filippo Meneghetti                                                    

Cast: Barbara Sukowa, Martine Chevallier, Léa Drucker

In this emotionally compelling tale, pensioners Nina and Madeleine have hidden their deep and passionate love for many decades, but their bond is tested when circumstances trigger a series of events, preventing them from moving freely between each other’s apartments.

 

VERNON SUBUTEX

Director: Cathy Verney                                

Cast: Romain Duris, Céline Sallette, Florence Thomassin, Julie Fournier

When Vernon Subutex, an unemployed former owner of a once legendary record shop, is evicted from his flat, he’s helped by old friend rock star Alex Bleach. But Bleach’s sudden death makes Vernon a deadly target when it’s discovered that he’s in possession of 3 mysterious videotapes owned by Bleach.

 

WE’LL END UP TOGETHER (Nous finirons ensemble)

Director: Guillaume Canet                         

 Cast: François Cluzet, Marion Cotillard, Gilles Lellouche, Laurent Lafitte

About to turn 60, nearly broke and estranged from his former friends, restaurateur Max embraces solitude at his soon-to-be-sold beach house.  So when his ex-buddies arrive for a surprise celebration, he turns them away. But this cannot be – something has to be done! The sequel to 2010’s star-studded comedy, LITTLE WHITE LIES.

 

ZOMBI CHILD

Director: Bertrand Bonello                            

Cast: Louise Labèque, Wislanda Louimat, Adilé David, Ninon François

Haiti, 1962…A man is resurrected from the dead and trapped in a nightmare of slavery. Modern-day Paris…Haitian teen Mélissa, the new girl at an elite school, is invited to join a secret ‘literary sorority’.  But the incendiary family secret she harbours becomes a source of fascination to others, who exploit her heritage with shocking results.

 

National dates and venues for the 2020 Alliance Française French Film Festival are:

     

SYDNEY:

 

10 March – 8 April

 

Palace Norton Street, Palace Verona, Chauvel Cinema, Palace Central & Hayden Orpheum Cremorne      

MELBOURNE:

 

11 March – 8 April

 

Palace Balwyn, Palace Brighton Bay, Palace Cinema             Como, Palace Westgarth, Kino Cinemas & The Astor Theatre

PERTH:

 

11 March – 8 April

 

Palace Raine Square, Cinema Paradiso, Luna on SX,

Windsor Cinema & Camelot Outdoor Cinema

CANBERRA:

12 March – 8 April

Palace Electric Cinema

ADELAIDE:

17 March -14 April

Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas, Palace Nova Prospect Cinema

BRISBANE:

18 March -14 April

Palace Barracks & Palace James Street

HOBART:

19 – 28 March

State Cinema

AVOCA BEACH:

19 March – 1 April

Avoca Beach Picture Theatre

PARRAMATTA:

26 – 29 March

Riverside Theatres Parramatta

BYRON BAY:

31 March – 12 April

Palace Byron Bay

BENDIGO:

17 – 19 April

Star Cinema

BALLARAT:

17 -19 April

Regent Cinemas