Film: FILM MOVEMENT PLUS (New Titles for August 2021)

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by Nia Liat on August 6, 2021

in Film

This August, FILM MOVEMENT PLUS adds an incredible collection of international award-winners to the service, including SUMMER LIGHTS, a drama from Jean-Gabriel Périot being released to mark the Hiroshima tragedy, ORAY, a Berlinale winner of the “Best First Feature” Award, HEAVENLY NOMADIC, Kyrgyzstan’s Official Oscar submission in 2015 and THE TASTE OF PHO from Warsaw-based, Japanese-born filmmaker Mariko Bobrik, who shines a light on Poland’s Vietnamese population in a poignant drama about love, misunderstanding, and food.

Film Movement Plus August highlights are as follows:

Friday, August 6
A FILM MOVEMENT PLUS EXCLUSIVE: SUMMER LIGHTS
Director Jean-Gabriel Périot

On the Anniversary of the A-bomb comes this powerful drama from director Jean-Gabriel Périot. Akihiro, a native Japanese filmmaker living in Paris, comes to Hiroshima to interview survivors for a documentary marking the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing. Deeply moved by the interviews, he decided to take a break and wanders through the city during which he meets Michiko, a merry and enigmatic young woman. Michiko takes him for a joyful and improvised journey from the city towards the sea where the horrors of the past are mingled to the simplicity of the present. Thanks to her, Akihiro will escape from the darkness of the disaster and find a way to reach the simple lights of life. Aida Amasuno Martín of Cineuropa calls the film “a delicate, sad story, imbued with poetry and more than a few ghosts…” and goes on to note “but there is room for hope here as well.” (2016 | 83 minutes | France, Japan | Japanese with English subtitles)

A FILM MOVEMENT PLUS EXCLUSIVE: ORAY
Director Mehmet Akif Büyükatalay

An audience and critical favorite at dozens of international film festivals and winner of the Berlinale’s “Best First Feature” Award is a powerful film about Muslim communities in Europe. Oray (played by  Zejhun Demirov) strives to be a better person but struggles with his shady past. His dream of being a good Muslim and the perfect husband is suddenly shattered while arguing with his wife. Oray goes to Cologne, where he tries to rebuild his life in a new Muslim community. But he is constantly torn between his faith, everyday reality and identity. “Demirov has a potent screen presence, holding nothing back in a wrenching performance” says The Hollywood Reporter.  (2019 | 100 minutes | Germany | German, Turkish, Romany with English subtitles)

Friday, August 13
STREAMING PREMIERE: GOLDIE
Director Sam de Jong

Goldie (Slick Woods) is a star – well, not quite yet, but at least in the eyes of her little sisters Sherrie and Supreme she is. The rest of the world is bound to take note soon too. Her big break surely awaits, she’s just got to pick up that golden fur coat she’s had her eye on first. And land a role as a dancer in a hip-hop video. And keep child welfare services from separating her from Sherrie and Supreme, after their mother is locked up. Holding onto those dreams isn’t easy when fate has placed such daunting obstacles in her path. With GOLDIE, an Official Selection at the Tribeca Film Festival and nominated for a prestigious Crystal Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival, Dutch director Sam de Jong has delivered a real New York film: raw and glamorous, unflinchingly realistic and relentlessly optimistic, with a ton of heart and at least as much attitude. Allan Hunter of Screen Daily says, “De Jong brings a jolt of brash energy to a social realist scenario that could easily have attracted Ken Loach or the Dardenne brothers. A charismatic, eye-catching debut performance from Instagirl fashion world star Slick Woods adds considerably to the film’s appeal.” And David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter writes, “Suspension between can-do spirit and come-down reality pumps blood into the irrepressible heart of this scrappy tale, along with the natural charisma of model Slick Woods, making a disarming feature debut in the title role.” (2019 | 88 minutes | USA | English)

A FILM MOVEMENT PLUS EXCLUSIVE: HEAVENLY NOMADIC
Director Mirlan Abdykalykov

There are still places in this world where people live in harmony with nature and its mythology. A family of nomads dwelling high in the mountains of Kyrgyzstan doesn’t need any of the conveniences of modern civilization in order to be happy. In the eyes of seven-year-old Umsunai, legends meld with reality and help her overcome her grief over her deceased father. When her uncle returns from the city, she enthusiastically devours his stories of urban life. Yet, in her grandparents’ minds, the very same stories stir up dismal fears about their son’s detachment. Umsunai’s mother is also reluctant to leave their modest rural home behind, even if it means foregoing the chance of a new relationship. For the elderly herdsman and his wife, the heavy machinery that suddenly appears on the meadows where their horses graze represents an omen of painful change. It’s as if a part of their own souls disappears with every destroyed piece of the landscape. This poetic essay about waning traditions, Kyrgyzstan’s Official Oscar submission and an Official Selection of the Karlovy Vary Film Festival, is actor Mirlan Abdykalykov’s debut feature and was based on a screenplay by renowned director Aktan Arym Kubat. (2015 | 81 minutes | Krygyzstan | Kyrgyz with English subtitles)

Friday, August 20
FM+ PREMIERE: THE MIRACLE OF THE SARGASSO SEA
Director Syllas Tzoumerkas

In a small eel-farming town in the west of Greece, two women live solitary lives while dreaming of getting away. Elisabeth is a once-ambitious policewoman forced to relocate from Athens ten years ago and now living a joyless, hung-over life; Rita is the quiet, mysterious sister of a lounge singer in the local disco. When a sudden death upsets the town and turns the local community upside-down, the two women who had been ignoring each other’s existence begin drifting towards each other. As the secrets hidden in the swamps begin to surface, they will have a chance to become each other’s saviors. The Hollywood Reporter says, “Reminiscent of 1980s Lynch, Tzoumerkas does masterfully paint the stifling atmosphere of a godforsaken town” and Upcoming writes, “The Miracle of the Sargasso Sea is visually compelling, and a show of great creative ambition from Tzoumerkas.” (2019 | 121 minutes | Greece, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden | Greek with English subtitles)

FM+ PREMIERE: PITY
Director Babis Makridis

In this as-Greek-as-it-gets black comedy co-written by Director Makridis and Efthymis Filippou, the co-writer of  Dogtooth and The Killing of a Sacred Deer, comedian Yannis Drakopoulos stars as a man who feels happy only when he is unhappy. In fact, he’s so addicted to sadness and has such need for pity that he’s willing to do everything to evoke it from others. Variety writes, “Pity keeps the tone and pace austere, its stray lunges of overt gallows humor sticking like a knife between the ribs…elegantly conceived and perversely compelling” and Roger Ebert.com calls the pitch black satire “disturbing and oftentimes very funny.” (2018 | 99 minutes | Greece, Poland | Greek with English Subtitles)

Friday, August 27
FM+ PREMIERE: THEY STOLE THE BOMB
Director Ion Popescu-Gopo

Perhaps the most surrealistic, offbeat sci-fi film ever made, They Stole the Bomb is a dialogue-free Romanian science-fiction spy-comedy that draws upon farce, satire and surrealism as it subversively deconstructs the spy thriller. It starts with a man accidentally walking into a nuclear test area, quickly apprehended by a squad of men dressed like spacemen, all of whom are holding big ray guns. He is soon released, but later finds himself the recipient of a fantastic, futuristic suitcase nuclear bomb, caught in the middle of an ownership fight between the rival powers of the criminals and the military. Eugenia Balaure, Haralambie Boros, Emil Botta, Florin Piersic star. (1962 | 74 minutes | Romania)

A FILM MOVEMENT PLUS EXCLUSIVE: THE LUNCHROOM
Director Ezequiel Radusky

For 30 years Lila has been a cleaner in a provincial municipality building. She’s an important figure in the office’s carefully knit society because of the unofficial staff cafeteria, which she runs together with her friend Marcela. When Lila gets the opportunity to refurbish the lunchroom and run it officially as the boss, this sudden elevation of her status causes Marcela’s envy and starts a slow decay of the office’s delicate status quo. (2019 | 86 minutes | Argentina, Uruguay | Spanish with English Subtitles)

A FILM MOVEMENT PLUS EXCLUSIVE: THE TASTE OF PHO
Director Mariko Bobrik

Warsaw-based, Japanese-born filmmaker Mariko Bobrik shines a light on Poland’s Vietnamese population in this poignant drama about love, misunderstanding, and food. Long, a Vietnamese cook and long-time Warsaw resident, has built up a loyal following for his expertly-made pho, until the restaurant is sold to a new owner who wants to revamp the menu. The change exacerbates Long’s struggles to fit into European culture and the generational divide with his ten-year-old daughter, who has embraced Poland as her own. The Taste of Pho offers up a slice of this family’s daily life and conveys with great sensitivity the inner conflict of those living far from their country of origin. Caught between tradition and integration, good-natured Long clings onto the flavors of his homeland, but, ultimately, it will take more than the concoction of a few Thai or kebab-based dishes to distance him from who he really is. Vittoria Scarpa of Cineuropa says “Mariko Bobrik’s gaze is discrete and original; she frames objects, bodies rather than faces [and] steaming hot plates of food.” (2019 | 84 minutes Poland, Germany | Polish, Vietnamese with English Subtitles)

About FILM MOVEMENT PLUS

FILM MOVEMENT PLUS opens up a world of provocative, compelling and award-winning films from Film Movement’s singular library. Priced at $5.99 per month with a free 30-day trial, the SVOD subscription service, currently available on Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Android TV, mobile (iOS and Android), and Chromecast, offers consumers immediate access to over 400 festival favorite feature films and 100 short films, including: THEEB, the 2016 Academy Award® nominee for Best Foreign Film; AFTER THE STORM, a powerful family drama from 2018 Palme d’Or winner Hirokazu Kore-eda (Shoplifters); HUMAN CAPITAL, a political thriller from Paolo Virzi (The Leisure Seeker) that was Italy’s Best Foreign Film submission for the 87th Academy Awards® and MY LOVE, DON’T CROSS THAT RIVER, an unforgettable documentary about true love that transcends generations and cultures and is South Korea’s most successful film of all time. Classics from the Film Movement catalog include Bille August’s PELLE THE CONQUEROR, an Academy Award® winner for Best Foreign Language Film in 1996 and much more.

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