Screen previews the titles from the World Cinema Dramatic selection, including new films from Joanna Hogg, Johannes Nyholm and Shola Amoo.
Dirty God (Neth-UK-Bel-Ire)
Dir. Sacha Polak
Polak’s debut feature Hemel won the Fipresci prize at the Berlinale in 2012, and her follow-up Zurich won CICAE’s art cinema award at the same festival in 2015. Dirty God, her first English-language feature, stars newcomer Vicky Knight as a young mother struggling to cope after being scarred in an acid attack. It is the first Dutch film to be selected for the World Cinema Dramatic competition.
Contact: Sarah Lebutsch, Independent
Divine Love (Braz-Uru-Den-Nor-Chile)
Dir. Gabriel Mascaro
Set in a theocratic Brazil in the year 2027, Divine Love sees a deeply religious woman strengthen her relationship with God after she struggles to conceive a child. Filmmaker and visual artist Mascaro’s debut feature August Winds premiered at Locarno Festival in 2014, while his second, rodeo drama Neon Bull, premiered in Venice’s Horizons in 2015, where it picked up the special jury prize.
Contact: Memento Films International
Dolce Fine Giornata (Pol)
Dir. Jacek Borcuch
Polish filmmaker Borcuch explores racism, immigration and democracy with this tale of a female Tuscan writer whose relationship with a younger Egyptian man begins to erode in the aftermath of a terrorist attack. This is Borcuch’s third film to be selected for the World Cinema Dramatic Competition, following 2010’s All That I Love and 2013’s Lasting, which won the cinematography award.
Contact: Films Boutique
Judy And Punch (Australia)
Dir. Mirrah Foulkes
Australian actress/filmmaker Foulkes makes her feature debut with this allegorical drama, which stars Mia Wasikowska and Damon Herriman as successful puppeteers Judy and Punch. After a violent altercation where Punch leaves Judy for dead, she plots her revenge. Foulkes has previously made award-winning short films Dumpy Goes To The Big Smoke (2012), Florence Has Left The Building (2014) and Trespass (2016).
Contact: Cornerstone Films
Koko-di Koko-da (Swe-Den)
Dir. Johannes Nyholm
After his feature debut The Giant (2016) won the special jury prize at San Sebastian International Film Festival and played in BFI London Film Festival’s First Feature Competition, Swedish filmmaker Nyholm returns with Koko-di Koko-da. The story sees a couple take a camping trip to rekindle their romance, only to be terrorised by a malevolent sideshow artist and his entourage. Nyholm previously brought his 2012 short Las Palmas to Sundance.
Contact: Stray Dogs
The Last Tree (UK)
Dir. Shola Amoo
After his 2016 debut A Moving Image, UK writer/director Amoo’s The Last Tree tells the story of Femi (Sam Adewunmi), a British boy of Nigerian descent who moves to London from rural Lincolnshire. Amoo was in Sundance in 2017 with Dear Mr Shakespeare, a reinterpretation of Othello, which played in the short film competition. The Last Tree was developed by the BFI, which also funded the production.
Contact: Nada Cirjanic, Great Point Media
Dir. Alejandro Landes
Brazilian writer/director Landes played the festival in 2007 with his coca-farming documentary Cocalero, and was awarded a post-production grant from the Cinereach Project at Sundance Institute for his 2011 feature Porfirio. That project’s screenplay was selected for both the Sundance Institute Screenwriters and Directors Lab and Cannes’ Cinéfondation residency. He returns to Park City with his third film Monos, which follows a band of eight child soldiers as they oversee a US hostage at a mountaintop base. The score is by Oscar and Bafta-nominated composer Mica Levi (Jackie, Under The Skin).
Contact: Le Pacte
Queen Of Hearts (Den)
Dir. May el-Toukhy
Danish actress Trine Dyrholm, who won a Silver Bear at the Berlinale in 2016 for her performance in Thomas Vinterberg’s The Commune, plays a successful lawyer who jeopardises her family and career when she seduces her teenage stepson. Queen Of Hearts is the second feature from Danish filmmaker el-Toukhy, following 2015 comedy Long Story Short, which also starred Dyrholm. It is co-produced by Caroline Blanco and Rene Ezra for Nordisk Film Denmark with Nordisk Film Sweden. Nordisk Film Distribution will release locally in March.
The Sharks (Uru-Arg-Sp)
Dir. Lucia Garibaldi
Winner of the Films In Progress 32 Industry Award at San Sebastian last year, The Sharks is the debut feature from Film School of Uruguay graduate Garibaldi. Set in a small coastal town whose residents are distracted by sightings of sharks, it follows a 14-year-old girl as she embarks on her first sexual relationship. The film is co-produced by Pancho Magnou Arnabal of Uruguay’s Montelona Cine and Melanie Schapiro of Argentina’s Trapecio Cine.
Contact: Visit Films
The Souvenir (UK)
Dir. Joanna Hogg
The first of an intended two-part feature, 1980s-set The Souvenir is based on writer/director Hogg’s own experiences, and features a breakout performance from newcomer Honor Swinton Byrne (I Am Love) as a quiet film student who finds her artistic identity while also becoming involved with a complicated man (Tom Burke). Also in the cast are Tilda Swinton and Richard Ayoade. This is Hogg’s first feature since 2013’s Exhibition, which played in competition at Locarno Festival.
Contact: Protagonist Pictures
This Is Not Berlin (Mex)
Dir. Hari Sama
Award-winning Mexican filmmaker Sama (The Dream Of Lu, Awakening Dust) makes his Sundance debut with this coming-of-age tale of a 17-year-old loner discovering the liberating delights of the underground nightclub scene in 1980s Mexico City. Marina de Tavira, who stars in Alfonso Cuaron’s awards-season contender ROMA, is in the cast.
Contact: Latido Films
We Are Little Zombies (Jap)
Dir. Makoto Nagahisa
The first Japanese director to win Sundance’s short film grand jury prize for 2017’s And So We Put Goldfish In The Pool, writer/director Nagahisa returns to Park City with his feature debut. We Are Little Zombies follows a quartet of emotionless 13-year-olds who decide to form a band in the aftermath of their parents’ deaths. Following its Sundance bow, the film will play in the Berlinale’s Generation 14plus.
Contact: Nikkatsu Corporation