Source: Lionsgate


Oliver Hermanus’ Akira Kurosawa adaptation Living heads a bumper weekend for new releases in UK-Ireland cinemas, with 25 new titles playing across the seven-day period from October 31-November 6.

Released by Lionsgate in 257 cinemas, Living is an English-language adaptation of Kurosawa’s 1952 filmIkiru, with the story moved to the UK in the 1950s. It follows a veteran civil servant – played by Bill Nighy – who receives a medical diagnosis that inspires him to put some fun into his remaining days.

Nighy received one of nine nominations for the film at the British Independent Film Awards (Bifa) this morning, in the gender-blind best lead performance category. Further nominations included best British independent film, best supporting performance for Aimee Lou Wood, best screenplay for author Kazuo Ishiguro, and best director for Hermanus.

Produced by Stephen Woolley and Elizabeth Karlsen’s Number 9 Films with backing from Film4, Living debuted at the online Sundance Film Festival in January. It thas gone on to play major summer-autumn festivals including Telluride, Venice, Toronto and San Sebastian.

It is a fifth feature for South African filmmaker Hermanus, who started with Toronto title Shirley Adams in 2010, and broke out with 2020 release Moffie, which took £3,234 on a very limited release during the pandemic.

UK stalwart Nighy is known for key roles in ensemble films such as Love Actually  (opened: £6.7m; closed: £36.8m), Pride  (£718,778; £4.1m), Shaun Of The Dead  (£1.6m; £6.7m) and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel films.

Vertigo Releasing is conducting its widest opening since the pandemic with Phyllis Nagy’s historical drama Call Jane in 245 locations.

The film tells the true story of a married US woman in the 1960s with an unwanted pregnancy, who comes across the Janes, an underground network of women who take risks to provide abortions to pregnant women.

Call Jane was also an online Sundance debut, going on to play at the Berlinale, Melbourne and BFI London Film Festival. It is a debut theatrical feature for Nagy, who scored a major awards hit in 2015 as a writer with Todd Haynes’ Carol  (£533,382; £2.8m).

Universal is starting Chloe Okuno’s horror Watcher – a third Sundance 2022 premiere – in 241 locations. Maika Monroe stars as a woman who moves with her husband to Bucharest, and begins to suspect that a stranger who watches her from the apartment across the street may be a local serial killer.

It is a debut feature for US director Okuno, who has previously made shorts including 2013’s Full Circle, and directed a segment of 2021 horror anthology V/H/S/94. The film will look to trade off the horror presence of Monroe, who broke out in David Robert Mitchell’s 2014 It Follows  (£371,142; £1.2m).

Japanese hit 

The widest opener this weekend is Goro Taniguchi’s anime adventure One Piece Film: Red, starting in 293 locations through distributor All The Anime. It is the 15th film in the One Piece series, and as of October 30 had grossed over ¥17.7 billion (£106.4m) in Japan, making it the highest-grossing film in the series and of 2022. Its 11 consecutive weeks atop the Japanese box office have propelled it to the number nine spot in the country’s all-time chart.

Altitude is starting Hunt, the directorial debut of Squid Game star Lee Jung-jae who also stars, in 27 cinemas. The film, which debuted out of competition as a Midnight screening at Cannes this year, is centred around the efforts of two Korean CIA chiefs to catch a spy within their operation.

Signature Entertainment is distributing Leon Prudovsky’s comedy My Neighbour Adolf, about a lonely Holocaust survivor in 1960s South America who convinces himself that the man who has just moved in next door to him is Adolf Hitler. Starring David Hayman and Udo Kier, the film premiered at Locarno Film Festival in August.

Return To Dust

Source: Hucheng No.7 Films Ltd.

‘Return To Dust’

Modern Films is opening Ruijun Li’s Chinese drama Return To Dust in 10 sites this weekend, before expanding to all 28 Picturehouse Cinemas venues in week two through the chain’s Discover strand. The film, which debuted in Berlin in February, grossed more than RMB100m (£12.3m) in China – a strong result for an independent film – before being removed from cinemas and streaming platforms by regulators, prompting further discussion of censorship in the country.

With Black audiences still often undeserved in the UK according to distribution executives, T A P E Collective is opening Miryam Charles’ Berlinale 2022 title This House in nine cinemas, with six more to come across the next fortnight. The film follows the investigation into an apparent suicide 10 years after the event.

Independent titles on limited release this weekend include Lightbulb Film Distribution’s comedy-horror Something In The Dirt in 13 sites; Alison Millar’s Lyra, a documentary about Northern Irish journalist Lyra McKee, who was killed in rioting in Derry in 2019, in 28 sites through Wildcard Distribution; Emma Davie’s North Sea oil documentary The Oil Machine through Cosmic Cat, starting in five sites with over 50 booked throughout November and December; and sci-fi musical Neptune Frost through Anti-Worlds Releasing.

Further releases include concert film Duran Duran: A Hollywood High through Abramorama; Raindance winner To Leslie through Entertainment Film Distributors; sci-fi Deus: The Dark Sphere   through Parkland Entertainment; Mathukutty Xavier’s Indian thriller Mili in 47 sites through Zee Studios; and a re-release of 1997 UK feature Nil By Mouth, still the only film directed by Gary Oldman, in eight sites through BFI Distribution.

Titles from the streaming giants playing limited awards-qualifying theatrical releases this weekend include Sebastian Lelio’s The Wonder  for Netflix, which received 12 nominations at the Bifas this morning; Lila Neugebauer’s Causeway starring and produced by Jennifer Lawrence for Apple TV+; and a joint Dogwoof-Amazon Studios release of Ryan White’s documentary Good Night Oppy, about the Mars exploration vehicle that was expected to live for 90 days, and ended up surviving almost 15 years.

After event cinema releases earlier in the week for Grateful Dead Meet-Up At The Movies through Trafalgar Releasing on Tuesday November 1, Mother Teresa: No Greater Love on Wednesday 2 and The Seagull through National Theatre Live on Thursday 3, Trafalgar has two further event titles at the weekend: La Traviata – Met Opera 2022 in 154 sites on Saturday, and The Bodyguard in 99 on Sunday.

Key holdovers are the third weekend of Warner Bros’ blockbuster Black Adam; Sony’s family comedy Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile, which rose to second spot last weekend; and Disney’s Searchlight Pictures awards contender The Banshees Of Inisherin.