In New Directions the New Zealand Film Festival aims to showcase first and second time features from directors around the world. As per usual, we’ve picked two that we think you really should go and see.
Boundary-pushing British comedian Chris Morris has mounted many memorable media hoaxes in his quest to expose and explode public gullibility. Here he sets out to shatter the fear-mongering mythology of the lethally focused jihadist: he’s made a taboo-busting comedy about four terrorists who are complete dorks. Cuttingly articulate, Four Lions hones its insults with dazzling velocity and nerve. -NZFF
“Morris studied the cases of homegrown British Muslim terrorists with real or imagined links to al-Qaida, and turned the results into a very dark slapstick farce about a group of lovable but incompetent morons devoted to the task of launching jihad in the industrial north of England. Yes, it’s In the Loop meets Paradise Now, and Morris dishes out the ruthless satire in all directions: the hardass white Muslim convert, the wholesome Pakistani immigrants, the devout mosque-goers, the inept police, the studiously liberal British politicians – they’re all criminal-grade idiots. You’ll laugh uproariously at what seems like a nihilistic but good-humored film, until you realize that Morris isn’t actually kidding about any of it… It’s pretty hard to imagine an American audience of any size tolerating this film. But it’s a first-rate example of the self-lacerating, take-no-prisoners current in British comedy.” -Andrew O’Hehir, salon.com
“Terrorist cells have the same group dynamics as stag parties and five a side football teams. There is conflict, friendship, misunderstanding and rivalry. Terrorism is about ideology, but it’s also about berks.” -Chris Morris
WHY FOUR LIONS?
Because she’s got a beard. Seriously, watch the trailer below!
A taut romantic thriller set on the mean streets and alleyways of Barcelona, 25 Carat delivers classic, character-driven pulp fiction in gritty, pre-Tarantino style. Twenty-year-old Kay is a small-time grifter working overtime to keep her crooked father’s creditors at bay. Abel, an ex-boxer and single dad, works as a stand-over guy for a crime boss specialising in debt collection. Falling for each other, there’s one thing they both recognise: if they could ever trust one another they could pull off an ingenious scam that would set them free. -NZFF
“Spanish cinema rarely throws up thrillers worthy of the name, but 25 Carat is the real thing. As down-to-earth, wiry and taut as the ex-boxer it features, the picture never strays from the rulebook but brings enough verve and freshness to its gallery of archetypes to remind us that the rules are there for a reason. A first-class cast infuses this breathless yarn of life in Barcelona’s underbelly with a credibility it rarely loses… The plot twists and doubles back as the stakes satisfyingly rise, each scene turning the screws a little tighter, though leaving enough space for the script to develop the twin father-child relationships in the story…
As the emotionally damaged tough guy trying to lead a decent life, Garrido shows an unexpected gentleness, and Folch brings an unusual but satisfying optimism to the streetwise, 20-year-old Kay.” -Jonathan Holland, Variety
“Beautifully shot in a raw, handheld style that gives energy to spare, Amézcua’s film attempts the difficult task of being true to the rules of its chosen genre while also adding something entirely different to the mix and he succeeds incredibly well.” -Todd Brown, Twitch
WHY 25 CARET?
It’s a Spanish thriller. After the mindblowingly good REC & REC2 I’m ready to see what Span can offer up in the thriller genre.