June’s Trailer Recommendations
“Purtata fetelor”, the Romanian traditional girls’ processional walking dance from Căpâlna village, playing on the soundtrack of a superhero blockbuster’s trailer? Now we’ve seen everything. Our list of recommendations for this month includes five titles showing at the Transilvania International Film Festival (June 17-26, Cluj-Napoca), but also the hottest upcoming Netflix series.
The Passengers of the Night (drama, dir. Mikhaël Hers)
In 2018, Mikhaël Hers made a splash with Amanda, awarded in Venice and considered one of the most touching films of the year. In 2022, Hers attempts the same with The Passengers of the Night and now he has the expressive Charlotte Gainsbourg by his side, starring here as Elizabeth, a housewife left by her husband who tries to start over. A job on a night-time radio show and meeting a troubled teenager will teach the heroine that it only takes time and an open mind to learn that what seemed like losing her family could be an opportunity for self-discovery.
Cool Fact: French star Emmanuelle Béart plays Elizabeth’s boss.
Coming out in cinemas on September 16.
The Good Boss (comedy, dir. Fernando León de Aranoa)
We all know that “better is the enemy of good”, but there are few films that explore this old saying in a more comical way than The Good Boss, a comedy for which director and screenwriter Fernando León de Aranoa teams up again with Javier Bardem two decades after their first mega-hit, Mondays in the Sun. Bardem is Blanco, the owner of a successful family-run business, which makes him feel that he deserves the award for excellence granted to local businesses. And just when everything needs to be perfect, there is trouble at every turn, and Blanco will have to resort to more and more crazy and desperate solutions in order not to ruin his dream. And something tells us that he will learn a lesson as hard as it is necessary…
Cool Fact: Highly praised by both audiences and critics, The Good Boss has won six Goya Awards this year, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor.
Coming out in cinemas on November 4.
Alcarràs (drama, dir. Carla Simón)
In 2017, Catalan director Carla Simón was making her debut with Summer 1993 (also presented at TIFF), which ended up winning over 40 international awards, including Best Debut at Berlinale. In Alcarràs, Simón revisits the topic of loss, approached in her first film, but completely changes the context: instead of the little girl who loses her parents, we now have a family in danger of losing their livelihood. Peach farmers for generations, the members of the Solé family find out that the owner of the land where they have their orchard wants to install solar panels instead. The news is a major blow to the family and they all must face the threat that the future will be different from everything they knew before.
Cool Fact: The main cast of this Berlinale Golden Bear-winner is made up of non-professional actors and it’s their first experience in front of the camera.
Coming out in cinemas on July 15.
Happening (drama, dir. Audrey Diwan)
Audrey Diwan’s film won the Golden Lion and the FIPRESCI Award last year at the Venice Film Festival, but probably more interesting for Romanian moviegoers is the fact that the film stars Romanian actress Anamaria Vartolomei, who won the César Award for Most Promising Actress for her performance. Vartolomei plays Anne, a student who is keen on finishing her studies, aware that a college degree is crucial for having a better future. But Anne gets pregnant, and because the story takes place in 1960s France, abortion is illegal. The film explores not only the difficult choice Anne has to make but also its consequences.
Cool Fact: Also showing at TIFF is Call Jane, a film that presents a similar reality happening in the same period, this time in the United States.
Coming out in cinemas on June 24.
Pam & Tommy (biographical drama miniseries, created by Robert Siegel)
The miniseries is available in Romania on the recently launched streaming platform, Disney+, but audiences at TIFF can see the first two episodes in the increasingly popular section dedicated to TV series, Coming Up Next. In 1995, Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee got married just four days after they met and soon shocked the whole world after making a sex tape, which ended up in the wrong hands. Creator Robert Siegel takes the opportunity to discuss generous topics such as invasion of privacy, the trappings of fame, and last but not least, the rise of the Internet, with all its advantages and disadvantages.
Cool Fact: Romanian-born actor Sebastian Stan plays Tommy Lee, in one of the most promising roles of his career.
1899 (mystery-horror series, created by Baran bo Odar & Jantje Friese)
If you haven’t seen Dark yet, the German superhit on Netflix, it’s time to do it, because this project by Baran bo Odar and Jantje Friese immediately became one of the most commented series of the last decade. The creators are back this fall with 1899, a new mystery series (don’t get frustrated if the teaser doesn’t say much), whose action takes place on a transatlantic ship in 1899. The ship full of emigrants from all walks of life whose dream is a better life in America will come across a boat drifting on the waters of the Pacific. We don’t know more details at this time, but rumor has it that the encounter between the two ships will lead to horror experiences for all involved.
Cool Fact: 1899 stars German actor Andreas Pietschmann, who also appeared in Dark, and the lead female role is played by Emily Beecham, who moved effortlessly from the sci-fi martial arts series Into the Badlands to Little Joe, the film that got her the Best Actress award at Cannes in 2019.
Set to premiere on Netflix in Autumn/Winter 2022.
Guilty Pleasure & Super-fresh
Black Adam (superhero film, dir. Jaume Collet-Serra)
You might think that antiheroes should be more captivating than superheroes, for the simple reason that they can take greater liberties in choosing to go either good or dark side. Unfortunately, recent films (especially Venom 2 and Morbius) have failed to honor this freedom of choice, so now we’re hoping that Black Adam will restore the antihero’s potential on the big screen. Played by Dwayne Johnson, Black Adam got his extraordinary powers from the Egyptian gods 5,000 years ago but was soon imprisoned after that. Released in our time, the hero wants to clear his name, but his choices are often rather questionable and sometimes deadly to ordinary people …
Cool Fact: The song on the soundtrack, Murder to Excellence by Kanye West and Jay Z, includes a sample from the Romanian folkloric dance “Purtata fetelor de la Căpâlna”.
Coming out in cinemas on October 21.
Nope (science fiction, horror, dir. Jordan Peele)
Wait, are those really aliens? When American movies often have the complexity of a children’s stories, Jordan Peele never hesitates to knock out the audience’s expectations with his unclassifiable films. After Get Out and Us, the history seems to repeat itself with his latest effort, Nope, which follows two siblings (Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer) who are in for a shock when their father is killed by random objects falling from the sky. It isn’t long before an unidentified (and apparently lethal) flying object enters the scene, and the two siblings think that if they capture video evidence of the UFO and then sell it, they will become rich. But things are far from being that simple.
Cool Fact: The script written by Peele promotes a unique concept, that of “bad miracle”. We only hope that the film meets the public’s expectations and reveals its great mystery, meaning the identity and intentions of the invaders.
Coming out in cinemas on August 19.
This month also sees the theatrical release of the long-awaited biographical film Elvis, included in the March edition of our column.