After their teacher jumps out of a window during a lesson, a technically gifted class is given a new substitute teacher, Pierre Hoffman (Laurent Lafitte). As soon as Hoffman takes his first class, we know something is off about a handful of the kids. They’re arrogant and snarky but this doesn’t come across as annoying. Instead, it’s all rather unsettling. Is their behaviour down to what they witnessed, or something else?
This year’s Official Competition at London Film Festival has 10 unique project from all over the globe, and Shadow highlights the welcome diverse nature of films on offer this year. Set during China’s Three Kingdom’s era (AD 220-280), The King of Pei’s (Ryan Zheng) trusted Commander (Chao Deng) brings danger to the kingdom by challenging a rival ruler to a duel. However, under constant threat of assassination many nobles secretly employed surrogate men, known as shadows. Commander is one of these shadows, unbeknown to all but a select few.
Indonesian rising filmmaker Timo Tjahjanto’s supernatural horror is full of the main thing you want from this genre: genuine scares. Whilst there’s nothing new or original about May The Devil Take You, we’re treated (if you can call it that) to a host of nerve-shredding, arm-chair squeezing, eye squinting moments and hardly get time to breath. Move over studio horrors, here’s how you really scare an audience whilst retreading old tropes.
Belarus’ first submission to the Academy Awards in 22 years follows a young DJ named Velya (Alina Nasibullina) who forges her US visa application but makes a typo with her fake employee’s phone number. Knowing the embassy will ring it and ruin her plans to escape her home, she tracks down the family whose number she put down and proceeds to spend a week there waiting for the phone call, disrupting the family’s wedding plans. What starts off rather promising soon turns into something rather limp and messy which is a shame as Alina Nasibullina’s performance deserves better.
Winner of Best Director at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Pawel Pawlikowski’s latest is a glorious love story that follows Zula (Joanna Kulig) and Wiktor (Thomasz Kot), who begin a passionate relationship during the 1950’s Cold War in Poland. Due to politics, mistakes and unforseen circumstances, they are separated and reunited many times. It’s an impossible love story set during an impossible time that takes us all over Europe with a score and cinematography to die for.
Set on a family farm in France during 1915, Xavier Beauvois’ films sees the men of the family leave to go and fight whilst the women are left behind to care for the farm. When the workload gets too tough, Hortense Sandrail (Nathalie Baye) decides to hire a farmhand named Francine Riant (Iris Bry) to help during the harvest season. Once Hortense’s son returns from the war, he begins to fall in love with Francine. The Guardians is proof that there’s still life in the overused “love story during the war” trope and also tackles the impact returning from the fight has as well as articulating the strength and resolve of the women left to tend the farm perfectly.