There Is No Evil Photo: Courtesy of Glasgow Film Festival
There Is No Evil, Glasgow Film Festival until Wednesday, March 10
Iranian director comes at the subject of the death penalty from several different angles in his Berlin Golden Bear portmanteau film. He considers both the apparent surface banality of capital punishment, when it is stitched into the everyday fabric of life but also it's far-reaching implications and unexpected consequences that, as one of his shorts shows, can last many years. Although each of the four films here stands alone, they also build to a single, multi-faceted picture of the issue, which has resonance for anywhere that still has the death penalty, not just Iran. Read our full review.
Spring Blossom, Glasgow Film Festival, until Wednesday, March 10
Jennie Kermode writes: A fresh faced teenage girl in love with an older actor. Conversations about poetry over café tables, lingering looks and an affair complicated by unspecified moodiness. You'll be forgiven for thinking that you've seen this French film before, but having the same person who plays that teenage girl write and direct gives it a very different tone. This is Suzanne Lindon, who grew up around film sets and has a thorough understanding of the language of cinema. She gives us a heroine who feels like a real person, for all that she's delicately presented, and she makes sure we're aware of the immaturity and uncertainty of the hero, too, whilst using the framework of romance to expose their mutual dissatisfaction with what might seem to other like an idyllic life. Fresh and light, this is a little treat that won't fill you up but will leave you wanting more. Read our full review.
The Divine Order, Glasgow Film at Home, until Wednesday, March 10
Away from the festival, streaming service Glasgow Film At Home is also marking International Women's Day by screening Petra Volpe's crowdpleasing consideration of Swiss women's fight for suffrage. The year is 1970 and, not only did women in the country still didn't have the right to vote but women like housewife Nora (Marie Leuenberger) even needed their husband's permission to apply for a job. Volpe shows how Nora has a dawning awareness of her rights and begins to fight for them, both on a political level and domestically. With a a lightness of touch that recalls the likes of Made In Dagenham, Volpe celebrates these unexpected trailblazers. Read our interview with Volpe and our full review.
She Dies Tomorrow, Netflix, from Wednesday, March 10
Jennie Kermode writes: From a very simple premise, first-time director Amy Seimetz builds up something unexpectedly powerful, following former addict and first time homeowner Amy (Kate Lyn Sheil) as she develops the conviction that she's going to die the next day. Friends are unable to snap her out of it and, like a memetic infection, it begins to spread, with more and more people becoming convinced of their own doom and finding their perspectives on everything else shifted accordingly. Seimetz deliberately leaves a lot open to interpretation as she focuses on the characters and their relationship with their environment. Everyday cruelty and selfishness come under the microscope but Seimetz never passes judgement nor belittles her characters when they choose to distract themselves with trivialities. Viewers have just as much of a role to play in confronting the horror of mortality, even as the film's comedic undertones and sometimes spectacular visual choices offer multiple ways of relating to it. Read our full review.
The Sisters Brothers, Netflix from Friday, March 12
Jennie Kermode writes: With a stellar cast and a long-deserved leading role for the underrated John C Reilly, this twisty little Western thriller has questions to ask about loyalty, identity and the relationships we take for granted. It follows the titular brothers, professional assassins, as they travel across the Western plateau in search of a man who is said to owe money to a crime boss, but who may actually be sought after for something very different. Soon everybody wants a slice of the action and the brothers have to ask themselves what it is that they really value most. Although the film sometimes struggles to stay the pace and looks just a little too slick in the hands of Jacques Audiard, there's a lot to recommend it, with all the gunfights, trail philosophy, hard-bitten hustlers and unforgiving landscapes you can eat and some awesome performances too. Read our full review.
Whiplash, 11.20pm BBC2, Saturday, March 13
The beat of emotional tension echoes through every scene of Damien Chazelle's Oscar-winner that stars Miles Teller as wannabe jazz drummer Andrew, who becomes locked in a battle of wills with his bloody minded conductor Terence (JK Simmons, who deservedly won the best supporting actor Oscar for his trouble. Taking its rhythms from the jazz that Andrew loves, this is a psychological study that uses the full kit - both drum and emotional - as Andrew pushes himself to the limit. Chazelle's latest film Babylon, set in Hollywood's Golden Age, has been pushed back because of the pandemic but is rumoured to feature Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie in the cast. Read our full review.
Hidden Figures, 9pm, Film4, Monday, March 8 and the same time/channel on Sunday, March 14
Another film perfect for International Women's Day, Theodore Melfi's drama shines a belated spotlight on the African-American women who made Project Mercury and other space flights possible by calculating trajectories among other mathematical feats. Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer), Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), and Katherine Johnson (Taraji P Henson) were the nerd-tastic brains at the hearts of NASA's human computer and the film charts their success against the backdrop of both racial prejudice and sex discrimination they faced - with Melfi and co-writer Allison Schroeder showing how this goes beyond the overt and obvious to more baked in everyday bias against them. Kevin Costner also offers amiable support as their left-leaning boss. Read our full review.
For our short this week, why not get yourself in the mood for Whiplash by checking out the short it was expanded from, which also features JK Simmons on top form.