Arts & Books

Film preview: The films that will be creating a buzz this summer

A scene from Alice Rohrwacher's The Wonders

We’re only in April, and the sun is already shining ridiculously brightly. A perfect time, then, to consider the films that will send us scurrying to the cool dark of the multiplexes during the upcoming summer months.

Of course, when summer does arrive, most cinemas will be looking to tempt the crowds away from sunbathing with simple fare about superheroes, secret agents and scary monsters. Marvel, the comic book giants, are busy with Ant-Man (July 17) and the Fantastic Four reboot (August 7). Elsewhere, Tom Cruise yet again scales some exceedingly tall buildings in another instalment of the interminable Mission: Impossible franchise (July 30) and the dinosaurs are brought out of extinction once again in the long-awaited new Jurassic Park film, Jurassic World (June 12).

Thankfully, there is more cerebral fare on offer this summer, too. The Wonders (July 17) is Italian writer-director Alice Rohrwacher’s follow up to Corpo Celeste, a quietly devastating film about a young girl struggling to come to terms with her forthcoming Confirmation. The Wonders, which won the Grand Prix at last year’s Cannes festival, is a coming-of-age drama set amid a family of beekeepers. It’s one of the releases I’m most excited to catch up with in 2015.

I’m also intrigued by the prospect of London Road (June 12). Alecky Blythe’s verbatim play with music about the terrible spate of prostitute murders in Ipswich in 2006 was an astounding piece of theatre. If the film is even half as good, it will be well worth seeing. At some point in the year we’ll also get the latest in Woody Allen’s annual offerings: Irrational Man, in which Emma Stone plays student to Joaquin Phoenix’s university lecturer. But in the meantime, there’s the Allen-esque Listen Up Philip (June 5), about an unpleasant author, played by Jason Schwartzman. The spectre of Philip Roth is said to loom over the film – as a Roth-addict, that sounds pretty good to me.

Finally, there’s The Look of Silence (June 12), which is a sequel of sorts to Joshua Oppenheimer’s extraordinary 2013 documentary, The Act of Killing, which told the story of the Indonesian massacres of the 1960s from the point of view of the regime’s ageing, remorseless murderers. Oppenheimer has apparently made a more conventional film than that bizarre, discomfiting first effort. But initial critical reaction suggests it’s no less bracing. The Look of Silence is unlikely to further brighten a beautiful summer’s day, but it could be one of the most memorable films of the year.

This article first appeared in the latest edition of the Catholic Herald magazine (24/4/15).

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