With “The Disappearance of Alice Creed,” screenwriter and first-time director J Blakeson has avoided the numerous pitfalls that befall many fledgling filmmakers by thinking small. Shot in four weeks with a cast of just three actors, Blakeson has evidently concentrated on getting the crucial aspects of successful filmmaking just right; a strong cast, slick direction and an engrossing plot that’s brimming with greed and deceit.
Kornél Mundruczó’s “White God” is a curious creature. Ostensibly, this is the tale of the fierce bond that binds the teenage Lili (played with impressive maturity by the elfin Zsófia Psotta) and her mongrel mutt Hagen (Luke and Body) together. However, Mundruczó envelops this story in a somewhat suffocating layer of allegorical social commentary that belies a considered intelligence, but ultimately results in a tonally uneven picture. That said, “White God” picked up the prized Un Certain Regard award at Cannes, rightly rewarding Mundruczó for his innovative and ambitious vision, which — while flawed — is at least a fiercely original piece of work.
Erstwhile purveyor of inventive Japanese fare Sion Sono follows up his subversive 2013 picture “Why Don’t You Play in Hell?” with yet another dollop of ludicrous cinema. “Tokyo Tribe” is a manga-inspired world of hip-hop gangsters and comic-book villains; grimy, corrupt and ffuelledby blood, money and women. Sono’s vision is singular; and his highly stylized tale plays out as a hip-hop musical number, a trope that is as deliriously mad as it sounds: think “The Warriors” meets “West Side Story” with a dash of “Sin City” thrown in for good measure.
The fascinating true story of Xavier Fortin — a father who took to the land with his two young sons for more than a decade — forms the basis of Cédric Kahn’s latest picture “Wild Life.” Fortin — here portrayed as Philippe “Paco” Fournier with great guile by Gallic stalwart Mathieu Kassovitz — is a desperate father to three sons, faced with the dismal prospect of a failing relationship and the death of his vision for an idealistic life living off the land. Kahn wisely steers clear of moralizing and judgement, instead choosing to focus on the nature and reality of Paco’s desire for a pure existence and upbringing for his boys and the circumstances that led to their flight to the hills.