Florence Pugh delivers an astonishing performance as the star of the new film from Sebastián Lelio. Set in the Irish midlands in 1862, The Wonder tells the story of an English nurse (Pugh) tasked with caring for a young girl who has refused to eat for several months, and is improbably still thriving. For critic Lou Thomas, this is Lelio’s “most assured work to date”, and Pugh’s best since Lady Macbeth. Pugh is supported by an excellent cast and cinematographer Ari Wegner “captures the wild greens and charcoal skies of the turbulent Irish countryside” while “Matthew Herbert’s use of swooping vocal hooks in his score adds an unexpected dose of off-kilter euphoria. These are just some of the wonders of a work containing many.”
Netflix – available to stream on 16 November
In which Oliver Hermanus and Kazuo Ishiguro take on a Kurosawa classic (as recommended by Rudkin above) and, according to Philip Kemp, “they have brought it off – if not quite to perfection, at least very close”. Bill Nighy plays the stuffy civil servant galvanised into good works by a terminal diagnosis. “Ishiguro’s script closely shadows the shape and tone of Kurosawa’s original, neatly transposing post-war Tokyo to post-war London… Nighy perfectly captures the stoic melancholy of the functionary’s drab, routine existence, gradually leavened by a glint of animation as he starts to see new possibilities.”
“In her debut feature Cette Maison, Haitian Canadian filmmaker Miryam Charles returns to a site of personal tragedy and profound trauma for her family,” writes Sophia Satchell-Baeza. This “slow, strange, beautiful film… stages a cathartic reckoning with the reverberations of grief and diasporic displacement”. Cette Maison is shot on 16mm, and contains re-enactments of real-life scenes with theatrical sets and self-conscious dialogue. “As an act of remembering and restitution, Cette Maison is an admirable and imaginative work.”
T A P E Collective
Nil By Mouth
“The sheer fuzziness of the lighting, the dialogue – a mumbled, overlapping vernacular, rich in expletives – and the fidgety camerawork mark out Oldman’s debut feature as radically different from most British social realist dramas,” wrote Geoffrey Macnab when Nil By Mouth was first released in cinemas. “Rather, Nil by Mouth is an insider’s film and its relentless, excoriating close-ups create a feeling of claustrophobia.” Experience this ferocious, note-perfect British film for yourself in a new 4K restoration.
In cinemas nationwide and on BFI Player
Made in Prague Film Festival
In full swing now and running until 4 December, the Made in Prague Film Festival celebrates Czech cinema past and present at venues across London and on BFI Player. Book now for films including the world premiere of Kunstkamera from legendary surrealist filmmaker Jan Švankmajer, which documents his incredible art collection. Other highlights include award-winning films Occupation and 107 Mothers. One final treat: the closing night gala is Gustav Machatý’s sensuous silent Erotikon, with musical accompaniment from multi-instrumentalist Stephen Horne.
In London and on BFI Player
Into Film Festival
The Into Film Festival is for young people aged 5-19 and those who teach them. The idea is to inspire young audienes and educators to watch, understand and make film in new and creative ways. So naturally, the opening night film is Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical, screening especially for schoolchildren in Belfast, Cardiff, Glasgow, London and Manchester.
Cinemas nationwide, 8-25 November
All Quiet on the Western Front
Edward Berger’s adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s 1928 WWI novel, banned by the Nazis, is the first German screen version. Although much of the book’s nuance is missed and there are some unoriginal choices made, “Volker Bertelmann weaves synths into his imaginative score, and James Friend composes steely-hued tableaux that are starkly beautiful,” writes Leigh Singer. “Moreover, on a continent once again witnessing young men sacrificed on the whims of their vainglorious commanders, it’s a salutary, visceral reminder.”
How To with John Wilson
“Quite unlike the majority of what appears on TV screens today, this humorous documentary series manages to plumb the depths of lived experience in delightfully 25-minute morsels,” writes Ben Nicholson. “It does so by obsessively attempting to understand a selection of ostensibly banal or commonplace problems facing New Yorkers, and its two six-episode HBO seasons have finally made their way onto UK screens thanks to the BBC.” Reporter John Wilson tackles the tiniest of first-world problems in this cult series that discovers profundity in the most unlikely places.