James Drew makes his pick of the current crop of films coming to your screens in the next few weeks.
Killers of the Flower Moon
After the Osage Nation is awarded rights to the profits made from oil deposits found on their land a plot is hatched to deprive the inheritors of their fortune. The film is based on real events as laid out in the book of the same name by David Grann, as many as twenty were murdered, though Grann speculates there may have been many more. The FBI had just been formed and were called in to investigate, eventually leading to the trial and conviction of the man behind the plot. The film directed by Martin Scorsese has received rave reviews and includes many of his favourite actors and longtime collaborators Robert de Niro and Leonardo di Caprio. It’s long at nearly three and a half hours, but when you’re a legend like Scorcese no one is going to insist that you edit out an hour of your film. 206 mins. Bozar will have an avant-premiere on 17 October, it will be on general release from 18 October in Belgium.
The Grande Dame of French cinema, Catherine Deneuve, returns to portray another, Bernadette Chirac, wife of the former French President Jacques Chirac in the satirical film Bernadette. In taking on the role, Deneuve said that she admired the former first lady’s “strength and freedom”. Initially perceived as aloof when her husband was first elected, the aristocratic first lady renounced her own political ambitions, and also tolerated her husband’s many extramarital affairs. An adviser takes her in hand to work on her image; based on an opinion poll he has carried out of the Elysée staff, which reveals she is judged to be “old-fashioned, austere and cold”. According to Deneuve, the film is “the story of a woman who emerges from her mould and acquires strength and freedom over time. It was never a question of copying her, but of taking inspiration from her,” Deneuve told the French newspaper Libération last year. Running time TBC. Release date 4 October.
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The Exorcist: Believer
On 7 August, we learnt about the death of William Friedkin, the director of the multi-Oscar winning The French Connection (1971), and who also directed one of the greatest horror films ever made, The Exorcist (1973). The Exorcist: Believer is in fact the sixth film in the Exorcist franchise and is directed by David Gordon Green, who most recently directed the less than stellar denouements to the Halloween franchise, Halloween (2018), Halloween Kills (2021) and Halloween Ends (2022). The last direct sequel in the franchise was in fact the very good Exorcist III, which was directed by the original novel’s author William Peter Blatty. I have serious doubts as to whether this will follow in Exorcist III’s exalted footsteps, but it is all about the parents of demonically possessed girls, desperate for help, who seek out someone who has had similar experiences. There are another two sequels planned as part of a trilogy, which, to this huge fan of the original film, indicates only the increasing cynicism of Hollywood, milking all the old hits for every last cent.
121 mins. Release date 11 October.
The Old Oak
Directed by renowned left-wing British director Ken Loach (87), The Old Oak is a co-production between the United Kingdom, France and Belgium. A pub landlord T.J. Bannatyne (Dave Turner), who lives in a previously thriving mining community in County Durham faces a battle to hold on to his pub The Old Oak, which is the last remaining public space in which people can meet in his town. At the same time locals are incensed when Syrian refugees are placed in their struggling town. In the midst of heightened local tensions, Bannatyne strikes up a friendship with one of the refugees, Yara (Ebla Mari). The film is the latest collaboration between Loach and Paul Laverty, Loach’s favourite screenwriter with whom he has collaborated with on over ten films, from The Wind That Shakes The Barley (2006) and I, Daniel Blake (2016). Expect a bit of northern grit, as well as an uplifting story with compassion in the face of adversity. Like all Loach films, it might be a good idea to bring your handkerchief. 113 mins. Release date 25 October.
Coup de Chance
Woody Allen is back, with his 50th film, Coup de Chance. This is the first time he has made a film in French. The film premiered at the 80th Venice International Film Festival on 4 September, and it stars Lou de Laage, Valerie Lemercier, Melvil Poupaud and Niels Schneider. It’s a thriller and the last time Allen attempted to write a pure thriller it was the unconvincing Cassandra’s Dream in 2007, though Match Point in 2006 was truly dark.
Fanny (de Laage) and Jean (Poupaud) appear to have everything: they seem to be as in love as when they first met, have successful professional lives and a magnificent Paris apartment. However, when Fanny crosses Alain (Schneider), by a ‘stroke of luck’, Fanny begins to have feelings of doubt and a tangled web begins to be woven… The film is, according to certain reports, set to be his last; Allen is now 87!
For some people, Ronan Farrow’s writings about his sister Dylan’s alleged molestation by Allen will make a film a ‘no-go’. 93 mins. Release date 27 September.