Foxtrot, Released 1st March
We instantly read tragedy in the face of the woman who opens a door at the start of this wily, artfully-styled film. The camera reveals what she sees: two young soldiers on her doorstep. It can only mean one thing: her soldier son has been killed. Throughout this elegant, three-act Israeli drama, director Samuel Maoz prefers to show rather than tell the story. It’s rich with symbolism—particularly effective is the isolated army outpost, in a disused shipping container, gradually sinking into the mud. And for the bereaved father, grief and anger sucks him down like quicksand.
Ray & Liz, Released 8th March
British artist Richard Billingham makes his feature film directing debut with a scalding and unflinching autobiographical drama. This heady cocktail of cheap booze, ciggies and simmering violence, based on Billingham’s own impoverished early life in the Midlands, will be familiar to anyone who encountered his landmark photography book, Ray’s a Laugh. The design of the film, with its stifling wallpaper and desperate knick-knacks, is unbearably poignant; the performances are so raw you almost want to look away.
Border, Released 8th March
Disquieting, sometimes repulsive, often moving, this twisted Swedish love story is a singular experience. Tina, a customs officer, has a preternatural sense of smell which can seemingly pick up on the guilty secrets of those who pass her checkpoint. But one day a man triggers something new in her acute senses, and perhaps can tell her the truth about herself. Part horror-infused fairy tale, part social allegory, this is a true one-off.