The Souvenir, released on 30th August
British director Joanna Hogg mines her own life for inspiration in this movie based on her early life as a shy film student. Honor Swinton Byrne (daughter of Tilda, who plays her mother) is suitably brittle and gauche as Julie, Hogg’s alter-ego. Tom Burke delivers one of the performances of the year as her charming, manipulative older boyfriend. Their relationship is as horribly compelling as a car crash. Hogg’s filmmaking, at first glance as demure as a string of pearls, peels back memory-layers of sadness and anxiety along with creative growth.
Hail Satan?, released on 23rd August
These are strange days indeed when Satanism is rebranded as a force for good. But this mischievous documentary makes a persuasive case for the Satanic Temple, the controversial and rapidly growing “religious” movement. The Satanists’ mission is to campaign for religious pluralism, going up against conservative Christian voices in the US. Equipped with satirical humour and goat horns, Satanism is now a new weapon in an ongoing culture war.
Aniara, released on 30th August
Adapted from a 1956 epic poem by Swedish Nobel laureate Harry Martinson, this ambitious sci-fi film features a suicidal AI robot, space orgies and an intergalactic shopping mall to make discomfiting points about unsustainable consumption. Set on a transport ship ferrying passengers from a ruined Earth to Mars, the film trains a cool eye on the disintegration of shipboard society after a freak accident. A bleak but remarkably assured first feature from directing duo Pella Kågerman and Hugo Lilja.