Just like every year that has come before it, there are a plethora of new releases that are slated for release in 2017 that I am eagerly anticipating. From last years list, I'm still really only waiting for Martin Scorsese's “Silence” to be released (which comes out in mid-February here in Australia). On the cards for 2017 are new films from talented directors, the likes of Ridley Scott (“Alien: Covenant”), Denis Villeneuve (“Blade Runner 2049”), David Michod (“War Machine”), Joe Wright (“Darkest Hour”), Darren Aronofsky (“Mother”), Terrence Malick (“Song to Song”), Alfonso Cuaron (“Roma”), Yorgos Lanthimos (“The Killing of a Sacred Deer”), Roman Polanski (“Based on a True Story”), Edgar Wright (“Baby Driver”), Tomas Alfredson (“The Snowman”) and Sofia Coppola (“The Beguiled”) , to name but a few. All of the above I am looking forward to greatly, but the thing that I am looking forward to more than any other actually isn't a film at all but a television event. I'm talking about none other than the revival of:
Yes it is a cheat to add this to my list, but there was no way I was not going to mention David Lynch's return to the director's chair for the first time in eleven years since “Inland Empire” came out all the way back in 2006. However it is also the first time that Lynch has shot on film since 2001's “Mulholland Drive” which is cause for mass celebration. After “Fire Walk With Me”, Lynch said that he was done with “Twin Peaks” but here we are twenty five years later and he is back. Lynch has directed all eighteen episodes of this new season, and whilst no details about the plot of the show have been revealed, the fact that he got the majority of his original cast back just gets the mouth watering, and that is why it is my most anticipated EVENT of 2017. May 21st can not come soon enough.
This is a film blog, so my inclusion of “Twin Peals” does not count as part of my official list. Instead, the next seven titles below are my most anticipated films of 2017.
A STORM IN THE STARS
This little known title makes the list on the strength of the director's first film alone. Her first film was also the first Saudi Arabian film ever made. “Wadjda”, was the beautifully simple tale of a young rebellious Saudi girl doing whatever she can to buy a bicycle that had caught her eye, including entering in a Quran recitation competition at school. The director is none other than Haifaa Al-Mansour and her second film is the aforementioned “A Storm in the Stars”. The film could've been about anything and I still would have been interested in it, but the fact that it is about, as per imdb, “the love affair between poet Percy Shelley and 18 year old Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, which resulted in Mary Shelley writing Frankenstein” is just like the cherry on top. Add in Elle Fanning as the lead and that is why it has made it onto this list.
I have severely cooled in my appreciation of Japanese director Sion Sono in the past couple of years, but I must admit to being very excited for his latest venture, “Anti-Porno”. The film is a part of Nikkatsu's re-boot of their famed “Roman Porno” label where they have hired a number of directors and given them total freedom to do what they want as long as they fulfil the required quota of nudity needed for the label. Apparently Sono's film is a “feminist take on sexuality” and is also quite the “metaphysical exercise”. The trailer for the film came out only a few days ago and although it had no English subtitles, I was sold by its incredibly bold use of colour, making it look like something Seijun Suzuki would've made in his prime. The fact that the film also only goes 76 minutes intrigues me too, plus it has an awesome poster.
Another Japanese filmmaker makes my most anticipated list, although this time for a film he made in France and in French. Whilst the initial response to the film during its festival run has been rather luke-warm, I still am very much looking forward to Kiyoshi Kurosawa's latest, “Daguerrotype” (which had the much cooler sounding working title of “The Woman in the Silver Plate”). Just from the images in the trailer you can tell that this is a Kurosawa film, but I am always interested in how well a director can transpose his ideas and style when filming in a language that is not his own. I thought that after the mis-step of “Journey to the Shore” from a few years back, that Kiyoshi Kurosawa hit back hard with the very entertaining thriller “Creepy” which was him somewhere close to his best. I'm trying to go into this film as cold as possible but the synopsis from imdb “describes “Daguerrotype” like this: “when an assistant to a daguerreotypy photographer falls in love with the latter's daughter the relationship mirrors the art form as love and pain combine”.
THE OTHER SIDE OF HOPE
Aki Kaurismaki's previous film, “Le Havre” was actually my first film I had seen from this brilliant Finnish auteur. Since the release of that film, I have been able to catch up with (nearly) all of his previous narrative features (sorry, “Hamlet Goes Business”, I promise I will get to you soon) and own them all on blu-ray. Kaurismaki is a director that I just get, I am on his wavelength thanks to his drier than dry comedy and his exact visual style. His films are always a joy to watch, even when most of the characters are miserable in them. “The Other Side of Hope” is the second part of his refugee trilogy which he began with “Le Havre”, and is about a poker playing restaurateur and a former travelling salesman who meet up with a group of refugees newly arrived in Finland. That is a simple sounding plot but knowing Kaurismaki bad stuff with happen and it will be funny too. Actually, “Le Havre” was the director's most optimistic film to date, so he may continue down that path with his latest too. The film is premiering at the Berlin International Film Festival in February and had its trailer released last week which looks exactly how you think it would; beautifully shot and very, very dry. I can not wait to see it.
Another director who has a style that is easily recognisable, but in a much louder and bigger fashion, is Spanish director Alex de la Iglesia. He actually has two films coming out in 2017, but since “Perfect Strangers” is not due until late in the year, I'm going to focus on “The Bar” which, like “The Other Side of Hope”, is also set to premiere at Berlin. The trailer for the film indicates that this is going to be another one of de la Iglesia's black comedy / thriller mish-mashes that he is so good at making and it looks like a total blast. The trailer has no English subtitles (at least the one I saw) but it looks like the whole film will be set inside a coffee shop when a group of morning regulars are trapped within due to a sniper outside picking off anyone that leaves. Tensions arise and they appear to start to turn on each other inside. It looks like a fast paced film that should be a lot of fun.
THE SHAPE OF WATER
One film that I am trying to go absolutely cold into is Guillermo del Toro's new film “The Shape of Water”. However I have found out that the film is about a fishman that has been captured and tested on by the U.S government at the height of the Cold War in 1963. Apparently though, the film is more of a love story than anything else which may seem atypical for a del Toro film but I have enough faith in the man that this is going to be something special, and if not, at least it will be something different. I was rapt that he decided to direct this smaller, potentially more interesting film, than the overblown sequel to his worst film, “Pacific Rim”. I also love the title of this film. Having Michael Shannon in the cast doesn't hurt either. “The Shape of Water” should come out between mid to late 2017.
My most anticipated film of 2017 is Bong Joon-Ho's “Okja”, which was initially described to be a monster movie. Since then though the director has come out and said that while yes, there is a monster in the film, do not go into it expecting it to be an aggressive beast like his earlier film “The Host” (which is flat out genius by the way! See it if you have not yet). This is going to be a shy monster with a mulit-national corporation attempting to kidnap (and I'm assuming exploit) the creature. Other than that, little is known about the film but Bong Joon-Ho has never made a bad film to date and he really is an impressive filmmaker, so I have no reason to expect “Okja” to be any different. He also has Jake Gyllenhaal and Tilda Swinton in the cast so I'm actually expecting this to be pretty special and blow away expectations.
Well, that is it. My enormous round up of the year that was 2016 is finally over. Hopefully you enjoyed reading it and got something out of it, but how about we go back to watching some new films now?