Korea’s Eclectic International Fare (‘Introduction’ by Hong Sang-Soo), Ukraine’s Arthouse, and Bhutan’s Arthouse
A specialty market dotted with holdovers as Oscar nods approach and gripped by Sundance fever debuts a compelling handful of new openers, ranging from Korean director Hong Sang-Introduction soo’s to Bhutan, the first-ever entrant on the Academy Awards International feature shortlist, to a Ukrainian coming-of-age story and a family film Tiger Rising based on the bestselling Kate DiCamillo book.
They’ll be shown alongside two new wide releases: Universal’s faith-based romance Redeeming Love, which will be shown on 1,903 screens, and Gravitas’ family adventure The King’s Daughter, which will be shown on 2,170 screens. (For further information on both, see below.)
The Tiger Rising will be shown on 800+ screens at The Avenue this weekend, making it the weekend’s most widely distributed specialty release. Ray Giarratana directed the film, which he adapted from a screenplay based on the DiCamillo novel.
Dennis Quaid and Christian Convery star. When 12-year-old Rob Horton (Convery) discovers a caged tiger in the woods near his home, his imagination runs wild, and his life begins to alter with the help of a wise and enigmatic woman named Willie May (also an executive producer) and the obstinate new girl at school (Mills).
Cinema Guild’s Introduction, directed by acclaimed Korean filmmaker Hong Sang-soo, is one of the international openers. Last year at the Berlin International Film Festival, the black-and-white film about a young guy who travels from South Korea to Berlin to surprise his lover won the Silver Bear for Best Screenplay. Here’s where you can read about the deadline.
The introduction begins at Film at Lincoln Center, then expands to include LA, Chicago, and other markets the next weekend and beyond.
Tom Sveen, Cinema Guild’s head of theater sales, remarked, “We’ve had success in January before.” “With Covid, January might be a little bit different.” But we can release a film by a well-known director like him, which has generated some buzz, and release it across the country in the spring.” It also doesn’t hurt that the filmmaker recently completed another film. The Novelist’s Film has been selected for the 2022 Berlin Film Festival. Since 2017, Sang-films soo’s have been distributed through Cinema Guild.
Sveen claims that the theaters are currently packed with Oscar hopeful holdovers. “International film applications from other countries are out there.” It’s simply a pleasant landing spot for someone like Hong. People will be able to watch a Joachim Trier picture and then view the trailer and say, “That looks excellent too.” (Trier’s The Worst Person In The World will be released by Neon on February 4th.)
“I suppose it became terrible in early January,” says Omicron, “but maybe the [infection] levels are dropping now and the box office numbers are starting to climb up a little more.” According to recent CDC data, cases are starting to fall in the hardest afflicted areas.
Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom, a comedy-drama from Bhutan written, directed, and produced by Pawo Choyning Dorji, is released by Samuel Goldwyn Films. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best International Feature Film, a first for the South Asian country. (It was submitted for consideration last year but was rejected because Bhutan’s paperwork was out of current – the country hadn’t submitted a film since 1999.)
Ugyen (Sherab Dorji) is a government-employed teacher and aspiring singer who is transferred from a large metropolis to Lunana, a distant village six days’ walk from the nearest bus stop, for slacking off. At the 2020 Palm Springs International Film Festival, the film won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature. The IFC Center in New York hosts the premiere.
Stop-Zemlia is a character in Altered Innocence. Kateryna Gornostai wrote and directed this coming-of-age story set in Ukraine. Yana Isaienko, Arsenii Markov, Maria Fedorchenko Three best friends deal with the emotional anguish that comes with waiting for life to start and falling in love.
Last year, the film was an official selection at MoMa’s New Directors/New Films and the Berlin International Film Festival. On-demand and at the Laemmle Glendale in Los Angeles.
Giant Pictures’ Salt in My Soul The documentary by Will Battersby is based on Mallory Smith’s posthumously published book. A glimpse into the thoughts of a young woman who is attempting to live while dying.
Smith, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at the age of three and died at the age of 25, kept a hidden notebook to chronicle her feelings. It’s a pity, but the critics are right. The film will premiere in New York (Cinema Village) and Los Angeles (Laemmle Royal). On VOD on January 25.
In 14 cities, including New York and Los Angeles, Vertical Entertainment presents the racial justice thriller A Shot Through The Wall. The film, written and directed by Aimee Long, follows the unraveling of a Chinese-American police officer’s life after he unintentionally shoots an unarmed Black man in Brooklyn, sparking demonstrations and more bloodshed. Kenny Leu, Tzi Ma, Lynn Chen, Fiona Fu, and Ciara Renee are among the most Asian-American cast members, which also include Dan Lauria, Kelly AuCoin, and Clifton Davis.
Leon Lee’s Unsilenced is presented by Zhen Pictures. Sam Trammell with He Tao. A cynical American reporter and a group of innocent youngsters risk everything to expose the lethal lies and struggle for freedom when the Chinese Communist Party conducts a horrific crackdown against 100 million civilians.
William Nunez wrote and directed the historical romance The Laureate for Gravitas Ventures. In this film set in the mid-1920s, acclaimed writer Robert Graves (Tom Hughes) returns from war-devastated and suffering creatively. Laura Riding (Dianna Agron), a young poet, is the one who reignites his passion.
Simple Passion is a French romance by Strand Releasing. Laetitia Dosch, Lou-Teymour Thion, and Sergei Polunin with Danielle Arbid. A mother enters into an addictive relationship with a Russian ambassador with whom she has little in common in this picture of female passion and weakness. Arbid based his story on Annie Ernaux’s novel. In New York City’s Quad Cinema.
Mauro Borrelli’s thriller Warhunt is produced by Saban Films. Robert Knepper, Jackson Rathbone, Mickey Rourke Reggie Keyohara III, Scott Svatos, and Borrelli wrote the script.
During WWII, a United States military freight plane loses control and crashes into enemy lines in the German dark forest. Major Johnson (Rourke) dispatches a group of his toughest soldiers on a rescue mission to recover the plane’s top-secret cargo before the Nazis do.
Lin Andrew Garfield stars in Manuel Miranda’s Andrew Garfield’s Tick, tick… BOOM!, a Netflix original film, is back in 15 theaters, including Alamo Drafthouse locations in New York, Los Angeles, and other cities. In addition, the streamer is bringing Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog to more than 45 locations.
Faya Dayi, the critically acclaimed documentary, is returning to NYC for screenings and Q&As with filmmaker Jessica Bashir. The film, which has been nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary feature, is a hypnotic immersion into the world of rural Ethiopia, where one product, khat, a euphoria-inducing herb previously coveted for its apparently mystical characteristics, has a stranglehold on daily rituals and rhythms. The restaurant first debuted in September. (Watch it on the Criterion Channel.)
Returning to the big screen, Redeeming Love is about Angel (Abigail Cowen), who was sold into prostitution as a kid and is driven by anger and self-loathing until she meets Michael Hosea (Tom Lewis) and learns the healing power of love. D.J. Caruso directed the film, which was based on Francine Rivers’ highly successful novel of the same name.
Logan Marshall Green, Famke Janssen, Nina Dobrev, and Eric Dane also appear. (On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a 13 percent critics’ approval rating and a 98 percent audience approval rating.)
The mighty monarch Louis XIV (Pierce Brosnan) is preoccupied with his own death and the future of France in The King’s Daughter, leading him to catch and take the life essence of a mermaid. When his illegitimate daughter returns and discovers the creature, the situation becomes more complex.
Louis will discover where his daughter’s true allegiance lies as he races against time to extract the mermaid’s life-giving essence as a rare solar eclipse approaches. William Hurt, Kaya Scodelario, Benjamin Walker, Pablo Schreiber, Rachel Griffiths, Bingbing Fan, and Julie Andrews are among the cast members.
Based on Vonda N. McIntyre’s 1997 novel The Moon and the Sun, written by Ronald Bass and Barry Berman. The film was shot in the Palace of Versailles. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film received a 26 percent rating from critics.