Films are there for escapism and entertainment, but need to offer more than provide big screen spectacle!
Films released in South Africa in 2017 that had a lasting impact were stories that challenged conventions and dared to be different, turned genre inside out and allowed us to experience humanity from the point of view of its vibrant characters that shared their diverse cultural experiences and made us look at the world differently.
2017 was a good year for cinephiles, and offered 45 diverse films that had an impact and made a difference.
These films definitely provoked the imagination and showed how extraordinary things happen out out ordinary experiences.
Here’s Daniel Dercksen‘s Top Films of 2017, listed alphabetically (click on title to read more about the film)
2.22 US based Australian director and producer Paul Currie’s first encounter with the bewitching riddle of 2:22 came in the form of a bold, visionary script written by Todd Stein. A New York City air traffic controller Dylan Branson (Michiel Huisman) is the embodiment of a guy at the top of his game, until one day at 2:22pm, a blinding flash of light paralyzes him for a few crucial seconds as two passenger planes barely avoid a mid-air collision. Suspended from his job, Dylan begins to notice the increasingly ominous repetition of sounds and events in his life that happen at exactly the same time every day.
A GHOST STORY This mind blowing Independent film from Pete’s Dragon filmmaker David Lowery explored the realm of a passionate young couple, unexpectedly separated by a shocking loss, discovering an eternal connection and a love that is infinite. The film concerns the passage of time via a couple and their house when tragedy strikes and the man appears in his old home as a ghost in a thick bed sheet with vacant eyes. He observes his wife’s depression from his demise, various new occupants, and glimpses both the future and the past of his surroundings.
A MONSTER CALLS Directed by J.A. Bayona (The Impossible, The Orphanage), A Monster Calls is a visually spectacular and stunningly emotional drama based on the award-winning novel. The screenplay adaptation is by the book’s author, Patrick Ness, who wrote the novel from an original idea by the late Siobhan Dowd. 12-year-old Conor O’Malley (Lewis MacDougall) is about to escape into a fantastical world of monsters and fairy tales. He unexpectedly summons a most unlikely ally, who bursts forth with terrifying grandeur from an ancient towering yew tree and the powerful earth below it: a 40-foot-high colossus of a creature.
ALIEN: COVENANT In space, no one can hear you scream. After nearly four decades, those words remain synonymous with the sheer, relentless intensity of Ridley Scott’s masterpiece of futuristic horror, Alien.Now, the father of the iconic franchise returns once more to the world he created to explore its darkest corners with Alien: Covenant, a pulse-pounding new adventure, set ten years after the events depicted in Scott’s 2012 hit Prometheus, relentlessly returning to the roots of the director’s groundbreaking saga with a uniquely terrifying tale filled with white-knuckle adventure and monstrous new creatures.With this, the sixth installment in the blockbuster series (screenplay is by John Logan and Dante Harper, from a story by Jack Paglen and Michael Green) , the visionary director edges ever closer toward revealing the mysterious origins of the mother of all aliens, the lethal Xenomorph from the original film.
ALLIED From Oscar winner Robert Zemeckis, the innovative director behind Forrest Gump, Cast Away and Flight, comes at once a mesmerizing espionage thriller, sweeping war drama and passionate romance between two assassins who may be fated soulmates or deadly enemies – or both. In a sumptuous, visually evocative production that roams from Casablanca to London’s Blitz days to German-occupied France, Zemeckis creates the kind of grand tale that flourished in Golden Hollywood – full of mystery, thrills and romantic heat – yet told with all the richly immersive power of 21st Century cinema.
AMERICAN PASTORAL Ewan McGregor makes his directorial debut and stars in the outstanding adaptation of Pulitzer Prize-winning Philip Roth’s novel, following an all American family across several decades, as their idyllic existence is shattered by social and political turmoil that will change the fabric of American culture forever.
BABY DRIVER With its mixture of mph and music, the newest explosion of genre-crossing excitement from writer-director Edgar Wright, delivers an emotionally charged action thriller unlike any other. Full of reversals, rewinds, fast forwards and heart-stopping skips, and inspired by the types of crime-and-chase movies that have thrilled moviegoers since Steve McQueen in a revved-up Mustang changed car pursuits forever, Baby Driver is a game-changing, lane-changing, hard-charging blast only Wright could have dreamed up.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST The live-action adaptation of Disney’s animated classic is a stunning, cinematic event celebrating one of the most enduring and beloved tales ever told, and one that has touched readers for centuries. Now, thanks to the artistry and imagination of director Bill Condon and a brilliant creative team, audiences of all ages are sure to be captivated by the story’s adventure, passion and romance once again.
BILLY LYNN’S LONG HALFTIME WALK Ang Lee redefines what is possible in filmmaking and storytelling with the goal of further engaging the audience in an advanced cinematic experience. Based on the acclaimed bestselling novel by Ben Fountain, is told from the point of view of 19-year-old private Billy Lynn (newcomer Joe Alwyn) who, along with his fellow soldiers in Bravo Squad, becomes a hero after a harrowing Iraq battle and is brought home temporarily for a victory tour. Through flashbacks, culminating at the spectacular halftime show of the Thanksgiving Day football game, the film reveals what really happened to the squad – contrasting the realities of the war with America’s perceptions.
BLADE RUNNER 2049 Three decades after Ridley Scott’s cult sensation Blade Runner changed the face of cinema, the much-anticipated follow-up challenges our notions of who we are…and where we are headed.
BRIMSTONE A triumphant epic of survival set in the searing wilds of the Badlands, the menacing inferno of the old American West. A tale of powerful womanhood and resistance against the unforgiving. cruelty of a hell on earth. Our heroine is Liz, carved from the beautiful wilderness, full of heart and grit, hunted by a vengeful Preacher – a diabolical zealot and her twisted nemesis. But Liz is a genuine survivor; she’s no victim – a woman of fearsome strength who responds with astonishing bravery to claim the better life she and her daughter deserve. Fear not. Retribution is coming.
DIE REBELLIE VAN LAFRAS VERWEY Iconic dramatist Chris Barnard’s classic radio drama and stage production, Die Rebellie Van Lafras Verwey, is brought to life on the big screen by his wife, acclaimed actress and director, Katinka Heyns, as producer, with direction by their son Simon Barnard, an up-and-coming film maker who makes his debut as director of a full-length feature film with this compelling story. This tragicomedy is based on a 1971 drama – a combined effort written and adapted into a contemporary script by the late writer and his son, Simon Barnard. It tells the story of Lafras Verwey (Tobie Cronje) an outcast who could never accept the realities of life. Although he is a government official, he hears the sound of otherworldly music playing in his ears and dreams of a wonderful future.
DON’T BREATHE During a time where housebreaking has become an everyday occurrence, this superb twisted psychological thriller is guaranteed to curb crime and stop criminals dead in their tracks. In this shocking and enthralling thriller, writer-director Fede Alvarez goes for the jugular with an unapologetically brutal and twisted horror-thriller that pits a trio of thieves against an unexpectedly dangerous adversary.
DUNKIRK Visionary storyteller and storymaker Christopher Nolan has taken audiences from the streets of Gotham City, to the infinite world of dreams, to the farthest reaches of space. Now, for the first time, the innovative director/writer/producer has turned his camera to a real-life event, one that has resonated with him throughout his life: the miracle of Dunkirk.
GIFTED During the past 25 years screenwriter Tom Flynn has been selling spec scripts to studios in Hollywood, only seeing Watch It made (which he also directed). Now, with the success of Gifted, a story inspired by his one-eyed cat Fred, and his sister, whom he describes as “the most unassuming ridiculously smart person you’ve ever met,’ Flynn is back to writing full time… this time getting his movies made. In Gifted, Frank Adler (Chris Evans) is a single man raising his spirited young niece Mary (Mckenna Grace) in a coastal town in Florida. But Mary is a brilliant child prodigy and Frank’s intention that she lead a normal life are thwarted when the seven-year-old’s command of mathematics comes to the attention of his formidable mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan)—a wealthy Bostonian whose plans for her granddaughter threaten to separate Mary and Frank.
THE GREATEST SHOWMAN An absolutely sensational musical, filled with drama, spectacle and some great original songs by Academy Award winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land) . If you love musicals and loved films like Moulin Rouge, you should definitely not miss it under any circumstances. It’s really Fantastic! Australian filmmaker Michael Gracey makes his feature film directorial debut and has an incredible flair and visual interpretation of the genre.Inspired by the legend and ambitions of America’s original pop-culture impresario, P.T. Barnum, comes The Greatest Showman, an inspirational rags-to-riches tale of a brash dreamer who rose from nothing to prove that anything you can envision is possible and that everyone, no matter how invisible, has a stupendous story worthy of a world-class spectacle.
HACKSAW RIDGE Desmond Doss was the only American soldier in WWII to fight on the front lines without a weapon in Okinawa during the bloodiest battle of WWII, where he saved 75 men without firing or carrying a gun as he believed that while the war was justified, killing was nevertheless wrong. As an army medic, he single-handedly evacuated the wounded from behind enemy lines, braved fire while tending to soldiers and was wounded by a grenade and hit by snipers. Doss was the first conscientious objector awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
HIDDEN FIGURES Everyone knows about the Apollo missions. We can all immediately list the bold male astronauts who took those first giant steps for humankind in space: John Glenn, Alan Shepard and Neil Armstrong. Yet, remarkably, Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson’s are names not taught in school or even known to most people — even though their daring, smarts and powerful roles as NASA’s ingenious “human computers” were indispensable to advances that allowed for human space flight. Director Theodore Melfi (St. Vincent) brings the women’s rise to the top ranks of aerospace in the thrilling early days of NASA to life via a fast-moving, humor-filled, inspiring entertainment that illuminates both the gutsy quest for Earth’s first, seemingly impossible orbital flight and also the powerful things that can result when women unite. For all its joys and triumphs, Hidden Figures is also a film that takes place at the crossroads of the most defining struggles in American history: the evolving fight for Civil Rights; the battle to win the high-stakes Cold War without risking nuclear war and be the first superpower to establish a human presence outside planet Earth; and the ongoing drive to show how the mind-boggling technological breakthroughs that create the world’s future have nothing to do with gender or background.
IN DUBIOUS BATTLE A drama based on the first major work of Pulitzer Prizewinning author, John Steinbeck, adapted by Matt Rager and directed by James Franco. In the California apple country nine hundred migratory workers rise up against the landowners after getting paid a faction of the wages they were promised. The group takes on a life of its own—stronger than its individual members and more frightening. Led by the doomed Jim Nolan, the strike is founded on his tragic idealism—on the “courage never to submit or yield.”
JACKIE Jackie Kennedy led a multi-faceted life of power and influence, but when it came to writing about her, screenwriter and journalist Noah Oppenheim came to feel there was one story that spoke to her psyche in the most compelling way – the very brief but remarkably consequential days that the First Lady spent nearly alone in the White House following her husband’s death.
JOHNNY IS NIE DOOD NIE Writer-director Christiaan Olwagen delivers a refreshing South African film that is as radical as the Voëlvry music movement that rebelled against the autocratic dictates of the apartheid government and changed the hearts of a generation of South Africans who wanted to break free from oppressive separatism.
LIEWE KERSFEESVADER Wishes rekindle shattered dreams in Etienne Fourie’s soulful and heartfelt Liewe Kersfeesvader, an emotionally filled journey into the lives of ordinary people and a down-to-earth Father Christmas. Scripted by Fourie, it’s a story we all can relate to, and one that will resonate with anyone who has ever tried to make sense of the world they live in, or the family that rule their life. A young beauty queen is ﬂung into swift adulthood when her father assumes a new identity: Father Christmas. Juggling an unhinged father, an impressionable kid brother and a growing romance, Nonnie must redeﬁne her own meaning of family.
LIFE Following the cult-hits Zombieland and Deadpool, screenwriting-partners Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick turn science-fiction into science-fact in this terrifying sci-fi thriller about a team of scientists aboard the International Space Station whose mission of discovery turns to one of primal fear when they find a rapidly evolving life form that could have caused extinction on Mars, and now threatens the crew and all life on Earth.
LION The incredible true story of Indian-born Australian Saroo Brierley and his unwavering determination to find his lost family and finally return to his first home is now realised in all its splendour on the big screen in Lion.
LOGAN From visionary writer-director James Mangold comes the defining chapter in the cinematic saga of one of the greatest comic book heroes ever created. Hugh Jackman is superb in his iconic role as The Wolverine for one, final time in a raw, powerfully dramatic standalone story of sacrifice and redemption.
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA “You never know why you write about the things you end up writing about,” says writer-director Kenneth Lonergan “I suspect that the impetus to create anything is too specifically rooted in the artists’ personal psychology to be of much interest to anybody else, but you hope the results will be. My favorite part of filmmaking is the process whereby a story initially developed in the privacy of your own imagination becomes the emotional property of other people.” This heartbreaking story tells of the Chandler family, a working class family from Massachusetts. After Lee’s (Casey Affleck) older brother Joe (Kyle Chandler) suddenly passes away, he is made the legal guardian of his nephew (Lucas Hedges). Lee is forced to deal with a tragic past that separated him from his wife Randi (Michelle Williams) and the community where he was born and raised.
MAUDIE Based on a true story, the outstanding independent film Maudie charts the unlikely romance between Maud Lewis, a folk artist who blossoms in later life, and the curmudgeonly recluse, Everett. It is a truly exceptional and rewarding film about the ultimate power of love, loving who you are, loving those who do not understand the meaning of true love, and being loved for what you give to others unconditionally. It is said that ‘’ýou can never be alone if you love the person you are alone with,’’ and if this true, Maudie shows how Maud was happy being alone, despite her illness and was content with herself and where she managed to make a home for herself; she was equally pleased when she found love in the most unexpected circumstances and she embraced it with all the love in her heart.
MISS SLOANE Jonathan Perera’s screenplay took filmmaker John Madden by surprise with its richly detailed portrait of an industry that remains shrouded in mystery. “While having a sense of the job description, I didn’t know exactly what a lobbyist did, which I imagine is true of a lot of people,” says Madden, acclaimed director of such diverse films as Mrs. Brown, The Debt and Academy Award winner Shakespeare in Love.
MOONLIGHT A commanding gay, Black coming-of-age drama that speaks to everyone. from writer-director Barry Jenkins that takes you on an emotional journey into the heart and soul of humanity and will live in your heart forever. It won 3 Oscars in 2017 for Best Film, the screenplay adaptation by Jenkins and Taryn Alvin McCraney, based on McCraney’s play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue, and supporting actor for Mahershala Ali. An unforgettable and not-to-be missed drama at the intersection of race, sexuality, masculinity, identity, family, and love, it features a trio of gifted actors (Alex Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Rhodes) inhabiting a single character during three phases of his life, it tells the story of one young man’s coming of age in a tough Miami neighborhood. As Chiron grows from an uncertain and tentative boy into a bullied teenager grappling with his sexuality and finally into a grown man, Jenkins skillfully shows through three distinct chapters a life in full, revealing how the powerful moments in each of our lives coalesce to shape our identities and define our fates.
MOTHER! The mind-bending relationship thriller Mother! began when Writer / Director Darren Aronofsky spent five fevered days at his keyboard alone in an empty house. He knows he might be pressed about the result – Why such a dark vision? His answer? Look around: In 5 days, he was holding a rough draft of mother! in his hands. “Within a year we were rolling cameras.” Two years after that long weekend, Aronofsky’s film was headed for its world premiere at the 74th Venice International Film Festival
MY COUSIN RACHEL Steeped in a wonderfully powerful atmosphere of desire and suspicion, this luscious adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s novel tells the story of a rather naive young bachelor struggling to determine if his deceased guardian’s charming widow is either the woman of his dreams… or a cold-blooded killer and inheritance-chasing gold-digger. Key to South African-born director Roger Michell’s adaptation is his decision to fully embrace the novel’s thrilling ambiguity, the spell of which du Maurier never breaks. The story is the search for the truth, a search that delightfully torments the reader, torments Philip … and still continues to haunt the film’s final moments.
NOCTURNAL ANIMALS Boldly exploring the psychological and emotional sea changes of men and women living – or trying to live –their own truths, this captivating thriller is the second film from extraordinary visionary, writer/director Tom Ford, following the acclaimed and award-winning A Single Man (2009). “Nocturnal Animals is a cautionary tale about coming to terms with the choices that we make as we move through life and of the consequences that our decisions may have. In an increasingly disposable culture where everything including our relationships can be so easily tossed away, this is a story of loyalty, dedication and of love. It is a story of the isolation that we all feel, and of the importance of valuing the personal connections in life that sustain us.”
NUL IS NIE NIKS NIE Director Morné du Toit’s poignant South African film is an inspiring, heart-warming story about life, death and the continued hope that can be found somewhere between the two. The film tells the story of three friends (Hoender, Drikus and Chris) who set out to make Drikus’ last wish come true – to make a zombie movie. During their filmmaking process Hoender starts to deal with the loss of his father, he makes new friends, works on his self-confidence and realises that he has a lot to offer. Drikus’ love of life and determination brings the surrounding lifeless community together and gives them a new lease on life.
PASSENGERS An exciting action-thriller about two strangers who are on a 120-year journey to another planet when their hibernation pods wake them 90 years too early.“It’s about characters who face extreme situations and have to make extreme choices, and I always find that fascinating – what would you have done?” says Morten Tyldum, who directs the film, his first following his Oscar nominated triumph with the hit The Imitation Game. Against the story of high stakes action, the filmmakers set a sensitive story of two passengers who find each other in this moment of peril.
PATRIOT’S DAY From acclaimed director Peter Berg (“Deepwater Horizon,” “Lone Survivor”) and Academy Award® nominee Mark Wahlberg (“The Departed,” “Lone Survivor”), CBS Films and Lionsgate present “Patriots Day.” Based on true events, “Patriots Day” is a powerful story of a community’s extraordinary courage in the face of adversity. An account of the events surrounding the Boston Marathon bombing, the tensionpacked dramatic thriller chronicles in detail one of the most sophisticated and well-coordinated manhunts in law enforcement history. The events may have unfolded in Boston, but the bombing and the city’s determined response impacted the world.
REBEL IN THE RYE The world of legendary writer J. D. Salinger is brought vividly to life in this revealing look at the experiences that shaped one of the most renowned, controversial, and enigmatic authors of our time. It took us into the world of being a writer in the tradition of other great films that explored the psyche of writers, like Genius (2016) from Academy Award-nominated screenwriter John Logan (Gladiator, The Aviator, Hugo, Skyfall) and acclaimed, Tony Award-winning director Michael Grandage (former artistic director of the Donmar Warehouse), a stirring drama about the complex friendship and transformative professional relationship between the world-renowned book editor Maxwell Perkins (who discovered F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway) and the larger-than-life literary giant Thomas Wolfe, and The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017), the magical journey that led to the creation of Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim and other classic characters from A Christmas Carol, showing how Charles Dickens mixed real life inspirations with his vivid imagination to conjure up unforgettable characters and a timeless tale, forever changing the holiday season into the celebration we know today.
RULES DON’T APPLY Set in 1950s Hollywood, Rules Don’t Apply is an unconventional comedy that offers a window into the often surreal realm of Howard Hughes, the billionaire movie mogul, famed aviator and legendary eccentric – who was both a rule-maker for many young stars and a rule-breaker – challenging the industry’s social mores and restrictive moral code. It was written, directed, and produced by Warren Beatty, who also stars as Howard Hughes, the billionaire movie mogul, famed aviator and legendary eccentric – who was both a rule-maker for many young stars and a rule-breaker – challenging the industry’s social mores and restrictive moral code.
SILENCE This astounding masterpiece celebrates the 26-year-journey from page to screen for writer-director Martin Scorsese. This adaptation of Shusaku Endo’s historical novel tells the story of two 17th century Portuguese missionaries who undertake a perilous journey to Japan to search for their missing mentor, Father Christavao Ferreira, and to spread the gospel of Christianity, and is based on Shusaku Endo’s 1966 award-winning novel, examining the spiritual and religious question of God’s silence in the face of human suffering.
SING! A fantastic story about a singing competition set in a world populated entirely by animals. Illumination has captivated audiences all over the world with the beloved hits Despicable Me, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, Despicable Me 2 and Minions, now the second-highest-grossing animated movie in history. Following the release of this summer’s comedy blockbuster The Secret Life of Pets, Illumination brings Sing to the big screen.With its highly relatable characters, heart and humor, the first collaboration between writer/director Garth Jennings (Son of Rambow, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) and Illumination founder and Ceo Chris Meledandri marks the sixth fully animated feature from the studio.
SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING For producer and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, bringing the character into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in an original way that film audiences have never seen before was a top priority. “Over the past 15 years, we have built the Marvel Cinematic Universe with so many characters and movies, and now we have the opportunity to introduce Peter Parker and the Spider-Man franchise into that universe for the first time,” says Feige. “It’s exciting because that’s how he truly was in the comics, from the very beginning – he didn’t enter the comics as the only hero; he entered a world in which Tony Stark, Captain America and the Avengers all were there. And now, for the first time, we get that in an entire film, which makes it fresh and new.”
SWISS ARMY MAN The brilliantly bizarre new movie from first-time feature directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert will break your heart and most definitely change your perceptions in the human condition.If there’s one reason to see this unique film, it’s for the outstanding performances by Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano; there are moments of sheer brilliance and has an emotional truth that will resonate well with anyone who has ever felt misunderstood, or found love in unexpected ways.This is black humour at its darkest and most profound. It a delightfully daring film that dares to break conventions and takes storytelling to its utmost extreme!
THEIR FINEST HOUR Though long-listed for the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2009, Lissa Evans’ novel Their Finest Hour and a Half went under the radar somewhat, it inspired powerhouse producers Amanda Posey and Stephen Woolley to bring it to the Big Screen seven years later. In the midst of the devastating Second World War, with increasing numbers of men drafted to fight for their lives on the frontline, bombs continued to drop relentlessly on London. Those left behind, made up predominantly of women, children and the elderly, were in need of something uplifting they could relate to. As a result movies became a crucial outlet to help raise the spirits of the nation during this bleak time. Going to the pictures gave an opportunity to reach out to the community and to provide hope and optimism, but audiences demanded realism.It is through the power of film that a yioung woman’s eyes are opened to who she truly is and the possibility of starting a new life.
THIS BEAUTIFUL FANTASTIC The emotional truth British writer-director Sam Aboud forms with his utterly charming contemporary fairy tale tells the alluring story of the unlikely bond between a reclusive, agoraphobic young woman and a cantankerous old widower. It’s a sentimental and life-affirming film about hopeful dreams, lost love and newfound friendships, showing how rewarding it is escape from the prisons of privacy we create for ourselves, and welcome other people into our lives to awaken our humanity. At the heart of this story lies Bella’s neglected garden, and when she is forced to bring the garden back to life or face eviction, a magical friendship blossoms as Alfie teaches Bella about life and love through the metaphor of gardening and Bella reminds Alfie of what it feels like to be alive.
TULIP FEVER Fifteen years after Producer Alison Owen bought the rights to Deborah Moggach’s novel and sending the option to A-list producers, her tenacity and vision paid off and the film went into production in May 2014 under direction of Justin Chadwick (The Other Boleyn Girl, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom), from a screenplay by Sir Tom Stoppard (Anna Karrenina, Shakespeare in Love, Empire Of The Sun), and the thrilling romance can now be experienced on the Big Screen. In 17th Century Amsterdam, an orphaned girl (Alicia Vikander) is forcibly married to a rich and powerful merchant (Christoph Waltz) – an unhappy “arrangement” that saves her from poverty. After her husband commissions a portrait, she begins a passionate affair with the painter (Dane DeHaan), a struggling young artist. Seeking to escape the merchant’s ever-reaching grasp, the lovers risk everything and enter the frenzied tulip bulb market, with the hope that the right bulb will make a fortune and buy their freedom.
WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES The Art of filmmaking and the craft of storytelling are showcased in this consummate masterwork, unleashing rapidly evolving simians into a world boiling over with divisions and rage as the ape vs. human battle for control of the world careens towards the ultimate winner-takes-all decision.It is directed and written by Matt Reeves, whose Dawn of the Planet of the Apes grossed $700m at the worldwide box office – he gained feature film prominence when he helmed the much lauded science fiction-horror hit Cloverfield (2008), and wrote and directed Let Me In (2010), a remake of the Swedish horror film acclaimed by critics and audiences alike. – from a screenplay he co-wrote with Mark Bomback, who wrote screenplays for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Insurgent, The Wolverine, Total Recall, Unstoppable, Live Free or Die Hard, Deception, Race to Witch Mountain and Godsend. Read review
THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE Niki Caro (Whale Rider, North Country) brough us this exceptional film from a screenplay by Angela Workman, adapted from Diane Ackerman’s nonfiction book of the same name which was based on Antonina’s diaries.The time is 1939. The place is Poland, homeland of Antonina (portrayed by Ms. Chastain) and her husband, Dr. Jan Żabiński (Johan Heldenbergh, of The Broken Circle Breakdown). Devoted to each other, the couple thrive as personal and professional partners; the Warsaw Zoo flourishes under Jan’s stewardship and Antonina’s care. With reserves of energy, Antonina rises every day to tend to both her family and their menagerie, as the gates to the majestic zoo open in welcome……until the entrance is slammed shut and the zoo is crippled in an attack as the entire country is invaded by the Germans. Stunned, the couple is forced to report to the Reich’s newly appointed chief zoologist, Lutz Heck (Golden Globe Award nominee Daniel Brühl of Captain America: Civil War). Heck envisions a new, selective breeding program for the zoo.