The New Movies You Can Watch at Australian Cinemas From September 8
Head to the flicks to see a stunningly moving Gaelic-language drama, plus the latest wild and weird gem from British filmmaker Peter Strickland.
September 08, 2022
Something delightful has been happening in cinemas in some parts of the country. After numerous periods spent empty during the pandemic, with projectors silent, theatres bare and the smell of popcorn fading, picture palaces in many Australian regions are back in business — including both big chains and smaller independent sites in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
During COVID-19 lockdowns, no one was short on things to watch, of course. In fact, you probably feel like you've streamed every movie ever made, including new releases, Studio Ghibli's animated fare and Nicolas Cage-starring flicks. But, even if you've spent all your time of late glued to your small screen, we're betting you just can't wait to sit in a darkened room and soak up the splendour of the bigger version. Thankfully, plenty of new films are hitting cinemas so that you can do just that — and we've rounded up, watched and reviewed everything on offer this week.
THE QUIET GIRL
When Normal People became the streaming sensation of the pandemic's early days, it made stars out of leads Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones, and swiftly sparked another Sally Rooney adaptation from much of the same behind-the-scenes team. It wouldn't have been the hit it was if it hadn't proven an exercise in peering deeply, thoughtfully, lovingly and carefully, though, with that sensation stemming as much from its look as its emotion-swelling story. It should come as no surprise, then, that cinematographer Kate McCullough works the same magic on The Quiet Girl, a Gaelic-language coming-of-age film that sees the world as only a lonely, innocent, often-ignored child can. This devastatingly moving and beautiful movie also spies the pain and hardship that shapes its titular figure's world — and yes, it does so softly and with restraint, just like its titular figure, but that doesn't make the feelings it swirls up any less immense.
McCullough is just one of The Quiet Girl's key names; filmmaker Colm Bairéad, a feature first-timer who directs and adapts Claire Keegan's novella Foster, is another. His movie wouldn't be the deeply affecting affair it is without its vivid and painterly imagery — but it also wouldn't be the same without the helmer and scribe's delicate touch, which the 1981-set tale he's telling not only needs but demands. His focus: that soft-spoken nine-year-old, Cáit (newcomer Catherine Clinch), who has spent her life so far as no one's priority. With her mother (Kate Nic Chonaonaigh, Shadow Dancer) pregnant again, her father (Michael Patric, Smother) happiest drinking, gambling and womanising, and her siblings boisterously bouncing around their rural Irish home, she's accustomed to blending in and even hiding out. Then, for the summer, she's sent to her mum's older cousin Eibhlín (Carrie Crowley, Extra Ordinary) and her dairy farmer husband Seán (Andrew Bennett, Dating Amber). Now the only child among doting guardians, she's no less hushed, but she's also loved and cared for as she's never been before.
Clinch is another of The Quiet Girl's crucial figures, courtesy of a downright exceptional and star-making performance. If you were to discover that she was a quiet girl off-screen, too, you'd instantly believe it — that's how profoundly naturalistic she is. Finding a young talent to convey so much internalised, engrained sorrow, then to slowly blossom when fondness comes her way, isn't just a case of finding a well-behaved child who welcomes the camera's presence. Clinch makes Cáit's isolation and sadness feel palpable, and largely does so without words: again, this is The Quiet Girl in name and nature alike. She makes the comfort and acceptance that her character enjoys with the instantly tender Eibhlín feel just as real, and kicks into another still-composed but also visibly appreciative gear as a bond forms with the tight-lipped Seán. Pivotally, Clinch plays Cáit like she's the only lonely girl in Ireland, but also like she's every lonely and mostly silent girl that's ever called that or any country home.
That astonishing performance, and the empathetic and absorbed gaze that beams it into the film's frames, tap into the lingering truth at the heart of this soulful picture: that overlooked and disregarded girls such as Cáit rarely receive this kind of notice on- or off-screen. The warm way that the movie surveys her life, and is truly willing to see it, is never anything less than an act of redress — and, even with dialogue sparse, The Quiet Girl screams that fact loudly. It gives the same treatment to loss, which is an unshakeable force in Eibhlín and Seán's home despite remaining unspoken. "There are no secrets in this house," Eibhlín tells Cáit, but that doesn't mean that the type of pain that defies speech doesn't haunt the place, as it does the lives lived in it. Grief, too, is usually pushed aside, but The Quiet Girl sees how it persists, dwells and gnaws even when — especially when — no one is talking about it.
Read our full review.
Flickering across a cinema screen, even the greatest of movies only inherently activate two senses: sight and hearing. Audiences can feel the seats they nestle into in their favourite picture palaces, and savour both the scent and flavour of popcorn while they watch, but no one can touch, taste or smell films themselves as they're playing — even if adding scratch-and-sniff aromas to the experience has become a cult-favourite gimmick. British director Peter Strickland knows all of the above. And, he hasn't ever released a feature in Smell-o-Vision, Smell-O-Rama or Odorama. But his work still conjures up sensations that viewers know they can't genuinely be having, such as running your fingers over an alluring dress with In Fabric, detecting the flutter of insect wings against your skin via The Duke of Burgundy and, courtesy of his latest movie Flux Gourmet, relishing the fragrances and tastes whipped up by a culinary collective that turns cooking and eating into performance art.
If you've seen his features before, Flux Gourmet instantly sounds like something that only Strickland could make — and from its first frame till its last, it proves that with every moment. While spinning this innately sensory tale, which he both helmed and penned, it does indeed literally sound like something that only Strickland could've come up with, in fact. As the acoustics-focused Berberian Sound Studio demonstrated, the filmmaker's audioscapes are always a thing of wonder, too. His movies may manage to magically engage senses that cinema's sound-and-vision combination intrinsically shouldn't, but they also make the utmost use of every echo. The same applies to each image; unsurprisingly due to his strong and distinctive sense of style and mood, everything about Flux Gourmet looks and feels like pure Strickland. His films can't actually be injected into anyone's veins, but the director's devotees will instantly want this delirious farce pumping through their system.
The setting: The Sonic Catering Institute, a conservatory specialising in blending sound and cuisine, as its name makes plain. The "institute devoted to culinary and alimentary performance" is overseen by the couture-coveting Jan Stevens (Gwendoline Christie, Game of Thrones), and regularly welcomes in different groups to undertake residencies. Those visiting artists collaborate, percolate and come up with eye-catching blends of food, bodies and creativity. Hosting OTT dinners, role-playing a trip to the supermarket, getting scatalogical and turning a live colonoscopy into a show: they're just some of the menu items that Jan's latest guests cook up. In Elle di Elle (Strickland regular Fatma Mohamed), Lamina Propria (Ariane Labed, The Souvenir: Part II) and Billy Rubin's (Asa Butterfield, Sex Education) case, however, that unique kind of kitchen virtuosity only springs when they're not broiling in messy bickering.
Chaos bubbles through and troubles the trio's troupe, who stir up mayhem among themselves as heartily as any chef stirs their dishes. But Elle, Lamina and Billy aren't the Institute's only current visitors. Watching and chronicling is journalist Stones (Makis Papadimitriou, Beckett), who is also suffering from gastrointestinal struggles that he worries might be something more. As his subjects keep riffing on the human digestive system, or trying to, he can't control his own. Endeavouring to withhold his flatulence 24/7 is his constant struggle. Somehow, keeping a straight face as everything gets absurd around him is a far easier task, but Flux Gourmet's viewers shouldn't want to share that achievement with him; this purposefully strange, silly and surreal film is far too deliciously hilarious.
Read our full review.
If you're wondering what else is currently screening in Australian cinemas — or has been lately — check out our rundown of new films released in Australia on June 2, June 9, June 16, June 23 and June 30; and July 7, July 14, July 21 and July 28; August 4, August 11, August 18 and August 25; and September 1.
You can also read our full reviews of a heap of recent movies, such as Mothering Sunday, Jurassic World Dominion, A Hero, Benediction, Lightyear, Men, Elvis, Lost Illusions, Nude Tuesday, Ali & Ava, Thor: Love and Thunder, Compartment No. 6, Sundown, The Gray Man, The Phantom of the Open, The Black Phone, Where the Crawdads Sing, Official Competition, The Forgiven, Full Time, Murder Party, Bullet Train, Nope, The Princess, 6 Festivals, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, Crimes of the Future, Bosch & Rockit, Fire of Love, Beast, Blaze, Hit the Road, Three Thousand Years of Longing and Orphan: First Kill.
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