ECX / ICON / JUHU
Start your day with the light, wry and funny FREE AND EASY from Chinese director Geng Jun about small-time criminals who go about their activities in a small town in northeastern China. Or, watch REDOUBTABLE, The Artist-director Michel Hazanavicius's film on the life of Jean-Luc Godard adapted from Godard's ex-wife Anne Wiazemsky's memoir One Year Later.
Next, go for SWEET COUNTRY, a starkly brutal and grand western from Australian filmmaker Warwick Thornton. Or, for A FANTASTIC WOMAN, selected as the Chilean entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars and winner of the Silver Bear for Best Screenplay at the Berlinale. Director Sebastian Lelio's work here is being hailed as almost Almodóvar-like while transgender actress and singer Daniela Vega's powerful performance has been highly appreciated.
Issues like masculinity, sexuality and tradition come up in South African director John Trengove's THE WOUND, a film revolving around an initiation ritual in the Xhosa community. It was selected as the South African entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars. There is also ASK THE SEXPERT, Vaishali Sinha's documentary on Dr Mahinder Watsa and all that the sexologist has dealt with in his Mumbai Mirror column over the years.
End the day on a serious note with MORE, Turkish actor Onur Saylak's directorial debut on human trafficking and the refugee crisis.
REGAL / PHOENIX
ON BODY AND SOUL – an unusual love story set against the backdrop of a slaughterhouse, this film juxtaposes two radically different worlds, one fragile and dream-like and the other disturbing and brutal. The winner of the Golden Bear at the Berlinale this year, this Hungarian feature should put you in the perfect 'festival' state of mind for the rest of what promises to be a very exciting day. Or, head straight to Phoenix for WHAT WILL PEOPLE SAY, the largely autobiographical second feature from writer-director Iram Haq which tells the story of a young Pakistani girl brought up in Norway who is forced come to terms with her family's culture.
Spend the rest of your day at Regal, first for Aki Kaurismäki's THE OTHER SIDE OF HOPE, about a Syrian refugee who makes his way to Finland and forges a friendship with a Finn who finds himself in equally desperate circumstances. The film makes generous use of Kaurismaki's trademark wry humour.
Follow it up with CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, Luca Guadagnino's much-applauded tale of gay romance and one of the most anticipated films of this year, written by James Ivory and adapted from the novel by André Aciman.
Finally, end your day with THELMA, Joachim Trier's dark psychological thriller which is sure to haunt and astonish. The film is Norway's official entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 2018 Oscars.