Best new movies this month

A raw drama by a visionary director and a Nick Cave Documentary Feature Film is our top pick this month.

Dreamy director Gaspar Noé directs his subversive look to a subject that will undoubtedly surprise his longtime fans. In his new play whirlpoolHe gives sex, drugs, and violence a rest, and instead contemplates the fragility of life and the great chasm it leaves behind. We follow the daily lives of Lui and Elle – an elderly couple whose existence has been disrupted by Elle’s ongoing spiraling dementia. This cute woman forgets who she is, gets lost on her way to the shops or forgets about it. Turn off the gas, all while evil paranoia develops.

As Lowe does his best to support his wife, he grows increasingly discontented, especially as she goes so far as to throw away the manuscripts of his precious books – one of the few things left that brings him the slightest sense of normalcy and joy.

As if we’re making sure we’re equally drawn into the reality of these two agonizing perspectives, Noé makes the film on split screen, with Lui and Elle occupying half of each. A puzzling style at first, it quickly becomes a vital element of the narrative, lending it a documentary-like feel. We’re right there with Lui and Elle in real time, noticing subtle changes in expression as they grapple with the world around them.

whirlpool Not an easy movie. The scenes are long, the dialogue is scanty, and the emotional weight is uncomfortably heavy. But the truth is we need more cinema like this; Raw films that are unwavering while dealing with the brutal, ugly aspects of life. We all go through unspeakable hardship at some point in our lives, and seeing ourselves and our loved ones represented on screen is what strengthens us to endure these hardships with grace and dignity.

Vortex will be shown in cinemas across the UK on May 13

Breathtaking shot, impressively lit and rigorous performance: there is no doubt that this new Nick Cave documentary will captivate every fan. Following the collaborative process between Cave and his longtime friend and fellow Bad Seeds member, Warren Ellis, it’s a humble, often touching look at the duo bringing to life songs from their latest studio albums, Justin And massacre.

The simple process of recording and working their way through the often incomplete songs becomes a semi-artistic spectacle. The abandoned warehouse somewhere in Brighton in which it was filmed takes on the role of a majestic temple – the perfect backdrop for elegiac and funeral sermons and the sorcery of Ellis. Cameras are furiously spinning around them (courtesy of the great Robbie Ryan, famous for his eclectic work on Favorite), the powerful strobe lights and siren-like howls of singers make the viewing a soul-stirring, and nothing short of a religious account.

However, the quiet moments between the recordings – small excerpts from interviews with both Cave and Ellis – are the heart of the film. The two musicians joke about each other’s disturbing work ethic, Cave introduces us to his ceramic figurines (“I followed the government’s advice and retrained him as a potter”) and reads a few letters from some of his stricken fans desperate for advice. These are the fleeting rhythms that make this documentary really sing.

You need time and space to soak up this film – it can’t be rushed. Let the words drown you, the music penetrate your mind and allow yourself to drift wherever Cave and Ellis take you. It will be worth it.

This Much I Know To Be True opens in cinemas around the world on May 11

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