Saturday, May 18, 2024

‘The Persian Version’, ‘The Delinquents’   – Deadline

An Iranian American woman navigating culture clash, an Argentine bank heist and an animated ghost story voiced by Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie debut this weekend with a handful of docs and some notable expansion, vying with Apple wide release Killers Of The Flower Moon.

Sony Pictures Classics The Persian Version opens on eight screens in NY, LA, Toronto and Vancouver today. The film by writer-director Maryam Keshavarz won both the Audience Award and the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at Sundance where it premiered (Deadline review here). Her previous film Circumstance, about two teenage Iranian girls who fall in love, won the Audience Award too, in 2011, but the filmmaker hasn’t been able to return to Iran since.   

The Persian Version stars Layla Mohammadi as Leila, Iranian-American like Keshavarz, and bisexual, striving to find balance and embrace her opposing cultures. When her family reunites in New York City for her father’s heart transplant, she navigates her relationships at arm’s length in an effort to keep her “real” life separate from her family life amid a bright color palette, comic relief and lively dance numbers. It screened in Sundance at the height of female-led protests against Iran’s oppressive regime. “I can’t go back. I can go, but I can’t leave. Hotel California. But I do dream about going back,” Keshavarz said then.”

With Niousha Noor, Kamand Shafieisabet, Bijan Daneshmand, Bella Warda, Chiara Stella, Tom Byrne and Shervin Alenabi.

Mubi opened Rodrigo Moreno’s heist film The Delinquents on Wed. in two NYC locations (Angelika, Film at Lincoln Center). Adds Los Angeles (Laemmle Royal) and Chicago (Gene Siskel Film Center) next week and will continue to expand throughout November. A Cannes, TIFF and New York Film Festival selection and Argentina’s Best International Feature Film Oscar entry. See Deadline review. Buenos Aires bank employee Morán dreams up a scheme to liberate himself from corporate monotony: he’ll steal enough money to support a modest retirement, then confess and serve prison time while his co-worker holds on to the cash. Soon under pressure by a company investigator, accomplice Román heads to a remote rural idyll to hide the funds, encountering a mysterious woman who will transform his life.

Animated feature The Canterville Ghost from Blue Fox Entertainment and Shout! Studios, opens on 405 screens. The film directed by Kim Burdon, co-directed by Robert Chandler, who produced with Gina Carter. Voiced by Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Freddie Highmore, Emily Carey, David Harewood, Meera Syal, Miranda Hart, with Toby Jones and Imelda Staunton. Screenplay by Keiron Self and Giles New based on the story by Oscar Wilde. Official Selection of the 2023 Annecy Animation Film Festival

As the nineteenth gives way to the twentieth century and scientific invention brings forth new ways of traversing and seeing the world, a modern American family moves into their recently purchased, country home, Canterville Chase, in England, only to find it is haunted by a ghost. Sir Simon de Canterville has been haunting the grounds of Canterville Chase successfully for over three hundred years, but he meets his match when he tries to scare out the new arrivals.

Netflix presents Nyad a first narrative effort from Oscar-winning documentary filmmakers Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin (Free Solo, The Rescue) in about 80 theaters in 40 markets. Starring Annette Bening, Jodie Foster, Rhys Ifans, Ethan Jones Romero, Luke Cosgrove, Jeena Yi, Eric T. Miller. The remarkable true story of swimmer Diana Nyad who, at the age of 60 and with the help of her best friend and coach, commits to achieving her life-long dream: a 110-mile open ocean swim from Cuba to Florida.

Screenplay by Julia Cox based on the book Find A Way by Diana Nyad. Producers are Andrew Lazar, Teddy Schwarzman. Premiered at Telluride, Deadline review here. Streaming Nov. 3.

Also from Netflix, Pain Hustlers opens at 40 locations in 20 markets. Premiered at TIFF, see Deadline review. Directed by David Yates and starring Emily Blunt, Chris Evans, Catherine O’Hara, Chloe Coleman, Jay Duplass, Brian d’Arcy James, Amit Shah, Aubrey Dollar, Willie Raysor and Andy Garcia. Liza Drake (Blunt) is a blue-collar single mom who has just lost her job and is at the end of her rope. A chance meeting with pharmaceutical sales rep Pete Brenner (Evans) puts her on an upwards trajectory economically but dubious path ethically as she becomes entangled in a dangerous racketeering scheme.

Screenplay by Wells Tower based on the book by Evan Hughes. Producers: Lawrence Grey, David Yates. Executive producers:Emily Blunt, Mark Moran, Yvonne Walcott-Yates, Lewis Taylor, Ben Everard. Streaming Oct. 27.

Docs opening: Abramorama’s Full Circle by Josh Berman opens in NY at Angelika’s Village East, expanding to LA and other cities in the U.S. and Canada next week. The stories of athletes Trevor Kennison and Barry Corbet. In 2014, Snowboarder Kennison’s life was forever altered by a broken back. Corbet, an intrepid skier, mountaineer, explorer, filmmaker, and Jackson Hole legend, broke his back in a helicopter crash in 1968.  Frustrated by a pre-ADA culture that did not accept or support the disabled, he reinvented himself, becoming a seminal leader in the disability community. The film follows Trevor on a path towards post-traumatic growth in parallel with Barry, 50 years later.  Their paths connect in common locations and motifs; injuries in the Colorado backcountry, rehab at Craig Hospital, fame in Jackson Hole; but also, through their shared resiliency and refusal to let their passion for life be limited by their injuries.

GoPro, the San Mateo based action camera manufacturer, exclusively premiered the trailer on it YouTube Page with 10.8 million followers in support of the theatrical release.

Apple presents Errol Morris’ doc The Pigeon Tunnel in limited release. The filmmaker in conversation with former British spy David Cornwell — better known as John le Carré, author of such classic espionage novels as The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and The Constant Gardener. Set against the turbulent backdrop of the Cold War leading into present day. The film spans six decades as le Carré delivers his final and most candid interview, punctuated with rare archival footage and dramatized vignettes. Premiered in Telluride, Deadline review here. Also screened at TIFF and NYFF. Hear Errol Morris discuss the film on the Doc Talk podcast.

Utopia’s Another Body opens day and date in theaters in NY, Birmingham, MI and White Bear, MN. Expands next week to LA, San Diego, Montclair, NJ and at special event bookings in coming weeks including Cincinnati, Cleveland and Albuquerque. The SXSW doc follows a college student’s quest for answers and justice after she discovers “deep fake” pornography of herself circulating online. Through candid video diaries, synthetic media, and 2D and 3D animation, the film employs the same technology that harmed its subjects to protect their identities.

Expansions: Dicks: The Musical from A24 expands from NY and LA to 345 screens nationwide. Directed by Larry Charles. Based on the stage comedy by Josh Sharp and Aaron Jackson.

Justine Triet’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner Anatomy Of A Fall from Neon expands to 15 from five screens.

Steven Soderberg-produced Once Within A Time from Oscilloscope, by Godfrey Reggio, is holding over in NYC at the IFC Center, and expanding LA. And Utopia’s Divinity by Eddie Alcazar, also produced by Soderberg, is likesue holding for a second week in New York and opening LA with the American Cinematheque, screening on 35mm at the Los Feliz and Aero.

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