5   +   8   =  

I’m about to leave you for a week while I jet off to warmer climes, but before I pack the suitcase and head off to the airport, I thought I’d give you a little preview of what to enjoy in my absence. It’s an interesting little collection this week as well.

Tom Hardy kicks us off. The long gestating Mad Max: Fury Road finally arrives in cinemas via a glamourous premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. Hardy steps into Mel Gibson’s shoes as the enraged road warrior in George Miller’s first film in the series for decades. Everything looks pretty much as it did last time out right down to the leather clad, face paint wearing lunatics, but this time Charlize Theron is also stuck in the Australian outback. Good or bad, Miller’s post-apocalyptic pantomime will certainly be an experience.

Speaking of Cannes, while the 2015 festival is now underway, a well-received Palme d’Or competitor from last year finally gets a UK outing. Clouds of Sils Maria stars perennial arthouse favourite Juliette Binoche as an ageing actress revisiting her breakthrough role. A backstage melodrama that cuts to the heart of the profession, there’s even an award winning turn by Kristen Stewart as Binoche’s personal assistant. Smooth and measured, it’s a confident film that knows exactly what it’s doing.

At the other end of the scale comes The Tribe. Another film that first appeared at Cannes last year, this is one crazy experiment that has to be seen. Set in a Ukrainian boarding school for deaf children, the entire story is told using sign language without subtitles. Don’t go thinking this is a heart-warming tale of children overcoming adversity. No, the boarding school is a den of iniquity as new arrivals are thrust into an institutional system of organised crime, robbery and prostitution. Picking up rave reviews wherever it goes, it’s the kind of bold and inventive cinema that deserves an audience.

If that’s too much French Riviera for you, the DVD pick of the week stays closer to home. Fresh from an Oscar win for Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of Stephen Hawking, The Theory of Everything is out now to own. Working through Hawking’s life, James Marsh’s film, while only competently told, is lifted by superb performances from Redmayne and Felicity Jones as Hawking’s wife Jane. It’s an uplifting way to spend the weekend.

That’s all from me for a fortnight but I leave you in safe hands.

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