John Lui Film Correspondent recommends

Film Picks

PHOTOS: GERMAN FILM FESTIVAL, 20TH CENTURY FOX, MYANMAR FILM FESTIVAL, SHAW ORGANISATION, THE INFLUENCER NETWORK

19TH GERMAN FILM FESTIVAL

The highlight this year is the retrospective for Rainer Werner Fassbinder, the film-maker who died in 1982 after making some of Germany's best-known exports.

The festival will screen eight of his films, including lesser-known television works such as The Niklashausen Journey (1970) and Rio Das Mortes (1971).

Director Sebastian Schipper's Victoria (M18, 140 minutes) is a thriller about bank robbery - all shot in one take - which helped it to win the Silver Bear for cinematography at this year's Berlin International Film Festival.

New works at the festival include B-Movie: Lust & Sound In West Berlin 1979-1989 (R21, 92 minutes, above), a documentary about the city's anarchic cultural scene at a time when anything was possible.

WHERE: The Cathay, The Projector, National Museum of Singapore

MRT: Bras Basah/Dhoby Ghaut

WHEN: Till Nov 15

ADMISSION: Various prices

INFO: www.goethe.de/singapore


SINGAPORE MYANMAR FILM FESTIVAL 2015

The second edition of the festival will showcase the winning submissions in five categories, open to film-makers from Singapore and Myanmar.

Best Film winner Jade Man is about a family which ekes out a living in Myanmar's jade mines. Best Directing goes to Side Glance Of Dragon (above), a melodrama about a poor city dweller living with his disabled mother, wife and son.

WHERE: The Projector, Golden Mile Tower, Beach Road

MRT: Nicoll Highway

WHEN: Sun, 11am & 2.30pm

ADMISSION: $20

INFO: singaporemyanmarfilmfestival.org/2015


BRIDGE OF SPIES

PG13/135 minutes/4 stars

Director Steven Spielberg, working with a screenplay polished by famed Hollywood philosopher- kings Joel and Ethan Coen, asks the deep questions - What makes a person decent? What does it mean to be a patriot? - without making the puzzles, or the answers, appear obvious.

In this true story, James Donovan (Tom Hanks, above) is settled into his life as a father and a rising star at his law firm when in 1957, he is called to perform his national duty - to act as attorney for alleged Soviet spy Rudolf Abel (British stage actor Mark Rylance, giving a masterclass on understatement).

A few years later, Donovan once again is asked to be the go-between for an East-West prisoner exchange: Abel for downed American spy plane pilot Francis Gary Powers (Austin Stowell). Captured spy Abel figures in the story almost as much as Donovan, but perhaps because of the lack of biographical information about the real Abel, he remains an enigma for much of the running time.

Rylance absorbs and reflects that mystery.

It is as if he has pulled an Iron Curtain over his face, but like the real Eastern Bloc, that opacity breeds greater fascination on the other side.


MISS YOU ALREADY

NC16/113 minutes/4 stars

In this comedy, Jess (Drew Barrymore, left) and Milly (Toni Collette, right) are friends whose ties are strained when Milly is diagnosed with a tumour growing in her breast. Jess needs to lend support to her best friend even as she and husband Jago (Paddy Considine) cope with challenges of their own.

Adapted from a BBC radio play, this is the opposite of loose-limbed illness diaries such as 50/50 (2011).

Here, the story gallops, never dwelling on any emotional beat.

If anything, director Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight, 2008; Red Riding Hood, 2011) is a little too aware of slumping into the maudlin. She packs in camera moves that glide and eye-candy locations.

That desire for tonal edginess bleeds most into the character of Milly, a woman who never outgrows her party-girl stage or thinks twice about manipulating her best pal.

Milly is no saint, but she grows on you.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 06, 2015, with the headline 'Film Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe