Film Picks: Middle East, Israeli and Minds film festivals and more

Barakat Jabbour in Tramontane.
Barakat Jabbour in Tramontane.PHOTO: MIDDLE EAST FILM FESTIVAL
Ania Bukstein in A Quiet Heart.
Ania Bukstein in A Quiet Heart.PHOTO: 25TH ISRAEL FILM FESTIVAL
Will Rastall and Steven Brandon in My Feral Heart.
Will Rastall and Steven Brandon in My Feral Heart.PHOTO: MINDS FILM FESTIVAL
Cara Delevingne in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.
Cara Delevingne in Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.PHOTO: GOLDEN VILLAGE PICTURES

John Lui Film Correspondent recommends

MIDDLE EAST FILM FESTIVAL 2017

For the second year running, the National University of Singapore's Middle East Institute and distributor Luna Films host this festival.

The drama Tramontane (2016, PG, 105 minutes), a Cannes Film Festival prize winner, is one highlight. An identity crisis leads Rabih (Barakat Jabbour) to go on a trek of Lebanon. Along the way, he discovers more about himself and his homeland than he bargained for.

WHERE: The Projector, Level 5 Golden Mile Tower, 6001 Beach Road MRT: Nicoll Highway WHEN: Today till Aug 20, various times ADMISSION: $13.50 INFO: For tickets and schedule, go to theprojector.sg


25TH ISRAEL FILM FESTIVAL

In the opening film, A Quiet Heart (2016, PG, 92 minutes), concert pianist Naomi (Ania Bukstein), who is escaping emotional pain, moves from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. However, she can afford to live only in a part of the city housing mainly religious conservatives. As a secular Jew, she makes only enemies, with the exception of a strange boy living next door.

Director Eitan Anner will speak via Skype at the screening of the film.

WHERE: The Projector, Level 5 Golden Mile Tower, 6001 Beach Road MRT: Nicoll Highway WHEN: Aug 24 to Sept 2, various times ADMISSION: $13.50 INFO: For tickets and schedule, go to theprojector.sg


MINDS FILM FESTIVAL

The festival that champions the cause of persons with intellectual disabilities ends this weekend with the drama, My Feral Heart (2016, NC16, 83 minutes). Starring Will Rastall and Steven Brandon, it is about a man with Down Syndrome trying to live a secret life. It was screened at the festival's inaugural event last year and brought back by popular demand.

Zhou Zhou (PG13, 96 minutes) is the nickname for Hu Yizhou, a Chinese man whose musician parents noticed that he had a knack for conducting. This documentary tracks his progress as he sets out to conduct a real orchestra.

WHERE: Golden Village VivoCity, 1 Harbourfront Walk MRT: HarbourFront WHEN:Tonight, 7pm (My Feral Heart); tomorrow, 4.30pm (Zhou Zhou) ADMISSION: $6 INFO: For bookings and schedule, go to gv.com.sg


VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS (PG)

137 minutes/ 4 stars

This visually dazzling, grin-inducing space adventure features Laureline and Valerian as space operatives working to keep peace in the galaxy. The pair are played by Cara Delevingne and Dane DeHaan as a sourpuss-and-slob odd couple.

French director and screenwriter Luc Besson returns to the science-fiction realm he left after The Fifth Element (1997).

If the Star Wars saga is about empire and democracy, reflecting its American roots, Valerian is more European in its lower-stakes preoccupations with solving mysteries, mocking dumb tourists, wooing frosty women and picking the perfect vacation beach in a galaxy with a million sandy shores.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 04, 2017, with the headline 'Film Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe