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Film

Thriller

La Zona

Directed by Rodrigo Plá
Three street kids break into a gated enclave in Mexico City. After a botched escape, one boy is left behind and its wealthy community start a vicious manhunt for him. A gripping thriller and a damning social commentary.

Drama

The Wave

Directed by Dennis Gansel
A contemporary take on infamous psychological experiment The Third Wave, which put students under the control of a totalitarian behavioural system. The film’s greatest strength is in exuding a mesmerising effect on the viewer that creates a similar subliminal pull. That and the beautiful cast.

Film festivals

October is summer’s hangover and its film festivals a welcome tonic. London’s inclusive antidote to Cannes’ exclusivity and Tokyo’s green-carpeted enviro-aware bash are the essential events. Monocle rounds up the screenings:

The Times BFI London Film Festival

15 – 30 October

01 Frost/Nixon
This political drama by BAFTA winning screenwriter Peter Morgan focuses on David Frost’s series of TV interviews with Richard Nixon, which shed light on a political monster and the cost of hubris.

02 Lake Tahoe
Much-hyped Mexican offering from director Fernando Eimbcke follows a day in the life of 16-year-old Juan, which pans out with an unexpected twist. Waltz with Bashir Animated documentary by Israeli director Ari Folman looks back at his time as a soldier for the Israeli army in the Lebanese civil war.

03 Waltz with Bashir
Animated documentary by Israeli director Ari Folman looks back at his time as a soldier for the Israeli army in the Lebanese civil war.

Tokyo International Film Festival

18 – 26 October

01 Red Cliff (pictured)
Reportedly the most expensive Asian film ever made, John Woo’s Han Dynasty epic shows the Kingdoms of Xu and Wu hosting a bloody and impressive battle on land and sea. 02 Uma (The Horse)
A tender 1941 epic directed by Kajiro Yamamoto. The story focuses on a young girl who raises a colt, only for it to be heart- wrenchingly sold. 03 The Clone Returns to the Homeland
Spiritual science fiction featuring Kohei, an astronaut reborn as a clone with the memory of a child.

Books

Photography

From Somewhere to Nowhere: China’s Internal Migrants

Andreas Seibert
The dust has settled on China’s summer showpiece but it’s still buffeting the farmer-less farms and the childless nurseries of the interior. Seibert, an experienced Cinophile and tireless chronicler of the country’s highs and lows, shoots the travellers and the mapless cities (their expansion defies documentation) for which they strive. It’s a thoughtful, sometimes hopeful masterpiece of stolen moments and stunning portraiture.

New fiction

Voice Over

Céline Curiol
This debut from a New York-dwelling Frenchwoman takes a nervous, sex-bereft Parisienne Métro announcer and forces her into unpredictable corners for the sick pleasure of the author and her readers (of which there will be more). Every set- piece involving accidental amours with transvestites and run-ins with North African drug dealers hits nails of dizzy disenfranchisement on the head. This straight- faced comedy is a fine tragedy of errors.

Music

Electro-rock

David Byrne & Brian Eno

Everything That Happens Will Happen Today
Brian Eno and David Byrne continue their tightrope- walking, bisecting the middle ground and the avant-garde with ease. This, reputed to be a result of the tech-age habit of emailing musical snippets back and forth, is testament to a well- oiled internet connection: it’s beautiful, uplifting gear. Byrne’s gospel melodies and staccato-country careen around Eno’s Enossification; warm bass, guitar loops and township choirs. Dave and Bri aren’t teetering on a high-wire, they’re showboating.

Pop-rock

The Little Ones

Morning Tide
In case readers were wondering how Filipino- American pop-rock might sound like: The Little Ones’ main men, brothers Ed and Brian Reyes harmonise like hurried Beach Boys, the best band to come from their own native LA. The sunshine’s there too, in bright-eyed, kicking- chorused, effervescent calypso-pop and the sugar- rush production. Odds on these peeps have never had a migraine, witnessed a cloud or sipped a cocktail that didn’t feature both marachino cherries and fluorescent parasols.

Political commentary

Project President

Ben Shapiro Just like any Action Man, the Leader of the Free World is a man of many parts – many of them seemingly made in a factory with dubious quality control standards. Jumping eras to make unerring and amusing thematic points – how Brylcreem saved Reagan and JFK; who wouldn’t buy Bill Clinton or Teddy Roosevelt a beer? – the young Shapiro emerges to have written the only must-read on the US election so far and just in time for the show to come to a screen or a polling booth near you.

International development

Aid and Other Dirty Business

Giles Bolton Giles Bolton’s handbook on where western aid money ends up is a first- class, hard-hitting exposé of how the planet’s poorest continent is kept poor. If the small beer given by rich nations even make it as far as Bamako, chances are that corrupt African government officials will pocket it. Bolton agues for a middle way; globalisation can’t be stopped in its tracks but today’s international system should cut trade restrictions on Africa so it can pull itself out of poverty.

Electro-pop

Saint Etienne

London Conversations
There’s never been a bad time to pack up Saint Etienne’s stylish old kit bag and smile at their golden greats and this latest drop presents a modern review of pop perfection, welcoming tracks from 2002’s Finisterre and 2005’s Tales from Turnpike House, as well as a couple of typically London-focal newies: Burnt Out Car trips back to the Balearic beach of their conception and This is Tomorrow is the sweet and breezy title-track of their latest film. — rb Visit monocle.com to see our Saint Etienne interview.

English folk in France

Carte Blanche à Jeremy Deller Palais de Tokyo, Paris 25 September –

4 January 2009
Turner Prize-winner Jeremy Deller brings his folk- focused art to Paris’s reliable envelope-pusher, the Palais de Tokyo. Given carte blanche, Deller programmes the gallery for a season: expect film, photography, glam-rock singers and politics from his collaborations.

Toronto audio tour

Art Buzz

Around Toronto, 1 October onwards
Toronto’s art-loving mayor David Miller is set to launch the Art Buzz programme; downloadable, self-directed mobile phone tours of the city’s public art collection, including works by Henry Moore and Anish Kapoor. Now if he could just turn his attention to urban planning.

Photography Resumé

Universal Archive

Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, 23 October – 6 January 2009 MACBA offers its modernist expanses to an examination of photography’s role as an infallible documenter in the modern age. It tracks the birth of the medium, to digital photography and an era of “post photography”, referencing Rodchenko, Brassaï and Walter Evans along the way.

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