In the era of #MeToo and Time’s Up, The Assistant couldn’t arrive at a more relevant time — and the fact that it takes place in Hollywood makes the story even more pointed.
Written and directed by Kitty Green and starring an indelible Julie Garner, the drama follows one day in the life of Jane (Garner), a recent college graduate who has hopes of becoming a film producer. She recently landed her dream job as a junior assistant to a powerful entertainment mogul (is this beginning to sound familiar?) Most of her day is spent doing what many expect from an assistant job: she makes coffee, orders lunch, takes messages, loads paper in the copy machine — basic gofer work. But as we see her go through her day, she begins to take note of the abuse surrounding her. When she decides to take a stand, she discovers that she realizes the true depth of what she has entered.
The Bleecker Street film debuted at the Telluride Film Festival and made a quiet but strong impression before screening at the Sundance Film Festival last week. The Assistant marks Green’s feature debut. She premiered her documentary Casting JonBenet at Telluride in 2019 to critical acclaim. The film opens today in Los Angeles at the Arclight Hollywood and Landmark and New York at the Angelika and Lincoln Square with an expansion to follow.
Joining Garner in the film are Matthew Macfadyen, Makenzie Leigh, Kristine Froseth, Jon Orsini and Noah Robbins. Green produces alongside Scott Macaulay, James Schamus, P. Jennifer Dana and Ross Jacobson.
Watch the trailer below.
Sony Pictures Classics will release Marco Bellochio’s The Traitor this weekend as well. The drama, which opened in Italy on May 23, was Italy’s official entry for International Feature Film at the Oscars.
The Traitor went through the festival circuit starting with its Cannes premiere where it received a 13-minute standing ovation. From there, it went on to screen at the Toronto Film Festival and the New York Film Festival.
The Traitor stars Pierfrancesco Favino and is based on the true story of Tommaso Buscetta, the man who brought down the Cosa Nostra. In the early ’80s, an all-out war rages between Sicilian mafia bosses over the heroin trade. Buscetta, a made man, flees to hide out in Brazil. Back home, scores are being settled and Buscetta watches from afar as his sons and brother are killed in Palermo, knowing he may be next. Arrested and extradited to Italy by the Brazilian police, Buscetta makes a decision that will change everything for the Mafia: he decides to meet with Judge Giovanni Falcone and betray the eternal vow he made to the Cosa Nostra.
Speaking of official Oscar entries for Best International Feature Film, Russia’s entry Beanpole from director Kantemir Balagov lands stateside this weekend as well. The film already has a couple of notches on its belt when it comes to accolades including Best Director – Un Certain Regard at Cannes Film Festival. The film traveled the film festival path with screenings at Telluride, the Toronto Film Festival and the New York Film Festival. It is set to open today in New York and will open in Los Angeles on February 14.
Set in post-WWII Leningrad, the film follows Iya and Masha (played by newcomers Viktoria Miroshnichenko and Vasilisa Perelygina). The pair have bonded after fighting side by side as anti-aircraft gunners and are now attempting to readjust to a haunted world. Tall and slender Iya now works as a nurse in a shell-shocked hospital, presiding over traumatized soldiers. A shocking accident brings the closer and also seals their fates.
The Yaron Zilberman-directed Incitement was another Oscar hopeful as it was Israel’s official entry for International Film. Making its premiere at last year’s Toronto Film Festival the drama-thriller chronicles the year leading up to the assassination of Israel’s prime minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. Set against the backdrop of Rabin’s efforts to end the Israeli-Palestian conflict, the film is told through the journey of the assassin, Yigal Amir (Yehuda Nahari Halevi).
Co-written by Zilberman and Euphoria‘s Ron Leshem, the film sheds light on all the forces that acted on him, from his personal quest to become a hero in the eyes of his peers, and the rejection he faces from his love interest, to the intense incitement of politicians and religious leaders. Halevi stars alongside Amitay Yaish Ben Ousilio, Anat Ravnizky, Yoav Levi, Dolev Ohana, Raanan Paz, Sivan Mast and Daniella Kertesz.
Finally, in honor of the Chinese Lunar New Year, Well Go USA Entertainment is set to release an English dubbed version of the animated feature Ne Zha in select markets. The release comes at a very sensitive time after the coronavirus outbreak in China, which caused the cancellation of many Lunar New Year releases. That said, Well Go USA said they wanted to give a Lunar New Year gift with the re-release of Ne Zha which debuted stateside last August.
In Ne Zha, the titular young boy is born from a heavenly pearl by the Primeval Lord of Heaven, Yuanshi Tianzun. Born with unique powers, he finds himself as an outcast who is hated and feared. Destined by prophecy to bring destruction to the world, the young boy must choose between good and evil in order to break the shackles of fate and become the hero.
The film opened stateside $1,015,755 and grossed over $3 million in its theatrical run. In China, it currently ranks as the highest-grossing animated feature in China’s film history with box office gross at $535 million. The animated feature is also the highest-grossing animated IMAX feature in China’s film history and the second highest-grossing local language IMAX feature of all time in the market.