This weekend’s slate of new specialty films runs the gamut. Among the newcomers are examples of classical art house fare that have picked up accolades ahead of their release, while others are less traditional. Searchlight will open Belle, about a mixed-race woman who grew up amidst Britain’s aristocracy. Music Box Films is releasing Ida, a winner in Toronto and London about a woman who discovers her roots. First Run Features is bowing the documentary More Than The Rainbow, which hopes to capitalize on positive box office for docus about photography, while Gravitas is opening Bad Johnson, about a good-looking lad who is a hit with the ladies but gets into trouble when his appendage takes on human form no less.
The roots of Belle begin around 2005 after producer Damian Jones came across a story that eventually would be at the center of Belle. Set in 18th century England, the film was inspired by a painting commissioned by the Earl of Mansfield. The story centers on an illegitimate mixed-race daughter of a Royal Navy admiral who is raised by her aristocratic great-uncle. (more…)