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This week at the kino: Sci-fi, soul and strippers

Film fests galore! Catch stand-outs from Around The World In 14 Films, French Film Week and Berlin Sci-Fi Fest. Plus don't miss the new Aretha Franklin doc "Amazing Grace", J. Lo's "Hustlers", and more happening in the Berlin film world this week.

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Photo courtesy of Motion Picture Artwork, 2019 STX Financing, LLC. Catch Hustlers in Berlin cinemas now!

It’s a busy time on the festival front at the moment, with something for everyone. Around The World In 14 Films festival is still on and ends on Saturday (Nov 30) – make sure to make the most of it, and don’t miss out on their closing night, featuring Lulu Wang’s The Farewell and Benedict Andrews’ Seberg. Elsewhere, the Russian Film Week kicked off this week and lasts until December 1, and the French Film Week started yesterday and goes until December 4 – check out our festival preview. Lastly, the Berlin Sci-Fi Fest is on from midday to midnight this Friday (Nov 29) and Saturday (Nov 30) at Babylon, with readings, Q&A sessions with filmmakers and screenings of short and feature-length sci-fi movies from around the world.

It’s a strong week for general releases, with two highly recommended new films. The first is Amazing Grace, the fantastic, life-affirming concert film that captures the late Aretha Franklin at the height of her powers. We interviewed the film’s director, Alan Elliott, who took over when original director Sydney Pollack passed away. 

The second is Robert Eggers’ sophomore film, The Lighthouse, a fever dream of a film about two lighthouse keepers descending into alcohol-fuelled madness. It was heralded as one of this year’s best at Cannes and proves that the director’s fantastically eerie debut, The Witch, was no fluke. 

If the Queen of Soul isn’t your jam (heathens!) and phantasmagorical horror doesn’t appeal, two films vying for your attention this week feature grifters. Lorene Scafaria’s Hustlers is a very entertaining story of former strip club employees who turn the tables on their Wall Street clients in the wake of 2008’s stock market crash, featuring an awards-primed turn from Jennifer Lopez. Choose to watch this one above The Good Liar, which, despite its eye-wateringly good cast (Ian McKellen and Helen Mirren) falls short of being a memorable con-artist drama, and will make you feel conned out of your hard-earned cash.

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