The 5 most controversial movies playing in Manchester next month

MANIFF

Cinema has always possessed a strange power to evoke terror, anger or distress. 

One of the first movies ever beamed onto the big screen, "Train Pulling into a Station", sent audiences into pure panic with never-before-seen moving images of a locomotive driving towards the camera.

The initial 12-reel film, D.W. Griffith's 1915 epic "The Birth of a Nation", broke new cinematic ground whilst inciting furious protests for its portrayal of the Ku Klux Klan as heroes.

And during the premiere of the surrealist film "Un Chien Andalou" in 1928, director Luis Bunuel supposedly stood behind the screen with stones in his pockets in anticipation of a disgusted backlash from the crowd.

For as long as movies have been around, there has been controversy. And there always will be.

In fact, some of the most polemic movies of 2020 are playing right around the corner at Manchester International Film Festival between 7 and 15 March.

We've listed five below that are guaranteed to cause a stir.

Mosley

Max Mosley's long-reigning tenure as President of FIA, the governing body for Formula One, was the subject of intense media attention and riddled with controversy.

Working as a powerful figure in single-seat auto racing for many years, Mosley amassed a long list of enemies during that time -  even engaging in war with the English press and Google.

Michael Shevloff's documentary picture is an unflinching look at the life and career of a man surrounded by scandal, exploring Mosley's relationship with father Oswald - an old leader of the British Union of Fascists before WWII - and the fallout from the infamous orgy that made its way onto the front pages of the newspapers.

Mosley screens on Sunday 8 March at 3:15PM and is followed by a director Q&A

Hungry Joe

"He's a growing boy"

An ambitious social realist horror from writer-directors Paul Holbrook and Sam Dawe, "Hungry Joe" depicts a single mother struggling to connect with her child and his insatiable appetite.

She becomes increasingly disturbed as her son's voracious hunger moves into inhumane territory and he appears more interested in consuming than conversation.

Describing the movie, Holbrook said: "Imagine if Shane Meadows or Lynne Ramsay directed Cronenberg's ‘The Fly’ and you’d be in a similar head space."

Hungry Joe screens in the Shorts 12 section on Friday 13 March at 8pm. 

Hypnosis

A slick, dread-filled piece of pure horror, the French-produced "Hypnosis" follows a demented figure stalking a pregnant woman in the dead of night.

Directed by Grégoire Vaillant and Charles-Edouard Dangelser, this stylishly-shot short runs for just seven minutes. But it will linger in the mind of audiences for much, much longer.

Hypnosis screens in the Shorts 12 section on Friday 13 March at 8pm. 

Trip's Duplage

Stephanie Beacham/Instagram/Trip's Duplage/Seaseven Pictures

Shot in beautiful, eerie black-and-white, "Trip's Duplage" is an unsettling fifteen-minute dive into the world of a toy boy (Trip) who murders his older lover - an actress named Duplage.

In an attempt to simultaneously hide his crime and embrace the spotlight that has evaded him for so long, Trip embraces Duplage's identity.

Trip's Duplage screens in the Shorts 13 section on Saturday 14 March at 1PM. 

Battle Royale

As well as hosting some deeply controversial pieces of debut filmmaking, MANIFF is also paying tribute to a problematic movie of yesteryear that's acquired cult status since its original release in 2000.

"Battle Royale", the Japanese dystopian thriller by Kinji Fukasaku, is part of MANIFF's Twenty in 20 showcase, which honours some of the greatest films enjoying their 20th birthdays.

The picture has been subject to acclaim and condemnation over the past two decades; portraying a future where the government forces students to fight one another under the revolutionary Battle Royale Act until there's a last man standing.

The concept would go on to inspire the likes of "The Hunger Games", albeit in far more of a family-friendly format.

Battle Royale will play on Friday 13 March at 9:45pm. 

To access all films, Q&As and parties at MANIFF during its one-week run, head over to the website to grab a Full Festival Pass.

Learn more about the festival programme here.

Get your tickets...

MANIFF

To access all films, Q&As and parties at MANIFF during its one-week run, head over to the website to grab a Full Festival Pass.

Learn more about the festival programme here.

Got a video/story?

Let us know!