Top Film Releases In July: Midsummer Fun

Daniel Pateman

Suffering from vacation envy? Well, pack a suitcase, because Culture Calling has your back! This month cinema can offer the pagan merriment of rural Sweden in Midsommar, or the promise of romance against the historic backdrop of Never Look Away’s Berlin. Maybe just blitz your bucket list and take a monster tour of Europe, a la Spider-man: Far From Home. If they don’t entice, stay in the UK and indulge in some retail therapy with In Fabric. You could bag yourself a killer new dress.

Ari Aster’s Midsommar does little to reverse the trend of imperilled Americans abroad. His tale of a relationship on the rocks takes a turn for the worse when personal tragedy strikes, with Christian and Dani taking a conciliatory trip to a Swedish festival that only occurs every ninety years. There, they find themselves caught up in sinister pagan rituals, at a time of year when the sun barely sets. Starring Florence Pugh and described by the director as “a breakup movie dressed in the clothes of a folk horror film,” expect a freaky fusion of The Wicker Man’s pagan antics and Hereditary’s psychological assault-course. 

Unseasonal like our summer weather, In Fabric takes place during the January sales in a Thames Valley town. Marianne Jean-Baptiste plays a divorced mother who, needing a bit of an ego-boost, purchases the perfect dress from a store seemingly out of a Stephen King novel. The snug red number has a vicious history however, having brought misfortune to its previous owners. Directed by art-house master Peter Strickland, In Fabric is a horror-comedy that warns against the consumptive lure of consumerism, with a visual flair paying homage to the Italian gialli of the 1970s. Described by Clarisse Loughrey as “Suspiria in a department store”, it’s a must-see for any discerning horror fan.

For those with a hulk-sized hole in their lives after Avengers: Endgame, don’t fear: your next serving of MCU has arrived. Spider-Man: Far From Home sees Peter Parker hanging up his webslingers for a school trip to Europe with friends Ned and MJ. Nick Fury, however, has other ideas: enlisting Spider-Man to help solve the appearance of multiple trans-dimensional beings - dubbed 'elementals' - across the continent. Introducing Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio, Spider-Man: Far From Home combines blockbusting spectacle with an amusingly light tone, with the film described as “constantly funny, surprising and thrilling” (Ian Sandwell, Digital Spy) and “breezily unpredictable” (Rotten Tomatoes).

Grounding us now in the recognisable reality of European history, Never Look Away is a German drama full of personal and historic upheaval. Inspired by the life of acclaimed artist Gerhard Richter, the film charts the protagonist Kurt’s life, from a childhood in Nazi Germany to post-war East Berlin. There he falls in love, although with a girl whose father turns out to be an ex-Nazi murderer. As the Cold War dawns, and the Berlin Wall is erected, he escapes to the West, where he eventually becomes part of a new movement in contemporary art. Starring Tom Schilling and helmed by the Academy Award winning director of The Lives of Others - it’s a poignant film that Ann Hornaday describes as “one of the most mesmerizing, compulsively watchable” of the year.

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