Award-winning actor Tom Hanks stars in novel-to-movie dramedy ‘A Hologram for the King’

Adapted from the novel by Dave Eggers, “A Hologram for the King,” starring Tom Hanks is set in a rising Saudi Arabian city, far from weary, recession-scarred America, a struggling businessman pursues a last-ditch attempt to stave off foreclosure, pay his daughter’s college tuition, and finally do something great. In A Hologram for the King, author Dave Eggers takes us around the world to show how one man fights to hold himself and his splintering family together in the face of the global economy’s gale-force winds. This taut, richly layered, and elegiac novel turned movie is a powerful evocation of our contemporary moment — and a moving story of how we got here.

This latest Tom Hanks starrer is directed by Tom Tykwer who has solidly established himself as a young Spielberg for this well-endowed type of international co-productionalism that basically milks state funds on a global scale. What Tykwer likes about “A Hologram for the King” Tykwer is its tacky surrealism, and he indulges in it. Tom Hanks is the fool in the dunes, but he gets a nice bath in the end, and even romance. When was the last time anyone thought of putting Hanks in a sex scene? That must have been Philadelphia, again. But then Saudi-Arabia is so strait-laced that even Everyman has an edge.

After Tom Hanks gave Dave Eggers’ National Book Award-nominated novel A Hologram for the King a rave review on his Twitter feed in 2012, only one issue remained unresolved for the two-time Oscar-winning actor. “I was already a big fan of Dave Eggers’ work, having read a bunch of his stuff including things he did with McSweeney’s literary review,” Hanks says. “Then I read A Hologram for the King in one sitting and my only question when I finished it was whether or not he wanted a movie made out of his book.”

German filmmaker Tom Tykwer, who co-directed Hanks in the 2012 sci-fi epic “Cloud Atlas,” felt just as strongly about the source material. “A Hologram for the King hit a very particular nerve in me,” Tykwer recalls. “It was the most contemporary novel I’d read in a very long time so I felt like it couldn’t wait: this story had to be made into a movie. It’s very much about now, yet it still it has the sense of a classic novel in that it’s a book for all times. I found that to be a brilliant mix so I turned into this very pushy machine trying to put the movie together as fast as I could.”

Tykwer, who had worked with author Eggers previously on a miniseries adaptation of the San Francisco-based author’s novel “What Is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng,” arranged a meeting with Hanks and Eggers at a Los Angeles hotel. After pitching his ideas for the book’s cinematic adaptation, Tykwer and Eggers came to a very un-Hollywood-like agreement. “Dave and I trust each other,” the director explains. “I love that he offered to get rid of all the contract stuff and just write on some piece of paper ‘I promise not to be an asshole’ and then we would both sign it. We’re very much on the same page when it comes to artistic exchange. Dave understands that once you let somebody take over your vision, you have to keep some distance.”

Tykwer was equally excited about partnering once again with Hanks. “Working with Tom is liberating for a filmmaker because he’s so open-minded to every moment and every situation,” Tykwer says. “He’s like a superintelligent child who comes into a room and says, ‘Okay, what are our toys?’ And then, ‘Let’s explore what we can do with them!’ That’s super inspiring because when you come up with a new idea, he picks it up really greedily and does something with it in a wonderfully playful way.”

“A Hologram for the King” opens June 1, 2016 in cinemas to be released by OctoArts Films International.

Cinematheque Centre Manila holds free screenings of Spanish thrillers

Instituto Cervantes and the Embassy of Spain, in cooperation with the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), present the film cycle “Spanish Thrillers”, a series of Spanish movies to be shown every Saturday in June at the FDCP Cinematheque.

With the arrival of the Democracy to Spain in 1976, these thrillers reflect a fresh outlook brought about by a new generation of filmmakers. Thanks to their intriguing storyline, out-of-the-box concepts combined with clever acting and direction as well as a perfect execution, Spanish thrillers have won popularity worldwide. This film cycle is an opportunity to enjoy four gems of a genre that is booming in Spanish cinema.

June 4 (Saturday) • 4:00 PM

The film series will kick-off on Saturday, 4 June at 4 p.m. with “Tesis” (Thesis), a disturbing thriller about the depiction of violence by the media. Angela is a university student who is preparing a thesis on media violence. To complement her work, her adviser agrees to search the reserved area of the university library for material, but the next day he is found dead. Angela meets Chema, a fellow student and expert of gore and porn films, and Bosco, a strange boy and close friend of a young woman who was murdered in a snuff movie. Released in 1996, the opera prima of Spanish filmmaker Alejandro Amenábar garnered seven Goya Awards (Best Film and Best Script among them), and has become over the years a classic of the genre.

June 11 (Saturday) • 4:00 PM

Enrique Urbizu’s “La caja 507” (Box 507) will be the second installment of this film cycle. The movie, to be shown on June 11, at 4 p.m., is a gripping thriller with a social message, as well as a prime example of the film quality Spain is known for.

Modesto, an honest and responsible professional, is a manager of a small bank branch in the Costa del Sol. His daughter dies in a forest fire that is believed to be accidental. One day due to a robbery that takes place in the bank several safety-deposit boxes are pried open. Modesto mistakenly looks into one of the deposit boxes and stumbles across documents that prove that his daughter’s death was not an accident. From that day on, he sets on a personal crusade for justice. A movie that is well-directed and acted, La caja 507 won several awards both in Spain and abroad, and enjoyed a very successful career at film festivals around the world.

June 18 (Saturday) • 4:00 PM

Also directed by Enrique Urbizu, who has become a master of the genre, is “No habrá paz para los malvados” (No Rest for the Wicked). This film will be shown on Saturday, 18 June, at 4 p.m. The film, produced in 2011, tells the story of Santos Trinidad (played by José Coronado), a cop with an outstanding record but was relegated after an obscure incident that ruined his career and turned him into an alcoholic and angry loner. One night Santos finds himself implicated in a triple homicide in an after-hours club. José Coronado’s monumental performance rewarded him several acting awards, as did Urbizu’s fine directing win him two Goyas as the Best Director and Best Screenplay.

June 25 (Saturday) • 4:00 PM

Directed by Jaume Balagueró in 2011, “Mientras duermes” (Sleep Tight) will close the film series on the 25th of June at 4 p.m. César works as a doorman in an apartment building in Barcelona. He goes about his day to day work mainly unnoticed by the residents of the building yet he pays close attention to them. He knows all the intimate details of their lives, everything about them and one in particular –Clara, a happy-go-lucky young woman, who always looks on the positive side of things, and whose cheery attitude to life makes Cesar’ skin crawl. In Clara he has found the perfect target, and he will go to extreme lengths to make her life miserable. An artistic and commercial success, Mientras duermes enjoyed quite a success in film festivals worldwide, receiving more than 30 awards and nominations.

All films will be shown in original version in Spanish with English subtitles. The screenings will take place at the Cinematheque of FDCP, at 855 T. M. Kalaw Street, Ermita, Manila. Time: 4 p.m. ADMISSION is FREE on a first-come, first-served basis. For further information please log on to Instituto Cervantes’ website, or call 526-1482.