My dispatch from this year's Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, featuring capsule reviews of Bingo, Buddah.mov, Centaur, Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts, Namme, November, River's Edge, Secret Ingrediant, The Marriage, and The Night Accident.
I was invited to attend Filmfest Hamburg’s bicentennial as guest of the “Come To Hamburg” initiative; a project set up to highlight the city’s hidden treasures through the writing of culture and travel bloggers from around the world. Here's my dispatch from the festival, featuring reviews of Song of Granite (dir. Pat Collins), Taste of Cement (dir. Ziad Kalthoum) and Mrs Fang (dir. Wang Bing).
A moving story of self-discovery on the Yorkshire Dales, Francis Lee's God's Own Country isn't your average LGBT+ romance, something the director is keen to reiterate when we sat with him earlier this year at - of all places - the Transilvania International Film Festival.
A film about ‘Stalin’s Space Monkeys’ and a participatory documentary were among the highlights of this year’s festival.
While the Transilvania International Film Festival continues to promote the type of slow-burning social realism its national cinema has become renowned for, not all Romanian films are stylistically identical and there are countless filmmakers attempting to redefine the map of Romanian cinema.
Is death really the end? Katell Quillévéré's Heal the Living argues that death is merely the start of a much larger process. Adapted from Maylis de Kerangal's International Booker Prize-nominated novel Mend the Living, Quillévéré's latest is a medical procedural set over 24 hours, charting the transmigration of a heart after its donor Simon (Gabin Verdet), a 15-year-old surfer from the coastal city of Le Havre dies in a tragic road accident. While the news of Simon's death means tragedy for his family, it brings fresh hope to Claire (Anne Dorval), a middle-aged woman from the outskirts of Paris desperately in need of a heart transplant. We sat down with the Ivory Coast-born director prior to the film's UK release to discuss the difficulties of adapting Kerangal's novel.
In his critically acclaimed debut, Neighbouring Sounds, Brazilian director Kleber Mendonça Filho presented audiences with a multifaceted portrait of a middle-class community in Recife. His follow-up, Aquarius, shares the same location, but centers on the struggle of one woman, Clara (Sonia Braga), a 65-year-old music critic fighting to save her home from the clutches of a property developer. The focus might have narrowed, but both films share the same obsession with class and memory, with Filho once again using intelligent sound design to allude to the world outside the frame – one teeming with anxiety and political anger.
In light of last year's Oscars So White controversy, the eight Academy Award nominations bestowed on Barry Jenkins' Moonlight could have felt like a reactionary attempt to rectify the ceremony's lack of diversity. However, unlike other films that attempt to juggle big issues with commercial success, the hype surrounding Moonlight is entirely justified. Not only does Jenkins' depiction of Black masculinity bring a world rarely seen on the big screen to the forefront; he's also created a movie of immense beauty and emotional acuity.
Inspired by All This Panic, Jenny Gage’s spellbinding documentary following seven teenage girls growing up in Brooklyn, we look back at some of cinema's great female coming-of-age films
Coming-of-age stories have been a cinematic staple for decades, reconstituting the thematic characteristics of the novelistic Bildungsroman and projecting them on to the big screen. Sadly, the majority of these films have come from male directors, all too often culminating in little more than irrelevant nostalgia pieces, or revisionist investigations into the masculinity-in-crisis debate. Thankfully, however, the last decade has witnessed a surge of female voices entering the fray. Here are five coming-of-age films, by female directors, that dared to break the mould.
“You'll have no control over your mind or body anymore,” a midwife (Hartley) says while explaining to the pregnant Ruth (Lowe) that a high-pitched noise could cause milk to fire out of her nipples like a water canon. Little does she know that mum-to-be has already murdered someone at the behest of the malevolent foetus gestating inside her.
Here's a link to my coverage from the Berlinale, including the following reviews:
Adriana's Pact (Lissette Orozco), Ana, Mon Amour (Cãlin Peter Netzer), A Fantastic Woman (Sebastián Lelio), Barrage (Laura Schroeder), Call Me By Your Name (Luca Guadagnino), Casting JonBenet (Green), Centaur (Aktan Arym Kubat), Colo (Teresa Villaverde), Dayveon (Amman Abbasi), Félicité (Alain Gomis), God's Own Country (Francis Lee), Golden Exits (Alex Ross Perry), The Lost City of Z (James Gary)
My Happy Family (Nana Ekvtimishvili and Simon Gross), On Body and Soul (Ildikó Enyedi), Somniloquies (Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel), The Other Side of Hope (Aki Kaurismäki), The Party (Sally Potter), Vazante (Daniela Thomas), When The Day Had No Name (Teona Strugar Mitevska)
Ralitza Petrova's Locarno Golden Leopard winner Godless is the latest in an outpouring of punishing portraits of life in the New East. Rigidly conforming to the stark, unforgiving aesthetic now synonymous with post-soviet social realism, Petrova's debut is a gruelling exploration of the new political and cultural identities being forged in Bulgaria following the transition from socialism to a market economy.