Named after a genre of cinema popular towards the end of the 1890s, in which a cameraman was mounted to the front of a moving vehicle to give the illusion of movement, Stephen Broomer’s Phantom Ride (2019) transports us to a past that feels irrevocably and painfully lost.
To celebrate its 50th anniversary, this year the Berlinale’s independently organized Forum sidebar put together a retrospective of films derived from its inaugural edition. Bringing the Forum’s 1971 program back to the big screen saw films like David Larcher’s Mare’s Tail (1968), Howard Alk’s The Murder of Fred Hampton (1971), and Alexandr Medvedkin’s Happiness (1935) screen alongside new works from directors like Radu Jude, James Benning, and Laura Huertas Millán.
Adapted from Jerzy Kosiński’s 1965 novel, Václav Marhoul’s The Painted Bird comes at the viewer with its talons bared; an affront that asks audiences to stomach a vision of war marked by acts of barbarism and sexual deviancy. The film follows an unnamed boy of Jewish heritage (Petr Kotlár), as he embarks on a nightmarish voyage through an austere and implacable wilderness, where characters cross paths like ghosts, and violence strikes as suddenly as lightning.
Imran Perretta’s The Destructors borrows its title from Graham Greene’s short story about a gang of boys who set out to demolish a house that survived the Blitz. Born to Bangladeshi parents, Perretta combines his own experience of growing up during the War on Terror with Greene’s tale of postwar disaffection to explore the trauma inflicted on Muslim bodies by the UK’s counterterrorism laws. In 2003, the UK introduced Prevent. Originally implemented to dissuade vulnerable youths from joining e...
Feature: 2019 Impressions - Jeremy Deller’s Everybody in the Place and Mark Leckey’s O’Magic Power of Bleakness
For Kinoscope’s second annual “Impressions” feature, I wrote about Jeremy Deller’s Everybody in the Place and Mark Leckey’s O’Magic Power of Bleakness, and how they highlighted the importance of creating spaces where solidarity and camaraderie can be fostered.
I voted in Kinoscope's 'best of the 2010s' poll. My individual list is below:
1. Stray Dogs (Tsai Ming-liang, 2013)
2. Under the Skin (Jonathan Glazer, 2013)
3. Hard to Be a God (Aleksey German, 2013)
4. The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer, Anonymous, and Chrstine Cynn, 2012)
5. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (Nuri Bilge Ceylan, 2011)
6. O.J.: Made in America (Ezra Edelman, 2016)
7. Song of Granite (Pat Collins, 2017)
8. Old Dog (Pema Tseden, 2011)
9. Margaret (Kenneth Lonergan, 2011)
10. Ray & Liz (Richard Billingham, 2018)
A tale of jealousy and obscure desires, Lee Chang-dong’s Burning has all the qualities you’d expect from a murder-mystery; but look closely and you’ll find something simmering below the surface. Adapted from Haruki Murakami’s short story Barn Burning, Lee’s long-awaited follow-up to 2010's Poetry shifts from romance to tragedy before settling on something far more sinister. Observing the conflict that arises when economic desperation and bruised masculinity collide, Burning is an emotionally ruthless portrait of the widening class divide that seethes and smoulders with an insidious rage.
As the curtain fell on the 23rd edition of the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, Anshul Chauhan’s Kontora walked away with the Grand Prix prize. However, the most powerful films at this year’s event were those haunted by spectres of the past – from Rene van Pannevis’ FIPRESCI Prize winner Looted, where the death of Britain’s fishing industry looms like a pregnant storm cloud, to Elsa Kremser and Levin Peter’s Space Dogs, in which the ghost of a canine cosmonaut haunts the streets of Moscow.
Now in its 15th year, the 25 FPS International Experimental Film and Video Festival has become an important platform for promoting independent and non-commercial cinema. The festival, held in Zagreb’s Student Centre, is part of the Croatian capital’s long history of nurturing avant-garde filmmaking. In the 1960s, Dr. Mihovil Pansini, a physician-turned-critic, founded the Genre Experimental Film Festival — a forum where intellectuals and cinema enthusiasts from across Yugoslavia could exchang...
In 1791, the enslaved people of the French colony of Saint-Domingue took up arms and liberated themselves. Today, Saint-Domingue is known as Haiti. Yet despite sounding the death knell for the African slave trade, the Haitian Revolution is often relegated to the footnotes of history. Is this a product of the Western-centered gaze, or does it speak to a darker facet of society? How has the world’s most successful slave uprising been so easily forgotten? These questions came to the fore in seve...
To say the films of Ken Loach are considered landmarks of British social realism would be putting it mildly. From Cathy Come Home (1966) to Riff-Raff (1991) and Ladybird Ladybird (1994), he’s renowned for his sympathetic tales of those at the very bottom of the social hierarchy, whose hardships and struggles he articulates with an activist’s energy. It’s not surprising then that his best work tends to arrive during periods of heightened austerity, like his latest, Sorry We Missed You...
“After these reforms, there was a period of drastic change,” Zhao Liang says, referring to Deng Xiaoping’s “Four Modernizations,” a project adopted by the Chinese Communist Party in the late 1970s to rejuvenate the country’s failing economy. These reforms made it easier for directors like Zhao to make films, but China’s adoption of capitalistic practices also created a divide between those who grew up in a planned economy and those raised in the competitiveness of the free market.
While waiting for his wife in a busy restaurant, a middle-aged lawyer named Claudio (Grandinetti) is accosted by a nervous-looking stranger. He demands Claudio give up his table so he can order, which Claudio reluctantly acquiesces to. But this is regional Argentina, in 1975, and although the coup d’état that ousted Isabel Perón won’t happen for another few months, the threat of violence is palpable. Their quarrel doesn’t stop here, and things turn ugly when Claudio begins psychoanalysing the man’s behaviour. He responds violently, ranting loudly about Nazis before being forcibly ejected.
Painstakingly assembled from hours of raw footage, Sergei Loznitsa’s The Trial chronicles the court case of several scientists accused of plotting a coup against the government of the USSR. Continuing the director’s preoccupation with Soviet history, the footage was originally shot in 1930, and depicts one of Joseph Stalin’s first ever show trials. Hearings like these would eventually become an important agitational tool of Stalin’s Central Committee, but history often obscures as much as it reveals, and even though the events that unfold are real...
“Right now, this festival is a small seed, but hopefully in 100 years it’ll grow into a huge oak,” announced festival organiser Ingibjörg Halldórsdóttir during the closing ceremony of the inaugural edition of IceDocs. Despite being only 40 minutes away from Reykjavík, Ingibjörg’s hometown of Akranes has largely missed out on the tourist boom that has fuelled the Icelandic economy. But hopefully that’s about to change, as this former fishing town in Western Iceland is now home to the country’s first-ever documentary film festival.