REVIEW: Dnevnik masinovodje [Train Driver’s Diary] [2016]

“I wish you a quick first accident” Whether a result of suicide, drunken stupidity, or sheer dumb luck, train drivers the world over kill people. You’d like to believe it’s a rarity, but the truth is most likely the opposite. What then is life like for those who’ve chosen this profession? They’re constantly on alert, […]

BIFF17 REVIEW: Mermaids [2017]

“All tails are welcome here” On first blush Ali Weinstein‘s documentary Mermaids focuses its glimpse at the titular sea myth’s power towards the whimsical and fun. She takes us from the days of old at Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park (which is still in operation) to a contemporary trend of mer-lovers creating or commissioning […]

BIFF17 REVIEW: Prodigy [2017]

“Love is the guise under which selfishness operates” Guilt is a powerful thing. It can make you act in ways that go against your own survival and yet still ensure those actions are selfishly motivated. You aren’t necessarily acting to help another or have their best interests in mind. You’re goal is to make-up for […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Princesita [2017]

“The darker the night, the brighter the stars” Miguel (Marcelo Alonso) compares God to a fire when explaining how the ones our religions’ sacred books describe aren’t quite right. Our creator is simpler than those iterations. He has the power to turn wood into ash and water into steam. He has the power to transform. […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Vinterbrødre [Winter Brothers] [2017]

“Everyone has a little darkness in them” It opens in darkness—the beams from headlamp flashlights and sparks of metal on rock our only points of illumination. This is the oppressive environment holding the over-worked and under-paid miners while their boss sits in his factory office without a care as to who the men in his […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Of Sheep and Men [2017]

“In this country, the big fish eat the small fish” It’s the cusp of Eid in Algiers, Bab el Oued circa 2016 and the rams are running wild. Well, not wild per se considering each is bought, sold, and always owned. They seem to be a huge staple in this impoverished town as a means […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: شيخ جاكسون [Sheikh Jackson] [2017]

“You can’t guarantee living till tomorrow” The thing I could never wrap my head around religious-wise is the idea of strict right and wrong. As a Catholic it’s somewhat easy as far as sin and repentance. You’re allowed to do a lot as long as you feel remorse and guilt enough to learn your lesson. […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Licht [Mademoiselle Paradis] [2017]

“If you cannot see, you are not seen” Maria Theresia von Paradis was the daughter of Empress Maria Theresa’s Court Councilor and thus a young woman of standing despite the blindness that took her eyes before the age of five. Her father Joseph Anton and mother Maria Rosalia had the means to therefore teach her […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Soldatii. Poveste din Ferentari [Soldiers. Story From Ferentari] [2017]

“Come here before I get angry” Based on lead actor Adrian Schiop‘s fictionalized biography, Ivana Mladenovic‘s Soldatii. Poveste din Ferentari [Soldiers. Story From Ferentari] shows a world of poverty and futility possessing few avenues of escape for those born within. Schiop’s character Adi arrives at the Bucharest ghetto known as Ferentari to study its people’s […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Lady Bird [2017]

“Love and attention” After a string of critical hits hinging upon her trademarked quirk as self-absorbed twenty-somethings trying to cut a path in life, Greta Gerwig has decided to transpose that template onto a tale of teenage angst with her directorial debut Lady Bird. The first step was finding a kindred spirit in Saoirse Ronan […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Disobedience [2018]

“We must then choose the tangled lives we live” It starts with a London-based rabbi speaking from his heart about the complexities of life. He stammers through—obviously ailing—until collapse. Suddenly we’re in New York City watching a photographer in-session with tattooed seniors. The phone rings and we know. She (Rachel Weisz‘s Ronit Krushka) is the […]