TIFF19 REVIEW: Pesar-Madar [Son-Mother] [2019]

“Would you do it?” Directed by Mahnaz Mohammadi (her feature fiction debut) and written by Mohammad Rasoulof (a renowned Iranian filmmaker), Pesar-Madar [Son-Mother] is about exactly what its title infers. The labels themselves are somewhat subverted, though. Split into two halves with interstitials, “Son” actually centers on Leila (Raha Khodayari) while “Mother” stars Amir (Mahan […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Nobadi [2019]

“Stop calling me bloody master!” Heinrich Senft (Heinz Trixner) is alone on his little patch of land within a gated senior citizen community, his pension sustaining ready-made meals and the care for his dog Argus. When the latter passes away suddenly in the night, Heinrich has nowhere to project his grief but the veterinarian who […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Tammy’s Always Dying [2019]

“I just want to play the game” You have to give credit to any story that allows its despicable characters to be despicable without also demanding forgiveness from their victim. This is especially true in tales concerning a parent and child considering society seems to crave this ideal that the former is due some benefit […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: The Report [2019]

“It’s based on science” It matters that Diane Feinstein and other Senators (John McCain included) fought to make the Intelligence Committee’s report on “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” public because it held information the American people needed to know about how the CIA conducted itself after 9/11. While many would say the fact nobody has been prosecuted […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Just Mercy [2019]

“Trees swaying in the breeze” The story of Walter McMillian’s incarceration and subsequent time on death row is a powerful one with themes spanning police corruption, Southern racism, and justice itself as a means of finding truth rather than convenience. This is an innocent man with a concrete alibi sentenced to death because of coerced […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Ema [2019]

“You’ll forget all this” There’s a lot to unpack in Pablo Larraín‘s dance film Ema. From two lead characters as unreliable to the plot as they are fickle with each other to an elaborate scheme preying on the weaknesses of man and the pleasures of flesh, it’s tough to know what the director wants us […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: The Lighthouse [2019]

“Bad luck to kill a seabird” You can stop yourself from worrying about story the moment you sit down for Robert Eggers‘ The Lighthouse since there is none—at least none of value besides the simple premise of two men isolated on a foggy island with nothing but their wits (and nightmares) about them. Thomas Wake […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Håp [Hope] [2019]

“What do we tell the kids?” Tomas (Stellan Skarsgård) was married with three children when Anja (Andrea Bræin Hovig) met him. She didn’t want to fall in love, but twenty years and three more kids later show that’s exactly what happened. When Anja raised their babies, Tomas worked—a lot. When it was time for her […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Marian paratiisi [Maria’s Paradise] [2019]

“God will punish you” At twelve years old, Maria Åkerblom heard the voice of an angel. It came in a dream and she spoke its words to those around her as though in a trance. She became a traveling sensation as soon as the pious caught on going city to city to tell God-fearing Finnish […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Antigone [2019]

“My heart says to help my brother” A lot of people die during Sophocles‘ Antigone. The death of Oedipus puts his sons Eteocles and Polynices on the throne, their deaths spark their titular sister to fight for the latter’s right to be buried, and her eventual suicide leads to more dead bodies as only a […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: 1982 [2019]

“Don’t invite the war into our home” Before 2007, all Lebanese men were conscripted to serve in the military for at least one year. I’ve heard from multiple people that it wasn’t a question of citizenship, but ethnicity. If I ever visited before that year, I wouldn’t have been able to return to America without […]