REVIEW: November [2017]

“The two of you with your frozen souls” What is the point of having a soul if everyone around you doesn’t? I think that’s the central question asked by Rainer Sarnet‘s November, a bleakly told Estonian fairy tale tragedy adapted from Andrus Kivirähk‘s novel Rehepapp. At its core is romance—the kind based in unrequited love […]

REVIEW: La passion de Jeanne d’Arc [The Passion of Joan of Arc] [1928]

“His ways are not our ways” The history of Carl Theodor Dreyer‘s masterwork La passion de Jeanne d’Arc [The Passion of Joan of Arc] is almost too perfectly attuned to the subject matter itself. Here was a renowned director hired to craft a movie about France’s most famous Catholic despite being neither French nor Catholic. […]

BERLINALE18 REVIEW: Les rois mongols [Cross My Heart] [2018]

“They’re good guys doing bad things” While you can debate the success of politically motivated events like 1970’s October Crisis in Quebec, Canada, you can’t question their danger removed from the cause. The media reports the carnage whether terrorist bombings or kidnappings and murder. They provide an objective account of what’s happening—in this case the […]

BERLINALE18 REVIEW: Cobain [2018]

“My little man” There’s a scene in Nanouk Leopold‘s Cobain where the titular fifteen year-old (Bas Keizer) tells his estranged, junkie mother Mia (Naomi Velissariou) that he wants to help. Her response is to ask whether she cares about what he does, the answer tragically understood before his mouth utters the word “No.” To watch […]

REVIEW: Watu Wote [All of Us] [2017]

“You’ll have to kill us all” It’s dispiriting to constantly watch as Muslims are forced to defend themselves against the bigotry of Catholics who blindly reject their entire religion as one synonymous with terrorism. Looking back upon history (and the present) to see the horrors committed by Christians under the guise of “acts of God” […]

REVIEW: Ava [2017]

“They won’t spoil our summer” Knowing your sight will leave you prematurely is a tough pill to swallow. Being told at age thirteen that the process had sped up to the point where all night vision would be gone by summer’s end is nothing short of devastating. Unfortunately this is the news Ava (Noée Abita) […]

REVIEW: The Road Movie [2018]

“Did we record?” I’d like to know the regulations for automobile tires in Russia because Dmitrii Kalashnikov‘s dash-cam compilation documentary The Road Movie has too many violent fishtails and gravity-enforced overturns to not have its audience infer the country as being riddled with bald tires. Some incidents occur in snowy conditions, but others don’t. Speed […]

REVIEW: アンチポルノ [Anchiporuno] [Antiporno] [2017]

“Go on without me” Escape while you’re young because the longer you wait the more trapped you become. In this way we’re all lizards encased in glass bottles—a motif that runs throughout Sion Sono‘sアンチポルノ [Anchiporuno] [Antiporno], the director’s entry into Nikkatsu’s “Roman Porno” reboot forty years after giving birth to the genre. It’s during adolescence […]

REVIEW: 120 battements par minute [BPM (Beats per Minute)] [2017]

“You can’t split responsibility” At one point during Robin Campillo‘s 120 battements par minute [BPM (Beats per Minute)] a high school girl tells a group of ACT UP Paris members that she doesn’t have to worry about AIDS because she’s not gay. It’s a horrific glimpse at the unconscionable lack of information sexually active teenagers […]

REVIEW: Una Mujer Fantástica [A Fantastic Woman] [2017]

“You didn’t have to treat me like a criminal” One of the worst experiences we endure is the loss of a loved one. It’s inevitable and yet no amount of preparation can truly soften the blow when it occurs. And it will occur more than once as parents, friends, spouses, and children grow within a […]

REVIEW: Nocturama [2016]

“It was bound to happen” What if a devastating act of violence was committed without purpose? Does it still have meaning? The answer of course is “yes” since such an attack leaves victims whether dead or psychologically scarred. Consequences reverberate well past borders of the town, country, and continent in which they occur because of […]