REVIEW: 江湖儿女 [Jiang hu er nü] [Ash Is Purest White] [2018]

“Armed men tend to die first” The genesis of Zhangke Jia‘s Jiang hu er nü [Ash is Purest White] is intriguing. After thinking about cut scenes from two of his earlier films starring now wife Tao Zhao (Unknown Pleasures and Still Life), he found himself merging her characters into one. He saw this woman having […]

REVIEW: Rafiki [2018]

“We’re going to be something real” Some will dismiss Wanuri Kahiu‘s Rafiki as derivative simply because they refuse to see what makes it so special. They’ll mention its Romeo and Juliet parallel as far as having the children of opposing political candidates fall in love. They’ll compare it to generic love stories—and generic gay love […]

REVIEW: 情牽拉麵茶 [Ramen Teh] [Ramen Shop] [2018]

“He kept her memory alive with every bowl of ramen” While Eric Khoo‘s Ramen Teh [Ramen Shop] is at its core a story about a young man looking to reclaim a part of his heritage that was lost, it’s also a rather poignant account of the lasting scars of war and the struggle to separate […]

REVIEW: Le notti del terrore [Burial Ground] [1981]

“It’s a walking corpse!” The earth trembles and graves open just like Ragno Nero (Black Spider) foretold when talking about a non-descript “they” joining the living as messengers of death. A professor (Raimondo Barbieri) catalyzes this event when an underground discovery releases a horde of zombies onto him and the three couples he had already […]

REVIEW: Transit [2018]

“I won’t be writing anymore school essays” It took until the end of Christian Petzold‘s Transit and my reading the press notes to realize Georg’s (Franz Rogowski) story unfolded in the present day. I felt off-balance from the start as far as what the historical context for these events were because he was a German […]

REVIEW: Climax [2018]

“Anything” What would you do for the chance to work with the illustrious choreographer Selva (Sofia Boutella) and her DJ Daddy (Kiddy Smile)? According to the group of young dancers they interviewed: “Anything.” Some are coy when asking for context to the question with a smile and others are quick to pretty much say they’d […]

REVIEW: Ruben Brandt, Collector [2018]

“Characters from famous paintings continue to attack me” Writer/director Milorad Krstic has combined his love for painting and film into an action thriller as surreal as it is familiar. The whole uses his own unique animation style as a filter with which to recreate masterpieces of both visual mediums—each famed piece simultaneously recognizable as its […]

REVIEW: Gloria [2013]

“Are you always this happy?” While sitting next to her ex-husband (Alejandro Goic‘s Gabriel) at their adult son’s birthday party, Gloria (Paulina García) peers at old wedding photos and comments about how naïve they were. He of course tries shifting those sentiments by exclaiming they were in love, but she just smiles and repeats “naïve” […]

REVIEW: Ksiaze i dybuk [The Prince and the Dybbuk] [2018]

“He never spoke about his past” The title says it all: Ksiaze i dybuk [The Prince and the Dybbuk]. Rather than describe two separate entities, however, Elwira Niewiera and Piotr Rosolowski‘s documentary portrays director Michal Waszynski as both and neither. Their investigations lead them to multiple countries as close friends and basic strangers attempt to […]

REVIEW: Die Unsichtbaren [The Invisibles] [2019]

“After a little while you noticed that they were scared” We’re so used to stories of Holocaust survivors talking about what they endured inside the concentration camps that we forget around seven thousand Jewish men and women stayed hidden during World War II. While only about fifteen hundred ultimately walked away to live their lives […]

REVIEW: Werk ohne Autor [Never Look Away] [2018]

“Everything that’s true is beautiful” The thing that people who didn’t attend art school or don’t have a foundation in art history never understand is the reasoning behind postmodern art. They find it funny to reductively joke about how their three-year old child could net them a million dollars by scribbling on a canvas because […]