REVIEW: Synonymes [Synonyms] [2019]

“Do not look up” Israel has no future in Yaov’s (Tom Mercier) mind. It’s dead and he refuses to die with it even if he just risked dying for it to earn a silver star in the military. Why? Because his country won’t admit its failures or mistakes. They are victors. That’s it. They are […]

REVIEW: Portrait de la jeune fille en feu [Portrait of a Lady on Fire] [2019]

“Don’t regret. Remember.” An eighteenth century Italian countess (Valeria Golino) still residing at the French estate of her late husband has decided she’d like to return home. The best way to accomplish this is marrying off one of her daughters to an affluent Milanese suitor since doing so would secure both their futures while also […]

REVIEW: プロメア [Puromea] [Promare] [2019]

“Oil and water as one!” Its mechs vs. monsters storyline starts pretty straightforward. The latter are born from a mysterious mutation that gives a select percentage of the Earth’s population combustion powers that they simply couldn’t control at the time of the “Great World Blaze” en route to causing a mass genocide it’s taken three […]

REVIEW: Atlantique [Atlantics] [2019]

“The spirits are scared of me” French writer/director Mati Diop made a documentary short ten years ago about a group of Senegalese friends who risk their lives to sail along the coast of Africa into Spain with the hope of better lives upon their arrival. It almost seems natural then that her first feature length […]

REVIEW: J’ai perdu mon corps [I Lost My Body] [2019]

“You can’t always win” I think Netflix is doing J’ai perdu mon corps [I Lost My Body] a disservice by using the word “romance” to describe it wherever I look. Jérémy Clapin‘s animated film is most definitely not that. While Guillaume Laurant‘s novel Happy Hand—which he and Clapin adapted—might have been (I haven’t read it), […]

REVIEW: For Sama [2019]

“I don’t regret anything” After five years of footage depicting the rapid decline in Aleppo as college protests turn to rebellion with a dictatorial regime finding friends in Russia to decimate innocent civilians it intentionally refuses to differentiate from soldiers and extremists, Waad al-Kateab realizes that the snippets she’s uploaded to expose these atrocities to […]

OIFF19 REVIEW: סיבת המוות [Cause of Death] [2019]

“I can’t stop thinking about it” Director Ramy A Katz leaves three text cards at the end of his Cause of Death to share responses to the film that were supplied by the Israeli police department, Ministry of Health, and the medical examiner of Officer Salim Barakat’s body upon his death at the scene of […]

OIFF19 REVIEW: Mafak [Screwdriver] [2019]

“I didn’t even cry” You hate to think of the United States as a warzone and yet that’s exactly what it is in many respects. Whether a for-profit prison system leaving a largely Black population disenfranchised, unemployable, and haunted or caged children who crossed the Southern border for asylum only to be scarred by the […]

ANOMALY19 REVIEW: Bacurau [2019]

“A feast of fear and terror” It’s been awhile since Teresa (Bárbara Colen) last stepped foot in Bacurau, the small Brazilian village where she was born. Escape has proven the only way to become known outside of one’s neighbors since those who remain entrenched by choice (or necessity) are more or less the sole providers […]

OIFF19 REVIEW: Advocate [2019]

“It’s always heavy” The crucial truth within Rachel Leah Jones and Philippe Bellaiche‘s documentary Advocate arrives courtesy of their subject Lea Tsemel. She explains how there will be no end to the violence between Israelis and Palestinians until a human understanding of the motives can be reached. Israel’s staunch stance as the unequivocal victim was […]

REVIEW: Dolor y gloria [Pain & Glory] [2019]

“Compassionate and controlled” A lot has been said about Pedro Almodóvar‘s latest film Dolor y gloria [Pain & Glory] being autofiction, but the director says it best himself when explaining that the character (Antonio Banderas‘ Salvador Mallo) “wasn’t me, but was inside me.” There’s power to that statement because it accepts the notion that everything […]