REVIEW: Zama [2017]

“Europe is best remembered by those who were never there” A man speaks about a fish rejected by the water it needs to breathe, swimming back and forth to fight that current of repulsion and stay alive in the hopes of earning an opportunity to be desired, valued, and worthy of the life God has […]

BERLINALE19 REVIEW: Breve historia del planeta verde [Brief Story From the Green Planet] [2019]

“Don’t be scared of what you’re about to see” I have no idea what’s happening inside Santiago Loza‘s Breve historia del planeta verde [Brief Story from the Green Planet]. This quest on behalf of three outcast best friends since childhood to deliver an ailing alien to the place where one’s grandmother found it is disorienting […]

BERLINALE19 REVIEW: Querência [2019]

“Treme Terra” You don’t have to look much further than the definition of the title to understand writer/director Helvécio Marins Jr.‘s goals with Querência. Its English translation is “homing” and actually does a good job at getting to the heart of its Spanish metaphysics. The former deals with an animal’s ability to return to a […]

SUNDANCE19 REVIEW: Esto no es Berlín [This Is Not Berlin] [2019]

“You’re not your parents” It opens in slomotion with teenage bodies wrestling and punching inside chaotic dust swirls, one boy (Xabiani Ponce de León‘s Carlos) caught isolated in the middle of the frame. He’s not looking to hit any of the others. In fact he’s barely dodging out of the way when they come too […]

REVIEW: Fauve [2018]

“First one to laugh is dead” Youthful thoughts of immortality have a way of getting children into trouble as well as teaching them lessons able to scar them for life. For Tyler (Félix Grenier) and Benjamin (Alexandre Perreault) it’s a seemingly innocent game of one-upmanship wherein an indefinable state of superiority earns each a point […]

REVIEW: Marguerite [2017]

“I won’t live forever, you know” Stereotyping is proven real when an elderly Marguerite (Béatrice Picard) asks her nurse Rachel (Sandrine Bisson) if the person she was talking to on the phone was her boyfriend only to hear, “My girlfriend” instead. The woman’s face drops in surprise with an, “Oh” before finding a smile and […]

REVIEW: Madre [Mother] [2017]

“Why hasn’t he come back?” A woman (Marta Nieto‘s Marta) and her mother (Blanca Apilánez) arrive at the former’s apartment talking about men. Marta speaks about friends, her mother leans into romanticism when the subject of a handsome gentleman comes up, and some jealousy arrives when it’s explained that he’s already attached to someone else. […]

REVIEW: Komunia [Communion] [2016]

“I’m not the air” While learning about what to share with the priest during his first confession, young Nikodem is told that stuffing his face with food is a sin known as gluttony. The autistic boy giggles and jokes that he believes gluttony to be a virtue instead—one to replace love since it being prone […]

REVIEW: Lazzaro felice [Happy as Lazzaro] [2018]

“He’s staring into the void again” Writer/director Alice Rohrwacher asks an interesting question with Lazzaro felice [Happy as Lazzaro]. How would we treat a saint? Would we acknowledge his/her goodness and understand their grace to be something to mirror? Or would we scoff at their innocence to call them naive, their loyalty to call them […]

REVIEW: Roma [2018]

“We are alone” To know that Roma is a semi-autobiographical account of writer/director Alfonso Cuarón‘s own childhood growing up in a Mexico City middle class family is to truly understand the weight of personal events opposite public ones. Placing the timeframe as 1970-71 means something for this country with a government takeover of poor village […]

REVIEW: Manbiki kazoku [Shoplifters] [2018]

“Sounds fishy” When times are tough, you improvise. Look at the Shibata family for example. Osamu (Lily Franky) and Nobuyo (Sakura Andô) both work part-time jobs to bring home meager earnings that can be added to the pension Grandma Hatsue (Kirin Kiki) collects as a result of her husband’s passing. They also have her home […]