REVIEW: Marlina Si Pembunuh dalam Empat Babak [Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts] [2017]

“This is my prisoner” Considering the seemingly endless number of Hollywood male directors tackling women empowerment films as a means to declare themselves feminists while also—wittingly or not—preserving their careers at the expense of the women they’re seemingly in solidarity with, you must give renowned Indonesian director Garin Nugroho credit for recognizing the treatment he […]

REVIEW: 버닝 [Beoning] [Burning] [2018]

“Should I forget it ‘isn’t’ here?” Jong-su (Ah-In Yoo) never tells Hae-mi (Jong-seo Jeon) what “metaphor” means. They’re standing in Ben’s (Steven Yeun) kitchen as he chops ingredients for a pasta dish and talks philosophically with a smug smile until the question comes up. He defers answering her to Jong-su since he’s the writer of […]

REVIEW: Gräns [Border] [2018]

“You shouldn’t listen to what humans say” Customs officer Tina (Eva Melander) stands at attention while a line of passengers exiting an international flight walk by, her nostrils perpetually flaring. She’s sniffing them as a means of discerning which might have illegally undeclared possessions on their person. An “Excuse me” later and her partner is […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Retrospekt [2018]

“Every Wednesday and … coffee” I can’t think of a better term to describe Esther Rots‘ Retrospekt than her own: “sensory cinema.” We get a feeling for what this means during the opening scene as Dan Geesin‘s score and Bas Kuijlenburg’s boomingly operatic baritone drowns out the action onscreen with English lyrics telling a story […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: The Third Wife [2018]

“One day you’ll like it for real” It’s 19th century Vietnam and fourteen-year old May (Nguyen Phuong Tra My) has just been married to a wealthy landowner named Hung (Long Le Vu). She wears a genuine smile on her face, this next chapter in life as hopeful as it is scary. She has two other […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Las niñas bien [The Good Girls] [2018]

“So happy. We’re so happy.” Sofía Hernandez (Ilse Salas) has everything: three children she can ignore, servants and maids to take care of her every whim, and a husband (Flavio Medina‘s Fernando) who inherited his wealth from his father and still has yet to really work for it thanks to Uncle Javier (Diego Jáuregui) managing […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Posledice [Consequences] [2018]

“I am what I am” Andrej (Matej Zemljic) is an eighteen-year old abuser. He’s stopped going to school, started getting into fights, disrespects his parents, and most recently hit a teen after she berated him for his not wanting sex. It’s an escalating series of incidents that no one is willing to deal with anymore, […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Saf [2018]

“Everybody lies” America isn’t the only country with a portion of its population rejecting refugee clemency (although it’s the most high profile due to international stature, economic wealth, and so-called Christian charity). It’s also not the only one blinded to its hate when confronting the matter. Because that’s what it is to look down on […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Il vizio della speranza [The Vice of Hope] [2018]

“Remember, misery isn’t the only thing that exists” Less than an hour from Naples, Italy is Castel Volturno, a place marred by newspaper headlines like “Forsaken Village” and “Sex, Drugs, and the Mafia.” It shouldn’t surprise then that director Edoardo De Angelis would use it as the setting for his latest film Il vizio della […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Rojo [2018]

“They say bodies appear in the desert” The film opens as people leave a house with objects in-hand, the assumption being that they were bought in an estate sale or pilfered before one could begin. A man (Diego Cremonesi) looks in the front door as clueless as we are to what’s happening before a jump […]

TIFF REVIEW: Duelles [Mothers’ Instinct] [2019]

“Forgive me” Director Olivier Masset-Depasse lets us know exactly what to expect out of Duelles [Mothers’ Instinct] from the start, introducing an idyllic bourgeois home with all the sensory cues to foreshadow melodramatic suspense. Alice Brunelle (Veerle Baetens) peers out her window as neighbor Céline Geniot (Anne Coesens) leaves, rushing out once the car pulls […]