TIFF18 REVIEW: Blindsone [Blind Spot] [2018]

“Remember to breathe” The boldness of Tuva Novotny to choose to make her directorial debut a one-shot film of harrowing emotion cannot be understated. Her Blindsone [Blind Spot] takes us through the wringer as tragedy befalls a small, (seemingly) happy family without warning. These characters are distraught, confused, and falling to pieces as ambulances race […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Endzeit [Endzeit – Ever After] [2018]

“Go out and bury what haunts you” What if humanity’s apocalypse wasn’t the world’s end? We’ve become so used to treating ourselves as rulers of this planet despite knowing so little about it and the surrounding universe while also doing our best to destroy everything we touch. So what are we truly besides another in […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Un ange [Angel] [2018]

“I’d rather consider myself a gazelle” Two lost souls struggling to reconcile their image meet in Senegal by chance. One’s a prostitute—although she rejects the label and the registration card that’s as much a means to procure wealthy clients as a permanent brand upon her skin. The other is a world famous cyclist just recovered […]

VENICE18 REVIEW: Tumbbad [2018]

“Wake her up and ask yourself” As the Hindu folktale at the start of Rahi Anil Barve and Adesh Prasad‘s Tumbbad states: while the Goddess of Plenty birthed 160 million deities from her womb (Earth), the one she loved most is also the one that’s been erased from memory. His name is Hastar and he […]

REVIEW: Western [2017]

“What are you searching for here?” When a group of Germans enter rural Bulgaria on an assignment to divert water towards a new power plant, those unversed in the area and its history wouldn’t think too much about it. Those like me would assume whatever conflict at this story’s back would arise from differing languages […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Føniks [Phoenix] [2018]

“It has to be my turn sometime” If our best laid plans are said to often go awry, what happens to the ones we hastily make in desperation? Writer/director Camilla Strøm Henriksen looks to supply an answer to that very question with her feature debut Føniks [Phoenix] because desperation is all young Jill (Ylva Bjørkaas […]

FANTASIA18 REVIEW: ペンギン・ハイウェイ [Pengin Haiwei] [Penguin Highway] [2018]

“I might be too amazing for my own good” Adapted from Tomihiko Morimi‘s Nihon Science Fiction Taisho Award-winning novel from 2010, Penguin Highway takes us into a world barely unlike our own. Directed by Hiroyasu Ishida from Makoto Ueda‘s script, the film centers upon a Japanese fourth grader on the cusp of self-proclaimed greatness. With […]

FANTASIA18 REVIEW: 소공녀 [So-gong-nyeo] [Microhabitat] [2018]

“Seems like you’re living a fantasy” What do you need to survive? It’s a common question we all ask ourselves—one that goes beyond the basic tenets of food, water, shelter, and human interaction. I’m talking about the things we cherish enough to put them before everything else. It could be freedom, hobbies, love, or art. […]

FANTASIA18 REVIEW: Pengabdi Setan [Satan’s Slaves] [2017]

“Have pity on the children” It wasn’t until 2006 that cult Indonesian horror film Pengabdi Setan [Satan’s Slave] finally received a DVD pressing after accruing its mystique without subtitles courtesy of a Japanese VHS. The 1980 release from director Sisworo Gautama Putra has been called an unofficial remake of Don Coscarelli‘s Phantasm, its supernatural haunting […]

REVIEW: האופה-מברלין [Der Kuchenmacher] [The Cakemaker] [2017]

“I’m not alone” A romantic drama wielding nationality, sexuality, and religion as crucial dramatic themes without giving into their rigidity atop a backdrop of delicious baked goods sounds more than ambitious—it sounds foolhardy. But writer/director Ofir Raul Graizer set out and accomplished exactly that with his acclaimed Der Kuchenmacher [The Cakemaker]. He travels between a […]

FANTASIA18 REVIEW: Nommer 37 [Number 37] [2018]

“Even a one-legged beggar can lose his other leg” It was a calculated risk lock-picker Randal Hendricks (Irshaad Ally) was willing to make. Borrow twenty-five thousand dollars from a loan shark he’s known since childhood (Danny Ross‘ Emmie) and flip it to some gangsters willing to give him a deal on drugs. Sell the drugs […]