FANTASIA18 REVIEW: 打ち上げ花火、下から見るか? 横から見るか? [Uchiage hanabi, shita kara miru ka? Yoko kara miru ka?] [Fireworks] [2017]

“If …” In a nation of repressed emotions, three young teens find themselves confronting their feelings at what might be their last opportunity to do so. Shy Norimichi (Masaki Suda) can’t stop himself from starring at Nazuna (Suzu Hirose) while his more confident best friend Yûsuke (Mamoru Miyano) admits to wanting to declare his love […]

FANTASIA18 REVIEW: BuyBust [2018]

“People die from following orders too” Police director Alvarez (Nonie Buencamino) and his prized team leader Dela Cruz (Lao Rodriguez) are finally making headway with their war on drugs throughout the slums of Filipino capital Manila. They’ve already cleaned sections long-thought lost to crime and currently have one of kingpin Biggie Chen’s (Arjo Atayde) mid-level […]

FANTASIA18 REVIEW: Vuelven [Tigers Are Not Afraid] [2017]

“We forget who we are when the things from outside come to get us” You know things are bad when the art coming out of an area reaches a point where “dark, metaphorical fairy tale” becomes a necessary style to wield as intense catharsis. There’s probably better markers to highlight when a community’s abject horror […]

FANTASIA18 REVIEW: ルームロンダリング [Rûmu rondaringu] [Room Laundering] [2018]

“Don’t cry. Smile.” According to Kenji Katagiri‘s debut feature Rûmu rondaringu [Room Laundering]—and I have no reason to disbelieve him—Japan has a law stating that landlords must divulge whether a previous tenant died or suffered a violent crime within any newly vacated property to all prospective replacements. But while this rule makes sense considering people […]

FANTASIA18 REVIEW: Sankt Bernhard Syndikatet [The Saint Bernard Syndicate] [2018]

“I call it the panda of the west” There’s something profound about Danish director Mads Brügger‘s documentaries due to his entering dangerous countries under false pretext to capture a result. Whether it’s heading to North Korea as a vaudeville act or the Central African Republic as a Liberian ambassador attempting to infiltrate the illegal blood […]

FANTASIA18 REVIEW: Blue My Mind [2018]

“I’m wasting my youth on trains” Adolescence is a metamorphosis from youth to adulthood—a time defined by its constant state of flux physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Puberty is the backbone to this period because of the changes it inflicts. It alters our hormones and appearance while also providing a moment with which to be reborn. […]

FANTASIA18 REVIEW: La nuit a dévoré le monde [The Night Eats the World] [2018]

“I’m the one who’s not normal” Who would survive a zombie apocalypse? The extroverts who’re always part of a crowd, oblivious to the dire circumstances of their surroundings and therefore unable to escape the clutches of an oncoming horde mere inches away before recognition? No. Nor should they. When you think about the type of […]

REVIEW: Undir trénu [Under the Tree] [2017]

“See how they react” If humans weren’t always the pettiest creatures on Earth, we’ve definitely earned the title this past century. Just think about how often you find yourself asking the question, “Let’s see what they’ll do about this?” I don’t mean hypothetically either. I’m talking about truly contemplating your next smugly biting (until an […]

REVIEW: Irma Vep [1996]

“Have you sex with girls?” If you’re going to poke fun at the film industry, you might as well go for broke. Take Olivier Assayas‘ Irma Vep for example. Hot off the success of his acclaimed Cold Water, he was recruited for a project about foreigners in Paris with Claire Denis and Atom Egoyan. When […]

REVIEW: L’eau froide [Cold Water] [1994]

“Extravagant maneuvers” Originally envisioned as a 52-minute chapter of a television anthology series with strict thematic and contextual rules, Olivier Assayas‘ L’eau froide [Cold Water] eventually found itself as the much sought-after 90-minute Cannes debut that cemented the auteur’s style, acclaim, and promise without ever reaching American shores due to lapsed music rights. He would […]

REVIEW: Un beau soleil intérieur [Let the Sunshine In] [2017]

“Being a backstreet lover is just unbearable” Is love all consuming? Or disposable? If you discover it’s one above the other, how do you know you’re right? The answer is simple: love is whatever you need it to be for yourself. Don’t compromise your happiness or comfort. Don’t allow your beau to walk over your […]