TIFF19 REVIEW: Mientras dure la guerra [While at War] [2019]

“But we’re Christians” Director Alejandro Amenábar spoke very briefly before the screening of his latest film Mientras dure la guerra [While at War] and the main sentiment was this: “It could happen anywhere.” He doesn’t, however, just mean rebellion or uprising. He doesn’t mean a coup or military dictatorship either. What he and co-writer Alejandro […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: 1982 [2019]

“Don’t invite the war into our home” Before 2007, all Lebanese men were conscripted to serve in the military for at least one year. I’ve heard from multiple people that it wasn’t a question of citizenship, but ethnicity. If I ever visited before that year, I wouldn’t have been able to return to America without […]

REVIEW: La battaglia di Algeri [The Battle of Algiers] [1966]

“You never know” It’s almost impossible to receive an objective depiction of war considering how easy it is to skew art towards propaganda through the dissemination of a political agenda. And it’s only been getting harder as new technology keeps costs down when making movies that serve one side of things no matter the veracity […]

REVIEW: A Private War [2018]

“I think fear comes later” American journalist Marie Colvin’s family’s lawyers say they have evidence proving the Bashar al-Assad-led government of Syria ordered her death in 2012. If that doesn’t express the power of a free press, I’m not sure what could. At a time when the US President is acting like an autocratic leader […]

TIFF REVIEW: Les filles du soleil [Girls of the Sun] [2018]

“Women, life, liberty” It’s just like America to document ISIS as a fight we must combat—like the saviors we are. There’s a reason for this from our perspective, but our jingoistic thought process does detract from what’s occurring on the ground. People are engaged in a war that they have no way to avoid. They’ve […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Where Hands Touch [2018]

“I want her to be like everyone else: unremarkable” Now is not the time to make a film romanticizing Nazism or allowing anyone who donned the swastika during World War II a modicum of sympathy. I’d argue there could never be such a time—at least not for those who say they felt bad but still […]

REVIEW: 火垂るの墓 [Hotaru no haka] [Grave of the Fireflies] [1988]

“Please stay home with me” Everything I read and heard about Isao Takahata‘s Hotaru no haka [Grave of the Fireflies] appeared to want to prepare me for a solemnly tragic tale that couldn’t be completed without tears streaming down my face. I took this train of thought as a badge of honor—preparing its emotionality and […]

REVIEW: 12 Strong [2018]

“There are no right choices here” War films generally come in two varieties: a gray introspective look at its emotional and psychological cost and black and white jingoistic propaganda. The former is generally acclaimed as award worthy while the latter is dumped during winter months so its target audience of NRA-loving Republicans in American flag […]

REVIEW: この世界の片隅に [Kono sekai no katasumi ni] [In This Corner of the World] [2016]

“Was I always daydreaming?” It’s starts as a cutely surreal slice of life in 1930s Japan as Suzu (Non) and her flights of fancy take the spotlight. The young girl loves to draw and daydream—the latter often leaving her with time lost in a place unknown. At one point she even finds herself with a […]

REVIEW: This is Congo [2018]

“The one who should keep you safe is the one who can kill you” Documentarian Daniel McCabe wastes no time getting to the point of his film This is Congo with the words of DRC National Army Colonel Mamadou Ndala. This smiling dreamer of peace and unity speaks about his home like a philosopher as […]

REVIEW: Dunkirk [2017]

“He may never be himself again” War is often depicted as a quantifiable number of those who survived and those who did not. Many films choose this route, picking a battle to show the firefight’s chaos and cost. We remember the Battle of Gettysburg and D-Day as turning points, insane offensives that wrought heavy casualties […]