BERLINALE19 REVIEW: MS Slavic 7 [2019]

“You’ll have to use this pencil” Director Sofia Bohdanowicz found a series of letters written between 1957 and 1964 by her great-grandmother Zofia Bohdanowiczowa (a poet) to the Nobel Prize nominated author Józef Wittlin at Harvard’s Houghton Library. Both literary figures were forced to leave Poland during World War II with the former heading to […]

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 […]

BERLINALE18 REVIEW: Les rois mongols [Cross My Heart] [2018]

“They’re good guys doing bad things” While you can debate the success of politically motivated events like 1970’s October Crisis in Quebec, Canada, you can’t question their danger removed from the cause. The media reports the carnage whether terrorist bombings or kidnappings and murder. They provide an objective account of what’s happening—in this case the […]

BERLINALE18 REVIEW: Cobain [2018]

“My little man” There’s a scene in Nanouk Leopold‘s Cobain where the titular fifteen year-old (Bas Keizer) tells his estranged, junkie mother Mia (Naomi Velissariou) that he wants to help. Her response is to ask whether she cares about what he does, the answer tragically understood before his mouth utters the word “No.” To watch […]

BERLINALE17 REVIEW: Ceux qui font les révolutions à moitié n’ont fait que se creuser un tombeau [Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves] [2017]

“People do not yet see they are miserable. We will show them!” There’s universality to Mathieu Denis and Simon Lavoie‘s Ceux qui font les révolutions à moitié n’ont fait que se creuser un tombeau [Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves] even if it is very much a Québécois film. Marking their […]

BERLINALE16 REVIEW: Ani ve snu! [In Your Dreams!] [2016]

“I hate the ropes” The world of Parkour meets teenage coming-of-age angst in Petr Oukropec‘s Ani ve snu! [In Your Dreams!] and it’s a welcome mixture. Whereas most sports inherently breed competition to the point that American films must delineate good versus bad or favorite versus underdog because they underestimate their audience, the urban appropriation […]