REVIEW: 120 battements par minute [BPM (Beats per Minute)] [2017]

“You can’t split responsibility” At one point during Robin Campillo‘s 120 battements par minute [BPM (Beats per Minute)] a high school girl tells a group of ACT UP Paris members that she doesn’t have to worry about AIDS because she’s not gay. It’s a horrific glimpse at the unconscionable lack of information sexually active teenagers […]

REVIEW: Nocturama [2016]

“It was bound to happen” What if a devastating act of violence was committed without purpose? Does it still have meaning? The answer of course is “yes” since such an attack leaves victims whether dead or psychologically scarred. Consequences reverberate well past borders of the town, country, and continent in which they occur because of […]

REVIEW: Visages, villages [Faces Places] [2017]

“To meet new faces and photograph them so they don’t fall down the holes in my memory” To look at some of the work of “unidentified” artist JR—giant black and white images pasted onto surfaces with a literal or figurative contextual relationship—is to see the type of community-based, socially conscious messaging Agnès Varda built a […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Jusqu’à la garde [Custody] [2018]

“Which of you is the bigger liar?” It didn’t win the Oscar for best live action short in 2014, but Xavier Legrand’s Just Before Losing Everything was by far my favorite nominee. Discovering his debut feature Jusqu’à la garde [Custody] was constructed as an expansion of that story therefore made it a must-see. The short […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Le sens de la fête [C’est la vie!] [2017]

“Can you repeat the options?” I went into Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano‘s latest film Le sens de la fête [C’est la vie!] knowing nothing about it. My assumption from their two previous works Intouchables and Samba was that it would prove a charmingly funny dramedy tinged with relevant politics and racial complexity. Boy was […]

REVIEW: Junior [2011]

“I think I’m strange” Writer/director Julia Ducournau‘s Raw might be taking the horror world and cinema in general by storm this year, but its success wasn’t simply born out of thin air. Its Cannes-winning feature takes a lot of inspiration from the artist’s Cannes-winning short Junior back in 2011, another story about a young girl’s […]

REVIEW: Frantz [2016]

“I don’t want to forget him” Loosely inspired by Ernst Lubitsch‘s post-WWI-set film Broken Lullaby (itself an adaptation of Maurice Rostand‘s play), François Ozon‘s latest Frantz similarly deals with a French soldier searching for the family of a German casualty of war. It doesn’t, however, focus upon this foreign stranger entering the nation his army […]

REVIEW: Grave [Raw] [2017]

“Two fingers will make it come up easier” We strive to become ourselves in college thanks to that first taste of freedom after adolescence’s long haul packed tightly at home and within part-time jobs and/or classes alongside peers who simply don’t want to be there. This is when we’re able to let loose and buckle […]

REVIEW: Ennemis intérieurs [Enemies Within] [2016]

“Between you and me, what’s the difference?” The definitive exchange in Hidden Figures—the one that defines America then and still today—is when Kirsten Dunst‘s personnel manager tells Octavia Spencer‘s yet-to-be-given-the-title supervisor, “Despite what you may think, I have nothing against y’all.” Spencer’s Dorothy Vaughan counters without missing a beat, “I know you probably believe that.” […]

REVIEW: La Femme et la TGV [2016]

“I’ve never sent an internet and I never will” While its age-old conceit of a misunderstood curmudgeon discovering joy after being perpetually caught in a cycle of monotony is familiar, Timo von Gunten‘s cutely inspiring La femme et le TGV is in fact based on true events. The woman at its center is Elise (Jane […]

REVIEW: Elle [2016]

“It was necessary” Director Paul Verhoeven has made a career of pushing the envelope whether through violence, sex, politics, or all three wrapped together. It’s hardly surprising then that his buzzword of choice on the promotional trail for his latest Elle has been “controversial.” The word choice is appropriate considering David Birke‘s script (adapted from […]