REVIEW: Synonymes [Synonyms] [2019]

“Do not look up” Israel has no future in Yaov’s (Tom Mercier) mind. It’s dead and he refuses to die with it even if he just risked dying for it to earn a silver star in the military. Why? Because his country won’t admit its failures or mistakes. They are victors. That’s it. They are […]

REVIEW: Portrait de la jeune fille en feu [Portrait of a Lady on Fire] [2019]

“Don’t regret. Remember.” An eighteenth century Italian countess (Valeria Golino) still residing at the French estate of her late husband has decided she’d like to return home. The best way to accomplish this is marrying off one of her daughters to an affluent Milanese suitor since doing so would secure both their futures while also […]

REVIEW: Atlantique [Atlantics] [2019]

“The spirits are scared of me” French writer/director Mati Diop made a documentary short ten years ago about a group of Senegalese friends who risk their lives to sail along the coast of Africa into Spain with the hope of better lives upon their arrival. It almost seems natural then that her first feature length […]

REVIEW: J’ai perdu mon corps [I Lost My Body] [2019]

“You can’t always win” I think Netflix is doing J’ai perdu mon corps [I Lost My Body] a disservice by using the word “romance” to describe it wherever I look. Jérémy Clapin‘s animated film is most definitely not that. While Guillaume Laurant‘s novel Happy Hand—which he and Clapin adapted—might have been (I haven’t read it), […]

BIFF19 REVIEW: Online Billie [2019]

“It’s simple until it all gets complicated” Despite opening Online Billie with a glimpse of the titular camgirl (Valentine Payen-Wicaksono‘s Esther/”Billie”) engaged in a chat room session, she’s not the lead character. Director Lou Assous and co-writer Xavier Bazoge have very clearly created her as a hypothetical instead—a test with which their surrogate in the […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Proxima [2019]

“My mother said it’s not a job for girls” A last minute addition to a Mars mission precursor via the International Space Station, Sarah (Eva Green) is simultaneously excited and anxious. While space travel was her childhood dream, the sheer logistics of this journey dictate a year away from her young daughter Stella ( Zélie […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Antigone [2019]

“My heart says to help my brother” A lot of people die during Sophocles‘ Antigone. The death of Oedipus puts his sons Eteocles and Polynices on the throne, their deaths spark their titular sister to fight for the latter’s right to be buried, and her eventual suicide leads to more dead bodies as only a […]

REVIEW: Un couteau dans le coeur [Knife+Heart] [2018]

“She’s playing with real life” Anne Parèze (Vanessa Paradis) has ruined her love. What she’s done to push Loïs (Kate Moran) away is unknown, but her desperation ensures we know she was dumped and not the dumper. Whatever happened hasn’t soured their relationship completely, however. Loïs still cares enough about Anne as a person and […]

REVIEW: Les îles [Islands] [2018]

“Tell me you want me” Winner of the Queer Palm at Cannes 2017 for short film, Yann Gonzalez‘s Les îles [Islands] delivers eroticism in many forms. From one scene of intimacy to the next, he lets his camera follow characters into the throes of sex before pulling out to show how one’s pleasures are another’s […]

REVIEW: Doubles vies [Non-Fiction] [2019]

“An infinite minority” You know when you go to a get-together and the conversation inevitably turns to current affairs for which everyone has a fringe understanding? So rather than provide true opinions, they simply start regurgitating what they’ve read on the subject. Most times their content doesn’t even come from a primary source because we’ve […]

REVIEW: Climax [2018]

“Anything” What would you do for the chance to work with the illustrious choreographer Selva (Sofia Boutella) and her DJ Daddy (Kiddy Smile)? According to the group of young dancers they interviewed: “Anything.” Some are coy when asking for context to the question with a smile and others are quick to pretty much say they’d […]