REVIEW: Die göttliche Ordnung [The Divine Order] [2017]

“But here at home time stood still” The opening transition from credits to film of Petra Biondina Volpe‘s Tribeca Film Festival Audience Award-winning Die göttliche Ordnung [The Divine Order] is absolute perfection. With Jo Jo Benson and Peggy Scott-Adams’ “Soulshake” playing atop images from America spanning women’s liberation, civil rights, Woodstock, and more, we begin […]

REVIEW: Das merkwürdige Kätzchen [The Strange Little Cat] [2014]

“And onions are my cats” We’ve all felt paralyzed at one time or another, fearing existence and responsibility as opposed to external forces and death. Life becomes our burden, the rote machinations to remain an upstanding member of society and the myriad social imperatives endured to be seen as a person worth ignoring—someone who neither […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Licht [Mademoiselle Paradis] [2017]

“If you cannot see, you are not seen” Maria Theresia von Paradis was the daughter of Empress Maria Theresa’s Court Councilor and thus a young woman of standing despite the blindness that took her eyes before the age of five. Her father Joseph Anton and mother Maria Rosalia had the means to therefore teach her […]

FANTASIA17 REVIEW: Tiere [Animals] [2017]

“Animals don’t kill themselves” Discovering that screenwriter Jörg Kalt committed suicide before bringing his script Tiere [Animals] to life adds a lot of context to how one deciphers Greg Zglinski‘s film. The director had read it the year before Kalt’s death, lauding it while on a Zurich Film Foundation committee in the hopes of helping […]

REVIEW: Jerichow [2009]

“You can’t love if you don’t have money” The titular town of Jerichow as shown onscreen by writer/director Christian Petzold is hardly one of paradise yet still very much of “home.” It’s where dishonorably discharged ex-Army man Thomas (Benno Fürmann) runs to without a word to his employer (in part due to stealing a few […]

REVIEW: Yella [2007]

“I want you to love me again” There’s a glimmer of hope in Yella Fichte’s (Nina Hoss) eye when things finally seem to be going in the right direction. She’s earned a new job starting the day after tomorrow, one that should fill her empty bank account and lead her towards prosperity. But before she […]

REVIEW: Gespenster [Ghosts] [2005]

“And I walked towards the music” Three women caught in disparate existential crises are converging in Christian Petzold‘s Gespenster [Ghosts] to seek answers despite reality only supplying opportunity to exacerbate their already volatile shortcomings. Nina (Julia Hummer) is a late-teen orphan hopeful to discover an avenue towards a brighter future that will assist her in […]

REVIEW: Der blaue Engel [The Blue Angel] [1930]

“Beware of blondes. They’re special, every one.” It was interesting to discover Josef von Sternberg‘s career started in Hollywood, directing many late-silent era pictures. I assumed the Austrian-born auteur began in Europe because he was the man behind the camera for Germany’s first feature-length talkie, Der blaue Engel [The Blue Angel]. But his helming it […]

REVIEW: Die innere Sicherheit [The State I Am In] [2001]

“She’s translating menus now too” With his theatrical debut Die innere Sicherheit [The State I Am In], German writer/director Christian Petzold proves his most recent pair of Barbara and Phoenix were born from a mind that had always been ready to tell stories of personal emotional strife within complex circumstances. The way in which he […]

REVIEW: Toni Erdmann [2016]

“That was real fear” I wasn’t sure what to think upon realizing it was Maren Ade who directed Toni Erdmann, the wild comedy that took Cannes by storm. Her previous film Alle Anderen was very much a drama—a fantastic one at that—and this switch brought intrigue. Now that I’ve finally seen it, however, it’s easy […]

SUNDANCE17 REVIEW: Axolotl Overkill [2017]

“Can you drown in the gene pool?” Playwright, author, screenwriter, and director Helene Hegemann has said (through her publisher) that, “There’s no such thing as originality anyway, just authenticity.” The words were spoken after her debut novel Axolotl Roadkill earned critical praise, a spot as a finalist for a major book award, and multiple, potentially […]