TIFF18 REVIEW: Das schönste Paar [The Most Beautiful Couple] [2018]

“Stay cool. Okay?” It starts with a rape. I won’t lie: I sighed thinking Sven Taddicken‘s Das schönste Paar [The Most Beautiful Couple] was going to end up another drama about coping and retribution like most others wherein Liv (Luise Heyer) struggles as Malte (Maximilian Brückner) protects. So it was a welcome surprise when we’re […]

TIFF18 REVIEW: Endzeit [Endzeit – Ever After] [2018]

“Go out and bury what haunts you” What if humanity’s apocalypse wasn’t the world’s end? We’ve become so used to treating ourselves as rulers of this planet despite knowing so little about it and the surrounding universe while also doing our best to destroy everything we touch. So what are we truly besides another in […]

REVIEW: Western [2017]

“What are you searching for here?” When a group of Germans enter rural Bulgaria on an assignment to divert water towards a new power plant, those unversed in the area and its history wouldn’t think too much about it. Those like me would assume whatever conflict at this story’s back would arise from differing languages […]

FANTASIA18 REVIEW: Blue My Mind [2018]

“I’m wasting my youth on trains” Adolescence is a metamorphosis from youth to adulthood—a time defined by its constant state of flux physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Puberty is the backbone to this period because of the changes it inflicts. It alters our hormones and appearance while also providing a moment with which to be reborn. […]

REVIEW: Lou Andreas-Salomé, The Audacity to be Free [2016]

“Become who you are” There’s a great line spoken by an aged Lou Andreas-Salomé (Nicole Heesters) to new friend and potential biographer Ernst Pfeiffer (Matthias Lier) upon his praise-fueled declaration that the way she lived her life—her freedom—was a touchstone for modern feminism. Her reply is, “Nonsense. What’s changed for us women since then?” It’s […]

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 […]

REVIEW: Aus dem Nichts [In The Fade] [2017]

“Don’t ever say that about my husband” Writer/director Fatih Akin makes sure we get a sense of the potentially volatile world he’s created (with co-writer Hark Bohm) from the first frame of Aus dem Nichts [In the Fade]. It starts with a handheld video recording of a wedding wherein the groom (Numan Acar‘s Nuri Sekerci) […]

REVIEW: Schlafkrankheit [Sleeping Sickness] [2011]

“My fate is in your hands” Is colonialism dead? It’s a question for which you would instantly answer “No” and yet still wonder if perhaps such a binary response is too simplistic. You would have to define colonialism and whether or not actual, recognized control of a land is the same as a more insidious […]

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 […]