REVIEW: Thelma [2017]

“Jesus Satan” The moment you leave home for college is the moment your parents say, “Have fun, but don’t lose who you are in the process.” It’s a worthwhile sentiment that we often take for granted as an implicit notion that we are who we will remain despite embarking on a journey full of unknown […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Skyggenes Dal [Valley of Shadows] [2017]

“What we don’t understand scares us” Six year-old Aslak (Adam Ekeli) lives a quiet life with his single mother Astrid (Kathrine Fagerland) in a rural town adjacent to farmland and a mountaintop forest. He’s too young to understand all that’s happening around him—especially considering he’s generally told to keep away from the adults when they’re […]

TIFF17 REVIEW: Hva vil folk si [What Will People Say] [2017]

“You haven’t done anything wrong” The Toronto International Film Festival synopsis calls Iram Haq‘s latest film Hva vil folk si [What Will People Say] an “empathetic story of family, community, and culture.” I would call it straight up social horror made scarier when you discover that it was partly inspired by the artist’s own life. […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: Pyromanen [Pyromaniac] [2016]

“You can be whatever you want to be” Going in with no expectations besides the recent news that the film had been shortlisted for Norway’s 2017 Oscar selection, director Erik Skjoldbjærg‘s Pyromanen [Pyromaniac] could not have delivered a better start to get me ready. Using extended camera movements to capture subtle detail from a car […]

TIFF15 REVIEW: Fuglehjerter [Bird Hearts] [2015]

“I thought I’d go all in” Ah the quarter-life crisis. Turning twenty-six and finding you’re still at university and pretty much ignored by everyone in your life when compared to a younger brother away at a prestigious school and already published to boot. What should be Benjamin’s (André Sørum) day becomes just another family get-together, […]

TIFF11 REVIEW: Oslo, 31. August [Oslo, August 31st] [2011]

“I want you to understand” Memory and nostalgia—these are the things Joachim Trier sought when creating his dark, hopeful, and depressing love letter to his hometown. Rather than use that word, however, he made a point in his Q&A at the Toronto International Film Festival to call it the place he was born. Every city […]

REVIEW: Trolljegeren [TrollHunter] [2010]

“Does anyone here believe in God or Jesus?” Forget the fairy tales. This is what Hans (Otto Jespersen) says in deadpan to the young college students that decide to follow him around. All of their giggles and winking smirks toward their camera at the mention of trolls only make this hardened man want to tell […]

BNFF11 REVIEW: The Frost [2009]

“What is your bloody wish!” I am not familiar with Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen or his play “Little Eyolf”, on which writer/director Ferran Audí based his film The Frost. Doing some quick research shows that he was a man who wrote about morality and questions of love and loss, so I can assume Audí instilled […]

REVIEW: O’ Horten [2007]

“There’s a man smoking a pipe in the middle of the taxiway” There is no more appropriate a name for the lead role in Bent Hamer’s film O’ Horten then Odd Horten. For a man of modesty, generally hiding in the corners of life to avoid much interaction or attention, he finds himself in the […]