TIFF19 REVIEW: This is Not a Movie [2019]

“This is where the match was lit” The reason Yung Chang picked This is Not a Movie for the title of his documentary on renowned journalist Robert Fisk stems from his subject’s inspiration for pursuing that line of work. Fisk talks about watching Alfred Hitchcock‘s Foreign Correspondent as a boy and thinking its lead led […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Pelikanblut [Pelican Blood] [2020]

“I’m the lucky one” Writer/director Katrin Gebbe is not messing around with her latest film Pelikanblut [Pelican Blood]. What starts as a psychological drama about a mother desperate to provide her new daughter the love necessary to free her from the demons of a traumatic past gradually escalates into a supernatural thriller augmenting what science […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Pesar-Madar [Son-Mother] [2019]

“Would you do it?” Directed by Mahnaz Mohammadi (her feature fiction debut) and written by Mohammad Rasoulof (a renowned Iranian filmmaker), Pesar-Madar [Son-Mother] is about exactly what its title infers. The labels themselves are somewhat subverted, though. Split into two halves with interstitials, “Son” actually centers on Leila (Raha Khodayari) while “Mother” stars Amir (Mahan […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Nobadi [2019]

“Stop calling me bloody master!” Heinrich Senft (Heinz Trixner) is alone on his little patch of land within a gated senior citizen community, his pension sustaining ready-made meals and the care for his dog Argus. When the latter passes away suddenly in the night, Heinrich has nowhere to project his grief but the veterinarian who […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Tammy’s Always Dying [2019]

“I just want to play the game” You have to give credit to any story that allows its despicable characters to be despicable without also demanding forgiveness from their victim. This is especially true in tales concerning a parent and child considering society seems to crave this ideal that the former is due some benefit […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: I Am Not Alone [2019]

“My spirit has survived” Despite the title of Garin Hovannisian‘s documentary on Armenia’s 2018 “velvet revolution” being I Am Not Alone, journalist/activist/Congressman Nikol Pashinyan was exactly that at the movement’s beginning. Word came down that former president Serzh Sargsyan was to be voted in as the nation’s latest Prime Minister—an unjust and demoralizing development considering […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: The Report [2019]

“It’s based on science” It matters that Diane Feinstein and other Senators (John McCain included) fought to make the Intelligence Committee’s report on “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” public because it held information the American people needed to know about how the CIA conducted itself after 9/11. While many would say the fact nobody has been prosecuted […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Just Mercy [2019]

“Trees swaying in the breeze” The story of Walter McMillian’s incarceration and subsequent time on death row is a powerful one with themes spanning police corruption, Southern racism, and justice itself as a means of finding truth rather than convenience. This is an innocent man with a concrete alibi sentenced to death because of coerced […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: The Australian Dream [2019]

“We heard a howl” The story of AFL superstar and Australian of the Year-recipient Adam Goodes should resonate for Americans who’ve been following the crusade of former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. From his minority background, stalwart fight against injustice, and the resulting sports-wide fan backlash—their similarities are endless. The people loved Goodes because he left […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Love Child [2019]

“There’s no going back” The year “2012” doesn’t pop-up on-screen at the beginning of Eva Mulvad‘s documentary Love Child because it’s an era-specific story. No well-known international news headline is about to arrive as motivation for why Sahand and Leila fled Iran for the hope of sanctuary far, far away. The real reason for that […]

TIFF19 REVIEW: Ema [2019]

“You’ll forget all this” There’s a lot to unpack in Pablo Larraín‘s dance film Ema. From two lead characters as unreliable to the plot as they are fickle with each other to an elaborate scheme preying on the weaknesses of man and the pleasures of flesh, it’s tough to know what the director wants us […]