REVIEW: De uskyldige [The Innocents] [2021]

Can I just listen? You’ve seen De uskyldige [The Innocents] before. Whether the telekinetic powers, battle between good and evil, or exploitation of neurodevelopmental disorders like Autism to supply a character a sense of power that contrasts preconceived prejudices, everything Eskil Vogt puts into his script is familiar in some way. What makes it so uniquely different in tone and expectation is therefore the choice to project those tropes onto children. His decision becomes an evolutionary progression forward from Max Landis and Josh Trank‘s Chronicle in that the sort of…

Read More

REVIEW: L’événement [Happening] [2021]

What do I label it? I’m not saying you can’t create a film as unflinchingly raw as Audrey Diwan‘s L’événement [Happening] without having a true-to-life source, but the starting line is surely closer when you do. Not only did Diwan and co-writer Marcia Romano have Annie Ernaux‘s memoir of what happened forty years prior to draw upon, they also had the author herself to talk with and glean additional context to ensure the authenticity of a twenty-three-year-old literature student discovering she’s pregnant weeks before her final exams in 1963. This…

Read More

REVIEW: Vortex [2022]

Stop scaring me. The woman (Françoise Lebrun) at the center of Gaspar Noé‘s Vortex is steadily losing her battle with dementia. Her husband (Dario Argento) is a few years removed from a stroke and saddled with a bad heart that does him no favors when trying to keep a clear head as far as care goes. And neither wants to leave their home no matter how sensible doing so proves. She’s a psychiatrist whose lucidity has her believing everything is under control. He’s a film critic desperate to finish his…

Read More

REVIEW: Les amours d’Anaïs [Anaïs in Love] [2021]

Everything is possible if you want it. There’s nothing discreet about thirty-year old Anaïs (Anaïs Demoustier). We meet her as she’s running to greet her landlady. Anaïs is two months late on rent and her live-in boyfriend has moved out, yet she’s unafraid to let the woman graciously allowing her to stay despite no real evidence that she won’t have to throw her out in a week know this agreed upon conversation is cutting into a party for which she’s also late attending. Candid to a fault, this graduate student…

Read More

REVIEW: Re Granchio [The Tale of King Crab] [2021]

Princes and poor people. While Alessio Rigo de Righi and Matteo Zoppis‘ Re Granchio [The Tale of King Crab] begins with the discovery of a piece of Etruscan gold by a 19th century self-loathing, drunken lover known as Luciano (Gabriele Silli), we don’t meet the character until after being whisked away to the Tuscia, Italy village Vejano and a group of present-day hunters gathering for food, wine, and stories. These are real people as far as I’m aware, men whose words already inspired a prior short and feature length documentary…

Read More

REVIEW: Virus :32 [2022]

Today is not a day to be scared of madness. An unknown virus has spread throughout Montevideo, causing a zombie-like apocalypse scenario. No one knows what it is or where it came from, but signs of aggression leading up to the all-out carnage were there for anyone looking. Iris (Paula Silva) wasn’t. Her existence of late has epitomized not paying attention as a means of survival. She’s retreated from loved ones (Franco Rilla as her husband Javi and Pilar Garcia as their daughter Tata) in order to numb her pain…

Read More

REVIEW: Les Olympiades, Paris 13e Paris, 13th District] [2021]

No need to shout. The lighter side of writer/director Jacques Audiard—known for some pretty heavy dramas—comes out courtesy of graphic novelist Adrian Tomine’s modern romances. Audiard and his co-writers Léa Mysius and Céline Sciamma adapt three-to-four (I’ve seen competing numbers) of Tomine’s stories into a poignant and satisfying look through the private windows of Les Olympiades, Paris 13e [Paris, 13th District]. First there’s Émilie Wong (Lucie Zhang) and her new roommate Camille (Makita Samba). Then there’s Camille and his new real estate colleague Nora Ligier (Noémie Merlant). And, finally, there’s…

Read More

REVIEW: Das Mädchen und die Spinne [The Girl and the Spider] [2021]

But you had tears in your eyes. Lisa (Liliane Amuat) is moving apartments and the building’s children who have come to know her as a friend and companion ask her remaining roommate Mara (Henriette Confurius) whether she’ll still visit. The latter says that she will, but we know the truth is more than likely that she won’t. It won’t be out of malice or even conscious for that matter. It’s just what happens as life carries on. We find ourselves embroiled in new situations with new people and we gradually…

Read More

REVIEW: Gagarine [2021]

We’re dying here. Being the first man to travel into space, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s name became a global commodity. Even a housing project within a communist municipality outside of Paris took it as its moniker and invited the hero to come by and receive the cheers of the French people gathering outside on their balconies for a look. That was 1963, however. A complex possessing 370 apartments like Cité Gagarine was destined to take a beating once infrastructure and economics collided. Its disrepair cemented an eventual demolition by 2014; its…

Read More

REVIEW: Ha’berech [Ahed’s Knee] [2021]

Although there are no answers. Ask Y (Avshalom Pollak) what you can be in an increasingly oppressive state like his homeland of Israel and he’ll say: victim, aggressor, or complicit bystander. It’s a very reductive view of the world—a cynical one too. You can’t really blame him for existing in a headspace of such extremes, though, considering the world around him is crumbling. His mother, confidant, and artistic collaborator is dying of cancer. His politically charged films are at-risk of being censored both in post-production via a cultural ministry working…

Read More

REVIEW: Writing with Fire [2021]

We don’t trust anyone but you. It’s sometimes easy to forget white supremacy is deeply rooted in religion due to race being such a major component of its rise in America. Watching a film that depicts the growing Hindu nationalist movement in India, however, really shines a light on that piece of the puzzle considering how similar their tactics are to what’s been happening here at home. While Sushmit Ghosh and Rintu Thomas‘ documentary Writing with Fire isn’t specifically about this development, one cannot easily separate it from their actual…

Read More