FANTASIA22 REVIEW: L’employée du mois [Employee of the Month] [2022]

The most dangerous thing here is you. It’s review day and everyone is laughing about what raises and bonuses they’re going to request this year. Nico (Alex Vizorek) jokes about asking for an SUV and money because it worked for someone else in the past. And why not? EcoClean Pro’s manager Patrick (Peter Van den Begin) decided to give his latest intern (Laetitia Mampaka‘s Melody) a stack of papers to shred on her first day, so it’s not much of a leap to assume the books have been cooked to…

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REVIEW: Avec amour et acharnement [Both Sides of the Blade] [2022]

But you know that. Director Claire Denis says Sara (Juliette Binoche) “flips a coin” when it comes to seeing her ex-boyfriend (Grégoire Colin‘s François) after more than a decade. She’s built a life with his best friend (Vincent Lindon‘s Jean), a former rugby player and ex-con struggling to get this latest chapter of his professional life started. So, she knows it will be awkward. She knows that she still loves François despite also loving Jean. Will a new encounter therefore rekindle those feelings to a point of no return? Or…

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REVIEW: Olga [2022]

You’re my warrior, right? Director Elie Grappe and co-writer Raphaëlle Desplechin waste no time showing their gymnast drama Olga is about more than the parallel bars. They introduce the titular fifteen-year-old Ukrainian (Anastasiia Budiashkina) perfecting the maneuvers necessary to advance onto the Jaeger technique—a move she hopes will help the team medal at the forthcoming European championships. She and best friend Sasha (Sabrina Rubtsova) are having fun as the nation’s top two athletes in the sport, their confidence so high that Olga doesn’t even really mind the fact her mother…

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REVIEW: Clara Sola [2022]

Stay inside the purple zone. While it’s not explicitly stated, the assumption is that the majority of Clara’s (Wendy Chinchilla Araya) family’s finances comes from donations made in her name. Some arrives courtesy of horse tours through their Costa Rican landscape as run by a local acquaintance (Daniel Castañeda Rincón‘s Santiago) with their white mare Yuca, but that can’t guarantee a consistent revenue stream. So, Clara’s aging mother Fresia (Flor María Vargas Chavez) forces her into a corset to stand and recite blessings to a room of strangers desperate for…

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TRIBECA22 REVIEW: Natten har øjne [Attachment] [2022]

Was that somehow my fault? Leah’s (Ellie Kendrick) reasons for being in Denmark are purely academic. At least, that’s what she tells former actress Maja (Josephine Park) upon meeting by accident at a bookshop. It’s a cutely fateful collision, the former with a stack of research and the latter dressed as an elf while running to an engagement to read to a bunch of school children. Maja’s haste causes a mix-up in their attempt to pick everything up, ensuring they must come together once more in calmer circumstances. A mug…

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TRIBECA22 REVIEW: Huesera [2022]

Bleed from the inside. According to Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés in Women who Run with the Wolves, the “Bone Woman,” or La Huesera, “collects and preserves that which is in danger of being lost to the world.” A Mexican myth sees her scouring the mountains and riverbeds for the remains of wolves, assembling what she finds to recreate the animal as though an ivory sculpture which will eventually become reanimated and ultimately reborn as a human woman freely laughing towards the horizon. They say she provides a glimpse of the…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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