REVIEW: Sous le ciel d’Alice [Skies of Lebanon] [2021]

No one is brave enough to stay. When historical events are too complex and sprawling to do them justice in a ninety-minute film, the best thing to do is shrink the aperture. So, rather than try to cram in years’ worth of religious, political, and geographic conflict such as that of the almost two decades-long Lebanese Civil War, focus on its impact instead. What was it like to live in Beirut as an emotionally and culturally rich life is suddenly turned upside-down by bombings and gunfire as numerous militias are…

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REVIEW: The Lost Daughter [2021]

Children are a crushing responsibility. Leda (Olivia Colman) has obviously been looking forward to her working vacation on a Greek island. She cannot stop smiling upon arrival. It’s not long after, however, that the prospect of a quiet few weeks taking notes for the next year’s course load or current research takes a turn for the worse. Enter a loud, entitled extended family every local knows by name and reputation. The noise distracts Leda from her work. The disruptive attitudes born from the privilege of being feared ruins her ability…

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REVIEW: Lazzaro felice [Happy as Lazzaro] [2018]

He’s staring into the void again. Writer/director Alice Rohrwacher asks an interesting question with Lazzaro felice [Happy as Lazzaro]. How would we treat a saint? Would we acknowledge his/her goodness and understand their grace to be something to mirror? Or would we scoff at their innocence to call them naive, their loyalty to call them stupid, and their charity to call them a pushover? You’d like to think the former and yet it doesn’t take much of a history lesson to prove the latter. There’s a reason a majority of…

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REVIEW: Le meraviglie [The Wonders] [2014]

“When he’s not here we can breathe, right?” The running joke throughout Alice Rohrwacher’s Le meraviglie [The Wonders] is that eldest daughter Gelsomina (Maria Alexandra Lingu) is in charge of the family. It’s a cutely simple way in which parents Wolfgang (Sam Louwyck) and Angelica (Alba Rohrwacher) can disarm outsiders threatening their livelihood. The family is struggling so it’s easy to position a child as the honey business’ face because Dad’s anything but warm and inviting. But Gelsomina is of the age where quiet acquiesce has become impossible despite truly…

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360|365FF10 REVIEW: Io sono l’amore [I Am Love] [2010]

“‘Happy’ is a word that makes one sad” It only took one look at the American poster for Io sono l’amore [I Am Love] to know I needed to see the film. The use of typography over an elegant family portrait, blocking every face but star Tilda Swinton’s, is gorgeous and much more relevant to the work it represents than I’d ever imagine. Throughout the entire piece, characters are often seen with obstructions between them and the camera, giving the audience a voyeuristic view into the Italian family’s world. There…

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