TIFF18 REVIEW: Retrospekt [2018]

Every Wednesday and … coffee. I can’t think of a better term to describe Esther Rots‘ Retrospekt than her own: “sensory cinema.” We get a feeling for what this means during the opening scene as Dan Geesin‘s score and Bas Kuijlenburg’s boomingly operatic baritone drowns out the action onscreen with English lyrics telling a story of which we’re not yet certain is even worth our attention. We don’t know these characters beyond visible traits: a pregnant woman, her husband, and their young girl packed up in an RV heading to…

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NYICFF REVIEW: Sing Song [2017]

I’m looking for my eyes in your eyes. For Dutch teenager Jasmine (Georgiefa Boomdijk), her homeland of Suriname (a northeastern South American country) is a footnote. She knows little about it or the mother she and her father Winston (Maurits Delchot) left behind sixteen years previously. He refuses to talk about anything pre-Netherlands so her sole connection is a photo of the woman she hasn’t yet resigned herself to believing she’ll never meet. So when a contest held across the Atlantic from where she lays her head asks for online…

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TIFF17 REVIEW: Verdwijnen [Disappearance] [2017]

“Until we all drown in it” Vignettes depicting a young girl playing the piano on a darkened concert stage come and go throughout Boudewijn Koole‘s Verdwijnen [Disappearance]. They provide bookends to the whole, his film seemingly a visual representation of the melody—both as this single chapter in Roos’ (Rifka Lodeizen) life and its entire duration from birth to death. It’s only during the end credits that we’re finally told who this girl is: Young Louise (Eva Garet). The mystery lay in the fact that Roos played piano as a child…

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REVIEW: Dood van een schaduw [Death of a Shadow] [2012]

“I could show you the true beauty of death” Inside an intriguing steampunk dimension just outside the realm of our own lives a collector of shadows (Peter van den Eede) whose museum looks as though owned by a devout Robert Longo aficionado. Grungy canvasses line his walls with silhouetted bodies contorted into myriad positions at the time their flesh and blood counterparts’ died. This creepy sunglass-wearing gentleman employs one of his works of art to be a photographer of sorts that immortalizes each priceless moment on the edge between life…

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REVIEW: Oorlogswinter [Winter in Wartime] [2008]

“Rule one in wartime: keep your mouth shut” War has a way of involving even the most unsuspecting child thought to be safe from the pain of death and destruction left in its wake. It has a way of hardening the most innocent of souls, quickening the pace towards adulthood by exposing all to hard choices, treason, and unfathomable compromise. In Nazi-occupied Holland, a mayor’s son is caught in the middle of his own quest for morality. Michiel (Martijn Lakemeier) is just a boy—horsing around with his friend Theo (Jesse…

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