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 attempts to prove. So while the explanation of a piece of artwork depicting a pelican that pierced its chest to reanimate its dead children with its blood first appears as metaphor, it just might be…

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REVIEW: Jerichow [2009]

“You can’t love if you don’t have money” The titular town of Jerichow as shown onscreen by writer/director Christian Petzold is hardly one of paradise yet still very much of “home.” It’s where dishonorably discharged ex-Army man Thomas (Benno Fürmann) runs to without a word to his employer (in part due to stealing a few bucks), his mother’s death sparking the return while her empty house provides a reason to stay. And it’s where Turkish immigrant Ali (Hilmi Sözer) has set-up shop with wife Laura (Nina Hoss), their snack shack…

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REVIEW: Yella [2007]

“I want you to love me again” There’s a glimmer of hope in Yella Fichte’s (Nina Hoss) eye when things finally seem to be going in the right direction. She’s earned a new job starting the day after tomorrow, one that should fill her empty bank account and lead her towards prosperity. But before she can enjoy the good news, she must first endure that which she yearns to escape. This comes in the form of Ben (Hinnerk Schönemann), a man putting a chill down her spine with an unpredictable…

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REVIEW: Phoenix [2014]

“I no longer exist” The Holocaust left thousands of survivors stripped of identity—branded by a number as though they weren’t worthy of the name given at birth. To exit such horror was to enter a new world forever changed for them as well as those lucky enough to have missed the nightmare first-hand. Pity, guilt, sorrow, and anger mixed as victims, oppressors, heroes, and bystanders who refused to acknowledge the truth reunited in a post-War Earth. Nations tried to make things better by pooling together the wealth of those who…

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