VENICE19 REVIEW: Boże Ciało [Corpus Christi] [2019]

Silence can also be a prayer. Faith is inherently about putting your complete trust in something or someone without knowing whether the object deserves such blind allegiance. We have faith in God because believing there’s purpose to atrocities is easier than accepting a nihilistic outlook on life just like the presence of miracles proves good fortune is earned so you won’t feel guilty upon realizing how you have it better than someone else. It’s therefore impossible not to let it warp your morality until everything possesses the need for black…

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REVIEW: Fuga [Fugue] [2018]

Prison would be better. Stories dealing with amnesia generally gravitate towards a heartwarming conclusion wherein a character regains his/her bearings to live happily ever after within the life they lost. This reality is due to the fact that the afflicted is often found soon after the incident that’s left them unfamiliar with their former self. They wake up without knowing who they are, quickly become confronted with people who do, and ultimately work towards bridging the gap. What happens, though, if the time separating disappearance and reunion is much longer?…

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REVIEW: Komunia [Communion] [2016]

I’m not the air. While learning about what to share with the priest during his first confession, young Nikodem is told that stuffing his face with food is a sin known as gluttony. The autistic boy giggles and jokes that he believes gluttony to be a virtue instead—one to replace love since it being prone to kissing should render it the real sin. This sequence initially feels of a comedic, throwaway sort when compared to the rest of Anna Zamecka‘s harrowing documentary Komunia [Communion] and yet that thought couldn’t be…

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TIFF17 REVIEW: Beyond Words [2017]

“A change of perspective from high to low normally brings new discoveries” An African man—a hopeful immigrant—says something very interesting to his prospective lawyer Michael (Jakub Gierszal) at the start of Urszula Antoniak‘s Beyond Words. When asked if he has a better excuse for finding refuge in Germany than the simple desire to choose his own home as a free human being, he says, “No.” He states that he doesn’t need one. It’s an argument that’s been raging here in America since the 2016 presidential campaign began, this idea that…

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REVIEW: Córki dancingu [The Lure] [2015]

“Would you eat him?” Not all fairy tales must be for children as their lessons resonate with ages young and old. There’s a reason many original forms of such tales deliver more blood and horror than Disney counterparts—that sense of fear allowing adults to find dramatic value and kids a scare to remember the moral as more than cutesy romantic bliss. And as far as mythical creatures go, the idea that they can and will project their dominance upon humanity is natural. Just as we’ve taken over the mantel of…

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TIFF16 REVIEW: Zacma [Blindness] [2016]

“Hatred conceals faith” The roles have been reversed for Julia Brystygier (Maria Mamona), the once powerful colonel in the USSR’s Ministry. She interrogated countless enemies of the state, namely Catholics who rejected the communist concepts ruling them. The human body was her canvas, torture her paintbrush—nothing was out of bounds as far as acquiring the information she sought. But that was years ago. Now she’s a private citizen like the masses trying to survive. A lucky one too considering many of her superiors during that period are now in jail…

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REVIEW: Demon [2015]

“Goodbye, Python. Hello, Piotr.” Nothing’s allowed to derail the guests of a Polish wedding from having fun, not even the groom’s epileptic seizure. You just pick him up and cart him out. Send the ambulance away so it won’t scare the crowd, pump him full of meds to even him out, and simply bring out more vodka to spike the punch and confuse everyone’s equilibrium when the revelers start spreading rumors that he’s been possessed by a Jewish demon. We aren’t celebrating the union of man and wife after all,…

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REVIEW: Nasza klatwa [Our Curse] [2014]

“Except that for him everything is just a beginning” After culling together home videos documenting the early days of his son Leo Hueckel-Sliwinski‘s life along with brief one-shots of cathartic conversations had between he and wife Magda Hueckel into a seven-minute short three years ago, Tomasz Sliwinski expands their harrowing tale via the half hour long Nasza klatwa [Our Curse]. Aptly named for the affliction suffered by Leo known as Ondine’s Curse (Congenital Central Hypoventilation Syndrome, CCHS), the film takes us on the emotional roller coaster experienced once a young…

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REVIEW: Joanna [2014]

“I may be lying but I’m still dancing” If I was diagnosed with terminal cancer and told I had three months to live, I’m not sure I’d think to blog about it. But that’s exactly what Joanna Sałyga decided to do, putting her thoughts on life, death, love, and loss out into the world so others sharing in her grief could stop feeling alone and so she could have a venue with which to tell her husband Piotr and son Jan Wenda everything she could ever think to say. She’s…

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REVIEW: Ida [2013]

“Why am I not here?” A life well lived. Now there’s a concept very few of us can truly comprehend. It doesn’t mean old age. It doesn’t mean fame or fortune. It doesn’t even mean legacy, familial or otherwise. A life well lived can be ten years long or one hundred years short—the only necessity being that you somehow left this world better on your own terms and in front of whatever God or lack thereof you choose. Some of us are lucky; others the victim of fate, time, and…

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