DOCNYC20 REVIEW: Colectiv [Collective] [2020]

We’re no longer human beings. We’re of an era when everything good instills mixed feelings thanks to how far our species has fallen where the realm of empathy is concerned. It’s so demoralizing that we’ve been forced to hail those willing to do the bare minimum as heroes simply because they haven’t caved to the power of money’s so-called “great equalizer” … yet. How much buys your silence? How much for your complicity? How about your active participation? The old adage says everyone has a price because it’s very often…

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REVIEW: La Gomera [The Whistlers] [2019]

The package arrived safely. A Romanian detective named Cristi (Vlad Ivanov) just landed on La Gomera in the Spanish Canary Islands. Because he’s unsure who’s supposed to meet him or where he’s going, he enters Kiko’s (Antonio Buíl) car with trepidation despite the man seemingly knowing everything about him. Only when they arrive at their destination to find Gilda (Catrinel Marlon) does Cristi relax since she’s the one who asked him to come and gave him the plane ticket. The reason is to teach him how to use an ancestral…

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TIFF17 REVIEW: Soldatii. Poveste din Ferentari [Soldiers. Story From Ferentari] [2017]

“Come here before I get angry” Based on lead actor Adrian Schiop‘s fictionalized biography, Ivana Mladenovic‘s Soldatii. Poveste din Ferentari [Soldiers. Story From Ferentari] shows a world of poverty and futility possessing few avenues of escape for those born within. Schiop’s character Adi arrives at the Bucharest ghetto known as Ferentari to study its people’s music of choice: manele. He’s researching the sound for his PhD thesis, the recent dissolution of a relationship at the behest of his ex-girlfriend providing the room to uproot himself for the work. But while…

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REVIEW: Bacalaureat [Graduation] [2016]

“Do what’s best for you” The amount of corruption to simply exist within the borders of Romania as displayed by Cristian Mungiu‘s Bacalaureat [Graduation] is insane. So much so that I feel bad admitting to what it reminded me of on a much more insidiously vile scale. Yes, it was nearly impossible not to see my hometown of Buffalo, New York as though looking in a mirror: the nepotism and the continuous promise of a future on the rise. It’s more than just Alexandra Davidescu‘s character talking about a reality…

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TIFF16 REVIEW: Fixeur [The Fixer] [2017]

“We’re journalists not activists. It’s not the same thing.” Some people can’t help themselves from striving to be the best whether that means winning a contest, getting a promotion, earning accolades, or proving you’re the only one able to accomplish an impossible task. They want to be relied upon for results. Radu (Tudor Istodor) is all the above. Doing what he’s told isn’t enough—he looks beyond what’s asked to discover what’s needed. And when it comes to career this character trait has served him well. He possesses the connections, intelligence,…

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REVIEW: Poziţia copilului [Child’s Pose] [2013]

“Why do you keep treating us like enemies?” What does it mean to be a parent? To take a blanketed, personal responsibility for the good and the bad of your child’s actions? This question is at the heart of Călin Peter Netzer‘s Golden Bear-winning (Berlin International Film Festival) film Poziţia copilului [Child’s Pose], not just the singular relationship of lead actress Luminița Gheorghiu‘s Cornelia Keneres and her grown son Bardu (Bogdan Dumitrache). There is that—her overbearing matriarch refusing to let her only child out of her clutches despite his trying…

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REVIEW: 4 luni, 3 săptămâni şi 2 zile [4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days] [2007]

“We’re never to talk about today” **Spoilers Included** 4 luni, 3 săptămâni şi 2 zile [4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days] is a heavy, heavy film. I knew going in that it was considered by most to be a one-timer, a film that needs to be experienced, but one that will not make you want to watch again for a long time if ever. I guess I just didn’t think it would be as hard to watch as it is. When the synopsis says that the movie revolves around a…

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