NIGHTSTREAM20 REVIEW: Jumbo [2020]

What is it if it isn’t love? Jeanne Tantois (Noémie Merlant) has never been one for people. Besides her mother Margarette (Emmanuelle Bercot) and co-worker Fati (Tracy Dossou), she’d avoid talking to them all. You can’t blame her for this attitude considering what so many do the moment they witness her shyly eccentric demeanor. She closes her eyes in a wince when someone gets too close and they almost always come back with a chuckle or unoriginal playacting of being “scary.” They mock her, ridicule her, and laugh rather than…

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FANTASIA20 REVIEW: Undergods [2020]

All will be fog. We all like to think we have control—kings of our proverbial castles. It’s all a ruse, though. We’re actually slaves to a system that seems more and more likely to fail with each new day and each new declaration that its imminent demise is a call to arms to save it rather than move on and evolve. That false sense of control is thus a mechanism we use to combat the fear of knowing how little we truly possess. We dream of other men failing so…

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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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VIFF11 REVIEW: Rundskop [Bullhead] [2011]

“My dad says I wasn’t allowed to say anything” The name Michael R. Roskam may become very familiar around cinematic circles—possibly as soon as next spring. Beating out all other accomplished filmmakers from Belgium, it is this writer/director’s first feature Rundskop [Bullhead] that has won the honor of representing its country at the Oscars. You’ll understand why it prevailed quickly, earning the praise of not just being a great debut, but a great film too. Assured, intelligent, and gripping, this gangster tale isn’t necessarily unique in tone but is completely…

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