Browsing: Reviews

Marcus Lindeen’s new documentary confronts its viewers with their obsession with sex and violence. Santiago Genovés, a Mexican anthropologist, decided to isolate and study a group of people on a raft while crossing the Atlantic ocean for 3 months in 1973. He got the idea for this study when, in November 1972, he was flying to a conference on violence and his plane was hijacked by a group of terrorists. Santiago was hoping that by this isolation and confronting the participants with harsh situations, he would find the root of the human conflicts. After many people volunteered to participate in…

The entire story takes place in less than a day, and in one location, in a middle-aged woman’s house, where she has been living there alone. All her attachments to life are 4 picture frames of the men of her life. One from her husband, a man who once supported Mossadegh (the democratic prime minister of Iran in 1950s that his government was overturned by a CIA coup in 1953), but after many years he goes to Hajj while drinking alcohol privately (forbidden for Moslems). Also there are two picture frames of her sons, one from his son that had…

A group of young girls argue with each other on what they’ve seen and done on Instagram as they walk on street. One of their fathers calls and the girl starts to come up with excuses for why she hasn’t come home yet. Suddenly people around them start to run. We follow the girls until we see a chopped off head on the sidewalk. This is how Pig starts. All this time, the sound has made us uncomfortable to finally give us the final shock. The sound of the girls talking over each other mixed with the urban noises, especially…

Never look away is, first and foremost, the story of an artist who struggles to find his voice under the pressure of state and society’s imposed restrictions. As such, it is one of the most relevant films for this time—and for that matter, probably any time. This is the story of the people who challenge the dominant discourse—whether it is imposed by the state, the society, the media, or the professionals—and the price they pay for it. At the same time, through the life of a doctor, the film depicts how the lying powerful could stay in power, as they…

ASKED about the movie we’d just seen, one patron suggested there was ‘a lot to digest’ – wow, did she get that one right. When you’ve seen the main characters eat their fair share of worms, maggots and assorted bugs, you might find things hard to digest. Or even keep down. Border is that kind of movie; whatever that kind of movie is. As director Ali Abbasi makes clear, he’s no genre guy and this is no genre film. You could try horror, crime, romance, myth, but you’d be more or less missing the point – whatever the point is.…

Two women of different generations are involved in a traditional ceremony, preparing the younger woman for something. This is how Birds of Passage (Pájaros de verano) starts—Colombia’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film in Oscar that has made it to the shortlist. Soon, we find out that the young woman (Zaida) has officially become a woman and her mother (Úrsula) is making her ready for the announcement and taking a man. Rapayet, from another family, asks for her hand, but two issues work as barriers for him: one, his family, that is considered lower than Zaida’s, and second, money, to…

What makes a family? Love? Blood? Both? Neither? This is the central theme of Shoplifters, another great drama by Kore-eda Hirokazu and the winner of Palme d’Or in 2018. The film has a tendency to reveal the information to the audience gradually. What looks like a complete family in the beginning, a family that tries to give shelter to a little girl, step by step turns out to be a group of people who have gotten together to “form” a family, a family they want, not one they were born into. Some of the characters explicitly state their thought about…

Among other things, the film showcases how the campuses in Tamil Nadu are widely demarcated among the student population based on caste. Pariyerum Perumal (God Who Mounts a Horse) is a very strong film. It invites a society, which is entrenched with casteist prejudices, for a debate and asks people to rethink these extreme forms of incivility. It takes us through the highly emotional struggles of a scheduled-caste youth who aspires to become a spokesperson of dignity and human rights for his community. He thus wishes to become like his role model, Dr B.R. Ambedkar, an unparalleled revolutionary leader of modern…

Last year, now-infamous producer Harvey Weinstein was still attending the Toronto International Film Festival. This year, making its world premiere at the festival he once frequented is “This Changes Everything,” a documentary highlighting the systemic sexism that has permeated Hollywood for the past century. In the year since a report by the New York Times alleged decades of abuse by Weinstein, he’s pled not guilty to sex-crime charges, including rape, and an array of powerful men have been similarly accused of various forms of misconduct. While it was hoped the ensuing uproar might give Hollywood a chance to shed it’s…

Like the recent Brazilian film Araby, Dominican writer-director Nelson Carlo de los Santos Arias’s Cocote grafts a fictional narrative onto the sturdy stock of documentary filmmaking. Here, the story concerns Alberto (Vicente Santos), a gardener for a wealthy upper-class family in Santo Domingo who’s forced to return to his remote rural hometown of Oviedo when he receives word of his father’s recent murder by decapitation in retaliation for unpaid debts. (The film’s title refers to the nape of the neck, thus to the wounds inflicted on Alberto’s father.) Tensions quickly arise within Alberto’s family due to the moral and theological conflicts between Alberto’s…

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