Browsing: Reviews

This not a film critique, this is a love letter to a film. I just finished watching Caramel on MUBI and, ladies and gentlemen, I am totally shocked. How on earth could I have misjudged this film? In 2008, I watched five minutes of Caramel and I decided it does not deserve my royal attention. Last night after watching it to the end, I was ashamed of myself for ignoring such a masterpiece. As punishment I sentenced myself to watch three episodes of the Game of Thrones! I asked myself, what happened to Nadine of Caramel? Of course, I liked…

Shown as part of the 2019 Wisconsin Film Festival, Tito and the Birds is one of those animations that can appeal to a wide range of audience. Its surface message can easily get to children, and at the same time, adults can pick up on the hidden images and deeper messages. But before getting to the messages, we should praise its visual style. A combination of oil painting and computer graphics have given a uniquely dynamic and otherworldly look to this animation. The backgrounds and landscapes are especially very dynamic in the way that they smoothly transform to different images…

A new documentary exploring the Satanic Temple and its followers has debuted at the Riviera Theatre, much to the dismay of a local religious leader. “Hail Satan?”, directed by Penny Lane that premiered this year at the Sundance Film Festival, follows The Satanic Temple’s origins and grassroots political activism. Lane aims to show these Satanists as hard-working activists striving to preserve the separation of church and state in the face of religious hypocrisy. In a recent review, The New York Times described The Satanic Temple as “basically the Yes Men with an ethos, using humor and outrageous behavior to call attention to hypocrisy, particularly…

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…

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