Black Nights 2015 Review: LOEV, Lovers In A Dangerous Time

Same-sex activity is illegal in India, punishable by imprisonment. The release there of Deepa Mehta's film Fire, about a love affair between two women, incited violent protests in 1998. So the fact that Sudhanshu Saria's debut feature Loev was made... More »
  

Five Flavours 2015 Review: CROCODILE Drifts Through Arresting Yet Ponderous Poverty

Fable and reality mingle in Francis Xavier Pasion's Crocodile, a film riddled with beautiful imagery and terrible poverty. Based on real events and bookended by documentary footage of the story's real protagonists, the unique, swampy landscape of the Agusan Marsh... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Blu-ray Review: Finally, THE APU TRILOGY Receives The Attention It Deserves

I've been writing about Indian cinema for a little over five years now. I've been a fan of Indian cinema for right around ten years. Yet, until a couple of weeks ago, I had never seen any of the films... More »
By J Hurtado   
  

Black Nights 2015 Review: UNDER THE SUN, A Peek At North Korean Propaganda

For much of the world, North Korea is an enigma. What little we know of it comes either from those who have escaped (who do not tend to paint a pretty picture) or what little information comes from the country... More »
  

Review: KEEPER OF DARKNESS Exorcises Nick Cheung's Directorial Demons

While remaining committed to the horror genre, Nick Cheung's second outing as director is a huge improvement on 2013's Hungry Ghost Ritual. Again casting himself in the lead, Cheung this time leaves writing duties to Yeung Sin Ling (Inner Senses,... More »
By James Marsh   
  

Five Flavours 2015 Review: THE LIGHT SHINES ONLY THERE Finds Hope In The Darkness

Sleepy Hokkaido sets the stage for an unusual friendship in The Light Shines Only There, in which a stoic young man holding on to a secret pain befriends a yellow-toothed, happy-go-lucky wastrel on parol. Destitution, emotional turmoil abound, yet this... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Black Nights 2015 Review: NIGHT SHIFT, Iranian Drama Meets Hitchcock

Niki Karimi has had a stellar career in Iranian cinema, first beginning as an actor, and moving into writing and directing in the past decade. Her most recent feature, Night Shift, is a serious and unusual blend of domestic drama... More »
  

Five Flavours 2015 Review: LAZY HAZY CRAZY, A Carnal And Vivacious HK Youth Film

Follies of youth, burgeoning passions and ephemeral connections form the backbone of Luk Yee-sum's sensational debut Lazy Hazy Crazy. Set in a Hong Kong that has seldom been seen on the big screen, here is a film that feels uniquely... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Now On Blu-ray: A SNAKE OF JUNE Is Still A Masterpiece

A bit of a spoiler alert up front, A Snake of June is my favorite Tsukamoto Shinya film. While I haven't seen all of them just yet, of the eight or so that I've managed to ingest, A Snake of... More »
By J Hurtado   
  

Review: THE ASSASSIN, An Unqualified Success, Or, A Studied Bit Of Installation Art

The first thing that strikes you in The Assassin is the quiet. Hou Hsiao-Hsien's ruminative tone-poem, about a Tang Dynasty sell-sword tasked with killing kin, is a remarkably hushed affair. Be it dialogue, sound-effects or music, at no point does... More »
By Ben Croll   
  

Busan 2015 Review: TWENTY TWO, Sober But Slow Portrait Of Chinese Comfort Women

One of most sensitive topics in regional Far East Asian politics these days, Japan's use of comfort women during the wane of its colonial empire is a constant talking point on the news. Among the more sobering and least sentimental... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Busan 2015 Review: RECORDING Chronicles Charming Cast In Forgettable Story

It's the small moments that work in Recording, a story that is low on ambition but infused with a winning charm even as it drags in the scripting department, particularly in the back half. Sweet and unaffected, Park Min-kook's debut... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Busan 2015 Review: SPECIAL ANNIE Awkwardly Switches From Subject To Artist

Ten years after her feature debut What Are We Waiting For?, documentarian Kim Hyun-kung returns with an intimate film that is both a portrait of a HIV-positive New Yorker and a filmmaker uncertain of her aims. Awkwardly straddling the border... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Busan 2015 Review: BAD GUYS ALWAYS DIE Suffers A Slow Death

One of the more high profile among the many China-Korea collaborations being made these days, Bad Guys Always Die teams Taiwanese star Chen Bolin with top Korean actress Son Ye-jin in an action-comedy (leaning more towards the later) set on... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Busan 2015 Review: ALONE Winds Its Mystery Through The Backstreets Of Seoul

Four years after his experimental 3D shaman mystery Fish, Park Hong-min returns to BIFF with another singular work that offers one of the most compelling examinations of gentrification in Seoul. Alone follows a single character as he hops from one... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Busan 2015 Review: STEEL FLOWER Offers Wilted View Of Korean Youth

A year after Wild Flowers, Park Suk-young returns to the Busan International Film Festival with Steel Flower. Gritty, intimate and centering around a young girl lost in a harsh urban world, Park's latest kicks off on the same foot as... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Busan 2015 Review: REACH FOR THE SKY Goes There And Beyond

The last few BIFFs have each afforded us one great documentary (Non-Fiction Diary, Factory Complex), and 2015 proves to be no exception with the discovery of the timely Reach for the SKY, a compelling look at a common but disastrous... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Busan 2015 Review: ORDINARY PEOPLE Offers Tired Gags In Familiar Situations

Three years after his debut Over and Over Again, director Kim Byung-june returns to Busan with a much livelier effort that strives to mixes social realism and situational crime comedy. Aping the lowbrow comic efforts of Korea's commercial realm, Ordinary... More »
By Pierce Conran   
  

Camera Japan 2015 Review: OUR LITTLE SISTER Shows The Cold Through Blissful Warmth

For years now, Japanese director Kore-eda Hirokazu has been making films which have an uncommonly humanist core. Often emotional, sometimes openly feel-good even, his films somehow never become the saccharine dross they would undoubtedly be in lesser hands. One of... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

New York 2015 Review: CEMETERY OF SPLENDOUR, A Beautiful and Beguiling Waking Dream

The Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, in his body of work consisting of six features, plus a number of short and medium length films, and also art installations, illuminates the landscapes of his native country in ways that often approximate trance-like... More »
  
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