Rotterdam 2016 Review: A GOOD AMERICAN Damns The Worst Of America

Austrian director Friedrich Moser is a self-confessed fan of spy stories, so it's not surprising he made a documentary about the NSA's former meta-data expert Bill Binney. Titled A Good American, the film played at the International Film Festival Rotterdam.... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Berlinale 2016 Review: ALOYS Exhalts In Glorious Madness

Tobias Nölle's engrossing tale of a highly distinctive Swiss private eye called Aloys is perhaps the first film of 2016 which has truly made me get excited and want to start bouncing off the walls like an excessively caffeinated critic.... More »
By Thomas Humphrey   
  

Review: EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT, A Spiritual Quest With A Political Regret

Inspired by Theodor Koch-Grunberg and Richard Evans Schultes, the first explorers of the Colombian Amazon, Embrace of the Serpent is a spiritual quest with a political regret. We follow two stories of German explorers (one of them is Jan Bijvoet... More »
  

Berlinale 2016 Review: BADEN BADEN, A Promising Yet Frustrating Debut

An amiably aimless jaunt set in the French city of Strasbourg (and not the German spa town of its title) Baden Baden has much in common with its main character, an amiably aimless misfit just coasting through life. Both main... More »
By Ben Croll   
  

Berlinale 2016 Review: THINGS TO COME Artfully Tells A Tale As Old As Time

Everything new is old again (or is it the other way around?) in Mia Hansen-Love's elegant and understated take on the cycles of life, Things To Come. With an astute eye and a sensitive-if-hardly-mushy script, Hansen-Love lets us know... More »
By Ben Croll   
  

Berlinale 2016 Review: FUOCOAMMARE Breaks The Wave Of Migration Documentaries

Given how long it takes to finance and make a film, you could argue that the film industry's collective consciousness has responded pretty quickly to the migration crisis which has unfolded in recent years, and Gianfranco Rosi's Fuocoammare is a moving example... More »
By Thomas Humphrey   
  

Rotterdam 2016 Review: RADIO DREAMS And Waiting for Metallica

Despite being brought up and educated in London, Iranian filmmaker Babak Jalali shot his sophomore feature Radio Dreams in the Bay Area of San Francisco. His stylistic preferences and personal signature aesthetics began to take bolder shape in his... More »
By Martin Kudlac   
  

Rotterdam 2016 Review: Personal Docupic 5 OCTOBER Tackles Modern Man And Transcendentalism

The already-established Slovakian photographer Martin Kollár flips between the lenses of photography and cinematography regularly and 5 October, unveiled in the festival section "As Long As It Takes", has the best of both worlds. As a cinematographer, he has lensed... More »
By Martin Kudlac   
  

Rotterdam 2016 Review: WILD Brings Out The Inner Wolf

The Rotterdam International Film Festival had many, many world premieres this year, and some almost-world premieres as well, like German director Nicolette Krebitz' new film Wild, which had its first-ever screening mere days earlier at Sundance. Which made it a... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Review: REGRESSION, Beyond Disappointing

Back in the 1990s, Alejandro Amenábar was part of the incredible new wave of Spanish fantastic cinema. His first feature, Thesis, was a Hitchcock-style thriller about snuff films that was creepy and sexy; his second, Open Your Eyes, a subtle sci-fi thriller... More »
  

Rotterdam 2016 Review: BEYOND SLEEP

One of the tasks Dutch high-school boys and girls need to conquer is finishing the dreaded Dutch "literature list", meaning they need to have read a certain number of famous Dutch books. One of the more often-used titles to put... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Rotterdam 2016 Review: IL SOLENGO Speaks To The Heart Of Italian Culture

There is a side to Italian culture which, given the importance it has, receives far too little attention. Beyond the cop vs. mafia gun battles and the eccentric lives of Italian dilettantes, there lurks a mysterious, timeless figure: the contadino.... More »
By Thomas Humphrey   
  

Review: LOST IN MUNICH, A French Parrot In The Czech Republic

As the year 2015 drew to a conclusion, Czech film critics had to do their homework to round up domestic titles suitable for annual awards bearing their name. (The awards ceremony will be held on January 23). Out of... More »
By Martin Kudlac   
  

Review: AFERIM!, Angry And Rough, A Must-See Ride In Romania

For over a decade Romanian Cinema has produced many breathtakingly great films, and directors such as Cristi Puiu, Corneliu Porumboiu, Cristian Mungiu and Călin Peter Netzer have gained international recognition, becoming household names in world cinema. The usual term of... More »
  

Review: Garrel's IN THE SHADOW OF WOMEN Finds Infidelity Is An Equal Opportunity Offender

Philippe Garrel, known for making films about deeply self-reflexive romantic entanglements since the late 60s, is at it again with In the Shadows of Women. Infidelity, art, improvisation, one-take scenes, shot in monochrome on film and natural settings have been... More »
By Dustin Chang   
  

Review: SON OF SAUL, A Unique Holocaust Horror Story

Son of Saul has two obvious strikes against it. It's a handheld, close POV movie, usually the sign of filmmakers too austere to pick up a tripod, eschewing good framing in favour of shakycam "grit." Then there's the subject... More »
By Jason Gorber   
  

Review: MACBETH, Injected With Dread And Cool

Justin Kurzel's Snowtown was a remarkable film, a brash feature debut that signaled the emergence of a unique talent joining a slew of them coming out of the Australian independent scene. Following up a powerful true crime story with... More »
By Jason Gorber   
  

Black Nights 2015 Review: DAWN, A Surreal Image Of Soviet Life

Tales of mythic figures, particularly those whose myth is perpetuated by governments, are ripe fodder for film. This can be especially interesting if someone like myself is ignorant of said mythic figure. Such is the case with Dawn, Laila Pakalnina's... More »
  

Black Nights 2015 Review: THANK YOU FOR BOMBING Shines a Critical Light on War Reporting

War correspondants can be mythic figures, something of romantic heroes. They go to dangerous places in order to bring us the truth. It's been said that it was the reporter's stories that helped begin protests against the Vietnam War; although... More »
  

Black Nights 2015 Review: BODY, The Connection Between Flesh and Spirit

Malgorzata Szumowska's previous films (Elles, In the Name Of) have looked at the conflict between mind and body, in a darkly serious tone. In her latest film Body (which won the Silver Bear for Best Director at Berlinale), she again... More »
  
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