wed 22/05/2019

film festivals

Cannes 2019: The Dead Don't Die review - festival opens with rich zombie satire

“The world is perfect. Appreciate the details” says a WU-PS driver played by RZA, in Jim Jarmusch’s gleefully meta zombie-comedy that has just opened the Cannes Film Festival. It’s good advice. Jarmusch’s latest work is a finely tuned, deadpan...

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Blu-ray: Khrustalyov, My Car!

The title of Khrustalyov, My Car! comes, infamously, from the words uttered by NKVD chief Lavrenty Beria as he departed the scene of Stalin’s death in March 1953, and Alexei German’s film comes as close as cinema can to dissecting the surreal terror...

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Donbass review - war stories from the Ukrainian front

The latest from the prolific Sergei Loznitsa, Donbass is a bad-dream journey into the conflict that’s been waging in Eastern Ukraine since 2014, barely noticed beyond its immediate region. The titular break-away region, also known as “Novorossiya” (...

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DVD: The House by the Sea

Robert Guediguian has spoken of the influence of Chekhov on The House by the Sea (Le Villa), and the shadow of the Russian dramatist, particularly The Cherry Orchard, can certainly be felt in the French director’s latest film, his 20th in a career...

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DVD/Blu-ray: The Wild Pear Tree

Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan has been a Cannes regular for almost two decades now, and one of the festival’s more frequent prize-winners: over his career he has come away with two Grand Prix (for 2003’s Distant and 2011’s Once Upon a Time in...

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DVD: An Elephant Sitting Still

The story behind this first – and final – feature from the young Chinese film-maker Hu Bo is as sad as anything in recent cinema history. Stretching to nearly four hours, An Elephant Sitting Still is a film of almost unremitting bleakness, following...

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69th Berlin Film Festival round-up - what a banal Berlinale

As journalists and critics were enjoying the unseasonably balmy weather in Berlin at the 69th Film Festival, all were wondering – where are all the good films? Surely outgoing festival director Dieter Kosslick would want to conclude his 18-year...

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DVD: The Heiresses

This first feature from Paraguayan director Marcelo Martinessi is a delicate study in confinement, and of how the chance of freedom can bring an equal sense of exhilaration and apprehension. The two heroines of The Heiresses, Chela (Ana Brun) and...

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Shoplifters review - deserved Cannes prize winner

When a film is about a crime family, audience expectations tend to involve mobsters and thrills, but that’s not the territory that Hirozaku Kora-eda is exploring here. He opens his tale with a camera tracking leisurely across a Tokyo supermarket. A...

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LFF 2018: Roma review – Alfonso Cuarón’s triumphant return to Mexico

It’s not for nothing that Alfonso Cuarón’s mercurial CV includes Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, because this director really knows something about alchemy. His last, the Oscar-winning Gravity, was a science fiction spectacular...

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LFF 2018: The Favourite review - Queen Anne's bizarre love triangle

Olivia Colman will in due course be appearing as Elizabeth II in The Crown, surely a role of a very different hue to her portrayal of Queen Anne in Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Favourite (shown at LFF). It’s the beginning of the 18th Century, and England...

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LFF 2018: Colette review - zinging with zeitgeisty relevance

The story of French author and transgressor of social mores Colette has been told before on screen and in song, but this new film version (shown at London Film Festival) from director Wash Westmoreland not only zings with zeitgeisty relevance, but...

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