sat 21/09/2019

film festivals

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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DVD/Blu-ray: Zama

Atmosphere definitely dominates over narrative in Lucrecia Martel’s fourth film – long delayed, Zama follows almost a decade on from her similarly opaque The Headless Woman – but the Argentinian director offers bracing consolation for some early...

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The Miseducation of Cameron Post review - learning the right way

This is Desiree Akhavan’s second film, following on from her rather ironically titled Appropriate Behaviour of 2014. That was a coming-out drama about a bisexual, Iranian-American woman, whose story closely reflected the director’s own – and Akhavan...

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Blu-ray: A Gentle Creature

“To our enormous suffering!” There are many macabre vodka toasts, accompanied by some appropriately gruelling visuals, in A Gentle Creature, but that one surely best captures the beyond-nihilist mood of Sergei Loznitsa’s 2017 Cannes competition...

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DVD/Blu-ray: Black Peter

Fifty years after the 1968 Soviet invasion that so brutally interrupted it, the Czech New Wave really is a gift that keeps on giving. It still astounds that such a sheer variety of cinema was created in so short a time – really just six or seven...

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Blu-ray: Intimate Lighting

From the way that Czech director Ivan Passer remembers the genesis of this, his 1965 debut feature, in the 2006 interview that comes with this Second Run rerelease, Intimate Lighting happened practically by accident. A scriptwriter friend had put an...

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