TFF17 REVIEW: Tilt [2017]

“Can we get away with anything we want?” If only we could go back to the days when mid-life crises happened at fifty-years old and at best meant buying an expensive car (at worst asking for divorce to marry younger). Now this existential breakdown occurs much earlier—let’s say thirty-years old. This is what happens when […]

TFF17 REVIEW: The Endless [2018]

“Please, be quiet” To resolve is to settle, finding the determination to do something rather than simply wait for something to happen to you. A resolution isn’t therefore a firm ending. On the contrary, it serves to provide beginnings. That decision has the potential to set you onto a path towards freedom either from the […]

BERLINALE17 REVIEW: Ceux qui font les révolutions à moitié n’ont fait que se creuser un tombeau [Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves] [2017]

“People do not yet see they are miserable. We will show them!” There’s universality to Mathieu Denis and Simon Lavoie‘s Ceux qui font les révolutions à moitié n’ont fait que se creuser un tombeau [Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves] even if it is very much a Québécois film. Marking their […]

SUNDANCE17 REVIEW: Machines [2017]

“Poverty is harassment, Sir” The most pointed question asked by Rahul Jain‘s documentary Machines comes from the camera. By showing us the gigantic textile spools, looms, and washers with only their rhythmic clanks, booms, and bangs opposite the Indian workers applying dyes, mixing chemicals, and ensuring there are no jams to the same sounds, we […]

SUNDANCE17 REVIEW: Winnie [2017]

“The self no longer mattered. The country came first.” It’s difficult to truly capture a controversial subject in film. For a figure such as Winnie Madikizela Mandela, it may be impossible unless you ensure her perspective is included. This is a woman labeled terrorist by many countries, a wife who “tarnished” her heroic husband’s legacy. […]

SUNDANCE17 REVIEW: Axolotl Overkill [2017]

“Can you drown in the gene pool?” Playwright, author, screenwriter, and director Helene Hegemann has said (through her publisher) that, “There’s no such thing as originality anyway, just authenticity.” The words were spoken after her debut novel Axolotl Roadkill earned critical praise, a spot as a finalist for a major book award, and multiple, potentially […]

BIFF16 REVIEW: Mercy [2016]

“Why would you let her suffer?” It’s practically impossible to talk about what’s happening in Chris Sparling‘s latest thriller Mercy without spoiling it. The writer/director knows, splitting it into three pieces as a result: the first third completely shrouded in mystery, the next a replay from alternative perspectives, and the last the truth of the […]

BIFF16 REVIEW: Off the Rails [2016]

“I’m volunteering my time” It starts as a lark: Darius McCollum led away in handcuffs with smile ear-to-ear. We think this is a guy having fun pretending to be a Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) employee. He knows what he’s doing, never hurts a soul, and gets people where they’re going on time whether by subway […]

BIFF16 REVIEW: 2307: Winter’s Dream [2016]

“I guess Hell finally froze over” The year is 2307 and Earth is three centuries removed from climate change transforming its surface to glacial ice. Humanity has evolved to living underground, improving technology to help sustain their tenuous ecosystem outside of the subzero temperatures. This includes insulation injections to combat cold for up to 48-hours, […]

BIFF16 REVIEW: Tony Conrad: Completely in the Present [2016]

“No LSD needed” When Tony Conrad passed away in April 2016, I knew of him as an experimental filmmaker. It’s hard to be an art student at the University at Buffalo—despite his teaching in Media Studies rather than Fine Art—and not know his name at the very least. But that was all I knew: a […]

BIFF16 REVIEW: Tower [2016]

“Stay away from the university area” My first experience with rotoscope animation was probably Richard Linklater‘s Waking Life in 2001. I found it a fascinating technique retaining the live action movement and reality while allowing the room to add dream-like flourishes of fantasy that fit the frame aesthetically. You don’t care when someone’s head becomes […]