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 […]

REVIEW: Rocco e i suoi fratelli [Rocco and His Brothers] [1960]

“But you mustn’t always forgive” More than a story about immigrants building a new life for themselves away from the home they wished could have been theirs forever, Luchino Visconti‘s Rocco e i suoi fratelli [Rocco and His Brothers] is an epic journey of hubris, love, and grand dreams falling short. In three hours we […]

REVIEW: Ennemis intérieurs [Enemies Within] [2016]

“Between you and me, what’s the difference?” The definitive exchange in Hidden Figures—the one that defines America then and still today—is when Kirsten Dunst‘s personnel manager tells Octavia Spencer‘s yet-to-be-given-the-title supervisor, “Despite what you may think, I have nothing against y’all.” Spencer’s Dorothy Vaughan counters without missing a beat, “I know you probably believe that.” […]

REVIEW: Silent Nights [2016]

“I live a very hard life” It’s extremely difficult for me to blindly accept a film like Aske Bang‘s Silent Nights on faith. The idea that someone can do bad things—no matter how good he/she is at heart—and continuously be rewarded is a tough sell. But that’s exactly what this look at immigration through a […]

REVIEW: Watani: My Homeland [2016]

“I am responsible for destroying my children’s future right now” Out of five Oscar-nominated documentary shorts, four deal with the cost of genocide with three being specifically about today’s Arab refugees. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the topic is very much at the forefront of the world’s mind, the internet allowing injustices thousands […]

REVIEW: Mindenki [Sing] [2016]

“Well life isn’t always fair, my dear” A new candidate for cinema’s best villain of 2016 emerges out of Kristóf Deák‘s Hungarian short Mindenki [Sing]. Her name is Miss Erika (Zsófia Szamosi), the Middle School choir conductor in charge of her school’s nationally recognized troupe of youngsters readying to defend their previous championships. She seems […]

REVIEW: 4.1 Miles [2016]

“Did Dad get on the boat?” While Trump’s administration unconstitutionally discriminates against Muslims from countries he doesn’t do business with, heroes are risking their lives to protect those who need protecting. One of these is Kyriakos Papadopoulos, a Greek Coast Guard captain from the island of Lebos who goes out into the choppy waters of […]

REVIEW: Hooligan Sparrow [2016]

“Hey Principal: get a room with me and leave the kids alone!” First-time director Nanfu Wang‘s documentary Hooligan Sparrow proves how a single piece of paper explaining a child’s rights can cause a ripple within a sea of oppression and catalyze justice. That document came from the hand of Wang Yu, a lawyer who followed […]

REVIEW: 悲兮魔兽 [Bei xi mo shou] [Behemoth] [2016]

“A land of deathly silence” There’s just one thing missing from Liang Zhao‘s visually masterful documentary 悲兮魔兽 [Bei xi mo shou] [Behemoth] and it’s a before image of what this wasteland of coal and rock used to be before God’s beast was unleashed. This creature—as represented by the industrial machine—devours the mountains of Mongolia, exploding […]

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 […]

REVIEW: فروشنده [Forushande] [The Salesman] [2016]

“For once it looks like we’re in luck” There’s this notion that tragedy won’t happen to us. It’s for people who don’t live their lives correctly—some karmic retribution paying for mistakes made along the way. We like to believe we’re different whether such a belief is deserved or not. So when something does occur, only […]