REVIEW: 旺角卡門 [Wong gok ka moon] [As Tears Go By] [1988]

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“I found that glass” Writer/Director Kar Wai Wong hit the scene in 1988 with gangster drama 旺角卡門 [Wong gok ka moon] [As Tears Go By] in a way that many compare to Martin Scorsese‘s debut splash Mean Streets. It’s a gritty look at the streets of Hong Kong populated by men who are nothing without […]

REVIEW: Faust: Eine deutsche Volkssage [Faust] [1926]

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“The greatest miracle of all is man’s freedom to choose between good and evil” Director F.W. Murnau left Germany with a bang thanks to his big budget visual masterpiece Faust. Adapted like so many other versions from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe‘s classic take (Gerhart Hauptmann and Hans Kyser provide the titles), this rendition sets itself […]

REVIEW: Panique au village [A Town Called Panic] [2009]

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“Your car is completely broken” Based on the animated series of the same name, Stéphane Aubier and Vincent Patar‘s feature length Panique au village [A Town Called Panic] is a far cry from short five-minute skits. With that said, it’s easy to see how it was born from such a format considering the irreverent humor […]

REVIEW: Alles wird gut [Everything Will Be Okay] [2015]

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“We’ve come too far to turn back” It’s interesting how the phrase “everything will be okay” carries such a stigma of pandering deflection now. The words are for all intents and purposes meaningless in their true context, transformed instead to connote a sense of insecurity through hopeful platitudes without any sense of whether or not […]

REVIEW: Shok [2015]

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“It’s not about the bike” There’s no more poignant way to tell a tale of war than through the eyes of children. This is what writer/director Jamie Donoughue does with Shok, a short film set during the Kosovo War between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (spearheaded by the Serbians) and the Kosovo Liberation Army at […]

REVIEW: Ave Maria [2015]

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“Jews have violated the Virgin!” Director Basil Khalil and co-writer Daniel Yáñez have come up with a cutely comic conceit for their short film Ave Maria. It’s the West Bank—miles from civilization—and a car carrying a Jewish man, his wife, and his mother crashes into a Catholic church run by five Arab nuns who have […]

REVIEW: Tabu [2012]

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“You will not escape your heart” There are definite thematic similarities between Miguel Gomes‘ Tabu and F.W. Murnau‘s Tabu: A Story of the South Seas from its forbidden love to its descriptions of paradises lost. The structures are even identical—albeit in reverse—showing the joy of romance and the pain of losing it. If I were […]

REVIEW: 刺客聶隱娘 [Nie yin niang] [The Assassin] [2015]

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“She wanted me to see her before she took my life” Without a doubt one of the most gorgeous films of 2015, Hsiao-Hsien Hou‘s 刺客聶隱娘 [Nie yin niang] [The Assassin] is also high on the list for most convoluted. I still have little clue about what happened throughout the story—based on a late ninth century […]

REVIEW: Mustang [2015]

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“At least something will happen” While intriguing for France to select a film in Arabic as their sole Foreign Language Oscar hopeful, you cannot deny Mustang‘s quality. Academy rules center around financial stake rather than mother tongue, the stipulation being that dialogue only needs a non-English majority. A tale of five sisters conservatively raised in […]

REVIEW: Les glaneurs et la glaneuse [The Gleaners and I] [2000]

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“There’s no shame, just worries” What makes Agnès Varda such an integral voice in cinema is her colloquial way of engaging subjects. Everything appears as though unplanned when she visits locales believed to align with her current topic so as to capture unknown truths and adventure. None of her work does this better than Les […]

REVIEW: Le meraviglie [The Wonders] [2014]

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“When he’s not here we can breathe, right?” The running joke throughout Alice Rohrwacher’s Le meraviglie [The Wonders] is that eldest daughter Gelsomina (Maria Alexandra Lingu) is in charge of the family. It’s a cutely simple way in which parents Wolfgang (Sam Louwyck) and Angelica (Alba Rohrwacher) can disarm outsiders threatening their livelihood. The family […]