FANTASIA16 REVIEW: Shelley [2016]

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“But it’s not just about the money” Everything starts so innocently that you’d be hard-pressed to realize Ali Abbasi‘s Shelley is a horror film besides the score’s dread-inducing soundscape rising to a deafening level of static. Sure the setting’s weird with Louise (Ellen Dorrit Petersen) and Kasper (Peter Christoffersen) living in the Danish woods without […]

REVIEW: Supot [2016]

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“What if I can’t stand the pain?” For some rural villages in the Philippines circumcision is a rite of passage for young boys. We’re not talking surgical removal by a doctor as a baby, though. This tradition takes place at age ten by a designated patriarch with a sharpened blade and rock. Each boy soaks […]

REVIEW: La belle saison [Summertime] [2015]

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“Loneliness is a terrible thing” While a romance on its surface, Catherine Corsini‘s La belle saison [Summertime] is really about freedom. The central relationship between Delphine (Izïa Higelin) and Carole (Cécile De France) pushes them to discover their personal identities removed from any union. The former is a farm girl yearning to break from the […]

REVIEW: Bir Uyku Vakti [In a Time for Sleep] [2016]

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“They are all the same except for their names” Writer/director Tofiq Rzayev‘s latest short Bir Uyku Vakti [In a Time for Sleep] appears to have a lot to say beneath its melodramatic plot. I’m just not sure exactly what it is. This could be a “lost in translation” case, but I found it difficult to […]

REVIEW: Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle [The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser] [1974]

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“I want to be a gallant rider like my father was before me” If any true story of mystery and perhaps madness were to align itself with Werner Herzog‘s sensibilities, that of young Kaspar Hauser is it. Here was a seventeen-year old boy found standing in Nuremburg clutching a note addressed to the cavalry captain. […]

REVIEW: Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes [Aguirre, Wrath of God] [1972]

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“Meat is floating by” Talk about the heart of darkness. It’s completely unsurprising that Francis Ford Coppola would admit to using Werner Herzog‘s Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes [Aguirre, the Wrath of God] as inspiration for his Apocalypse Now because they epitomize the stark moral depravity of warped conquering “heroes”. The quiet rage underlying every action […]

REVIEW: Oh Boy [A Coffee in Berlin] [2012]

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“Are you still serving coffee?” German Academy Award-sweeping Oh Boy [A Coffee in Berlin] is a day in the life of a Berliner slacker named Niko Fischer (Tom Schilling). He’s a law school dropout that’s been living off the thousand-dollar-a-week allowance his father continuously supplies under the auspices that it’s being used for college. He […]

REVIEW: Dheepan [2015]

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“Be nice. That’s all.” It was a surprise when Palme d’Or winner Dheepan wasn’t chosen as France’s Oscar pick for the 2016 Academy Awards (interestingly enough the country selected Mustang, another film whose main language isn’t French). Even more surprising is how long it’s taken to open stateside as ten months sit between its debuts […]

REVIEW: Les demoiselles de Rochefort [The Young Girls of Rochefort] [1967]

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“The illusion of love is only love unseen” The fair is in town and love is in the air. Welcome to Rochefort—a little seaside navy town in France full of sumptuously bright colors and plenty of light-footed citizens ready to dance accompaniment for anyone willing to belt their hearts out in song. It’s a harbinger […]

REVIEW: Ya Tayr El Tayer [The Idol] [2016]

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“People are dying and you’re singing?” Biopics are often difficult because the subject’s life may not contain the suspense and intrigue necessary for a film to succeed. This is why many focus on a brief period of time rather than a full life—honing in on the moment that made this person worthy of having his/her […]

REVIEW: Человек с киноаппаратом [Chelovek s kinoapparatom] [Man with a Movie Camera] [1929]

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Labeled the best documentary of all time by Sight & Sound in 2014, Dziga Vertov‘s Человек с киноаппаратом [Chelovek s kinoapparatom] [Man with a Movie Camera] lives up to its pedigree thanks in no small part to the level of cinematic innovation somehow utilized as far back as 1929. Besides the obvious period clothing and […]