REVIEW: Левиафан [Leviafan] [Leviathan] [2014]

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“These animals are not the whole town” It doesn’t get much bleaker or more cynical than Andrey Zvyagintsev‘s Левиафан [Leviathan]. He and cowriter Oleg Negin were inspired by many stories—”killdozer” rampage orchestrator Marvin Heemeyer, the Bible’s Job and King Ahab, and Heinrich von Kleist’s novella Michael Kohlhaas—all of which I know nothing about. Reading a […]

REVIEW: かぐや姫の物語 [Kaguyahime no monogatari] [The Tale of The Princess Kaguya] [2013]

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“That was Heaven telling us who she’d grow into” There is no questioning whether かぐや姫の物語 [Kaguyahime no monogatari] [The Tale of The Princess Kaguya] is an extraordinary work of art. The beauty of its simplistic, watercolor ink-lined drawings is a breath of fresh air within a medium of 3D-rendered characters trying so hard to not […]

REVIEW: La Parka [The Reaper] [2013]

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“It’s your turn now” With thought provoking musings on life and death, La Parka [The Reaper] provides a unique look at Mexican slaughterhouse employee Efraín Jiménez García. A husband and father who walked by the business one day to see a “Now Hiring” sign, Efraín has worked his way up from waste sweeper to killer […]

REVIEW: Nasza klatwa [Our Curse] [2014]

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“Except that for him everything is just a beginning” After culling together home videos documenting the early days of his son Leo Hueckel-Sliwinski‘s life along with brief one-shots of cathartic conversations had between he and wife Magda Hueckel into a seven-minute short three years ago, Tomasz Sliwinski expands their harrowing tale via the half hour […]

REVIEW: Parvaneh [2012]

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“Sorry, can you help send money?” The human condition is on display in Talkhon Hamzavi‘s Parvaneh. Or at least a very optimistic view of what it could and should be whether it takes a little while to get there or not. We like to think there is a universal concept of goodness in us all, […]

REVIEW: La lampe au beurre de yak [Butter Lamp] [2014]

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“Go and look at yourself on the photos” The butter lamp is a traditional feature of Tibetan temples and monasteries as a representation of wisdom’s illumination. The light removes the darkness of the mind to focus it and aid meditation. As Buddhists ignite a number of these lamps for funerals and pilgrimages as a way […]

REVIEW: Libertador [The Liberator] [2014]

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“I am the people” I think I may have snorted a bit when the short list for foreign film Academy Award nominations came out with Libertador [The Liberator] as one of its paltry ten. They wouldn’t have placed the movie with those melodramatic character posters shrouded in a dark brooding atmosphere above critical darlings like […]

REVIEW: Deux jours, une nuit [Two Days, One Night] [2014]

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“You mustn’t cry” Leave it to Marion Cotillard to take an otherwise workmanlike film and make it into a must-see. On the surface Deux jours, une nuit [Two Days, One Night] is simply a series of emotionally reactive moments responding to a decision unfairly placed on the shoulders of blue-collar employees at the local solar […]

REVIEW: אפס ביחסי אנוש [Zero Motivation] [2014]

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“Paper Shredding NCO is what you make it” When thinking about the Israeli army, images of badass Mossad agents covertly wreaking havoc across the world crop up. It’s a hyperbolic generalization, but that’s kind of the flavor our media delivers being that the country is such a strong defensive ally of the US. We’re to […]

REVIEW: Prada: Candy [2013]

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“I baked a cake” The message appears to be that Prada will make you irresistible as well as vain enough to yearn for the attention it demands. I guess this means it’s a job well done being that Prada: Candy is a commercial, but as a short film it’s lacking in showing us something other […]

REVIEW: Turist [Force Majeure] [2014]

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“You can’t run in snow boots?” Very rarely does an international name change occur for the better, but few titles are more perfect for their respective film than Force Majeure. The original Swedish moniker was Turist, a succinct and appropriate label considering the entire piece portrays a family’s five-day ski vacation in French Alps. Force […]