REVIEW: Der Himmel über Berlin [Wings of Desire] [1987]

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“Why am I me, and why not you?” What does it mean to be human? This is the question the Angel Damiel (Bruno Ganz) wonders from his eternal perch on high surveying, subtly steering, and always listening. He sees humanity’s joy and laughter, jealous of their ability to live, feel, and touch. Even amongst the […]

REVIEW: Adams æbler [Adam’s Apples] [2005]

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“That’s just plain rude” God works in mysterious ways—very mysterious ways. Or at least that’s what Anders Thomas Jensen‘s pitch-black fable Adams æbler [Adam’s Apples] will have us believe. It may just be plain old faith as the mere belief in good and evil sometimes gets you through the tragedies miring your life, dictating that […]

REVIEW: Les rencontres d’après minuit [You and the Night] [2013]

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“Always follow the clues in dreams” Everyone wants to describe Yann Gonzalez‘s films as kinky escapades of campy, colorful eroticism rather than mention what lies beneath that excitingly daring sheen: a profound sense of sadness. It’s a powerful longing for acceptance and love, a desire for more than our minds believe possible. The orgy constructed […]

REVIEW: Land of My Dreams [2012]

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“I want to be gorgeous” The above quote says everything. As do the lyrics to the titular song (originated by Aretha Franklin with Anna Domino providing vocals for the version used in the film) enhancing the melancholic atmosphere presented by writer/director Yann Gonzalez. His Land of My Dreams is just that: a dream. It’s a […]

REVIEW: Avril et le monde truqué [April and the Extraordinary World] [2015]

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“All scientists must serve the empire!” Most writing on Christian Desmares and Franck Ekinci‘s Avril et le monde truqué [April and the Extraordinary World] speaks as though they’ve adapted one of revered Frenchman Jacques Tardi‘s graphic novels. This isn’t quite the case. What they’ve actually done is bring his unique “universe” to life with help […]

REVIEW: El abrazo de la serpiente [Embrace of the Serpent] [2015]

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“Knowledge belongs to all men” It’s 1909 and the colonists have arrived in Colombia searching for rubber. They kill, enslave, and rape the land of its resources, systematically destroying a way of life at the snap of their fingers to project their own culture, religion, and greed instead. One Amazonian shaman refuses to fall victim […]

REVIEW: 捉妖記 [Zhuō yāo jì] [Monster Hunt] [2015]

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“You gave birth to a white radish” Even if 捉妖記 [Zhuō Yāo Jì] [Monster Hunt] were billed in America with “from Raman Hui, the supervising animator of everyone’s favorite Dreamworks player the Gingerbread Man and co-director of Shrek the Third, comes a magical adventure of man and beast” on the posters, it wouldn’t be enough. […]

REVIEW: El Club [The Club] [2015]

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“Has it ever occurred to you that you’re a criminal?” This is a film about deafening silence and how one unexpected intrusion can turn the normalcy of its sequestered solitude on its head. It’s a silence we have seen before a couple months ago in Spotlight—there too it was extracted from secret penance to the […]

REVIEW: Saul fia [Son of Saul] [2015]

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“You failed the living for the dead” It’s stunning how all these years later a Holocaust film can come along and prove wholly unique from the myriad examples we’ve already received and lauded. But László Nemes‘ directorial debut Saul Fia [Son of Saul] does exactly that. Not only does he capture the brutality by entering […]

REVIEW: Krigen [A War] [2015]

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“B for Bang” It’s not inconsequential that Tobias Lindholm‘s latest drama is simply and generically titled A War [Krigen]. This isn’t a story about Afghanistan or even Denmark—war is war no matter where it takes place or who is involved. Instead the film is about our actions both home and abroad, in the fight and […]

REVIEW: バケモノの子 [Bakemono no ko] [The Boy and the Beast] [2015]

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“Find the meaning on your own” Two worlds collide once young Kyuta (Shôta Sometani) and warrior Kumatetsu (Kôji Yakusho) meet in Mamoru Hosoda‘s バケモノの子 [Bakemono no ko] [The Boy and the Beast]. The former was recently orphaned after his mother’s death (she had divorced his father years ago and her family refuses to get in […]