REVIEW: Grave [Raw] [2017]

“Two fingers will make it come up easier” We strive to become ourselves in college thanks to that first taste of freedom after adolescence’s long haul packed tightly at home and within part-time jobs and/or classes alongside peers who simply don’t want to be there. This is when we’re able to let loose and buckle […]

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: La Femme et la TGV [2016]

“I’ve never sent an internet and I never will” While its age-old conceit of a misunderstood curmudgeon discovering joy after being perpetually caught in a cycle of monotony is familiar, Timo von Gunten‘s cutely inspiring La femme et le TGV is in fact based on true events. The woman at its center is Elise (Jane […]

REVIEW: Elle [2016]

“It was necessary” Director Paul Verhoeven has made a career of pushing the envelope whether through violence, sex, politics, or all three wrapped together. It’s hardly surprising then that his buzzword of choice on the promotional trail for his latest Elle has been “controversial.” The word choice is appropriate considering David Birke‘s script (adapted from […]

REVIEW: L’avenir [Things to Come] [2016]

“Can we put ourselves in the place of the other” No one is making movies with as much depth of character as Mia Hansen-Løve—so much depth that you may wonder where the plot is considering everything is hinging on a single trajectory. But that’s how our lives progress. How we experience our own evolution stems […]

REVIEW: Ma vie de Courgette [My Life as a Zucchini] [2016]

“Well, I think I killed my mum” You have to respect when a story targeted towards children is allowed to possess pathos. Take Gilles Paris‘ 2002 novel Autobiographie d’une courgette for example—a 228-page piece centering on a nine-year old boy’s experience living as an orphan in France after accidentally killing his mother. This is the […]

TIFF16 REVIEW: Souvenir [2016]

“Like ABBA but not so famous” It starts with bubbles. So many bubbles rising slowly in liquid as the opening credits in script font flash onscreen. And when the camera finally pans out to see what it’s been that’s mesmerized us so? A glass of water with an Alka-Seltzer dropped in, of course. This is […]

REVIEW: No Home Movie [2016]

“When I see you like that I want to squeeze you in my arms” I didn’t want Chantal Akerman‘s last film No Home Movie to be the first of hers I watched, but circumstances didn’t comply. The personal documentary’s brief history is intriguing with critical consensus seeming to be skew towards failure before her suicide […]

REVIEW: La belle saison [Summertime] [2015]

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

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

“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 […]