This Beautiful Fantastic (2016)

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thisbeautifulfantastic

Image via imdb.com

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This slightly oddball, feel good film is formulaic in many ways but with idiosyncratic styling that lends it an off-kilter, other-worldliness. Beginning with a fairy tale realism, we see Bella Brown (Jessica Brown Findlay) abandoned as a baby in a park. Watched over by ducks until she is found, she grows up without a family and with a fear and loathing of nature.  Continue reading

Israfil (2017)

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israfil

Image via iran.britishcouncil.org

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The second feature from Iranian director Ida Panahandeh, Israfil is a quiet exploration of the repercussions of the cultural oppression dealt with much more histrionically in Leila. Unlike Leila, where the thoughts of the protagonists were spelt out to us, Panahandeh lets us watch and feel and imagine. Continue reading

Leila (1997)

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Cultural oppression is a battering ram that destroys everything in its path. There are those who help wield it and those who throw their hands up in protest but do nothing. So it is with the lives of Leila (Leila Hatami) and Reza (Ali Mosaffa). Married because of family expectation but finding love and companionship, their problems begin when Leila finds she can’t have children. Continue reading

Negar (2017)

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negar

Image via filcin.com

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Introduced by the director of the Iranian Film Festival Australia (IFFA) as a rare example of an Iranian action film, I expected a touch of Hollywood and a breakneck pace but Negar was much more. Better described as a subdued psychological thriller, Negar weaves a fragmented but compelling story as the eponymous heroine struggles to understand her father’s apparent suicide. Continue reading

The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017)

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Faced with a choice of only three films that I could see and none of them ones that I would particularly choose (the kind of first world problem you have when your car is being serviced in a country town), I took the advice of the guy selling tickets at the cinema. He warned me off American Made (“It’s crap) and Dunkirk (“It’s boring) so The Hitman’s Bodyguard won the prize. Skimming reviews on IMDb, I expected an illogical but diverting shallow crime caper with two charismatic male leads and a few token women as love interests. And that’s exactly what I got. Continue reading