Raw (2016)

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Every now and then a film changes the way I see the world. I went into Raw, the stunning first feature by French director Julia Ducournau, expecting horror but instead experienced an intense metaphorical drama about female power and desire. Best suited to those who like their cinema challenging, Raw refuses to let you look away. Continue reading

Emo the Musical (2016)

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Harold and Maude meets High School Musical in this messy, funny, teen romp of a film by Australian Neil Triffett. Ethan (Benson Jack Anthony) is a misfit in his school. Identifying as an emo with black eyeliner and a melancholic preoccupation with death, he is expelled after trying unsuccessfully to hang himself from a tree in the schoolyard. As the new kid at scruffy Seymour High, he finds his tribe with wannabe emo band Worst Day Ever who are vying for a prize in a regional band competition. Trouble arises when Ethan falls for Trinity (Jordan Hare), singer in rival Christian band Hope. Continue reading

Their Finest (2016)

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3.0_orange_sm

On the surface, this is the kind of feel-good WWII movie that the British do so well. Made, though, by Danish director Lone Scherfig (An Education), it has a subtle complexity, a slightly contrived but interesting subtext and a feminist slant that makes it more interesting than it seems (and almost works). Continue reading

Wendy and Lucy (2008)

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Image via letterboxd.com

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A recent Kelly Reichardt retrospective gave me the chance to catch two of her earlier films – Old Joy and Wendy and Lucy. I really loved Certain Women at MIFF last year (I recommend you try and see it) and the same delicate, languid style can be seen in her two films from ten years ago. Wendy (Michelle Williams) is travelling across country with her dog Lucy in an old car, heading for Alaska. She has heard that work is easy to get there and she sleeps in her car and counts her pennies to make them last until she gets there. Continue reading

Personal Shopper (2016)

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4.0_orange_sm

It’s hard to love a film that’s deliberately ambiguous but there is something about this odd, French, mixed-genre movie by Olivier Assayas that mesmerises. Maureen (Kristen Stewart) is in a kind of frantic and masochistic limbo in Paris. Her twin brother Lewis has died from a congenital heart condition they both share and she is waiting for him to show her a sign that the afterlife exists.  Continue reading

The Innocents (2016)

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It is Poland in 1945 and, at an isolated convent, a novice escapes and treks across country in the snow to find a doctor. A Red Cross nurse, Mathilde (Lou de Laâge), follows reluctantly and finds a nun in labour. As she stays and then returns to help, she discovers that the sisters hold a secret that has left none of them unscathed and will, in turn, profoundly affect Mathilde.  Continue reading