Loving Vincent (2017)

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Like an episode of Midsomer Murders but painted, this misguided commodification of the art of Vincent Van Gogh is devoid of any real exploration of the artist or his art. Proudly stating upfront that each frame has been hand painted, the gimmick is at first intriguing but soon becomes a distraction. It can’t hide the insubstantial plot, dodgy accents and lack of drama. Continue reading

High Heels Revolution! (Hai Hîru kakumei!) (2016)

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Image via japanesefilmfestival.net

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It was the topic that drew me to this documentary. Kaoru grew up in Japan, assigned a boy at birth but always feeling like a girl. As an adult, and now called Natsuki, she narrates her early life at school and the challenges of admitting, and being accepted for, who she really is. Interspersed with reenacted drama, this is an engaging story that teaches us about gender identity and expression in Japan, and leaves us pondering about gender roles in relationships.  Continue reading

Ancien and the Magic Tablet

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Image via japanesefilmfestival.net

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It was a feelgood Sunday for me at the Japanese Film Festival with two charmers – My Uncle and this animation that also showed at MIFF this year. Aimed at kids, it is a two-layered story about Kokone (voiced by Mitsuki Takahata), whose father Momo (Yôsuke Eguchi) repairs cars, and Princess Ancien, whose magic tablet allows her to give life to objects in the beleaguered kingdom of Heartland. Continue reading

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (2017)

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Image via cinemasiren.com

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I’ll go out on a limb and say the best way to make a film about women is to have one direct it. The fact that the title and trailer of this film focused on William Moulton Marston, the creator of Wonder Woman and co-inventor of the lie detector, led me to suspect that this might be another hagiography of a bloke who supported women’s rights. Happily it is definitely not. It is a sexy tale that places the women firmly in the centre and has given me a new appreciation of Wonder Woman. Continue reading