Fire at Sea (Fuocoammare) (2016)

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This stunningly crafted documentary, ostensibly about the European refugee crisis, won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. Without narration, context nor exposition other than a few paragraphs before it starts, the film juxtaposes the quiet life of the inhabitants of the island of Lampedusa with the horrific plight of those attempting to cross from Africa to Europe. 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

Old Joy (2006)

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In her films,  Kelly Reichardt (Certain Women, Meek’s Cutoff, Wendy and Lucy) immerses you in the life of a handful of people over a day or two. In Certain Women, it was four women in rural America, in Meek’s Cutoff it was settler women in the 1840s Oregon desert. In Old Joy we follow old friends Kurt (Will Oldham) and Mark (Daniel London) as they reunite for an overnight camping trip in search of some hot springs. 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