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

Arrival (2016)

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Image via motherboard.vice.com

I loved this film (thanks for the recommendation Kari). Sci-fi is not my favourite genre but this was directed by French-Canadian Dennis Villeneuve, who also made the superlative Incendies, so it is not your average US film. Stunningly beautiful, atmospheric, complex and emotional, it won’t be for everyone but I was clutched tight in its grasp and now, hours and days later, it still hasn’t let go. Continue reading

Toni Erdmann (2016)

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I nearly didn’t see this film. Thank you to MIFF buddy Alex #2 who encouraged me to book this encore screening after I had ditched an earlier screening in exchange for a bit of sleep. I loved it. Laugh out loud loved it. Now I want to see more of Maren Ade’s films. This film revolves around Winfried and his adult daughter Ines. Through steady and wry observation, we see the dynamics between them, the effect of a separation and what their early years together might have been like. They seem very different now; he always finding humour in the everyday, she trying so hard to be a competent adult. Continue reading

Chevalier

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CHEVALIER-02At last, a five star film. I had hopes for Chevalier as it is co-written by Efthymis Filippou, the co-writer of The Lobster and Dogtooth, two brilliant films by Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos. And you know how much I loved The Lobster. Set on a luxury yacht off a nameless Greek Island, six men, with various connections with each other, dive, fish and share food, wine and stories. Slowly at first and then with greater intensity, they begin to compete for the prize of the “best man in general.” Continue reading

The Lobster

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I’m going to write a lot about this film because I loved it. This is the one film I most wanted to see at MIFF but it sold out within the first few days and I missed out. I had high hopes for it as I loved Dogtooth, the previous film from this director, Yorgos Lanthimos. His films are not for everyone. They can be black and bleak and devastating but they are incisive and profoundly moving satires about our self-imposed limitations and fears. Continue reading

In the Crosswind

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Hold the phone, Simone, and shut the front door, Lenore. I have seen my film of the festival. The one that blew me away and I would have started watching again if I could. In the Crosswind is an Estonian drama unlike anything I have seen before.

It tells the story of the forced removal of half a million Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians from their homelands by Stalin, to be ‘resettled’ in Siberia and prison and forced labour camps. The only dialogue in the film is the reading out of the actual letters and diary entries of an Estonian woman, Erna, to her husband Heldur. She has been taken with other women and children to Siberia and lives in dire poverty and deprivation, he has been sent to a gulag. Continue reading