For Sama (2019)

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Image via miff.com.au

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“He is my son. This is my love.” says a mother as she carries her young son, killed by an air strike. He was taken by his brothers to the makeshift hospital that Hamza, the husband of journalist and a writer/director Waad Al-Khateab has established in Aleppo during the siege of 2016. Continue reading

Glory (Slava) (2016)

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Image via miff.com.au

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Glory grabbed me from its first realistic scenes to its devastating ending. Described as Capra-esque and a black comedy, this is anything but; intense, understated and bleak, it is a powerful drama about what is lost when corruption and greed win out over humanity. Continue reading

Raw (Grave) (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