Berlin Syndrome (2017)

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A movie about a woman being victimised isn’t the kind I would normally go and see but Berlin Syndrome is directed by Cate Shortland (Somersault, Lore) so I knew it was going to be interesting with the story of the woman at the heart. Clare (Teresa Palmer) is a naive Australian tourist newly arrived in Berlin. By chance she meets German school teacher Andi (Max Riemelt) and strikes up a hesitant friendship that leads to her staying the night at his isolated apartment in an otherwise empty former East Berlin apartment block. When she wakes in the morning with Andi gone to work, she finds the doors and windows locked and she can’t leave. 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

Their Finest (2016)

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Image via pinewoodpictures.com

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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

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