The Rider (2017)

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Rider

Image via miff.com.au

4.5_orange_sm

I tried to keep my expectations low for this quiet and cinematic meditation on masculinity and rodeo riders. I only booked it because of recommendations from fellow MIFF tweeters and it’s often a mistake to expect too much (First Reformed (2017) is a good example of this). It took a little while to settle into the pace and the slight awkwardness of non-professional actors but once I did, I was hopelessly lost in its beauty and pathos. Continue reading

Tigers Are Not Afraid (Vuelven) (2017)

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Tigers-Are-Not-Afraid-key

Image via miff.com.au

3.5_orange_sm

Based on the real problem of children left vulnerable when their parents are captured or killed by Mexican drug cartels, Issa López’s horror take is cast primarily with child actors who do a decent job of carrying the story. Integrating fable-like elements and some competent special effects, the result is engaging although somewhat marred by sentimentality. Continue reading

Sofia (2018)

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Sofia

Image via miff.com.au

4.0_orange_sm

It is the unflinchingly scrutiny of the doleful Sofia’s face that made this film for me. Behind that impassive mask, that became animated only at certain moments, I could see the naivete that had brought Sofia to this untenable point in her life. Continue reading