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

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

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

The Women (2008)

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It’s possible that this is the worst film about women ever made by women. It’s also possible it is the most disappointing remake of all times. What an opportunity – to take the crackling wit of the 1939 George Cukor original and show what has changed for women in 70 years. Instead they give us a sexless Sex and the City, short on charm and long on white privilege.  Continue reading

The Family (2016)

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Image via MIFF

I wasn’t expecting this documentary about the Melbourne suburban and Victorian rural sect The Family and leader Anne Hamilton-Byrne to pack such an emotional wallop. It begins as a blow-by-blow retelling of the investigation into the cult in the 80s and takes a while to build a coherent story but ends as a devastating insight into the repercussions for the children involved and the inability of investigators to breach the protective wall of privilege around the cult to obtain justice. Continue reading