Three Faces (2018)

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Jafar Panahi is not one of my favourite Iranian directors. His self-conscious self-referential technique of centring his films around his persona as a director has always kept me at a distance from his films, although I understand the relevance given his 20-year travel and directing ban. Three Faces follows this same style but, for the first time, I felt he kept himself to the margins of the story and let the real star, Behnaz Jafari, shine. Continue reading

The King (2017)

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This masterful and emotionally-engaging documentary begins as a journey through the key places and moments in the life of Elvis Presley, from Tupelo to Memphis, Nashville, New York and finally Las Vegas. Filmmaker Eugene Jarecki drives around in Elvis’s Rolls-Royce and passengers join him, some telling stories of being Elvis’s friend, neighbour or fellow churchgoer, some famous faces talking about celebrity and politics, others just playing a tune. Continue reading

The Rider (2017)

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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

Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. (2018)

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Pretty much all I knew about Matangi a.k.a. Maya Arulpragasm a.k.a. M.I.A. is the song Bad Girls. The anthem to girls doing whatever they want has a killer video clip of stunt drivers in the Middle East and M.I.A. resplendent in shades and gold chains. I now know there is so much more to her than this song and her Grammy and Oscar nominations. Continue reading