Film reviews and more

Month: March 2021

#Matthew Anderson #Reviews

Film Review: Undine

★★★☆☆ Floating somewhere between drama and fantasy, myth and reality, Christian Petzold’s Undine is a beguiling, other-worldly love story between a diver and a tour guide – or is she a mermaid? Brought to modern-day Berlin from the depths of German Renaissance philosophy, this supernatural allegory benefits from two strong lead performances, but […]

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Film Review: The Mauritanian

★★☆☆☆ Expressly out of sight, with the intention of being out of mind, there were only so many monikers – Gitmo, Camp X-Ray – and so many excuses, pieces of questionable legislation, that the US government could throw at their activities in Guantánamo Bay before the truth would out. Based on the 2015 […]

#Clara Bradbury-Rance #Festivals

BFI Flare 2021: Festival highlights

Always hotly anticipated by London’s LGBTIQ+ communities, BFI Flare went fully online this year, 26 features and even more shorts finding new audiences for a glorious programme full of soul, provocation, warmth, wit and sex. Continuing a trend, the festival divided its programme into three umbrella themes: hearts, minds, and bodies. These categories […]

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Film Review: Tina

★★★★☆ “Things are not always the way they look, you know.” Behind the forced smiles and false bonhomie of replies to inane talk-show hosts, hidden truths lie. Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin’s Tina digs deep into the past, the resilience and the courage of an extraordinary woman. Unafraid to ask the tough questions […]

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Film Review: Stray

★★★★☆ The saying goes that in the movies you should never work with children or animals. Acclaimed documentary short filmmaker Elizabeth Lo proves the latter part of this old adage to be complete nonsense with her feature debut, Stray. Following the freewheeling day to day life of dogs living on the streets of Istanbul, […]

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Film Review: Ammonite

★★★☆☆ “Last year at this time we had snow, and now it’s nice.” An earth-shattering, potentially life-altering sea-change occurs behind closed doors for two women living under the constraints of Victorian conservatism in Francis Lee‘s Ammonite. Encompassing the cold, muted tone of the entire script – and indeed the era, this one line […]

#Matthew Anderson #SXSW

SXSW 2021: Under the Volcano review

★★★★☆ ‘The most famous person you’ve never heard of.’ So read the tagline for Gracie Otto’s acclaimed 2013 documentary The Last Impresario, an exploration of the life and times of renowned producer Michael White. The Australian director moves from theatre and film to the music industry for her latest project, again in the search […]

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SXSW 2021: The Hunt for Planet B review

★★★★☆ Scheduled for launch at the end of October 2021, the James Webb Space Telescope will set the distant red star Trappist 1 – and its potentially habitable exoplanets – in its sights. Its objective? Peering into deepest space to answer one of mankind’s greatest unknowns. “Do you think there’s life out there?” […]

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SXSW 2021: The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson review

★★☆☆☆ Actor, playwright, novelist and now screenwriter-director, Leah Purcell is a Goa-Gunggari-Wakka Wakka Murri woman from rural Queensland. Her debut film, The Drover’s Wife: The Legend of Molly Johnson, is the latest representation of a story which places a fearless, pioneering Aboriginal character at the centre of a layered anti-colonial narrative. A reimagining of the Henry […]

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SXSW 2021: Bantú Mama review

★★★☆☆ Escaping Paris for a week’s rest and relaxation in the Dominican Republic, Emma (Clarisse Albrecht) says goodbye to pet parrot Coco in the opening moments of Bantú Mama. As the title card appears, the camera focuses on the revolving top of a small, statuesque metal ornament, upon which a human figure stands; arms outstretched, […]

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SXSW 2021: Our Father review

★★☆☆☆ In spite of two very game central performances by newcomers Baize Busan and Allison Torem, Bradley Grant Smith’s Our Father is the flattest of family drama-comedies. Learning of their father’s death, estranged sisters Beta (Busan) and Zelda (Torem) are thrust back together. Forced to confront their – entirely unexplained – differences, as […]

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SXSW 2021: The Lost Sons review

★★☆☆☆ Though the twists and turns of an extraordinary story – a baby stolen at birth, mistaken identities, genealogical discoveries, a fifty-year quest for the truth – are unquestionably compelling, Ursula Macfarlane’s The Lost Sons has the feel of a somewhat formulaic, made-for-TV documentary. That’s not to say there is anything inherently wrong […]

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SXSW 2021: Ludi review

★★★☆☆ Bound by a self-imposed obligation to send money to family back home in Haiti, caregiver Ludi works all the hours God sends in Floridian filmmaker Edson Jean’s debut. Modest but clear-sighted in its focus and ambitions, this first feature from the actor-turned-director has a rich visual style and lyrical sensibility. Centred on […]

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SXSW 2021: Luchadoras review

★★★★☆ In the opening moments of Paola Calvo and Patrick Jasim’s Luchadoras, female workers take a bumpy bus ride to factories situated on the outskirts of Ciudad Juárez. Looking out of windows, lost in thought, there’s no conversation, but a measured voiceover recounts the details of a woman raped by a driver, and […]

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SXSW 2021: Kid Candidate review

★★★★☆ As spousal encouragement goes, “Just don’t be an asshole,” is about as frank as it comes. But if you’re running for city council for the first time, it’s not a bad place to start. Jasmine Stodel’s Kid Candidate follows 24-year-old Hayden Pedigo from debut campaign no-hoper to improbable torchbearer for the disenfranchised […]