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...
★★★★☆ Inspired by Robert Bresson’s Au Hasard Balthazar, veteran Polish filmmaker Jerzy Skolimowski’s latest is a darkly comic and moving fable about a wayward donkey living through fate’s tender mercies. EO is at once a cinematic curiosity, a compelling drama and a harrowing portrait of cruel whimsy.
★★★★☆ American director Darren Aronofsky has made a career out of exploring individuals who are physically and psychologically self-destructing in the throes of obsession. It could be the relationship between the diameter and circumference of a circle; building a boat to avoid a genocidal flood; ballet or wrestling; drugs or food.
★★★★★ Documentary filmmaker Alice Diop’s (We, La Permanence) first narrative feature Saint Omer is a major achievement and an investigation into motherhood, judgment and the other. Kayije Kagame plays Rama, a university professor and writer who is working on a new book.
★★☆☆☆ After his girlfriend is killed in a brutal attack, former boxer and paramedic Jan (Milan Ondrík) falls into profound despair. Exploring themes of guilt, masculinity and justice, boxing-inflect crime film from Slovakian director Peter Bebjak shows much promise, but fails to coalesce into a coherent vision.
★★★☆☆ Bulgarian documentarian Andrey Paounov turns his hand to fiction in this adaptation of Yordan Radichkov’s 1974 play. January is an intriguing, eerie, ponderous narrative set entirely within the confines of a forest cabin. Religious allegories, monochrome photography and folk horror trappings ensue.
★★☆☆☆ Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans had all the ingredients to ascend as cinema’s new darling. Yet, as this semi-autobiographical film plods on, there is an unshakeable sense that in reaching for the stars, The Fabelmans instead lands somewhere more mediocre and disappointing.