#MadeInPrague: Our 2017 festival highlights

The Made in Prague Film Festival (10-19 November) is back in London over the next two weekends. Programmed by the Czech Cultural Centre, new films will be accompanied by the first ever UK retrospective of seminal Czech New Wave filmmaker Jan Němec. Němec was an exciting name in an exciting scene in the 1960s, graduating…

Film Review: The Killing of a Sacred Deer

★★★★☆ Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos follows up 2015’s The Lobster with his second English-language feature. Starring Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman, The Killing of a Sacred Deer is another dark comedy about the awful things we do to ourselves and others.Lanthimos’ career has been built on placing people in unusual scenarios – from the strange…

Film Review: Deliver Us (Liberami)

★★★☆☆ In select UK cinemas this week, Italian director Federica Di Giacomo eschews genre sensationalism for her Palermo-set exorcism documentary Deliver Us (Liberami), which is far more interested in its human subjects than it is in the demonic.Of course, the very notion of a religious procedure to rid people of evil spirits may seem like genre…

Film Review: The Ornithologist

★★★★☆ Beginning as a routine meander into the woods in search of birds, The Ornithologist becomes an unsettling and subversive pilgrimage taking in the Camino de Santiago, a variety of bizarre individuals and a mystifying destination of self-discovery and rebirth.Combining the death of St. Anthony of Padua with the structure of Homer’s The Odyssey, it’s…

DVD Review: Whitney ‘Can I Be Me’

★★★☆☆ There’s little riper for a heartstring-plucking documentary than the life of a beloved star cut tragically short. In British filmmaker Nick Broomfield’s Whitney ‘Can I Be Me’, he paints a poignant picture but struggles to get to the heart of his subject.This is ironic, as the title of the film is a reference to…

DVD Review: The Fabulous Baron Munchausen

★★★★☆ Czech master filmmaker Karel Zeman draws liberally from literary and cinematic history to create his sumptuous and whimsical fantasy adventure The Fabulous Baron Munchausen, made with his signature flair. The film is now available once again thanks to Second Run DVD.The Fabulous Baron Munchausen begins with a virtuoso sequence in which the evolution of…

Film Review: The Death of Louis XIV

★★☆☆☆ In Ian Dunlop’s biography of Louis XIV he describes the Sun King’s death, saying that he “yielded up his soul without any effort, like a candle going out.” Slow cinema maestro Albert Serra clearly didn’t take to that notion when he decided to make The Death of Louis XIV.Louis is appropriately played by a…

Karlovy Vary 2017: Our picks of the festival

The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival returned for its 52nd year from 30 June-8 July. The beautiful spa town on the edge of the Slavkov forest in Western Bohemia played host to A-list stars and directors from around the world.As ever, showcased were some titles from this year’s Cannes Film Festival as well as the…

Karlovy Vary 2017: City of the Sun review

★★★★☆ Georgian director Rati Oneli’s City of the Sun is in a constant dialogue with philosophical treatise and epic poetry, but the humanity shines through in his meditative exploration of a half-abandoned mining town.The title of City of the Sun is taken from a 1602 utopian text of the same name by Dominican philosopher Tommaso…

Karlovy Vary 2017: A Ghost Story review

★★★★☆ Ain’t Them Bodies Saints director David Lowery channels slow cinema maestros Apichatpong Weerasethakul and Tsai Ming-liang in A Ghost Story, a beautiful meditation on grief, time, and place which screened at Karlovy Vary.It doesn’t start out that way, though. Initially, A Ghost Story looks and feels like a stereotypical low-key US indie with subtle…

Film Review: Risk

★★★☆☆ Laura Poitras returns with another probing political documentary, but this time the film’s own post production proves as fascinating as its whistle-blowing subject. The thought of several years of unprecedented access to Julian Assange and Wikileaks is more than enough on its own to whet the appetite of documentary fans. That this access was…

Interview: Gael Garcia Bernal & Pablo Larraín

In 1947, Pablo Neruda was charged with treason in his native Chile and became a fugitive, eventually making an equine escape through the Andes. This is the period of the great poet’s life through which Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larraín decided to explore this national hero in Neruda, which stars Luis Gnecco in the title role….