Film reviews and more

Ben Nicholson

Game Review: The Complex

★★★☆☆ Fans of text adventures and the sadly defunct Telltale Games series can get their latest fill of branching narratives and choosing their own storyline courtesy of the new interactive sci-fi film, The Complex. “Here is a brand new idea in fiction – a story which ends in any one of a dozen or more different ways, depending entirely […]

Interview: Pedro Costa, dir. Vitalina Varela

Since his 1997 feature Ossos began his work with the disadvantaged communities of Fontainhas in Lisbon, Pedro Costa has become one of cinema’s most singular voices on the dispossessed. Through his Fontainhas trilogy (the aforementioned Ossos, In Vanda’s Room, and Colossal Youth) and beyond (Horse Money) Costa has created astonishing, almost dreamlike voyages through dislocation, dereliction, and destitution that […]

Karlovy Vary 2019: Our festival highlights

The Karlovy Vary International Film Festival returned to Bohemia this year with another feast of cinema from Europe and beyond. Running from 29 June to 7 July, this year’s festival was particularly notable for two excellent retrospective strands to complement their competitive programmes, including the always interesting East of West Competition. As ever there were highlights from Cannes, including […]

Film Review: Shirkers

★★★★☆ Sandi Tan’s luminous and shape-shifting documentary Shirkers is a journey back in time through the 16mm reels and sinister true story of the long-lost indie movie of the same name that she shot in Singapore over 25 years ago. It’s kind of fitting that this film lands on Netflix just prior to Halloween. A candy-hued doc about an […]

Film Review: Christopher Robin

★★★☆☆ Ideally, Disney would stop updating beloved cartoon classics into new live-action films, but as that seems unlikely, it’s lucky the Marc Forster-directed Christopher Robin has enough charm to get by. Over the past few years, Disney has doubled-down on the live-action remake gravy train. Despite Tim Burton’s regrettable sojourns into Wonderland and the intermittently exciting but definite un-necessity The […]

Karlovy Vary 2018: Our festival highlights

“I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians” Radu Jude’s film claimed the top prize at this year’s festival and it’s easy to understand why. It embraces the kind of boldly political stance of classic Polish cinema from the Communist era like a riff on both Wajda and Zanussi. The result is a formally loose, […]

Karlovy Vary 2018: Winter Flies review

★★★★☆ Olmo Omerzu’s follow-up to the stinging satire of 2015’s Family Film is another tale of children left to their own devices by negligent parents, but this time takes the form of an unsentimental but winning road movie caper Winter Flies. The title presumably refers to resolute dipterans that have refused to be cowed by seasonal colder weather and are […]

Karlovy Vary 2018: Profile review

★★★☆☆ Unfolding entirely on a laptop screen, Timur Bekmambetov’s new thriller Profile seeks to explore the murky world of how social media is used to recruit vulnerable young women to ISIS. The results are as compelling as they are silly. Back when the entirely desktop-based Unfriended was released in 2014, Bekmambetov (who produced the film) was candid about wanting […]

Karlovy Vary 2018: “I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians” review

★★★★☆ Following 2015’s Aferim!, Radu Jude returns to the topic of historical Romanian anti-Semitism in his furious new satire “I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians” which picked up the top prize at the 53rd edition of Karlovy Vary. Where Aferim! was a shaggy-dog road trip through 19th century Wallachia, Barbarians turns its scalpel to […]

Sheffield Doc/Fest 2018: Our programme highlights

This week sees the return of one of the highlights of the UK’s festival calendar in the form of Sheffield Doc/Fest, which runs from 7-12 June for its 2018 edition. As ever, the programme of over 200 documentary shorts and features boasts an array of non-fiction from thrilling crowd-pleasers and thought-provoking journalism to virtual realities and challenging hybrid cinema. […]

Film Review: A Cambodian Spring

★★★☆☆ Winner of the Special Jury Prize at Hot Docs 2017, Chris Kelly’s A Cambodian Spring is an intimate and upsetting account of community activism and the shaping of modern Cambodia. “This is a fake democracy,” says a resident of the area around Boeung Kak Lake in Phnom Penh, which the government has sold from under them to property […]

DVD Review: Intimate Lighting

★★★★☆ Despite being relatively light on political content, Ivan Passer’s Intimate Lighting – re-released on DVD and Blu-ray this week – was banned for twenty years under Soviet rule but has since become an enduring favourite of the Czech New Wave. One of the few directors of the Czech New Wave not to come out of the famed Prague […]