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Christopher Machell

Film Review: Nascondino (Hide & Seek)

★★★★☆ In UK cinemas now following a successful festival run, Victoria Fiore’s Nascondino (or Hide & Seek to give it its English title) is a heart-breaking, naturalistic study of 10-year-old Entoni as he grows up in the Spanish quarter of Naples, an area where organised crime is endemic.

Film Review: A Rising Fury

★★★☆☆ Encompassing the years leading up to the war in Ukraine, Ruslan Batytskyi and Lesya Kalynska’s debut feature is a worthy study of one man’s journey from the Maidan Square Revolution to the current conflict. A Rising Fury documents the life of one of many thousands caught up in Putin’s war.

Film Review: Enys Men

★★★★★ Following his acclaimed feature debut Bait, Cornish-born director Mark Jenkin returns with a haunting, enigmatic folk horror. Whereas Bait was a lament for a way of life swallowed up by mindless urbanite tourism, Enys Men is a hymn to sublime, endless time and the hauntedness of existence.

Film Review: Alcarràs

★★★★☆ The livelihoods of three generations of Catalonian peach farmers come under threat when a developer tries to evict the family from the land they have spent their lives farming. Director Carla Simón’s Alcarràs is at once a paean to family, community and a dwindling way of life, and a complex and heartbreaking study of the victims of progress.

Film Review: Peter von Kant

★★★☆☆ François Ozon remakes Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s 1972 film The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant. Sumptuously shot and compellingly performed, this worthy remake of the celebrated original is a handsome work in its own right and is an affectionate tribute to its German predecessor.

The best of 2022: Our films of the year

It’s hard not to draw parallels with the fatigue we’re all feeling and the current landscape of cinema, not least a ‘best of’ list that this year so strongly reflects a sense of social anxiety, alienation and division. Topping our list (just beating Martin McDonagh’s superbly gothic The Banshees of Inisherin) is Aftersun.

Film Review: Avatar: The Way of Water

★★☆☆☆ Thirteen years after James Cameron’s long-awaited return with 2009’s Avatar, here comes James Cameron’s second long-awaited return with Avatar: The Way of Water. The franchise opener was a global phenomenon, smashing box office records and ushering in a new era of 3D filmmaking.

Film Review: Mr. Bachmann and His Class

★★★★☆ Shot over the course of a school year, Maria Speth’s sixth feature captures the lives of a class of German 14-year-olds. At almost four hours in length, Mr. Bachmann and His Class is long, but its enormous characters and emotions more than fill the space, headed by an astonishingly charismatic teacher.

Film Review: Borrowed

★★☆☆☆ Carlos Rafael Betancourt and Oscar Ernesto Ortega stage a two-hander about an abusive relationship, in which middle-aged David (Jonathan Del Arco) lures Justin (Héctor Medina) to his home. A strong premise is sadly let down by narrative contrivance and sophomoric psychology.