Film Review: ‘Dans la Cour’

★★★☆☆ French icon Catherine Deneuve graces our screens once again in Pierre Salvadori’s Dans la Cour (2014), a delicate Parisian tragicomedy about a community in an upmarket Parisian apartment block. Dark and emotionally complex, it still offers moments of eccentric silliness. French TV comedian Gustave Kervern stars as Antoine, a grizzled, lonely drunkard who abruptly…

DVD Review: ‘Two Men in Town’

★★☆☆☆ A loose remake of the 1973 José Giovanni film of the same name, Rachid Bouchareb’s Two Men in Town (2014) transplants the original’s critique of the French judicial system to New Mexico. Starring Forest Whitaker as a Muslim ex-con struggling to carve out an honest life, Bouchareb’s latest livens with the occasional moment of…

DVD Review: ‘Love Is Strange’

★★★★☆ Two stand-out performances from John Lithgow and Alfred Molina illuminate Love Is Strange (2014), the new film from Keep the Lights On (2012) director Ira Sachs. Like 2013’s comparable Chilean offering Gloria, it’s the story of love in an older generation and just as moving. Lithgow and Molina play Ben and George, two Manhattanites…

Film Review: ‘Futuro Beach’

★★★☆☆ Brazilian-Algerian director Karim Aïnouz returns with Berlin Film Festival 2014 select Futuro Beach (2014), a tactile and deeply personal account of sexual identity and the longing to belong. Tracing a line through the relationship between a Brazilian lifeguard and his German motorbike mechanic, Aïnouz’s doomed love story does, however, find itself caught in an…

Film Review: ‘Blind’

★★★★☆ Arriving on UK screens a year after its Berlin bow, Blind (2014) – the debut feature from Norwegian screenwriter turned director Eskil Vogt – imbues cognitive visualisation and the mechanics of storytelling to achieve what many have tired and failed to do – successfully insinuate what life without vision might be like. Ingrid (Ellen…

Film Review: ‘Life of Riley’

★★★☆☆ The play was once again the thing for Alain Resnais, as theatre serves as the backcloth for The Life of Riley (2014), his final film and the follow up to follow-up to 2013’s Cannes Competition entry You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet (itself based upon Jean Anouilh’s Eurydice). This time around, Resnais chose to rework…

Glasgow 2015: ‘Black Coal, Thin Ice’ review

★★★☆☆ Cowardice, treachery and bloody murder coalesce in director Diao Yinan’s Golden Bear-winning Black Coal, Thin Ice (2014), a tonally erratic noir that blends the aesthetics and absurd comicality of Johnnie To with a mainstream cop procedural. The apathy and social malaise of Northern China’s contemporary heartbeat provides the rhythm for Yinan’s ostentatious detective drama – a…

Berlin 2014: ‘Black Coal, Thin Ice’ wins the Golden Bear

The 64th Berlin Film Festival drew to a close tonight with its prestigious annual awards ceremony, rewarding the cream of this year’s crop with the International Jury’s highest accolades. Headed up by American producer extraordinaire James Schamus, and featuring American actress Greta Gerwig and French director Michel Gondry, the Jury presented the coveted Golden Bear…

Berlin 2014: ‘The Little House’ review

★★★☆☆ A faded postcard from a bygone era, Japanese director Yôji Yamada’s The Little House (2014) drifted through this year’s Berlinale Competition like cherry blossom on the breeze, surprisingly scooping the Best Actress Bear for lead Haru Kuroki. It’s not that Kuroki’s performance is poor, per se; it’s just that so little about Yamada’s latest…

Berlin 2014: ‘Boyhood’ review

★★★★★ A mind-boggling twelve years in the making, Richard Linklater’s quietly monumental new film, Boyhood (2014), somehow manages to dwarf his decades-straddling Before series in almost every conceivable way. Following the maturation of six-year-old Mason (a constant Ellar Coltrane) all the way up to his first day at college, never before has a coming-of-age tale…

Berlin 2014: ‘La Belle et la Bête’ review

★★☆☆☆ Christophe Gans invites you to be his guest for yet another adaptation of classic French fancy La Belle et la Bête (2014). Attempting to capture the enchantment of Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve’s fairytale, Gans’ overcooked adaptation stars Lea Seydoux, Vincent Cassel and a menagerie of furry critters. After losing his fleet, le Marchand (André Dussollier)…

Berlin 2014: ‘The Second Game’ review

★★★★☆ Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich once described football as “the ballet of the masses”. In Corneliu Porumboiu’s minimalist documentary The Second Game (2014), we watch a recording of an intense local derby between Romania’s two largest teams (Steaua and Dinamo Bucharest) played in the winter of 1988 – a time when the backpass was still…