Film reviews and more

Locarno 2019: Instinct review

★★★☆☆ Fans of Game of Thrones will be used to seeing Carice van Houten as a sexually powerful witch whose actions frequently cross moral lines, but her new film in which she stars with Marwan Kenzari, last seen in Guy Ritchie’s Aladdin, is an altogether different affair. Written by Esther Gerritsen and Reijn, Instinct tells the story of Nicoline […]

Locarno 2019: The Girl with a Bracelet review

★★★☆☆ A young girl is accused of a terrible crime and her family must come to terms with how much they really know about her in Stéphane Demoustier’s sober courtroom drama The Girl with a Bracelet, which premiered at Locarno. A family day at the beach can end in any number of unpleasant ways, but having a teenaged daughter […]

Locarno 2018: Festival roundup

With the 71st Locarno Film Festival coming to a close at the weekend and the prizes awarded, our contributor John Bleasdale notes some of the highs and lows of Swiss based celebration of film. There were many strong independent and frequently eponymous women at Locarno this year. Meet Sibel, for instance, a young woman shunned by her rural Turkish […]

Locarno 2018: Golden Leopard goes to Yeo Siew Hua’s A Land Imagined

The 71st Locarno Film Festival came to a close today and the awards have been announced. The top prize was taken by Yeo Siew Hua’s A Land Imagined, a dreamlike noir about a policeman searching Singapore for missing migrant worker. Yolande Zauberman got the Jury Prize for her crushing documentary about child rape in a closely knit Hasidic community […]

Locarno 2018: Our picks of the festival

One of the oldest European film festivals, Locarno celebrates its 71st edition with a vibrant programme of new films featuring 13 world premieres. Artistic director Carlo Chatrain curates his final festival before moving on to take over the reins of the Berlinale, and you can see what qualified him for the job in this exciting lineup. Of fifteen films […]

Locarno 2017: Madame Hyde review

★★★☆☆ Isabelle Huppert stars as a beleaguered French science teacher who, following a lightning strike, sporadically transforms into a fire lady. Serge Bozon’s absurdist revision of Robert Louis Stevenson’s tale has some wonderful moments but doesn’t quite je kill it.Madame Gequil (Huppert) works in the Arthur Rimbaud High School and it is unclear what is worth – the abuse […]

Locarno 2017: The First Lap review

★★★★☆ A young couple Ji-young (Kim Sae-byeok) and Su-hyeon (Cho Hyun-chul) reach a decisive moment in their lives in South Korean Kim Dae-hwan’s impressive slow-burner The First Lap, which received its world premiere at the Locarno International Film Festival last week.South Korea is at a crossroads, embroiled in political demonstrations and a government on the brink of falling, but […]

Locarno 2017: Stories of Love That Cannot Belong to This World review

★★☆☆☆ Italian writer-director Francesca Comencini adapts her own fraught, hysterical novel for the big screen in Stories of Love that Cannot Belong to this World, which remains as fraught, hysterical and unbearable as her protagonist – even via a new medium.Lucia Mascino plays Claudia, a literature professor who lives in Rome and is obsessed with the break up following […]

Locarno 2017: Sparring review

★★★☆☆ Premiering at this year’s Locarno International Film Festival, Samuel Jouy’s feature debut Sparring sees Mathieu Kassovitz star as an ageing slugger in a boxing movie which mixes up the below the belt pounding of Fat City with the emotional jabs of The Champ.Steve (Kassovitz) is a veteran boxer coming to the end of his career. His record is […]

Locarno 2017: Person to Person review

★★☆☆☆ Multiple New York stories interlace in Salt Lake City-born director Dustin Guy Defa’s Locarno 2017 select Person to Person, an ensemble piece which hails back to early John Sayles and Jim Jarmusch for inspiration but doesn’t quite live up to its heavyweight influences.Bene (Bene Coopersmith) gets a call about a rare Charlie Parker record; Wendy (Tavi Gevinson) and […]

Locarno 2017: Good Manners review

★★★☆☆ A beguiling, baffling and occasionally beautiful work which premiered at this year’s Locarno International Film Festival, Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra’s Good Manners is a genre-hopping tale of class, race, sexuality and werewolves in modern day São Paulo.Clara (Isabél Zuaa) goes for a job interview as a nanny for a wealthy and pregnant young woman called Ana (Majorie […]

Locarno 2017: Gemini review

★★★☆☆ Hollywood is never happier than when looking at Hollywood. From the polished, ironic magnificence of The Player to the lo-fi grunge of The Canyons, the starry side of LA has swallowed its own tail on numerous occasions, much to its great satisfaction. Along similar lines follows recent Locarno offering Gemini.With Gemini, former mumblecore meister Aaron Katz offers up […]