Cannes 2019: Les Misérables review

★★★★☆ From its powerful far right-baiting opening image of a football-mad French kid of Arabic heritage draped in the country’s iconic flag to an unsettling and mayhem-filled finale, Ladj Ly’s gripping play on Victor Hugo’s humanist masterwork, Les Misérables, is uncompromising, angry-as-hell political cinema. Set over the course of two Continue Reading

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Film Review: Chi-Town

★★★☆☆ Selected for last year’s SXSW, Nick Budabin’s compelling fly-on-the-wall sports documentary Chi-Town (available now on iTunes) follows Chicago-born African-American college basketball star Keifer Sykes over the course of several years, as he pursues his big dream of playing in the NBA. At a swift and precise 79 minutes, Chi-Town Continue Reading

#LFF 2018: The Nightshifter review

★★★☆☆ In Dennison Ramalho’s phantasmagorical morality tale The Nightshifter, a cuckolded coroner’s assistant with the ability to communicate with the recently departed takes revenge against his wife and her lover, in turn unleashing a living nightmare upon himself and his two kids. Stênio (Daniel de Oliveira) is an absent father Continue Reading

Film Review: Vagabond

★★★★★ Back in UK cinemas to mark a BFI retrospective of the French New Wave director, Agnès Varda’s acclaimed 1985 road movie Vagabond, starring Sandrine Bonnaire, is a veritable masterwork from one of our greatest living filmmakers. A scruffy-looking girl sits in a field. It’s winter. She attempts to eat part of Continue Reading

Cannes 2018: Ayka review

★★★★★ Sergey Dvortsevoy’s Ayka follows a young woman over five days bitterly cold days in a city she doesn’t really know. Attempting to flee from a terrible situation, but only finding an indifferent world and uncaring people, the Kazakhstani director has made one of Cannes 2018’s most formidable entries. Ayka Continue Reading

Film Review: Capernaum

★★★★☆ Lebanese actress and director Nadine Labaki’s third directorial feature, Capernaum, is a stirring and essential social-realist drama about lives trapped in abject poverty, featuring a superb central performance from Zain Alrafeea. Labaki’s modest debut film Caramel, which played in the Un Certain Regard programme, back in 2007, was a low-key Continue Reading