Film Review: Félicité

★★★☆☆ Félicité marks a return to screens for Senegalese director Alain Gomis. A graceful and deeply sympathetic piece of work about a Congolese bar singer and her attempts to raise enough money for an operation for her teenage son, Félicité is an emotionally effective heart-tugger, thanks largely to Véro Tshanda Beya’s dignified lead performance. When…

Film Review: Call Me by Your Name

★★★★★ Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me by Your Name completes the Italian director’s trilogy of desire. Based on the novel of the same name by André Aciman, this luxurious coming-of-age tale is a portrait of youthful infatuation complete with its highs and lows.Guadagnino’s latest recounts a summer romance in 1980s Northern Italy between a precocious 17-year-old…

Filmfest Hamburg celebrates 25 years

We were invited to attend Filmfest Hamburg’s bicentennial as guest of the “Come To Hamburg” initiative; a project set up to highlight the city’s hidden treasures through the writing of culture and travel bloggers from around the world.Normally, festivals are exclusive events, organised to create pre-release buzz or to market films lacking distribution deals. Meanwhile,…

Film Review: The Party

★★★★☆  The personal and the political clash in The Party, the first film from Sally Potter since 2012’s Ginger & Rosa. It’s a curt, nasty and deftly acted chamber piece high on laughs and savagery about frustrated idealism and how little it takes to make society fall to pieces.The film opens with a striking shot…

#LFF 2017: The Rider review

★★★★☆ A poetic expression of hopelessness in a land of limited opportunities, Chloé Zhao’s The Rider follows a Bronco-rider from South Dakota as he traverses a fictionalised version of his ill-fated pursuit of a dream that’s galloping away from him.After suffering a near fatal head injury at a rodeo, and learning he might never ride…

Film Review: The Road to Mandalay

★★★★☆ Midi Z’s The Road to Mandalay lacks any of the exotic longing or Orientalism implied by the Kipling poem it derives its name from. Instead, the Myanmar-born director has created a Shakespearean tragedy charting the dehumanising process of two migrants.The films of Midi Z have always been torn between an urgent desire to escape…

Interview: Francis Lee, dir. God’s Own Country

A moving story of self-discovery on the Yorkshire Dales, Francis Lee’s God’s Own Country isn’t your average LGBT+ romance, something the director is keen to reiterate when we sat with him earlier this year at – of all places – the Transilvania International Film Festival.A love story between two sheep farmers, God’s Own Country speaks…

Edinburgh 2017: God’s Own Country review

★★★★☆ Francis Lee’s God’s Own Country, a poignant gay romance about self-discovery in rural West Yorkshire, has been labelled a Brokeback Mountain on the Dales. It’s an understandable analogy, but it does understate the brilliance of Lee’s vivid depiction of love, lust and lambing.Johnny Saxby (Josh O’Connor) is left to manage the Saxby & Sons…

Edinburgh 2017: Glory review

★★★★☆ What would you do if you discovered a pile of cash and there was no one watching? In a consumer-driven society, it’s fair to assume most people would pocket the money and run, but not Tzanko (Denolyubov), the hero of Kristina Grozeva and Petar Valchanov’s Glory.On discovering the cash, railway worker Tzanko, decides to…

Film Review: The Other Side of Hope

★★★★☆ Aki Kaurismäki’s The Other Side of Hope is a funny, heartfelt story about the Syrian refugee crisis that’s not dissimilar to the Finnish director’s Le Havre: a compassionate comedy about the experiences of an African boy arriving illegally in the titular French port town.Kaurismäki’s latest is another tale about the tragic misfortunes that befall…

IndieLisboa 2017: Ordinary People

★★★☆☆ Homeless people go unseen everyday, with passersby ignoring their existence, and in turn, the harsh realities of social exclusion. In the Philippine capital of Manila, urban poverty is rising almost as rapidly as the luxury condominiums that litter the city’s skyline. A direct result of the city’s expeditious urban expansion, the government has come…

IndieLisboa 2017: El Mar La Mar

★★★★☆ There are many reasons people mocked Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall across the American, Mexican border. One of them is the Sonoran desert. An arid borderland, where traditional rules of society are suspended, this vast desert stretches over a total of 260,000 sq km, covering large parts of Arizona, California and Northwestern…