Film reviews and more

Sara Merican

Film Review: WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn

★★★★☆ Premiering at SXSW back in March, Jed Rothstein‘s documentary narrates WeWork’s and its co-founder Adam Neumann’s complex journeys through the worlds of real estate, co-working and technology. Capturing Neumann’s fall from grace, this film illuminates some of the most hard-hitting professional and social anxieties of our age. Founded in 2010, the company’s name, made up of “We” and […]

Film Review: Monsoon

★★★★☆ Monsoon is the elegant, delicately-paced second feature from director Hong Khaou, starring Henry Golding as Kit, a British Vietnamese man returning to Ho Chi Minh for the first time in more than 30 years to scatter his parents’ ashes. Tracing ambivalent pasts and ambiguous futures, Monsoon grows into a brooding portrait of immigrant displacement – one marked by […]

Interview: Hong Khaou, dir. Monsoon

This sophomore effort from Hong Khaou stars Henry Golding as Kit, a British Vietnamese man returning to his birthland for the first time to scatter his parents’ ashes. Monsoon sketches the geographical and emotional contours of such a journey, steering between the cacophonous traffic of Ho Chi Minh and the restless, internal tides of memory and mourning. With this […]

Film Review: Proxima

★★★★☆ Alice Winocour’s Proxima follows French astronaut Sarah Loreau as she trains for a year-long space mission, with young daughter Stella in tow. It’s a fiery mix of ambition, mother-daughter love, female empowerment and childhood dreams – the gravities of each masterfully held together in the film, like planets in the canvas of space, revolving harmoniously around the sun. […]

Film Review: Freedom Fields

★★★★☆ Freedom Fields is both a love letter to the sport and a sharp critique of post-revolution Libya – penned with hope, but also inked with frustration. In spite of dreams deferred and hopes postponed, a football team lives out their love for the game, even as the field becomes a battleground where the religious, political and personal converge. […]

Film Review: Amazing Grace

★★★★☆ Based on the 1972 Grammy award-winning album of the same name, Amazing Grace is a moving, long-awaited celebration of the late Aretha Franklin. There are no grand gestures of narrative here, but just a simple, delightful montage of Franklin’s music and the community that gathers to sing and rejoice with her. Using never-before-seen raw footage from the 1972 […]

Berlin 2019: Varda by Agnès review

★★★★☆ Varda by Agnès contains the best parts of Agnès Varda: work, wit and wisdom. Though it does not reach the heights of her gloriously charming last film, Faces Places, it is still a cathartic, bittersweet swansong from one of cinema’s most endearing and adored auteurs. The film begins most unusually. The title appears, and the full “end” credits […]

Film Review: Jellyfish

★★★☆☆ Jellyfish delivers a thoughtful commentary on theatre and art through a bleak narrative of broken family life. It’s anchored by a strong performance from BIFA-nominated Liv Hill and a few downright hilarious punchlines, though the film suffers from an underdeveloped cast of supporting characters and some over-the-top dialogue. Against the backdrop of blaring game sounds and an obnoxious […]

Busan 2018: Festival round-up

Slowly emerging from the political turmoil and boycotts it had faced the past few years, the Busan International Film Festival 2018 was one of rejuvenation and reunion for the community. This year’s festival saw a rise in metrics all around: attendances, world premieres, market participants and industry meetings. Nestled between the imposing hills and idyllic beaches of Korea’s south-eastern […]

Film Review: Happy as Lazzaro

★★★★☆ Alice Rohrwacher returns with her remarkable third film about a rural Italian community. Happy as Lazzaro sparkles with soul, enchantment and introspection – it’s no wonder that it took the Best Screenplay Award at Cannes last year. What starts as a relatively straightforward story takes a surprising, gripping turn into a timeless tale of love and loss. Plot twists […]

Film Review: Burning

★★★★☆ Lee Chang-dong’s Burning features red-hot actor Yoo Ah-in (as Jong-su), Steven Yeun (as Ben) and newcomer Jeon Jong-seo (as Hae-mi) in an intricate thriller that switches between the wealthy Gangnam neighbourhood and farmlands just outside Paju, a city south of the Demilitarised Zone. While a social commentary on class divides and politics flickers quietly on the edges of […]