Film reviews and more

Sucheta Chakraborty

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Film Review: Present. Perfect.

★★★★☆ Shengze Zhu’s Present. Perfect. looks at the culture of live-streaming in China. Composed entirely of found footage and presented in black and white to lend visual consistency, the film raises important questions about the politics of viewership, the documentary form’s complex ties to reality and about human relationships in a digitally connected […]

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IFFR 2019: Sheena667 review

★★★☆☆ Actor-director Grigory Dobrygin’s debut feature and IFFR Tiger Competitor Sheena667 tells the story of a Russian couple whose plans to travel to Europe and marriage both get derailed when the man meets a girl on the internet. While humour exposes the absurdity of the situation, the frozen landscape the film is set […]

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IFFR 2019: Sofia review

★★★☆☆ In Sofia, a young, unmarried Moroccan woman has a child out-of-wedlock. In a film deemed as a ‘social thriller’ where the ultimate revelation holds less power than the reasons for keeping it a secret, Meryem Benm’Barek-Aloïsi explores how issues of gender, class and power interact in a society that exercises rigid control […]

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IFFR 2019: Transnistra review

★★★★☆ Swedish director Anna Eborn’s documentary follows six teenagers as they go about their lives in Transnistria, an unrecognised state which broke off from Moldova and attempted to assert its independence after the fall of the USSR. Intimately shot on 16mm film, Eborn explores the dynamics of the group, commenting discreetly on youth, […]

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MAMI 2018: Colette review

★★★★☆ Wash Westmoreland’s biopic on the French literary icon takes its audience through Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette’s early years and sees her coming into her own both as a writer and as a woman. The film, though moving forward on a fairly conventional arc, is ultimately triumphant and entertaining, and offers spirited performances from its […]

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MAMI 2018: Shadow review

★★★★☆ Famous Fifth Generation Chinese filmmaker Zhang Yimou’s latest wuxia tale based in the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history is about power, intrigue and survival, and the common man’s role in the affairs of the mighty. What stands out, though, is the film’s stunning visual style and spectacular action sequences. Yin and yang, the […]

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MAMI 2018: Grass review

★★★☆☆ A writer sits in a café listening in on conversations had over coffee and soju about serious and mundane matters. This 66-minute film is shot in simple black and white with Hong Sang-soo’s classic two-shots and zooms.    Prolific South Korean arthouse master Hong Sang-soo has made another Hong Sang-soo film – […]

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Film Review: Diamantino

★★★☆☆ This debut feature by directors Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt uses humour, a mix of genres and an insane plot full of topical nods at issues like the refugee crisis and right-wing propaganda. The result is a surprisingly entertaining film which also manages to comment on subjects like gender fluidity and the […]

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MAMI 2018: Fugue review

★★★☆☆ In Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Smoczynska’s fantasy-infused psychological drama Fugue, a woman loses her memory following a traumatic incident and comes back to her old life with a radically new personality. The crisis arises not when she attempts to reconcile with her past, but rather when she doesn’t. Trauma literally changes the protagonist […]