Film reviews and more

Sucheta Chakraborty

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 world. Present. Perfect. – as its […]

IFFR 2019: Koko-di Koko-da review

★★★★☆ In Swedish filmmaker Johannes Nyholm’s second feature Koko-di Koko-da, three bizarre characters from a children’s music box come to life to haunt a grief-stricken couple as they try to escape from a nightmarish cyclical maze of a scenario which unfolds each time in the middle of a forest. In an interview, Johannes Nyholm described how the idea for […]

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 in underscores its characters’ growing isolation […]

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 over personal and sexual relationships. Such […]

IFFR 2019: The Best of Dorien B. review

★★★☆☆ In Belgian director Anke Blondé’s The Best of Dorien B., a thirtysomething married mother of two with a flourishing veterinary practice sees her hitherto settled life start to crumble all at once. An unsentimental treatment and lots of wry humour balance out the chaos in a film where a woman must find herself again and all that is […]

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, love and life in a place […]

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 leads. Names are important in Colette. […]

DVD Review: Kusama – Infinity

★★★☆☆ Kusama – Infinity delves into the life and work of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama tracing her story from a period of early ambition and rebelliousness which took her to the US and saw her surviving in a brutally competitive, sexist and racist art world through her dejected move back to Japan, to eventual end-career recognition. Director Heather Lenz […]

Film Review: Three Identical Strangers

★★★★☆ Tim Wardle engagingly recounts the fascinating story of a set of triplets who were separated at birth and reunited through coincidence when they were 19. The telling however slowly takes a darker turn as facts around the original separation are probed and frightening truths about science and human intent come to the surface. Three Identical Strangers begins by […]

MAMI 2018: Long Day’s Journey Into Night review

★★★☆☆ Bi Gan’s follow-up to Kaili Blues is a stylish noir which drifts through a fluid world of dreams, memories and languid conversations as its protagonist looks for people from his past. A technically ambitious venture, the film’s definite high point is the 59-minute 3D long take that makes up its second half. In Long Day’s Journey Into Night, a step into […]

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 concept of complementary forces coming together […]

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 – economical in length, framing and setting […]