★★★★☆ Terence Davies’ first feature since 2016 is a moving biopic of the war poet Siegfried Sassoon: an anti-war film in the sense that we never see the conflict, yet its traumas echo throughout the life of its protagonist. Amidst the horrors of the Great War, army lieutenant and poet Siegfried Sassoon (Jack Lowden) petitions to end the bloodshed.
★★★★★ Dario Argento and Françoise Lebrun star as an elderly couple suffering through dementia and ill health in Gaspar Noé’s latest outing, Vortex. The Argentinian director’s follow up to 2019’s Lux Æterna is a typically difficult watch, subjecting us to the grinding indignities of old age, but it also a deeply moving study of lifelong love and loyalty to the bitter end.
★★★★☆ French director Audrey Diwan adapts Annie Erwaux’s 2001 autobiographical book about her traumatic experience of an abortion in 1963 France. Happening is a naturalistic, heart-breaking and relentless account of the multiple traumas and injustices that cascade when women are denied their basic bodily autonomy.
★★★★★ In a remote rural Mexican village a war wages between a drug cartel and the authorities. The villagers are inevitably caught up in the middle, their lives eroded and destroyed in unimaginable ways. Tatiana Huezo’s narrative debut is a harrowing account of lives held hostage by exterior forces.
★★★★☆ In his third feature, filmmaker Einari Paakkanen turns his attention to the phenomenon of Finnish karaoke and its capacity to bring disparate people together. Karaoke Paradise is a charming, insightful and often moving study of normal people’s lives through the medium of belting out great tunes.