★★★★☆ Maltese-American filmmaker Alex Camilleri’s Luzzu charts a course between the dispassionate neorealism of the Dardenne brothers and Gianfranco Rosi’s keen but objective documentarian eye. It is a touching parable of fathers and sons, tradition and modernity, principles versus practicality.
★★★★☆ Does a filmmaker use cinema as his or her own confessional booth or a darkened space in which to escape the harsh realities of the outside world? When the curtain closes and the lights go down on Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast, it’s clear that this deeply autobiographical project is a vessel for both.
★★★★☆ Within the first five minutes of Matthew Heineman’s The First Wave, an elderly man is told “I love you, baby” by his wife via a jittery FaceTime call, goes into arrest, is brought back by a team of medics and then, suddenly, flatlines. It’s March 2020, and this same story will play out with alarming regularity.
★★★★★ A rich, autumnal gem of a film, Céline Sciamma’s Petite Maman effortlessly blends reality with fairytale, past with present, to explore notions of loss, grief and acceptance. At just 72 minutes, it is short and sweet, but yet another exquisitely made, deeply moving feature from the French writer-director.