★★★☆☆ Set 45,000 years ago, when Homo sapiens were making incursions into the lands of the Neanderthals, Andrew Cumming’s horror thriller The Origin depicts a small tribe coming up against a malefic entity in unknown and inhospitable environs.
Returning for its 26th edition and with 2021’s Covid restrictions largely a thing of the past, Tallinn’s Black Nights Film Festival (PÖFF) this year crowned Hilmar Oddsson’s Icelandic dark comedy Driving Mum as the 2022 Grand Prix winner, with the Best Director award going to Ahmad Bahrami for thriller The Wastetown.
The head of this year’s Venice jury Julianne Moore awarded the festival’s top prize, the Golden Lion, to Laura Poitras’ All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, her profile of artist Nan Goldin and her campaign against the Sackler family. It’s a brilliant, committed piece of activist cinema.
★★★☆☆ Celebrated British director Joanna Hogg is back on the Venice Lido with The Eternal Daughter, a film shot in secret in lockdown and starring The Souvenir’s Tilda Swinton in dual roles as a mother and daughter heading to a hotel in the countryside for a much-needed birthday vacation.
★★★☆☆ A man sits alone in a room with a notepad and begins to scribble down his own voiceover. He only writes on one page and seems to always be starting at the top. His thoughts will be meticulous and he will show a certain expertise. When he’s finished writing he will place the pen on the table, neatly aligned with the pad.
The Sarajevo Film Festival has a history of resilience, so it was hardly surprising to see it come back stronger than ever after two years of Covid restrictions. Founded in 1995, the festival is now the leading industry event in south-east Europe, showcasing the very best films from across the Balkan peninsula.