Dear deer

On Body and Soul, Dir. Ildikó Enyedi│Ildikó Enyedi’s On Body and Soul’s almost pensive dramatic explorations of the relationships between the bodily and the ethereal begin in a particularly unusual and captivating manner. Instead of being greeted to human characters, we are met by two deer, caught in a kind of intimate tranquillity in a… Read more »

How I fell in love

Ana, mon amour, dir. Călin Peter Netzer│ Having already fallen in love with Ana, mon amour at Berlinale this year, I was saddened to find that it was beginning to experience a bit of backlash in its native country by the time it reached The Romanian Days section of the 16th Transilvanian Film Festival. Some… Read more »

It could only happen to a teenager

Heartstone, dir. Guðmundur Arnar Guðmundsson│Ever since Grímur Hákonarson won Un Certain Regard with Rams back in 2015 and Baltasar Kormákur’s Everest opened Venice a few month later, the latest crop of Icelandic directors seem to have been unmistakably on a high. It’s almost with some trepidation that we now begin to wonder whether this close-knit,… Read more »

Wuthering Heights

God’s Own Country, dir. Francis Lee│The title of Francis Lee’s God’s Own Country refers to a phrase of endearment used by people in Yorkshire to describe their own deeply idiosyncratic part of the world – something the director slowly dissects at length. Himself a Yorkshireman, Lee has taken the support of Creative England’s low-budget first… Read more »

Big Girls Don’t Cry

The Beguiled, dir. Sofia Coppola│With The Beguiled, Sofia Coppola chose a story well suited to her interest in female desire and the insensitivity of men. When a little girl finds Irish Corporal John McBurney (Colin Farrell) in dire straits in some luxurious South Virginia woods and takes him to her half-empty all-female seminary, the wounded… Read more »

Just kidding

Redoubtable, dir. Michel Hazanavicius│That the great French New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard hasn’t always been a very kind man isn’t news to anyone. His rebelliousness is in fact the very reason why he was such an important and controversial figure at a time when French –and European- cinema was in a state of limbo in… Read more »

Words don’t come easy

Bright Sunshine In, dir. Claire Denis│When it was announced that Claire Denis’s next film was going to be a comedy, a mixture of excitement and uncertainty was felt among critics. The French director is mostly known for her sensual and often very dark cinema, and while humour does appear throughout her oeuvre, it isn’t really… Read more »

Hunting the dream

Ismael’s Ghosts, dir. Arnaud Desplechin│ The ethereal quality of Arnaud Desplechin’s films makes it often quite difficult to write about them, and his 2017 Cannes Film Festival opener Ismael’s Ghosts isn’t an exception. Yet this elusiveness, together with a sense of often overwhelming ambition, make this particular film possibly the best picture we have of… Read more »

Coming of Age in Silence

Alba, dir. Ana Cristina Barragán│ With her debut feature, Ecuadorian director Ana Cristina Barragán paints the daily life and struggles of the type of character that often gets forgotten in real life. The titular Alba is not only extremely shy but also isolated, living as she does with a sick and bed-ridden mother. When she… Read more »

Absolute Despair

Filthy, dir. Tereza Nvotová│Bursting straight out of Prague’s prestigious FAMU film school, director Tereza Nvotová brings her final project as a student to Vilnius Film Festival’s “New Europe – New Voices” strand. Her daring first fiction feature homes in on the apocalyptic experiences of a young Slovakian teenager who is sexually assaulted in her family… Read more »

  • Freak, but never a hippie

    Eat That Question-Frank Zappa in His Own Words, dir.  Thorsten Schutte│How to capture an artist who played multiple instruments, composed, conducted and produced a wide range of music, as well as directed films and acted in them? Frank Zappa was a complex personality, a self proclaimed „freak, but never a hippie”, who was a puzzle… Read more »

  • Drogówka

    The Road Movie, dir. Dmitry Kalashnikov│W „Road Movie” Dmitry Kalashnikov przemierzył Rosję wzdłuż i w szerz…nie ruszając się sprzed ekranu komputera. Szperając po internecie znalazł miliony filmów z rosyjskich wypadków i innych przygód rodaków na drogach. Złożył z tego obraz kraju usianego absurdami, szaleństwem,  niebezpieczeństwami i niespodziewanymi spotkaniami na trasie.

  • Taking the Edge Off Things

    The Edge of Seventeen, dir. Kelly Fremon Craig│Though it seemed at least initially rather out of place in the programme at TIFF this year, the mainstream teen movie The Edge of Seventeen fully deserved to be seen by film critics and a festival audience before being released in cinemas and on VOD platforms. For, under… Read more »

  • Contentment with Contemptuous Content

    Blue Jay, dir. Alex Lehmann│Something of a founding father for that particular indie aesthetic which reclaims awkwardness and sentimentalism as the defining characteristic of millennials, Mark Duplass seems keen to try out this sensibility in every conceivable genre and medium, adopting myriad roles in the process from producer and director to screenwriter and actor. After… Read more »

  • Here Bad, Not Good

    Eastern Business, dir. Igor Cobileanski │Eastern Business is the second feature film by Moldovian writer-director Igor Cobileanski. It premiered internationally in Tallinn Black Nights’ main competition and won two awards: Cobileanski for Best Screenplay, and Ion Sapdaru and Constantin Puscasu both for Best Actor.

  • Wszyscy na scenę

    The Dazzling Light of Sunset, dir. Salome Jashi │Tsalenijkha to małe gruzińskie miasteczko, które wydaje się leżeć poza światem. Ma swój rytm, swoje rytuały, swoje radości i swoje smutki. Salome Jashi zagląda tam z kamerą i podążając za kilkoma bohaterami, próbuje wyczuć gdzie bije serce tego miejsca. W stacji lokalnej telewizji, walczącej o pokazanie ludziom… Read more »

  • Ostatnia rodzina

    A Two Way Mirror, dir. Katarina Zrinka Matijević│Z pozoru ten dokument wygląda na poetycką balladę z życia natury. Pełno w nim ujęć pszczół, pól, padającego śniegu, letniego deszczu, spokojnych jezior i wartkich rzek. Te idylliczne obrazy zderzone są jednak z burzliwą historią rodziny reżyserki. Nie brakowało w niej dramatów, tajemnic, kontrowersji i bólu, które Katarina… Read more »

  • Kłopotliwa niepamięć

    Notorious Deeds, dir. Gabriel Tempea│Dwadzieścia lat minęło jak jeden dzień. Śluby, potomstwo, zdobyte zawodowe pozycje. Siwiejące włosy i zmarszczki pod oczami. Czasami przez nie trudno poznać swoich dawnych szkolnych kolegów. Szczególnie, kiedy przez te dwie dekady nie widziało się ich ani razu. Jednak teraz, kiedy cała klasa spotyka się na dwudziestej rocznicy ukończenia liceum dominuje… Read more »

  • Bravery or ignorance?

    Epitaph, dir. Yulene Olaizola, Rubén Imaz │To bring a time period to life within the financial limitations of art house cinema is by no means an easy feat. Werner Herzog’s Aguirre, the Wrath of God and Ben Wheatley’s A Field in England come to mind as those who have ploughed through the thickets and managed… Read more »