Review: Malmkrog

Director: Cristi Puiu Stars: Frédéric Schulz-Richard, Agathe Bosch, Marina Palii We've seen the abject cruelty of man rendered on our cinema screens in any number of severe, extreme, button-pushing films. Films like Salò. Films like The Painted Bird. With stifling austerity we've witnessed reflections of our worst instincts and actions, and the films themselves have been … Continue reading Review: Malmkrog

Review: Palm Springs

Director: Max Barbakow Stars: Cristin Milioti, Andy Samberg, J.K. Simmons The time-loop conceit commonly referred to as the 'Groundhog Day' device endures, enough to be credited as a subgenre in its own right. For a time, any TV show with a remotely fantastical element had a go at it (Star Trek: The Next Generation, The X-Files, Buffy … Continue reading Review: Palm Springs

Review: Minari

Director: Lee Isaac Chung Stars: Steven Yeun, Alan S Kim, Han Ye-ri Conflicts of the head and the heart perpetuate throughout Lee Isaac Chung's rural American drama Minari. Korean immigrant Jacob (Steven Yeun) has moved his family from urban California out to the verdant fields of Arkansas to start-up a farm. On arriving he dismisses the … Continue reading Review: Minari

Review: Violation

Director: Madeleine Sims-Fewer, Dusty Mancinelli Stars: Madeleine Sims-Fewer, Jesse LaVercombe, Anna Maguire The rape-revenge sub-genre has been a troublesome thorn in the side of cinema for some decades. Grueling, exploitative, gratuitous... but maybe also cathartic, bold and necessary. Its some of the toughest territory to willingly wade into. Lately, however, a crop of vivid female voices … Continue reading Review: Violation

Review: Judas and the Black Messiah

Director: Shaka King Stars: Lakeith Stanfield, Daniel Kaluuya, Dominique Fishback Released from prison after a BS stint for stealing ice cream, charismatic orator and Black Panther Party Chairman Frank Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya) steps into the recently burned Chicago HQ to find newly painted walls and freshly carpeted floors. He's astonished. How? The answer is the … Continue reading Review: Judas and the Black Messiah

Review: Notturno

Director: Gianfranco Rosi If the world is getting smaller thanks to the freer access to information and ideas, then borders have become the natural pressure points at which differing cultures and sets of values intersect. These geographical lines - which can seem somewhat arbitrary to those looking from afar - are fractal lines of tension … Continue reading Review: Notturno

Review: If It Were Love

Director: Patric Chiha Stars: Gisèle Vienne, Kerstin Daley-Baradel, Sylvain Decloitre The relentless, propulsive rhythms of '90s rave music, out of context, are some of the most purely irritating sounds one can encounter (ever had noisy neighbours?). So guttural and invasive, violent and ceaseless. But with rave music context is everything. It's a genre that is … Continue reading Review: If It Were Love

Review: Beginning

Director: Dea Kulumbegashvili Stars: Ia Sukhitashvili, Kakha Kintsurashvili, Saba Gogichaishvil A communal space - a place of worship - lies empty. Gradually it fills with people and then, mid-sermon, it is dramatically emptied again, as Molotovs are thrown inside. The place burns and it descends into chaos. All of this happens without a cut and … Continue reading Review: Beginning

Review: David Byrne’s American Utopia

Director: Spike Lee Stars: David Byrne, Tendayi Kuumba, Chris Giamo In the second half of the 1983 'Stop Making Sense' tour, Talking Heads frontman David Byrne would disappear off-stage briefly only to re-emerge in an over-sized suit. The famous 'big suit' and its associated moves were a mockery of a certain Wall Street mentality that … Continue reading Review: David Byrne’s American Utopia

Review: This is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection

Director: Lemohang Jeremiah Mosese Stars: Mary Twala, Jerry Mofokeng, Makhaola Ndebele Lesotho sits in the midst of South Africa; a landlocked island on a continent whose cinema seldom makes it to our shores. A vast area of filmmaking effectively silenced by poor distribution and widespread apathy to what it has to say. This makes any … Continue reading Review: This is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection

Review: The Woman Who Ran

Director: Hong Sang-soo Stars: Kim Min-hee, Song Seon-mi, Seo Young-hwa South Korean director Hong Sang-soo often feels to me like a modern day Éric Rohmer. His films are similarly small in scale, focusing on miniature comedies and dramas within small social microclimates. He's also similarly prolific, churning out multiple efforts a year sometimes. His are … Continue reading Review: The Woman Who Ran

Review: Education

Director: Steve McQueen Stars: Kenyah Sandy, Sharlene Whyte, Naomi Ackie Steve McQueen's Small Axe series of films comes to a bittersweet close with what appears to be his most personal tale - and possibly the most personally motivated piece of work in his career thus far. Throughout the strand, McQueen has spotlighted institutions that have failed … Continue reading Review: Education

Review: Alex Wheatle

Director: Steve McQueen Stars: Sheyi Cole, Jonathan Jules, Robbie Gee One of the points I wanted to cover (but skipped for the sake of relative brevity) in my review of Red, White and Blue was how important music remained to the storytelling; as vital an element as any in Steve McQueen's milestone Small Axe series. In last … Continue reading Review: Alex Wheatle

Review: Swallow

Director: Carlo Mirabella-Davis Stars: Haley Bennet, Denis O'Hare, Elizabeth Marvel Around the turn of the last century, a popular 'exhibit' at a touring freakshow would be the 'geek'; a person willing to eat anything at all - living, inanimate - to the delight and revulsion of incredulous spectators. The shock of this disturbing impulse - … Continue reading Review: Swallow

Review: Lovers Rock

Director: Steve McQueen Stars: Amarah-Jae St. Aubyn, Ellis George, Micheal Ward The second installment in Steve McQueen's Small Axe strand shows a further loosening of the acclaimed director's composure; it's very flex marking it out as one of the most interesting pivots in his career thus far. It may be half the length of Mangrove, but it … Continue reading Review: Lovers Rock