wed 26/01/2022

film festivals

Best of 2021: Film

Like every other artform, cinema suffered greatly in a year of lockdowns. But despite an ever-changing outlook, theartsdesk still managed to review over 130 films in 2021!Long-awaited blockbusters and no-budget indies fought for screen space big and...

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Titane review - love under the bonnet

The restrictiveness of conventional gender identities explains the extreme body horror of Titane, in which a pregnant rookie firefighter frequently invoked as Jesus bleeds car oil from her vagina and from the stigmatic splits in her swollen belly....

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Blu-ray: Beginning

This debut feature from the young Georgian writer-director Dea Kulumbegashvili is exceptional in many ways. It stands out not only for its hypnotic quality as a film that feels like that of an already formed auteur, as well as for the complex...

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Verdict review - social realism and court procedural combine in powerful Manila drama

There’s something of an anomaly in Filipino director Raymund Ribay Gutierrez’s debut feature between its fast-moving dramatic opening, defined by an agile hand-held camera, and the much slower, more static scenes that follow. That early material,...

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Berlinale 2021: Petite Maman review – magical musings on the parent-child relationship

Hot on the heels of her 2019 triumph Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Céline Sciamma’s fifth feature continues a perfect track record; this is yet another gorgeous and perceptive film, told from a determinedly female perspective but with a wisdom...

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Berlinale 2021: Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn review – cheeky, timely and very provocative

The Romanian director Radu Jude invariably serves spicy satire that challenges his compatriots to face historical crimes and present failings. The latest is an erudite and daft, raunchy and knockabout, endlessly provocative film that, for sake of...

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Blu-ray: Liberté

Catalan director Albert Serra’s interest in late 18th century France is well established – his previous film was The Death of Louis XIV – but the title of his new one has precious little to do with the triadic revolutionary slogan that swept away...

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LFF 2020: Nomadland review - Francis McDormand gives a career-defining performance

Chloé Zhao’s The Rider was a film of rare honesty and beauty. Who would have thought she’d be able to top the power of that majestic docudrama? But with Nomadland she has.To call it a loose adaptation of Jessica Bruder’s Nomadland: Surviving America...

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LFF 2020: Supernova review – Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth shine as couple on the road

Unsurprisingly, there’s a lot of pleasure to be had watching Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth as a mature couple pootling around the UK in their humble camper van. They bicker about the satnav voice, argue the merits of the shipping forecast, and both...

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Blu-ray: Beanpole

Kantemir Balagov’s second feature announces the arrival of a major new talent in arthouse cinema. Made by the Russian director when he was just 27, and premiered at Cannes last year, where it won in the “Un Certain Regard” strand, Beanpole...

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Young Ahmed review - jihadist drama misses the mark

Belgian filmmaking duo the Dardenne Brothers have long been darlings of Cannes Film Festival, winning awards for hardhitting dramas like La Promesse, Le Silence de Lorna and The Kid with the Bike. Their latest offering Young Ahmed is no different, a...

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Berlinale 2020: Never Rarely Sometimes Always review - raw and unflinching abortion drama hits home

Back in 2017, writer-director Eliza Hittman won over audiences with her beautiful coming-of-age drama Beach Rats. Her latest film, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, is a more quietly devastating drama, shifting the focus away from sexual...

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