sat 02/03/2024

independent cinema

May December review - a queasy take on sexual exploitation

There’s much to admire  here – May December features impressive performances from Julianne Moore and Natalie Portman, and director Todd Haynes shows his mastery of classic Sirkian style. But disappointingly, this comes across as a...

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Our River... Our Sky review - another people's war

The first casualty of war is not truth, as the saying goes, but humanity – and not just in the sense of collateral damage. Media reporting turns victims into news items, along with satellite images of wrecked buildings or tanks crawling through a...

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Pacifiction review - portending hell in paradise

Paranoia seeps into paradise in Albert Serra’s Pacifiction, a scathing critique of French colonialism on the Polynesian island of Tahiti. Acting on rumours that his overlords are about to resume nuclear testing in the region and fearing his...

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Blu-ray: Something in the Dirt

Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson deal in the modern eerie and truly weird, placing relationships under supernatural pressure with unsettling empathy. Where genre-schooled peers such as Ti West and Adam Wingard splice post-slacker, naturalistic...

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Wildcat review - damaged war veteran reborn in the Peruvian jungle

The bond between humans and animals sometimes passeth all understanding. Wildcat is the story of 20-something British Army veteran Harry Turner, American ecologist Samantha Zwicker, and a young ocelot called Keanu, who becomes an almost mythic...

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Juniper review - a classic role for Charlotte Rampling

Juniper provides, above all, an absolutely unforgettable role for Charlotte Rampling. New Zealander Matthew J Saville, who devised the script and directed the film, based her character, Ruth, on his own feisty and well-travelled grandmother, who had...

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Moon, 66 Questions review - captivating daughter-father drama

It takes some confidence for a first-time feature director to interrupt her essentially realistic first feature with a splash of psychedelic abstraction, but Jacqueline Lentzou doesn’t lack for visual or aural daring. Two-thirds of the way...

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Playground review - bleak but brilliant schoolyard drama

Nora is seven, and it's her first day at school. Big brother Abel, already enrolled in their local primary, promises to find her at playtime. Prised away from her father's embrace, tearful Nora is set up from the opening moments of Playground...

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Blu-ray: Rainer Werner Fassbinder Collection Vol 1

A man sits at a table in an otherwise bare room. Shot in monochrome and positioned off-centre, he reads a newspaper and smokes a cigar, lazily obscured as two other figures drift into and out of shot. A brief fight ensues. A man falls to the floor...

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Blu-ray: Down by Law

Does restoration and upgrading to 4K always make a film better? I used to think so but after watching an unnervingly image-perfect Blu-ray of Down by Law, I’m not so sure.Jim Jarmusch's shaggy dog tale about three strangers thrown together in a...

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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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Blu-ray: Sweet Thing

The independent filmmaker Alexandre Rockwell has flown under the radar since he made his name with the Cassavetes-vibed 1992 New York comedy In the Soup. He recently explained that his career was sabotaged by Harvey Weinstein, who was jealous,...

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