Slaps precede sweet talk and lovers’ tussles are primal and sexually charged in Yorgos Lanthimos’ ‘The Favourite’ (2018). Sex and power prove to be interconnected forces at play and feed off of each other, often in destructive ways. The film is an irreverent spin on a cliché-ridden genre that in Lanthimos’ capable hands transforms into a hilarious lesbian love and sex story involving a battle of wits coupled with a mud-caked, spittle-flecked take on physical comedy.
The title of “I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History As Barbarians” comes as part of a larger monologue about halfway through Radu Jude’s newest filmic hybrid of fiction and history, when an actor portraying Nazi collaborator Ion Antonescu quotes a speech, which was originally delivered in 1941 to justify the massacre of Romanian Jews.
Out of the several literary giants that director Nuri Bilge Ceylan namechecks in the end credits of ‘The Wild Pear Tree’, Dostoevsky seems to have the strongest presence, since what has come before has been determined by the whims and failings of an ‘underground man’ named Sinan.
Brisk honesty in long takes is the main character in actor Paul Dano’s debut feature Wildlife (2018). The anthropomorphised camera is the unnamed sibling in this 1960s American family portrait, based on a novel of the same name by Richard Ford, telling the coming-of-age story of Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal), Jean (Carey Mulligan), and their son Joe (Ed Oxenbould).
Photogénie and Film Fest Gent proudly present the 4th Young Critics Workshop (October 12 – 20, 2017), open to aspiring film critics (aged 18-26) from Belgium and abroad, offering them the opportunity to cover the 44th edition. The participants cover the festival by writing both short reviews and an in-depth piece. The participants are guided by film critic Nick Pinkerton (Film Comment, Sight & Sound, Reverse Shot, …) and the Photogénie team. Today: Susana Bessa writes about Call Me By Your Name.
Film Fest Gent’s Oct. 18 screening of ‘Suspiria’ didn’t boast an original print of Dario Argento’s 1977 horror classic, and offered no retrospective discussions, yet it was the best experience imaginable for the film. This was due to the presence of Italian prog-rock band Goblin, who crafted ‘Suspiria’s’ much-lauded score and performed it live in sync with the images. While Jessica Harper stumbled her way through a creepy dance academy and witches’ coven onscreen, the band power-blasted their keyboard and bass guitar, banged on the timpani and whispered raspy nonsense into the microphone.
Bas Devos’ first full-length film is one of the most realistic and sensitive portrayals of grief ever depicted on screen. ‘Violet’ is steady, calm, not without some emotional climaxes, but otherwise quiet in its representation of youth coming to terms with death.
It's never easy to see a grown man cry, and if seen, best seen by as few eyes as possible. “Could you please – please – give us some privacy?” The command is directed to the unwanted onlooker who isn't supposed to stare at the walls of the bourgeois fortress crumbling. In 'Turist,' a hotel cleaner in an Alpine skiing resort witnesses the breakdown of a pater familias. It is only one of the many examples where director Ruben Östlund fools around with what should best be kept behind closed doors, but fails to remain hidden.
Kornél Mundruczó’s animal fable ‘White God’ depicts the stray dogs of Budapest rising up against their human tormenters after putting up with one too many abuses. The film was clearly made by dog lovers: Mundruczó shoots often from his canine stars’ eye level and allows them to band together in a kind of squatters’ community on an abandoned lot. When they rebel, the language of Cinema Apocalyptica – empty streets, people falling over each other in their mad rush to escape, wind howling through hastily made barricades – emboldens their cause. Nevertheless, the film shows dogs being shot, drugged, and tortured for sport, making a mockery of DoesTheDogDie.com.
Franco Lolli's debut feature is a contemporary exercise in Neorealism that concerns itself with the misfortunes of a slightly disheveled pair. Ten-year-old Erik seems nothing short of a hoodlum in the making. His father Gabriel is a lethargic layabout who means well but cannot get his finances straight.
Review: An Educator’s Devotion and the Wrong Kind of Intimacy in ‘The Kindergarten Teacher’ - Fran Hoepfner
Educators are tasked with a great responsibility: inspiring a thirst for knowledge and a passion for art and science in each generation’s youth. Nadav Lapid’s new film ‘The Kindergarten Teacher’ takes this mission to a new extreme. The story itself is simple. The teacher Nira (Sarit Larry) discovers that one of her students Yoav (Avi Shnaidman) – a quiet, stoic child – will recite his own poems whose brilliance goes above and beyond her own abilities as a writer. In turn, she deems it her mission to nurture his ability at the risk of his and her wellbeing.
'Reality' is like a graphic by M.C. Escher: a film that'll actively approach your viewing experience and its conventions. It might leave the viewer puzzling though, as every attempt to make sense of the story is countered with ever more complex layers of metafiction and internal references. Several layers of reality are presented without a clear coherency in space and time, leading the unsuspecting viewer into elusive paradox. The film's form ties ends together in an impossible way and thereby hints to the artificial and dream-like nature of cinema.
The only thing slicker than the ice that coats the ground in Diao Yi’nan’s ‘Black Coal’ is the heavy aestheticism that has dominated the neo-noir genre of late. Ablaze with colored lights in nearly every frame, Diao’s northern Chinese detective puzzler holds on to the stylish tendencies of American counterparts like Drive, but grounds them in a world that feels ultimately more livable.
What makes a life function and move forward? The quote is a question that is visually posed in Jauja, an existential parable that uses the outlines of a Western to treat us to a profusion of iconic shots, toned in deeply saturated colors to resemble vintage photographs, or painted stills from a 19th century novel.
Nothing in this world comes for free. Even love and sex come at a heavy personal and financial cost. David Lambert’s film 'Je Suis à Toi' explores this notion of what humans pay and receive through the story of three people living in a Belgian village.
To start a film with a dead body is an audacious choice, typically reserved for pulpy murder mysteries or stories about, well, death. Une Nouvelle Amie, the latest effort from François Ozon, purports to be the latter while remaining something squarely its own through the French filmmaker’s hallmark playful dissection.
The line between seen and unseen threats is a prominent theme in Pieter Van Hees’s 'Waste Land'. What begins with a straight-shooting yet violently impulsive detective’s routine murder investigation quickly jumps down a rabbit hole into dark, trippy cultural mysticism.