LFF 2020 – ‘Undine’ is Bold and Captiviating

Christian Petzold is a director renowned for his ability to bring historical narratives into our modern times with ease. His previous films, Barbara, Phoenix, and Transit have all grappled with German history while seamlessly drawing parallels with today. His latest film, Undine, is perhaps his most ambitious attempt to do this – based on the ancient myth of the same name.  Petzold’s take on the myth of the Undine is elusive at best, perhaps purposefully, … Continue reading LFF 2020 – ‘Undine’ is Bold and Captiviating

LFF 2020 – ‘Mangrove’ is a Powerful Story About Racial Justice

Mangrove is part of the Small Axe anthology series, which comprises five original films by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Steve McQueen. It tells the true story of Frank Crichlow (Shaun Parkes), whose West Indian restaurant, Mangrove, a bustling community space in London’s Notting Hill attracted locals, activists, intellectuals and artists. In a reign of blatant racial discrimination, Crichlow finds himself and his drug-free business the target … Continue reading LFF 2020 – ‘Mangrove’ is a Powerful Story About Racial Justice

LFF 2020 – ‘Siberia’ is an Exploration into the Psychological Wilderness

Abel Ferrara’s latest film, Siberia, is a film better experienced without trying to interpret as it feels like a dreamlike odyssey. We follow Clint (Willem Dafoe), who has abandoned his former life as he now runs a bar in Siberia where he seems to be maybe the only English-speaker. He suffers from hallucinations as he embarks on a journey, led by his dog-sledge, to a cave where … Continue reading LFF 2020 – ‘Siberia’ is an Exploration into the Psychological Wilderness

LFF 2020 – ‘Stray’ and the Significance of Dogs in a Community

2020 has been a good year for dogs. The UK population, confined during the strictest periods of lockdown to their homes – with the exception of trips to local parks for government-mandated exercise – have turned to canine friends new and old as both a source of affection and distraction. For pets who usually spend the nine to five staring wistfully out of the front … Continue reading LFF 2020 – ‘Stray’ and the Significance of Dogs in a Community

LFF 2020 – ‘Mogul Mowgli’ is Riz Ahmed’s Most Personal Venture

Directed by Bassam Tariq, Mogul Mowgli follows a young rapper called Zed (Riz Ahmed) who is about to start a new tour. However, he finds himself strikes by a crippling illness which means he has to move back with his family. He is constantly trying to find himself between his music career and Pakistani family traditions. The film finds a lot of resonance in Zed’s experience … Continue reading LFF 2020 – ‘Mogul Mowgli’ is Riz Ahmed’s Most Personal Venture

TIFF 2020 – ‘David Byrne’s American Utopia’

David Byrne has always been an idiosyncratic figure. A musician, filmmaker, artist, author, and label executive, Byrne has always brought his unique viewpoint and catalogue of references to everything that he is a part of. His Broadway production American Utopia is no exception, drawing on Dadaism, James Baldwin, Janelle Monáe, and many of his main thematic obsessions like capitalism, conformity, and the joy of the … Continue reading TIFF 2020 – ‘David Byrne’s American Utopia’

TIFF 2020 – ‘Nomadland’ is a Delicate Masterpiece Questioning the American Dream

“I’m not homeless. I’m houseless. Not the same thing, right?” That’s a question permeating, unspoken and spoken multiple times throughout Fern’s (Frances McDormand) new life in Chloe Zhao’s sophomore feature Nomadland. What makes a home? What makes a house? What happens to those who live on the edges? Nomadland follows Fern, a rural Nevadan and recent widow who has fashioned her van (affectionately named “Vanguard”) … Continue reading TIFF 2020 – ‘Nomadland’ is a Delicate Masterpiece Questioning the American Dream

TIFF 2020 – ‘City Hall’

The American political system is crumbling. Trump and the Republican Party have destroyed many policies and social safety nets meant to help the most at-risk portion of the population, while parroting far-right and fascist talking points to a voting base looking for someone to blame their problems on. On the other side of the aisle, Joe Biden and the Democratic Party have done next to … Continue reading TIFF 2020 – ‘City Hall’

TIFF 2020 – ‘Fauna’ (2020)

Mexican cinema has given rise to some of the most impressive directors in recent memory. Alejandro González Iñárritu, Alfonso Cuarón, and Guillermo del Toro have all created films of international acclaim, bringing Mexico’s national cinema into the spotlight. Despite this, more often than not the depiction of Mexico we see on screen is one filled with the same old tired tropes of drug lords, slums, … Continue reading TIFF 2020 – ‘Fauna’ (2020)

TIFF 2020 – ‘Beans’ is a Coming of Age Gem with a Star Making Turn for Kiawenti:io

Growing up as a young Canadian, Indigenous history was largely ignored (or arguably worse, added as a footnote) in my school curriculum. Even during my undergraduate degree at a major Canadian university, Indigenous courses were only offered few and far in between. If you were interested, you were at the mercy of the institution’s funding and interest. Suffice to say, Indigenous culture and history were … Continue reading TIFF 2020 – ‘Beans’ is a Coming of Age Gem with a Star Making Turn for Kiawenti:io

IndieLisboa 2020: Highlights From One of Portugal’s Biggest Film Festivals

IndieLisboa is one of Portugal’s most important film festivals. Already running for 16 years, the event consistently celebrates and uplifts independent filmmaking from all over the world, past and present. For a couple of weeks every year, IndieLisboa puts international festival hits, retrospectives of important filmmakers, and the work of young Portuguese directors at the forefront of Lisbon’s cultural scene, more often than not being … Continue reading IndieLisboa 2020: Highlights From One of Portugal’s Biggest Film Festivals

TIFF 2020 – ‘Lift like a Girl’ is a Frank Portrait of Coaches and their Athletes

“Prioritizing boys is outdated.” A surly old man declares with his trademark scratchy voice, “Girls are more important.” The men of the street nod at the man, Captain Ramadan. He is a foul-mouthed, almost cartoon-like man yet it’s he who reigns supreme as the coach for a group of girls training to be weightlifting champions in Alexandria, Egypt. He holds court for the aspiring group … Continue reading TIFF 2020 – ‘Lift like a Girl’ is a Frank Portrait of Coaches and their Athletes