Category Archives: Reviews

No Trains No Planes

Comedy is notorious for its tendency to get lost in translation and while it’s entirely possible that Jos Stelling’s 1999 tragicomic farce, NO TRAINS NO PLANES will have Dutch audiences rolling in the aisles, the film’s strange brand of surreal sentimental slapstick will likely leave British viewers cold.


“A Romanian comedy?” I heard someone asking in disbelief after the film was over. And truly, the main memories evoked by the words “Romanian New Wave” are usually tedious long shots of aborted babies and people walking. It is no wonder then that it is hard to believe that one of the founding films of the new wave, Cristian Mungiu’s 2001 hit OCCIDENT, is a hearty comedy.

The Poll Diaries

Amazingly based on a true story, THE POLL DIARIES plumbs the depths of the human condition using protagonist Oda as its main focus. Discussing rarely seen topics, the film uses the Baltic coast as a backdrop for Oda’s experiences in Poll just before the start of the first world war in 1914. An older and more knowing Oda narrates intermittently, providing hindsight to a beautifully crafted film. Naomi Barnwell reviews.

The Silver Cliff (O Abismo Prateado)

THE SILVER CLIFF was inspired by a song by Brazilian musician Chico Buarque, called Eye to Eye, about the impossibility of love and forgiveness. Having already won many admirers with MADAM SATA, SUELY IN THE SKY and I TRAVEL BECAUSE I HAVE TO, I COME BACK BECAUSE I LOVE YOU. Director Karim Ainouz here takes us on the lyrical and poetic journey of Violeta, who retrieves a voicemail during her work at a dentail clinic, in which her husband informs her he won’t be returning. Graham Hughes reviews.

Sweet Smell of Success

Continuing with the HOLD THE FRONT PAGE series of films, the Cambridge Film Festival brings us SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS. A cautionary tale, we follow the Machiavellian machinations of one Sidney Falco (Tony Curtis), a press agent with a problem. He needs pieces for his clients in the widely syndicated column of J.J. Hunsecker (Burt Lancaster), but he’s been shut out.