While an imperfect effort, DEATH ON THE STREETS is an interesting outside-in angle on a forgotten America. Heart and honesty make up for lack of polish, and it treats its subject with uncomfortable, unrelenting respect that drives home the lack of quick fixes and easy answers.
The Sakha Republic (Yakutia) in far northeastern Russia is far removed from the political, social, linguistic, and cosmopolitan realities of Moscow or St Petersburg. In this environment, a local cinema culture has flourished, and Dmitry Davydov’s SCARECROW (PUGALO) brings Sakha cinema to an international audience at IFFR.
Coming-of-age stories set against monumental national or world events are a cinematic constant. BEANS excels at both portions of its story, even if it sometimes struggles to connect them.
Goulet’s balancing act between social horror and mythic hope is a masterful cinematic parable.
Roughly halfway through David Verbeek’s genre-bending film, five gorgeous young adults strut through Taipei looking for some nocturnal entertainments. All wear matching black masks – a sartorial touch even more nondescript after the preceding year’s events in the real world. However, these are mysterious fashion accessories rather than protection from sickness – after all, they … Continue reading Dead & Beautiful
Every night is the same story: find a man looking for an easy target, let him tell you about himself, and then make him a target instead. BLACK MEDUSA feels a strong companion to PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN, but ismaël and Youssef Chebbi’s film is less concerned with teaching men a lesson than Nada (Nour Hajri) … Continue reading Black Medusa
In 2021, it is somewhat surprising that As You Like It has not yet had the same mainstream rom-com update as The Taming of the Shrew (10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU) and Twelfth Night (SHE’S THE MAN). With any luck, Hung-i Chen and Muni Wei’s Taiwanese adaptation – which evokes the 90s films’ adaptive … Continue reading As We Like It
Ainhoa Rodriguez’s feature film debut is committed to the unsaid. We see a man talking about a woman’s disappearance in a television interview; we do not see a woman just offscreen, muttering expletives at his falsehoods. Minutes later, we see another woman unable – or unwilling – to answer whether she has been married, begging … Continue reading Destello Bravio
In 1962, the Soviet Union violently suppressed a strike in the southern Russian city of Novocherkassk, shooting directly into protestors. Details did not come out to the public until the 1990s. In his latest drama, Andrei Konchalovskiy places the viewer at the centre of these restless few days, following local communist party operative Lyuda (Julia … Continue reading Dear Comrades!
This stymied exploration of identity politics still drives home the enormity of Gritt’s desired subject: are good intentions and hard work enough to make meaningful art?