Categories
Film

Review: Pig

On more than one occasion in Michael Sarnoski’s Pig, Robin (Nicolas Cage), a stout, unkempt man in search of a beloved sow, is framed by a doorway, the camera peeking at him from within a house. The composition knowingly evokes the final shot of The Searchers (1956), where John Wayne’s Ethan Edwards is excluded from […]

Categories
Film

Review: The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be Quiet

The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be Quiet is structured like a reminiscence. Ana Katz’s film moves in a conversational rhythm, leaping perhaps years at a time in a straight cut, presenting in miniature some formative years of Sebas (Daniel Katz, the director’s brother), moving from one vignette or episode to the next as he slides from […]

Categories
Film

Review: Identifying Features

The problems and pleasures of watching films by stylists-in-formation are entwined. Individual compositions, schemes of staging, and sequences within those films can attain visual and aural expressiveness denied even to seasoned practitioners; but there can be a kind of callousness involved in wielding an aesthetic prowess without an accompanying emotional surety. The thoughtless formal intensity […]

Categories
Film

Review: Boy Meets Boy

While on his last night on holiday in Berlin, Harry (Matthew James Morrison), a Black British junior doctor, meets the eyeline of Johannes (Alexis Koutsoulis), a white German dancer. Emerging sweaty from the club in the morning, they stroll the city together, passing the time before Harry has to scuttle to the airport and return […]

Categories
Film

Review: Apples

I’ll get the Yorgos Lanthimos connection out of the way immediately: director Christos Nikou was second assistant director on Dogtooth; actor Aris Servetalis appears in both Lanthimos’s Kinetta and Alps; and the idea of hospitals full of “unclaimed amnesiacs” more than slightly resembles the characters in the singles’ hotel in The Lobster. But Apples is […]

Categories
Film

Review: Poppy Field

Here is a clear instance of a feature that would have made a devastating short film, but at 82 minutes is stretched way in excess of its capacities. Eugen Jebeleanu’s film concerns Cristi (Conrad Mericoffer), a closeted member of the Romanian gendarmerie, who’s called in to manage a disruption of a queer film screening by […]

Categories
Film

Review: Castro’s Spies

Castro’s Spies is exactly the sort of thing that ends up being presented as an episode of BBC Storyville under a new, vaguer title. Which isn’t as pejorative a judgement as it sounds. It’s a fleet, well-structured assembly of interviews and archival footage (earlier documentaries, news footage and advertising), following the five Cuban agents who […]

Categories
Film

Review: Steelers

Whoever wrote the programme blurb for this film is doing their job well. Its final, irresistible line reads: ‘Who says you can’t be an ace rugby player and a fabulous drag queen?’ Lovely! Except the film could hardly be more cursory on the subject, since Dean, the player and queen in question, only speaks about […]

Categories
Film

Review: Mekong 2030

Commissioned by Luang Prabang Film Festival, MEKONG 2030 comprises five short films by Southeast Asian directors, all of which are concerned with what the conditions of the Mekong River (flowing through each of their respective countries) will be in little under a decade’s time: “Soul River,” by Kulikar Sotho (Cambodia); “The Che Brothers,” by Anysay […]

Categories
Film

Review: Spring Tide

In more than one scene in Yang Lina’s Spring Tide, Jianbo (Lei Hao) has to squeeze her way through crowds, the camera bobbing and weaving its way alongside her. This repeated action sets the tone of her embattlement. Jianbo is a journalist, a social reporter, who maintains a curious disconnection from her family life: her […]