CINE VERDICT: La caja

CINE VERDICT: La caja

Lorenzo Vigas continúa con su visión crítica de las figuras paternas y las implicaciones más amplias de la ausencia paterna en esta sutil historia de madurez anclada en la excepcional presencia de su joven protagonista.

The Box

The Box

The titular box that young Mexican teen Hatzin (newcomer Hatzin Navarrete) picks up containing his father’s remains may look like a simple mini-casket, but the emotional baggage that goes with it is far weightier than what’s inside. In the third and final installment...

CINE VERDICT: Utama

CINE VERDICT: Utama

Sundance estrena un fascinante retrato de la vida en los Andes bolivianos, donde una sequía amenaza el sustento de una pareja de ancianos quechuas y su rebaño de llamas.

Far from the Nile

Far from the Nile

Cairo awarded its best documentary prize to this broadly appealing fly-on-the-wall documentary about a group of musicians from countries bordering the Nile who go on a demanding hundred-day-tour of the U.S.

Uncanny Me

Uncanny Me

As we stand on the edge of increasing digital frontiers, Katharina Pethke’s thought-provoking film explores the mechanics and implications of creating a virtual doppelganger.

Alam

Alam

Writer-director Firas Khoury refreshingly normalizes the lives of a group of Palestinian teens in Israel and then adds a political overlay in this notable debut that deserves more attention than accorded in Toronto.

Light Upon Light

Light Upon Light

Danish director and anthropologist Christian Suhr’s feature documentary offers a respectful yet compelling peek into the surprisingly diverse communities of Sufi worshippers within the Islamic tradition of Egypt.

19B

19B

Ahmad Abdalla’s latest is a handsomely produced, effective drama about a redundant Cairene house guard, the sole resident of a dilapidated mansion, trying to stave off the encroaching collapse of his world.

Houria

Houria

Young actress Lyna Khoudri sparkles as an Algerian dance student forced to reorder her priorities after she is physically assaulted in an emotion-clad feminist drama directed by Mounia Meddour (‘Papicha’).

Stuntwomen

Stuntwomen

A fascinating and troubling behind-the-scenes look into the work of female stuntwomen, who must frequently portray victims at the hands of violent men.

Manifesto

Manifesto

A profoundly disturbing found-footage assemblage portraying a young Russian live-streaming generation brainwashed by militarised education and normalised violence.

Iman

Iman

A Greek-Cypriot family fall apart against a backdrop of terrorism and racial tension in ‘Iman’, a glossy thriller from writer-director duo Corinna Avraamidou and Kyriacos Tofarides

All You See

All You See

A highly stylised, thought-provoking meditation on being stared at without being truly seen, as female immigrants to the Netherlands reflect on their experiences across generations.

Cavewoman

Cavewoman

Director Spiros Stathoulopoulos reimagines the ancient Greek drama ‘Electra’ as a World War II revenge thriller in ‘Cavewoman’, a boldly experimental mix of close-up acting and rich sound design.

Endangered

Endangered

Documentarists Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady are urgent but never sensationalistic in reporting on the dangers faced by the press in places where there is no official armed conflict.

Home is Somewhere Else

Home is Somewhere Else

A bilingual “animentary” uses the voices of Mexican immigrants, both legal and undocumented, to reveal their fears and dreams through imaginative drawings that allow for greater intimacy and understanding.

The Film Verdict launches CINE VERDICT

The Film Verdict (TFV) is proud to announce the debut of CINE VERDICT, a section featuring Spanish language content written by Spanish language critics for the international marketplace. CINE VERDICT is conceived as a tool for Spanish language professionals who buy,...

One Mother

One Mother

French director Mickaël Bandela reassembles his broken family history into a multi-media memory mixtape in his messy but stylish bio-documentary ‘One Mother’.

Subtraction

Subtraction

Two of Iran’s biggest actors, Taraneh Alidoosti and Navid Mohammadzadeh, play double roles in Mani Haghighi’s chilling, fast-paced thriller with allegorical overtones about life in contemporary Iran.

A Life Like Any Other

A Life Like Any Other

A searching and honest recalibration of one family’s narrative, as the director reinterprets her father’s obsessive home movies from her mother’s perspective of domestic unfulfillment.

The Dependents

The Dependents

Canadian diplomat’s daughter Sofia Brockenshire assembles a rich mosaic of memories from her family’s globe-trotting history in her visually impressive essay-film debut ‘The Dependents’.

The Hamlet Syndrome

The Hamlet Syndrome

A few months before Russia’s full-scale invasion of their country began, a group of five young Ukrainian men and women, not all of whom were professional actors, collaboratively developed a theatrical production. They examined their experiences of armed conflict and...

Klokkenluider

Klokkenluider

Featuring a strong ensemble cast including Tom Burke and Jenna Coleman, Neil Maskell’s directing debut ‘Klokkenluider’ is a chilling comedy conspiracy thriller about whistleblowers on the run from mortal danger.

She Said

She Said

Director Maria Schrader’s timely and gripping newsroom drama ‘She Said’ stars Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan as the campaigning reporters who helped bring Harvey Weinstein to justice.

The Visitor

The Visitor

Martin Boulocq’s timely drama exposes a complex web of family, class, and economic codependency in modern Bolivia, where evangelical churches recruit and exploit indigenous communities.

Pretty Red Dress

Pretty Red Dress

In ‘Pretty Red Dress’, the vibrant debut feature from British writer-director Dionne Edwards, a troubled family of black Londoners learn to express their true selves with a little help from Tina Turner and a fabulous frock.

Black Night

Black Night

A man’s search for redemption after participating in a group murder neatly exposes a community’s moral rot in Ozcan Alper’s rugged mountain thriller, winner of the best Turkish film award at Antalya.

The Origin

The Origin

A nomadic tribe clashes with mysterious monsters in director Andrew Cumming’s gripping, stylistically bold Stone Age survivalist horror thriller ‘The Origin’.

Marlowe

Marlowe

For the 100th film of his career, Liam Neeson switches from action thriller to classic film noir in a flyweight but generally entertaining post scriptum to Raymond Chandler’s immortal detective series, co-starring Diane Kruger and Jessica Lange.

The Black Guelph

The Black Guelph

Actor turned director John Connors makes a powerful statement with his debut dramatic feature ‘The Black Guelph’, a gritty Irish crime thriller about secrets, lies and trauma passed down the generations.

Raw

Raw

The atmosphere is thick in this humid Andalusian-set drama in which a teenage boy encounters the first pangs of his burgeoning homosexuality.

Parsley

Parsley

Jose Maria Cabral’s historical drama about the appalling 1937 ‘Parsley massacre’ in the Dominican Republic is a well-mounted but utterly harrowing picture of atrocity.

Junk Space Berlin

Junk Space Berlin

Debutant director Juri Padel’s low-budget cyberpunk thriller ‘Junk Space Berlin’ elevates its scrambled plot and fuzzy intentions with dazzling digital glitch-art visuals.

Linoleum

Linoleum

Director Colin West’s soulful sci-fi comedy drama ‘Linoleum’ balances its sentimental message with sharp jokes, strong performances and deft plot twists.

Still Is

Still Is

This ambiguous single-take drama poignantly depicts a mundane morning in a family home, subtly exploring grief and the ways we hold on and move on.

Brasier

Brasier

An 11-year-old girl has a sexual awakening when she joins an older girls’ football team, but she struggles to understand and control taboo desires.

Brothers

Brothers

A gory, suspenseful debut from Kazakhstan’s Darkhan Tulegenov offers a moody, pessimistic take on the crime thriller that interrogates class inequality and hypocrisy.

Way Out Ahead Of Us

Way Out Ahead Of Us

A vague, dreamlike lyricism is prioritised over socio-political critique in Rob Rice’s collaboratively-minded doc-fiction portrait of a family facing uncertain futures in the Californian desert.

Look at Me

Look at Me

Javier Bardem and Chris Rock star in this febrile melodrama, directed by Sally Potter, about an explosive moment in a relationship.

No Bears

No Bears

The world premiere of Jafar Panahi’s simple but militantly engrossing ‘No Bears’, which comes to grips with the thin line between art and reality, took place in Venice competition while the director remained in prison in Tehran after his second arrest on July 11.

Our Ties

Our Ties

The sixth feature from French actor-director Roschdy Zem, co-written by co-star Maïwenn, feels like it’s on autopilot most of the time.

Clare

Clare

Susanna Nicchiarelli’s biopic of Saint Clare seems less interested in religion than a lesbian-nun spectacle like Paul Verhoeven’s ‘Benedetta.’

Venice Immersive

Venice Immersive

The Venice Film Festival was the first major film festival to dedicate a special section to Virtual Reality (VR) that wasn’t an ad-hoc event. The entire VR community of producers, artists, buyers, sellers and exhibition people now congregate in Venice each year to...

Tria

Tria

A family is forced to make an unthinkable sacrifice in this stomach-churning dystopian tragedy about the chilling effects of social control.

Blonde

Blonde

Pre-release hype will be the biggest friend to this mess of a pseudo-biopic that reduces Marilyn Monroe to a disturbed child-woman with Daddy issues, never offering a glimpse of the screen magic notwithstanding Ana de Armas’ impressive recreation.

Beyond the Wall

Beyond the Wall

A shattering drama that courageously portrays Iran as a violent Big Brother police state, Vahid Jalilvand’s third film is a shrill, breath-taking mind-trip driven by between two exceptional actors, Navid Mohammadzadeh and Diana Habibi.

The Son

The Son

French playwright-turned-film director Florian Zeller (‘The Father’), again adapts his own play, here starring Hugh Jackman, and the result is a solid drama that unravels in the home stretch.

Vera

Vera

Award-winning documentary team Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel plunge deep into the heart of the adult daughter of spaghetti western star Giuliano Gemma in a wonderfully touching film portrait that tips its Stetson at the illusory side of documentaries.

Call of God

Call of God

A young woman’s first love turns out to be a bad dream in the final film of South Korean master Kim Ki-duk, a visually striking if (for Kim) restrained relationship film that was posthumously completed by Estonian producer and director Artur Veeber.

When the Waves Are Gone

When the Waves Are Gone

Philippine auteur Lav Diaz offers a damning and doomed critique of the violent state of his country through the on-screen physical and psychological disintegration of a policeman weighed down by the guilt of his officially-sanctioned murderous past in ‘When the Waves Are Gone’.

In Viaggio

In Viaggio

Italy’s premier documaker Gianfranco Rosi turns his attention to Pope Francis and his non-stop foreign travels, stressing the ecumenical core of his messaging as he comments on the world’s horrors.

The Whale

The Whale

In a career-best performance, Brendan Fraser turns Darren Aronofsky’s apartment-bound drama about an unhappy English teacher crippled by obesity and his daughter’s distance into a classic piece of filmmaking whose emotions are truly immense.

Immensity

Immensity

Penélope Cruz is a joy as a 1970s mother whose free spirit is frozen by her husband’s stereotyped insensitivity, yet other elements of Emanuele Crialese’s film, which is equally focused on the daughter’s certainty she was born the wrong gender, are less transcendent.

August Sky

August Sky

This deft and low-key drama uses fires raging in the Amazon to explore how a young woman is drawn to religion in search of some form of stability.

North Pole

North Pole

A teenage girl’s sense of isolation is writ large across the screen in this frosty Macedonian coming-of-age short that is warmed by a compelling lead performance.

5pm Seaside

5pm Seaside

Two men share in intimate and intense moment on a deserted shoreline in this short drama about violence, emancipation, and the fine lines between the two.

Nezouh

Nezouh

Touches of magical realism aren’t enough to hold together this well-meaning yet clumsy story of an adolescent girl in war-torn Damascus whose father refuses to accept that changed circumstances make his pose as the family guardian irrelevant.

Master Gardener

Master Gardener

A timely occasion to foreground the growing role of American extremists like the Proud Boys is largely manqué in Paul Schrader’s unconvincing story about a marked man trying to redeem himself, starring Joel Edgerton and Sigourney Weaver.

Blue Jean

Blue Jean

Georgia Oakley’s debut feature is at times a little clumsy but it’s also the work of an interesting new voice in British cinema with a flair for expressive images.

Casa Susanna

Casa Susanna

Sébastien Lifshitz’s latest documentary explores a U.S. hideout for cross-dressing men and trans women but beyond the subject itself, which is interesting, not much of the director’s usual rigour can be found.

Padre Pio

Padre Pio

Abel Ferrara’s total misfire aims to merge the story of a 1920 class-related massacre with the contemporaneous crisis of faith of Italy’s most popular 20th century saint, but the poor script, bad acting and overall lack of cohesion make this just a time-waster.

Banu

Banu

War and patriarchy deprive Azerbaijani women of their sons in an intimate, courageous drama that intertwines personal and political plot lines, directed and acted by first-time director Tahmina Rafaella.

White Noise

White Noise

Noah Baumbach and an inspired cast headlining Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig enjoyably bring Don DeLillo’s “unfilmable” novel about America in the Eighties to life with retro gusto, while straining to make it relevant.

Princess

Princess

A rare fictionalized look at a Nigerian sex worker in Italy that celebrates its subject, flaws and all, with a spirited central performance and a laudable sensitivity destined to find welcoming arms worldwide.

The March on Rome

The March on Rome

Mark Cousins’ thought-provoking examination of the rise of Fascism through a detailed analysis of a 1922 propaganda film that signaled the start of a far-right ideology whose insidious roots continue to find fertile ground.

Love Dog

Love Dog

This debut feature from Bianca Lucas is an unusual portrait of contemporary America and an incredibly intimate, heart-wrenching depiction of grief.

Ribs

Ribs

Farah Hasanbegovic uses a beautifully simple hand-drawn animation style to bring to life this meditation on physical limitations and finding acceptance in our own bodies.

Atonal Glow

Atonal Glow

This portrait of a musical prodigy brims with the same energy as its subject’s piano playing while depicting the boy as well as the talent.

Another Spring

Another Spring

Serbian director Mladen Kovacevic finds echoes of the current Covid pandemic in Europe’s last smallpox outbreak in his artful, atmospheric found-footage documentary ‘Another Spring’.

Men of Deeds

Men of Deeds

A murder cover-up in a corrupt town is the catalyst for an inept police chief’s crisis of conscience in Paul Negoescu’s downbeat portrait of masculinity in meltdown ‘Men of Deeds’.

Matter Out of Place

Matter Out of Place

Award-winning documentary director Nikolaus Geyrhalter’s latest exquisitely composed opus looks at the global garbage crisis, from Maldive palm groves strewn with plastic to festering landfills, encompassing community rubbish collections and recycling plants in a cinema-essay style whose noninterventionist approach caters to audiences already committed to the cause.

Little Ones

Little Ones

Debuting director Julie Lerat-Gersant imbues tremendous sympathy for her 16-year-old pregnant protagonist in this unpretentious, heartfelt drama whose overall predictability doesn’t detract from its modest strengths.

Stone Turtle

Stone Turtle

An intriguing though not always well-integrated attempt to engage with different forms of storytelling, including traditional Malaysian folklore, at the service of a feminist revenge tale.

Lola

Lola

A pair of eccentric bohemian sisters build a machine that can change the future in Irish director Andrew Legge’s flawed but admirably ambitious lo-fi sci-fi oddity ‘Lola’.

My Neighbor Adolf

My Neighbor Adolf

A misfire of perplexing obliviousness, in which we’re meant to believe that Udo Kier’s character once bore a striking resemblance to Hitler. The best that can be said about this limp comedy is that it could have been far more offensive.

Declaration

Declaration

Class inequality, corruption and power dynamics between the sexes is the background to this working-class Malayalam drama anchored by the nuanced female lead, played by Divya Prabha, and mesmeric images in a latex glove factory.

Pamfir

Pamfir

Dmytro Sukholytkyy-Sobchuk’s debut is a propulsive drama employing folkloric elements and mythic overtones in its portrayal of a man trying to navigate a provincial criminal underworld.

Karlovy Vary: The Verdict

Karlovy Vary: The Verdict

The masks were off and the parties were on at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (July 1-9) in a 56th edition brimming with street music, audiences hungry for edgy new movies and civilian crowds gaily mixing with festival-goers in what felt like the first...

Karlovy Vary 2022: The Awards

Karlovy Vary 2022: The Awards

CRYSTAL GLOBE COMPETITION Grand Prix – Crystal Globe SUMMER WITH HOPE Directed by: Sadaf FOROUGHI   Special Jury Prize YOU HAVE TO COME AND SEE IT Directed by: Jonás Trueba   Best Director  Beata PARKANOVA for WORD   Best Actress (jointly awarded) Taki...

Zoo Lock Down

Zoo Lock Down

Andreas Horvath’s observational documentary offers a different, meditative view of animals in captivity, whose uneventful lives without a human audience inevitably recall our own experience with the pandemic.

Art Talent Show

Art Talent Show

A wild documentary ride through the selection process at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague, where the teaching staff brainstorms to test the hidden talent of young applicants, and future artists do their best to make the undefined grade.

Vesper

Vesper

Engrossing and full of credible Euro SFX, the Lithuanian-French sci fi fantasy featuring Raffiella Chapman as a 13-year-old, self-taught scientist looking for a way out of a socially and environmentally sick world, seems targeted at imaginative YA audiences.

Butterfly Vision

Butterfly Vision

Maksym Nakonechnyi’s carefully calibrated drama about a young Ukrainian woman soldier who returns home in a prisoner exchange, tortured and pregnant, projects a more human, less heroic view of the Ukraine-Russia war while it affirms a woman’s right to choice vis-à-vis maternity.

Performer

Performer

An otherwise solid examination of a young man’s masculinity dircted by newcomer Oliver Grüttner isn’t quite sure if it seeks to praise or condemn.

Carajita

Carajita

Class and race intersect in a suspenseful drama set in the Dominican Republic, where loyalties get tested when a Black nanny raises the spoilt brat of a wealthy white family.

Paloma

Paloma

Actress Kika Sena takes director Marcelo Gomes’s story of a young trans woman to another level as Paloma, a romantic mother and farm worker who dreams of a formal church wedding,

Woman on the Roof

Woman on the Roof

In writer-director Anna Jadowska’s sensitive whydunit, veteran Polish actress and Tribeca winner Dorota Pomykala plunges the viewer into psychological  depths in her deftly nuanced portrait of a 60-year-old who tries to rob a bank with a kitchen knife.

One Day in Ukraine

One Day in Ukraine

Ordinary Ukrainians — soldiers, civilians and volunteers — make gripping subjects in Volodymyr Tykhyy’s utterly realistic doc, depicting life in post-apocalyptic Kyiv as the populace braces for a very long war.

Sirens

Sirens

Director Rita Baghdadi’s engaging, ear-bashing documentary ‘Sirens’ chronicles the emotional and political struggles of Lebanon’s first all-female thrash metal band.

The Taking

The Taking

Director Alexandre Philippe’s latest essay-film ‘The Taking’ is a thoughtful, visually ravishing, politically charged rumination on American cinema’s oldest rock stars.

Son of Man

Son of Man

A transgender man whose teenage daughter is about to learn his well-kept secret is at the heart of a serviceably shot but deeply felt Iranian drama directed by Sepideh Mir Hosseini.

Cannes 2022: The Verdict

Cannes 2022: The Verdict

Along with the shiny gold button given to badge-holders celebrating Cannes’ 75th glorious anniversary, this year’s festival can justly be hailed as a return to normality after the Covid-19 pandemic canceled it in 2020 and severely truncated it in 2021. Whether it’s...

Cannes 2022: The Awards

Palme d'Or TRIANGLE OF SADNESS directed by Ruben ÖSTLUNDGrand Prix (jointly awarded) CLOSE directed by Lukas DHONTSTARS AT NOON directed by Claire DENISBest Director PARK Chan-wook for DECISION TO LEAVE Best Screenplay Tarik SALEH for BOY FROM HEAVEN Jury Prize...

War Pony

War Pony

WINNER OF THE CAMERA D’OR IN CANNES FOR BEST FIRST FILM.  ‘War Pony’, from first-time directing duo Riley Keough and Gina Gammell, deeply immerses the viewer in the roughshod coming-of-age drama of two teenage boys who live on the fringes of the law on a Native American reservation in South Dakota.

Mariupolis 2

Mariupolis 2

Lithuanian filmmaker Mantas Kvedaravi?ius was killed by Russian soldiers after shooting footage for this gritty and unnerving documentary about life in the besieged, bombed-out Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

99 Moons

99 Moons

Sex and love don’t always make for ideal bedmates, and the strain one places on the other is at the heart of Swiss writer-director Jan Gassmann’s latest feature, 99 Moons. Provocative but also thought-provoking, this story of a couple that meets through a Tinder-like...

Harka

Harka

Documentary director Lotfy Nathan’s prize-winning dramatic debut ‘Harka’ is a powerful if slightly heavy-handed take on injustice and protest in the Arab world.

The Natural History of Destruction

The Natural History of Destruction

Sergei Loznitsa’s latest archival cinema essay, inspired by W.G. Sebald’s book and organized within a quasi-symphonic structure, lays out the brutality of fire bombings in World War II and the ways the war machine refused to acknowledge the human costs.

The Mountain

The Mountain

Thomas Salvador’s beguiling second feature innovatively combines a realistic first half with fantasy elements in the second without losing its earlier spirit, achieved through unpretentious storytelling, a superb visual eye and excellent special effects.

Son of Ramses

Son of Ramses

Clément Cogitore is less known in France as a feature filmmaker than as young and highly coveted visual artist, with shorts like the Siberia-set documentary, Braguino, and the crunk dance battle/opera piece Les Indes galantes — both released in 2017 — sealing his...

Godland

Godland

Magisterial in the manner of 19th century epic novels and visually influenced by that era’s photography, Hlynur Pálmason’s third feature is a stunning, psychologically rich tale set against Iceland’s awe-inspiring landscapes.

Stars at Noon

Stars at Noon

CANNES GRAND PRIX – JOINTLY AWARDED, REVIEWED MAY 26 Set in Central America, Claire Denis’ second English-language film is more straightforward than most of her works but is unmistakably hers in the way she suspends her complex characters in the sweaty grasp of a tropical setting.

Close

Close

CANNES GRAND PRIX, JOINTLY AWARDED – REVIEWED MAY 27 Lukas Dhont’s gut-wrenching second feature is a stunning ode to adolescent same-sex friendship and a powerful critique of the ways society normalizes aggression while demonizing physical tenderness.

Feminist Riposte

Feminist Riposte

Newcomers Marie Perennes and Simon Depardon’s documentary looks at feminists across France whose posters and slogans try to reclaim public spaces and denounce sexism, violence and femicides.

Showing Up

Showing Up

Michelle Williams reunites with feted indie writer-director Kelly Reichardt for ‘Showing Up’, a modest but moving portrait of frustrated artists and dysfunctional families.

The Spiral

The Spiral

María Silvia Esteve’s new short is a bombastic and overwhelming voyage of colour and sound that conveys the psychological sensation of spiraling hypochondria.

Broker

Broker

Japanese director Kore-eda Hirokazu’s first film lensed in South Korea, about a well-intentioned gang who sell motherless babies, is a minor work with only distant echoes of his 2018 Palm d’Or winner Shoplifters, but still imbued with the filmmaker’s militant humanism.

The Pass

The Pass

Pepi Ginsberg’s riveting drama tackles the combustible nature of repressed sexuality when a spot of wild swimming takes an unexpectedly dangerous turn.

The Dam

The Dam

Lebanese artist-filmmaker Ali Cherri delivers a visually mesmerising and quietly political first feature, set among Sudanese bricklayers working on the biggest hydroelectrical dam in Africa.

Tori and Lokita

Tori and Lokita

The latest from the Belgian Dardenne brothers is yet another one of their dramas of stripped-back social realism, this time about two immigrant minors who try to pass as siblings.

The Pack

The Pack

In this first-time feature from Colombia, a group of convicted juvenile criminals are stranded in a remote country estate, where they undergo a bizarre rehabilitation process while providing free labor for a gang of shady correctional officials. It’s an intriguing...

The Super-8 Years

The Super-8 Years

Director David Ernaux-Briot and his mother, novelist Annie Ernaux, dive into the family’s Super-8 footage collection for this gentle rumination on times past.

More Than Ever

More Than Ever

Death hovers over director Emily Atef’s fifth feature, More Than Ever (Plus Que Jamais), in unsettling ways. First, it fuels this solemn and emotionally gripping story about a woman in a relationship who's diagnosed with a rare lung disease and faced with her imminent...

Amo

Amo

Emmanuel Gras’ aesthetically minded short is an abstract vision that blends planetary movement and physical intimacy, playfully meditating on where exactly we come from.

The Five Devils

The Five Devils

The second feature as a director from in-demand screenwriter Léa Mysius tries to be about five different films at once, and ends up being one right mess.

Men

Men

Jessie Buckley and multiple versions of Rory Kinnear co-star in writer-director Alex Garland’s impressively weird feminist folk-horror thriller ‘Men’.

R.M.N.

R.M.N.

Cristian Mungiu’s excoriation of xenophobia in multiethnic Transylvania is a classic example of the director’s dedication to naturalism and boasts several superb sequences, but it tries a bit too hard to encompass more topics than it can comfortably handle.

My Imaginary Country

My Imaginary Country

Though nothing like Patrizio Guzmán’s fabled ‘The Battle of Chile’ or ‘Nostalgia for the Light’, this energizing doc is still a master class on Chile’s recent nation-wide uprising for democracy and social justice.

Aftersun

Aftersun

Writer-director Charlotte Wells combines great performances, poetic visuals and bittersweet personal memories in her dazzling debut feature ‘Aftersun’.

The Stranger

The Stranger

Hinging on two compelling performances, this is an absorbing drama that blends the cat-and-mouse tension of a thriller with police procedural to gripping and haunting effect.

Harkis

Harkis

A fiery and timely reflection about a dark episode in French history at the risk of being written out of the books with the normalisation of far-right politics in the country.

Rodeo

Rodeo

Writer-director Lola Quivoron’s debut, Rodeo, belongs to a recent class of French films made by and about young women, with stories that combine the coming-of-age genre — what the French call un film d’initiation — with elements of a Hollywood thriller or horror...

The Eight Mountains

The Eight Mountains

Felix van Groeningen and Charlotte Vandermeersch adapt Paolo Cognetti’s novel for the big screen and while the film takes too long to get going, its final hour impresses.

Wake Up Punk

Wake Up Punk

Fashion icon Vivienne Westwood and her son Joe Corré attempt to reclaim punk’s radical roots in director Nigel Askew’s scrappy but engaging documentary ‘Wake Up Punk’.

Mangrove School

Mangrove School

Filipa César and Sónia Vaz Borges explore the decolonising power of education in this tale of rebellious scholarship in the tangle of Guinea-Bissau’s mangrove swamps.

PRESS RELEASE

PRESS RELEASE

CINANDO AND THE FILM VERDICT REVITALIZE THE FILM REVIEW WITH AN EXCLUSIVE DIRECT ACCESS BUTTON TO FILMS ON CINANDO CINANDO and THE FILM VERDICT (TFV) announce an innovative new feature that will make the TFV film review a more valuable tool for film distribution...

Abyss

Abyss

In partnering with Google’s Image Recognition AI, Jeppe Lange has constructed a 100mph frenzy of match-cutting that is strange, rhythmic and at times somewhat profound.

AWARDS CORNER

AWARDS CORNER

Golden Alexander Award - International competition A HOUSE MADE OF SPLINTERS (Denmark-Finland-Sweden-Ukraine) by Simon Lereng Wilmont Special Jury Award - International competition YOUNG PLATO (UK-Ireland-France-Belgium) by Declan McGrath and Neasa Ní Chianáin Golden...

The Locust

The Locust

Iranian filmmaker Faeze Azizkhani portrays the hazards of making a movie about yourself in a self-referential drama packed with anxiety and irony.

Hostile

Hostile

Sonita Gale’s documentary is an important examination of Britain’s devastating immigration practices over several decades.

Heroines

Heroines

Communal mythologies and the importance of historical forebears are explored in Marina Herrera’s quietly humorous hybrid documentary about a rebellious Indigenous woman.

Fogaréu

Fogaréu

Debuting director Flávia Neves throws far too many elements into her overstuffed Gothic-tinged plot, intriguing enough to hold attention but too convoluted to withstand criticism.

Taurus

Taurus

Musician Colson Baker, aka Machine Gun Kelly, plays a drug-damaged pop star in director Tim Sutton’s ‘Taurus’, a stylishly sleazy but self-indulgent depiction of toxic fame.

Haulout

Haulout

Evgenia and Maxim Arbugaeva’s astonishing documentary captures the annual arrival of thousands of walruses on a remote beach in the Russian Arctic in awesome intimacy.

Millie Lies Low

Millie Lies Low

Millie foolishly lies low but the film should stand tall given how well it captures the excruciatingly relatable tribulations of a young New Zealand woman who digs herself into a very deep hole while attempting to preserve other peoples’ expectations.

Unrest

Unrest

Cyril Schäublin’s Berlin prize-winner ‘Unrest’ is a playful, gently subversive, precision-tooled drama about anarchist watch-makers in 19th century Switzerland.

Working Class Heroes

Working Class Heroes

The band of rowdy construction workers at the heart of Serbian director Milos Pusic’s dark new dramedy are not your typical Working Class Heroes, and the film’s title is meant to be taken somewhat ironically, or at least with a sizeable grain of salt. They are,...

Axiom

Axiom

Jöns Jönsson’s intriguing slow-burner about a charismatic fabulist occasionally challenges our suspension of disbelief, but its exacting evocation of atmosphere nicely plays on the tension between normality and disruption.

Nelly & Nadine

Nelly & Nadine

The latest from Swedish documentary director Magnus Gertten (‘Becoming Zlatan’) has an incredible true romance at its heart that is almost overwhelmed by less interesting material.

Trap

Trap

Anastasia Veber’s prize-winning drama is an evocative exploration of the lives of young people in contemporary Russia caught between aggression and eroticism, isolation and intimacy.

The Novelist’s Film

The Novelist’s Film

Hong Sang-soo’s 27th feature, and his third in competition in Berlin in as many years, offers his trademark acerbic humor, anchored by veteran Korean actress Lee Hye-young’s caustic turn as an embittered writer.

No U-Turn

No U-Turn

Another documentary subtly but clearly discouraging African migration, with the good sense to find camera-friendly subjects who imbue the film’s trite theme with humour and energy.

The Forger

The Forger

Maggie Peren’s evocation of young, reckless Jewish forger Cioma Schönhaus during the dark days of Hitler’s Berlin is strong on physical atmosphere but can’t balance his devil-may-care spunk with a sense of what awaits should he be caught

1341 Frames of Love and War

1341 Frames of Love and War

Magnum photographer Micha Bar-Am’s life and work is powerfully, sometimes painfully recounted through still images and offscreen voiceover in Ran Tal’s multilayered documentary that questions the psychological effects of shooting atrocities.

Return to Dust

Return to Dust

Li Ruijun’s deeply felt portrait of mature love between two socially unvalued Chinese peasants is beautiful to look at, but labors to catch the emotional wave it promises.

My Small Land

My Small Land

Japanese filmmaker Emma Kawawada takes the humanist cue from her mentor, Hirokazu Kore-eda, and adapt it to her warm and engaging directorial debut, in which a Kurdish-born Japanese teenager struggles to keep her life and dreams afloat when the authorities threaten to deport her family from the country.

Dragon Tooth

Dragon Tooth

Through colourful, chemically contaminated found footage, Rafael Castanheira Parrode evocatively excavates the trauma of the 1987 radioactivity disaster in Goiânia, Brazil.

KUDOS TO: MOHAMED HEFZY

KUDOS TO: MOHAMED HEFZY

When it was announced that Egyptian producer and screenwriter Mohamed Hefzy would be on the World Cinema Dramatic Competition jury at Sundance this year, following his recent jury stints at Venice and BFI London, we saw it as not just a recognition for the producer,...

Myanmar Diaries

Myanmar Diaries

An anonymous collective of Burmese filmmakers delivers a powerful statement of defiance against the murderous military dictatorship that overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi’s democratically elected government on February 1, 2021.

Dreaming Walls

Dreaming Walls

There’s not much new in this lovingly made impressionistic documentary about New York’s very well-chronicled Chelsea Hotel, but the place and its tenacious residents still have a pull.

Call Jane

Call Jane

Elizabeth Banks and Sigourney Weaver play abortion rights activists in director Phyllis Nagy’s worthy but timid debut feature ‘Call Jane’.

Sonne

Sonne

Gen Z’s creative use of video and chat powers Kurdwin Ayub’s knowing take on a teenage girl in Vienna forced to negotiate the tensions and expectations arising from her Kurdish identity.

Coma

Coma

French filmmaker Bertrand Bonello’s work has often toed the line between narrative and the avant-garde, with plots that are chopped and screwed into a melee of images, sounds and music — the latter often beautifully composed by Bonello himself. His movies are less...

Convenience Store

Convenience Store

A punishing film of unrelenting cruelty which seeks to draw attention to the plight of enslaved Central Asian workers in Russia, but its overstuffed plot and taunting hopelessness is more alienating than galvanizing.

Dirndlschuld

Dirndlschuld

Super 8 footage of an idyllic holiday destination provides the serene surface for Wilbirg Brainin-Donnenberg’s probe into the darker elements of history both political and personal.

Into My Name

Into My Name

Elliot Page’s attachment as executive producer will spur interest, but “Into My Name” stands on its own as a sensitive, humanist portrait of four young F to M trans Italians coming into their own.

Lullaby

Lullaby

Motherhood is de-glamourized in this gentle, honest account of parenting during stressful times, shot in Spain’s Basque country by director Alauda Ruiz de Azúa.

Dark Glasses

Dark Glasses

Less gore and more psychology should broaden the audience for Dario Argento’s kinky but strangely staid horror film about a slasher out to kill a blind prostitute.

Agrilogistics

Agrilogistics

Gerard Ortín Castellví’s film about the mechanised standardisation of plant products in an industrial greenhouse is both hypnotic and unsettling; meticulous documentary and dreamlike fantasy.

Rookies

Rookies

Once again dealing in dance, Thierry Demaizière and Alban Teurlai follow a group of hip hop-loving kids striving for academic success in a Parisian school.

Oink

Oink

A young girl adopts a rambunctious piglet and must navigate puppy classes and survive the annual sausage-making competition in this delightful stop-motion animation.

Kudos to Ulrich and Erika Gregor

Kudos to Ulrich and Erika Gregor

The 72-year history of the Berlin Film Festival has been shaped by many people, but arguably none have left a greater mark than Erika and Ulrich Gregor, the founders of the Arsenal Cinema and creators the festival’s influential Forum section. And it’s not just a...

Kumbuka

Kumbuka

Petna Ndaliko Katondolo’s documentary is a multifaceted exploration of complex questions around the combating of European perspectives in cinema about Africa.

The Dream and the Radio

The Dream and the Radio

Canadian filmmakers Renaud Després-Larose and Ana Tapia Rousiouk pay tribute to Stan Brakhage, Guy Debord, Jean-Luc Godard and Pedro Costa in an intriguing experimental exercise looking at the history of cinema and old-school political activism.

To Love Again

To Love Again

The vestiges of politically-instigated past trauma come back to trouble an older couple in their second marriage as they begin ruminating on their demise in Gao Linyang’s subtly crafted, detail and performance driven feature debut.

Drifting Petals

Drifting Petals

The history of Hong Kong and its seething democratic movements is interwoven with a cryptic ghost story in Clara Law’s challenging film about memory and political struggle.

Constant

Constant

Sasha Litvintseva and Beny Wagner’s new essay film is a heady examination of the history, impacts, and social equality of standardised measurement.

Singing in the Wilderness

Singing in the Wilderness

A bittersweet chronicle of Miao farmers who form a Christian choir in the remote mountains in China, and who are recruited to perform nationally while gradually losing their lands, autonomy, and identity.

Achrome

Achrome

An innocent farm boy experiences first-hand the horrors of the Nazi occupation of the Baltic states when he becomes a collaborator in Maria Ignatenko’s sensitive but over-aestheticized reflection on war.

Assault

Assault

Kazakh director Adilkhan Yerzhanov finds tragicomic humour in Assault, a bleakly stylish thriller about a snowbound high school under terrorist attack.

Nazarbazi

Nazarbazi

An utterly captivating found footage collage that pieces together a sensuous history of intimacy in Iranian post-revolution cinema where depictions of physical contact are prohibited.

Give Me Pity!

Give Me Pity!

Amanda Kramer recreates a 1970s-style variety TV special to comment on a certain kind of diva celebrity, but the results are tediously self-indulgent, clueless about camp affect, and open to claims of disingenuousness.

My Emptiness and I

My Emptiness and I

This fictionalized portrait of a trans woman’s emotional journey towards selfhood tries to cover too many bases in the psychological process, but Raphaëlle Perez’s sympathetic performance and the film’s overall sensitivity make up for some of its flaws.

Phantom Project

Phantom Project

A pleasant though minor queer-skewed indie slice-of-life look at Millenials in Chile, using a ghost device as a way of concretizing the niggling concerns within a struggling actor’s subconscious.

Warsha

Warsha

A potentially familiar story of a Syrian construction worker living in Lebanon is turned on its head in Dania Bdeir’s sensual and soulful evocation of freedom.

Midwives

Midwives

Snow Hnin Ei Hlaing’s first feature-length documentary offers a mellow and intimate portrait of two midwives – one a Buddhist, the other Muslim – who defy the deadly inter-communal conflict around them to become friends and health care providers for their poverty-stricken communities.

Tundra

Tundra

A paper-pushing official searches for a woman in red in José Luis Aparicio’s noirish short set in an oppressive, dystopian Cuba afflicted by strange, sluglike creatures.

Sandstorm

Sandstorm

An excellent, nuanced performance by Parizae Fatima anchors Seemab Gul’s tense depiction of a teenage girl navigating the dangers and dilemmas of an online relationship.

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