Fools

Fools

Tomasz Wasilewski’s oblique new drama is a slowly unwinding puzzle in which a couple’s life is thrown into disarray when one of them brings her ill son to live with them.

America

America

Ofir Raul Graizer’s sophomore feature is a novelistic exploration of duty and companionship that is as vibrant and colourful as it is humane.

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.

The Uncle

The Uncle

A family celebration in 1980s Yugoslavia turns out to be anything but in this unnerving chamber piece that peppers farcical notes into an otherwise stomach-churning thriller.

The Word

The Word

A small-town notary and his unbending wife put honor and honesty first in an uplifting if under-dramatized story from the Czech Republic’s Communist past, directed by Beata Parkanova.

You Won’t Be Alone

You Won’t Be Alone

 Noomi Rapace is among the moving female cast of Goran Stolevski’s Macedonian folk tale about blood-sucking, shape-shifting witches who offer body horror at its scariest, yet it’s also full of poetry, with a lot to say about women and life on Earth.

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.

Sideral

Sideral

Brazil’s first manned rocket launch provides a catalyst for transformation and a leftfield opportunity for escape in Carlos Segundo’s bittersweet and dryly absurdist short.

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.

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.

Joyland

Joyland

Winner of the Jury Prize in Un Certain Regard, Sadiq’s delicate first feature explores the destructive force of patriarchy in a Pakistani family and the fallout from a long-unemployed man’s work at an erotic dance theatre.

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.

The Blue Caftan

The Blue Caftan

After her award-winning ‘Adam’, writer-director Maryam Touzani affirms her strong storytelling skills in a hugely touching love story set in an old Moroccan medina, where Lubna Azabal battles illness to be with her homosexual husband Saleh Bakri.

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.

Eami

Eami

The plight of the indigenous Ayoreo, the last tribe to avoid contact and reclaim its territories in the Paraguayan Chaco Forest, is painstakingly and poetically rendered in this drama premiering at Rotterdam.

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.

Girl Picture

Girl Picture

 Three high school girls in Finland pursue love and orgasm in Alli Haapasalo’s frank and often warmly emotional tale aimed at teen audiences.

The Mission

The Mission

Young American missionaries from the Church of the Latter-Day Saints set off to convert the dubious inhabitants of Finland in Tania Anderson’s paradoxical but respectful documentary.

$75,000

$75,000

First person testimonies and 3D modelling are effectively combined in Moïse Togo’s harrowing short documentary about the horrific violence faced by albino people across Africa.

Bestia

Bestia

The inner life and fragmenting psyche of a secret police agent form the basis of Hugo Covarrubias’s exemplary and sinister stop-motion animation set during the Chilean military dictatorship

Utama (Our Home)

Utama (Our Home)

Sundance premieres a spellbinding portrait of life in the Bolivian Andes, where a drought threatens the livelihood of an elderly Quechua couple and their herd of llamas.

Speak No Evil

Speak No Evil

When a Danish couple visits a Dutch couple they barely know, polite discomfort dissolves into horror as Christian Tafdrup’s social comedy of manners goes Gothic dark.

Gentle

Gentle

A female bodybuilder tries her hand as an escort in order to pay for her steroids and supplements in this beautifully calibrated, exceptionally well-played feature that digs deep inside its characters, forcing audiences to upend initial conceptions while weaving a memorable, lingering spell.

Klondike

Klondike

Notwithstanding truly impressive visuals by D.P. Sviatoslav Bulakovskyi, “Klondike” underwhelms with its unilluminating look at the Donbas region conflict in Ukraine, seen through a reductionist gendered lens where women nurture and men achieve nothing but destruction.

Leonor Will Never Die

Leonor Will Never Die

Martika Ramirez Escobar’s audacious first feature is a maniacally meta love letter to Philippine cinema, but its films-within-a-film structure and nods to wildly different genres suffer from the lack of a substantial story.

Zoon

Zoon

Jonatan Schwenk follows the award-winning ‘Sog’ with another beguiling animated short that wordlessly meditates on our relationship to the natural world via a group of axolotls and the people that eat them.

Tantura

Tantura

Israeli filmmaker Alon Schwarz questions his own country’s foundational myth with a harrowing investigation of the state-sanctioned cover-up of the killings of hundreds of civilians in a Palestinian village in May 1948.

Short Film Reviews Debut on The Film Verdict

Short Film Reviews Debut on The Film Verdict

Affirming our commitment to review the finest of world cinema regardless of length, The Film Verdict is proud to announce a new Short Films column which will make its debut during the Sundance Film Festival and will be a notable feature of our coverage in Rotterdam...

No Land’s Man

No Land’s Man

Nawazuddin Siddiqui plays a pathological liar whose romance with an Australian girl unveils a horrifying backstory of racism in Mostofa Sarwar Farooki’s genre-bending pleaser.

Europa

Europa

An immersive, sensorial plunge into a young Iraqi refugee’s desperation as he evades capture by anti-immigration vigilantes in a Bulgarian forest, filmed with taut suspense and anchored by a stand-out performance from Adam Ali.

Ascension

Ascension

Jessica Kingdon’s prize-winning, Oscar-shortlisted documentary Ascension is a disjointed but fascinating portrait of contemporary China as consumer capitalist superpower.

Zinder

Zinder

Aicha Macky’s superb documentary about the impoverished citizens of Zinder, in the Republic of Niger, bends towards compassion for a neglected people.

Words of Negroes

Words of Negroes

Workers in an outdated sugar cane factory in Guadeloupe read from the transcripts of an 1842 trial against a slave owner in Sylvaine Dampierre’s powerful act of reclaiming history, Words of Negroes. Stunningly shot by Renaud Personnaz in crisp, vivid images, the film...

May God Be With You

May God Be With You

The act of exile is never a single-generation event; its ever-mutating ramifications shift down the family tree, undergoing a change as each generation grapples with questions of identity and belonging. Given that the person who flees their country often rejects...

Marx Can Wait

Marx Can Wait

The most fascinating aspect of Marco Bellocchio’s guilt-streaked revisitation of the suicide of his twin brother in 1968 is the insight it offers into the Italian master’s creative font–his own family.

Rupture

Rupture

The unsettled protagonists of Hamzah Jamjoom’s “Rupture” seem to be literally pulled through past, present and future in this Italian-inspired thriller in which a woman’s sanity is disturbed by her pregnancy and a malevolent concierge (played by Billy Zane) with his own unsavory baggage.

Communion

Communion

In his exploration of a man’s descent into madness during the present pandemic, director-actor Nejib Belkadhi makes a rare of-the-moment drama, inflected with humor and surrealism, that captures our unease in ways likely to outlast COVID’s grip on our psyches.

The Exam

The Exam

Cheating on a high school exam for a good cause gives top Iraqi Kurdish writer and director Shawkat Amin Korki (‘Memories on Stone’) a fertile moral field to examine the traps surrounding female empowerment.

Flee

Flee

Denmark’s shortlisted Oscar contender Flee is a warmly personal animated coming-of-age documentary about an Afghan refugee coming to terms with his sexuality and painful family history.

Huda’s Salon

Huda’s Salon

Hany Abu-Assad’s best work toys with questions of moral absolutes, yet his dissatisfying “Huda’s Salon” is hamstrung by a weak script and ill-advised editing choices that fail to build characters or tension, despite an interesting premise.

Route Ten

Route Ten

What on the surface appears to be a formulaic road movie thriller about a couple of siblings tormented by a white Jeep on a desert road turns into a surprising critique of the Saudi old guard in which the younger generation declares its liberation from toxic patriarchy.

Becoming

Becoming

An omnibus of women-directed Saudi shorts that acts as a calling card for the diversity of rising talent in the Kingdom, offering five largely strong entries highlighting the ways women negotiate traditional female and non-female spaces.

West Side Story

West Side Story

Spielberg uses every tool in his toolbox for this dynamic but emotionally limp restaging of the classic musical, whose themes he underscores for the Trump era.

Radiograph of a Family

Radiograph of a Family

Director Firouzeh Khosrovani’s own parents embody the lacerating split of Iran into modern liberals and Islamic fundamentalists after the 1978 revolution, in a personal doc of startling clarity and impact.

Hit the Road

Hit the Road

Voted best film at the London BFI festival and Mar del Plata, an offbeat Iranian roadie launches the filmmaking career of Jafar Panahi’s son Panah in style.

The Stranger

The Stranger

Palestine’s 2022 Oscar submission is a brooding story of lives in limbo in the Golan Heights, stunningly shot and wrenching in its moving evocation of a man mired in self-loathing and paralyzed by the physical and existential no-man’s land resulting in the Israeli occupation and the disaster in Syria.

A Second Life

A Second Life

A well-calibrated debut with a fine central performance, weaving together notions of class and familial betrayal when an impoverished mother sells her son’s kidney to a well-off family in exchange for a better life.

Tomorrow

Tomorrow

In the bitter drama of a human rights lawyer struggling with mental illness, well-known actor Dhafer L’Abidine directs, produces and stars in a passionate plea to Tunisians to reclaim their revolution.

The Power of the Dog

The Power of the Dog

Jane Campion’s bold cinematic interpretation of Thomas Savage’s novel about cattle ranchers in 1920’s Montana is a sensuous, aestheticized Netflix release, whose meticulous detail and gay subplot are admirable but a little tiring.

Authentik

Authentik

France’s most famous rap duo gets an energized if standardized biopic in this first of two projects to tackle the legacy of hip-hop group Suprême NTM.

Daughters of Abdulrahman

Daughters of Abdulrahman

Predictably stereotyped characterizations still deliver some enjoyable moments in this female empowerment story that unfortunately also plays to the region’s homophobia but will be a crowd-pleaser in the Arab world.

Dear Thomas

Dear Thomas

Director Andreas Kleinert’s prize-winning Cold War bio-drama Dear Thomas pays compelling but indulgent tribute to East German literary outlaw Thomas Brasch.

Children of the Mist

Children of the Mist

This disturbingly voyeuristic look at the ancient tradition of bride kidnappings, which happen at an astounding young age, won IDFA’s best director nod for Diem Ha Le.

Tonight’s Homework

Tonight’s Homework

Abbas Kiarostami’s trailblazing ‘Homework’ (1989) gets a brilliant update in a documentary that is equal parts hilarious and saddening in its portrayal of Iranian schoolkids.

When Pomegranates Howl

When Pomegranates Howl

With sensitivity and devastating last-scene irony, filmmaker and poet Granaz Moussavi cinematically embeds the viewer in children’s lives in the heart of war-torn Kabul, in Australia’s Oscar hopeful.

Ironland

Ironland

An outcry against man-made environmental disasters, tracking the long-term effects on the survivors of the biggest dam collapse in Brazil.

Nr. 10

Nr. 10

Dutch director Alex van Warmerdam takes darkly comic gloom to a new level with his audaciously weird tenth film, Nr. 10.

Isaac

Isaac

In his skillfully helmed first feature, Isaac (Izaokas), Lithuanian writer-director Jurgis Matulevicius delves into his country’s turbulent past under both Communism and Nazism, following a trio of friends in the 1960s whose lives are overshadowed by a massacre that...

Holy Emy

Holy Emy

A young Filipino immigrant in Greece with special healing powers is the focus of Araceli Lemos’ assured drama delving into questions of spirituality, belonging and sisterly bonds with a distinctively creepy edge.

Where Are We Headed?

Where Are We Headed?

The pitch of the documentary Where Are We Headed seems tailor-made for international festivals, as it offers a look at colourful and fascinating creatures from all layers of Russian society through the prism of the Moscow subway system. With a clearly defined space...

Sisterhood

Sisterhood

The hypocrisy of high school slut-shaming is the core theme of this strong feature debut boasting two exceptional performances and a layered script that’s distinctly Macedonian but with international resonance.

Vera Dreams of the Sea

Vera Dreams of the Sea

Kosovo’s Kaltrina Krasniqi makes an impressive feature debut with this beautifully measured drama about a once-compliant 60-something widow who attempts to deflect the malevolent traditional patriarchy in a nation on the edge of change.

Post Mortem

Post Mortem

Filled with enough gyrating dead corpses to cast the next Zack Snyder movie several times over, director Péter Bergendy’s Hungarian horror flick Post Mortem is high on gore and jump scares, low on convincing storytelling and originality. It displays a solid level of...

Titane

Titane

A gloriously extreme Oscar submission, French writer-director Julia Ducournau’s prize-winning erotic thriller about a gender-blurring serial killer with a fetish for sex with cars is funny, fast and furious.

Io sto bene

Io sto bene

In Io sto bene, Luxembourg’s submission to the Oscars, Donato Rotunno movingly chronicles how present-day Europe has become more diverse and tolerant, but still presents obstacles for new arrivals and leaves the elderly isolated and lonely. In one eloquent scene, an...

The Great Basin

The Great Basin

Few people outside eastern Nevada will have even heard of White Pine County, a rural area on the border with Utah that’s home to just over 10,000 inhabitants. If it has any especially distinguishing characteristics outside ones stereotypically associated with rural...

Krai

Krai

Though it does not quite hold together, this Dok Leipzig premiere is a frequently fascinating docu-fiction debut from Austria-based director Aleksey Lapin.

A Bay

A Bay

The city of Rio de Janeiro lies on the western shore of Guanabara Bay, the location of Murilo Salles's hymn to working class toil, A Bay (Uma baía). Salles excelled as cinematographer in such Brazilian film classics as Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands and has directed...

Clara Sola

Clara Sola

Costa Rica dancer Wendy Chinchilla Araya gives an eerie, riveting perf but it only goes so far in this unstructured tale of magic realism and female power from debuting director Nathalie Alvarez Mesen.

Amira

Amira

A great deal of attention is about to accrue to Egyptian director Mohamed Diab, who’s just finished shooting on the Marvel franchise series Moon Knight, slated for release sometime in 2022. That’s a good thing, because it likely means his Venice premiered...

Captains of Za’atari

Captains of Za’atari

Everything about Ali El Arabi’s Captains of Za’atari seems custom-made to appeal to a broad public. After all, who doesn’t love an underdog story, this one involving a couple of Syrian teens in a Jordanian refugee camp whose skills at football (European; soccer for...

Dashcam

Dashcam

Controversial LA musician Annie Hardy plays an obnoxious American tourist battling demonic forces in the English countryside in director Rob Savage’s profane, provocative, hilarious found-footage horror comedy Dashcam.

Sanremo

Sanremo

You can only fall in love with someone for the first time once… unless you are in the same position as one of the protagonists of Sanremo, Slovenia’s Oscar hopeful in the International Feature Film category. In this whisper of a film, an elderly man and woman living...

Life of Ivanna

Life of Ivanna

Documaker Renato Borrayo Serrano offers eye-opening glimpses into the harrowing and chaotic life of a modern Nenets woman that overturn stereotypes about Arctic life.

Murina

Murina

‘Murina’, which won this year’s Camera d’Or in Cannes for first-time director Antoneta Alamat Kusijanovic, extols female rebellion but walks a dangerous tightrope connecting the male gaze with the body of a rebellious 17-year-old girl.

Eyimofe

Eyimofe

Chuko and Ari Esiri’s Eyimofe, which is competing at Fespaco, combines two semi-overlapping stories of Nigerians on the edge. The first story is titled Spain, the second Italy. The idea in both titles is destination. In both stories, the Nigerian characters have come...

Eiffel

Eiffel

You don’t need to hold a doctorate in Freudian psychology, or to have labored through all 750 pages of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, to know that big towers built by ambitious men usually are, in one way or another, substitutes for their penises. And yet, in the highly...

Cruz

Cruz

Teresa Camou Guerrero’s poetic, heartbreaking documentary follows an indigenous Mexican family displaced by violent drug traffickers who struggle to return to their homelands.

ear for eye

ear for eye

James Bond star Lashana Lynch joins a large ensemble cast in debbie tucker green’s powerful stage-to-screen drama for the Black Lives Matter era.

Swallow

Swallow

Nollywood’s most famous director has made a period piece for Netflix that, while good to look and with all the right politics for today, doesn’t quite come alive and yet stays on too long.

Kerr

Kerr

Turkish writer-director Tayfun Pirselimoglu’s prize-winning thriller Kerr is a surreal small-town murder mystery with echoes of Kafka and Lynch.

Mariner of the Mountains

Mariner of the Mountains

A beautifully textured travel diary disguised as a highly personal quest — or is it the other way around? Either way, Mariner of the Mountains (Marinheiro das Montanhas) from director Karim Aïnouz — whose swoony feminist melodrama The Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão...

No Time to Die

No Time to Die

The 25th James Bond film is bloated and plodding in places, but it ultimately delivers the goods and sends Daniel Craig out in a blaze of glory.

The Auschwitz Report

The Auschwitz Report

Slovakia’s former Oscars submission recreates the courageous real-life exploits of two Jewish prisoners who escaped from Auschwitz and alerted the world to the horrors of the Holocaust.

Black Box

Black Box

A good pitch, such as the one behind the French aviation thriller Black Box (Boîte noire), can only travel so far when the characters provide little fuel for the story. At some point, usually toward the middle of the second act, the movie stutters, stalls and then...

I Want to Talk About Duras

I Want to Talk About Duras

In her many novels, plays and movies, author and filmmaker Marguerite Duras would often make herself a character in the stories she was telling, mixing autobiography and fiction into a seamless blend that the French called autofiction. It was writing with a capital I,...

Django & Django

Django & Django

Quentin Tarantino explains his love for Sergio Corbucci’s Spaghetti Westerns and reveals a lot about his own work in the process in Luca Rea’s irresistible, eye-opening documentary.

Maixabel

Maixabel

Award-winning Spanish filmmaker Icair Bollain chillingly dramatizes the real-life encounter between a strong-minded widow and the repentant Basque terrorists who murdered her husband.

One Second

One Second

Zhang Yimou ironically salutes the movies and their fervent audiences during China’s Cultural Revolution, in a stylistic pastiche that drags a little.

Full Time

Full Time

Life is more than a little hectic for the protagonist of Full Time (Temps plein), a single mother of two who’s trying to keep down one job while trying to find another as traffic strikes wreak further havoc on her ability to juggle all her duties. This naturalistic...

Nobody Has to Know

Nobody Has to Know

A burly Belgian farmhand working in Scotland loses his memory in Nobody Has to Know, the fifth feature as a director from Belgian actor-director Bouli Lanners (The Giants, Eldorado). Though hushed and sober in tone, this unusual love story has several unexpected...

Silent Land

Silent Land

A wealthy young Polish couple are forced to confront their own moral bankruptcy during a luxury Italian vacation in Silent Land, Aga Woszczy?ska’s elegantly bleak exploration of First World Problems.

Venice 2021: The Verdict

Venice 2021: The Verdict

When Roberto Cicutto, president of La Biennale di Venezia, admitted on stage at the 78th awards ceremony that the last two Venice Film Festivals came close to not happening, he put his finger on the miracle on the Lido. A huge, unwieldy Italian festival got through...

Miracle

Miracle

There are two movies in Miracle, Bogdan George Apetri’s uneven, beautifully shot drama divided between a young religious novice’s ordeal when seeking an abortion and the police investigation that follows her brutal rape. The first part, characterized by an admirable...

Another World

Another World

In 2015, craggy-faced actor Vincent Lindon won the Cannes Best Actor nod for his role as a laid-off employee in The Measure of a Man, directed by Stéphane Brizé in their third collaboration. In 2018, they reunited again for At War, in which Lindon played a man...

On the Job: The Missing 8

On the Job: The Missing 8

A Venice competition slot seems like a strange place for On the Job: The Missing 8, a punishingly long corruption thriller from Filipino genre master Erik Matti that’s soon to be seen as an HBO Asia Original six-episode mini-series. Following on – but not actually a...

Encounter

Encounter

Riz Ahmed stars in this stylish sci-fi chase thriller as a troubled military veteran battling his own demons as well as extra-terrestrial enemies.

America Latina

America Latina

Elio Germano plays a mild-mannered dentist who discovers a girl is tied up in his basement in Damiano and Fabio D’Innocenzo’s (‘Favolacce’) absurdist psychological thriller.

Leave No Traces

Leave No Traces

The first shot of Leave No Traces may make you think you’re at a retrospective of one of the great Polish filmmakers from forty or more years ago, so perfect is the recreation. It takes place in a shadowy Warsaw bedroom in 1983, and the stillness, warm tonalities and...

The Catholic School

The Catholic School

Stefano Mordini’s unconvincing ensemble drama searches for the origins of evil that provoked the Circeo massacre of two girls in 1975 and rattled upper class Rome.

Captain Volkonogov Escaped

Captain Volkonogov Escaped

In a vividly dystopic 1938 Leningrad under Stalin’s Great Purge, a young NKVD torturer tries to save his soul, in co-directors Natasha Merkulova and Aleksey Chupov’s high-energy parable ‘Captain Volkonogov Escaped’.

Freaks Out

Freaks Out

There’s a reaction shot in Mel Brooks’ The Producers when the open-mouthed audience watches the “Springtime for Hitler” number in shocked disbelief, amazed that something so crass and campy could have made it on Broadway. The scene is hilarious because Brooks knows...

107 Mothers

107 Mothers

Slovak documentary director Peter Kerekes (Velvet Terrorists) makes the jump into the (semi-)fictional realm with 107 Mothers (Cenzorka), which explores the world of mothers behind bars through the stories of several female inmates and a warden at an Odessa jail....

Madeleine Collins

Madeleine Collins

Leading a double life is no longer the dominion of spies in French director Antoine Barraud’s mystery-cum-character study Madeleine Collins, in which a woman tries to keep two families with kids going in two different countries at the same time. It’s a tough balancing...

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...

Happening

Happening

A student in 1960s provincial France has to deal with an unwanted pregnancy in a very hostile environment in Happening, the intimate but hard-hitting second feature from filmmaker Audrey Diwan. This adaptation of Annie Ernaux’s semi-autobiographical novel is...

Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon

Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon

A psychotic girl with lethal powers walks anywhere she pleases at night in Ana Lily Amirpour’s occasionally amusing but mostly treadless fantasy, ‘Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon.’

Lost Illusions

Lost Illusions

There’s a shot, quite late into Xavier Giannoli’s lengthy adaptation of Balzac’s Lost Illusions, that sees the protagonist, a broke young writer, get out of bed naked after having slept with a former lover, a lady from the provincial aristocracy. It is crystal clear...

Sundown

Sundown

The controversy stirred up by Michel Franco’s previous film ‘New Order’ will be partly placated and partly reignited in ‘Sundown’, the story of English tourists (Tim Roth and Charlotte Gainsbourg) in Mexico.

Official Competition

Official Competition

Two titans of acting, one a highly esteemed cerebral actor and the other a popular Hollywood star, are cast opposite each other for the first time by an oddball director in Official Competition (Competencia oficial). This frothy Venice competition title casts Penélope...

Il Buco

Il Buco

The symbiotic relationship between people of the land and their environment is the basis of all Michelangelo Frammartino’s work, most strikingly seen in his 2010 second feature Le Quattro Volte, a surprise international arthouse success. His hallmarks – unfussy,...

Last Night in Soho

Last Night in Soho

A girl’s exhilarating mind-trip through swinging London of the Sixties turns wild and woolly and full of zombies in ‘Last Night in Soho’, Edgar Wright’s multi-genre treat, co-starring Anya Taylor-Joy and Thomasin McKenzie.

Atlantide

Atlantide

Bored and blustery youths looking for something that makes them feel rebelliously alive is a storytelling cliché almost as old as the movies. So it is particularly exciting to see a film like the sun-blasted, water-sprayed spectacle that is Atlantide, which takes this...

Dune

Dune

There must be a reason Frank Herbert’s sci fi masterwork Dune defies cinematic adaptation, the latest attempt being director Denis Villeneuve’s attentively lensed but humorless actioner aimed at teen fans of the book and Timothée Chalamet.

Spencer

Spencer

There’s an extraordinary scene early on in Spencer in which Princess Diana, played by Kristen Stewart, rips off her pearl necklace during a Christmas-Eve dinner with the royal family, sending pearls everywhere. She hates the necklace because her husband, Prince...

Karmalink

Karmalink

Jake Wachtel’s Critics Week opener in Venice is a brash hybrid of near-future sci fi and timeless Buddhist beliefs in reincarnation.

The Card Counter

The Card Counter

One of Paul Schrader’s most complex and profound reflections on personal traumatic memory bleeds into the American tragedy of Abu Ghraib in an anguishing drama starring Oscar Isaac, Tye Sheridan and Tiffany Haddish.

A Tale of Love and Desire

A Tale of Love and Desire

There are so many good ideas in Leyla Bouzid’s second feature A Tale of Love and Desire, so many rarely-addressed issues deserving attention, that it’s especially frustrating how faintly the sparks fly between her two main characters, university classmates at the...

Parallel Mothers

Parallel Mothers

Where do you go as a laureled filmmaker heading into the fifth decade of your career after making a semi-autobiographical masterpiece like Pain and Glory? For Pedro Almodóvar, the answer is Parallel Mothers (Madres paralelas), a film that takes some familiar...

Promises

Promises

"I reject the cynical view that politics is inevitably or even usually dirty business,” Richard Nixon said in a televised address more than a year into the Watergate scandal. It is the kind of quote that French director Thomas Kruithof (The Eavesdropper) might have...

Runner

Runner

This cat-and-mouse chase thriller offers an opaque commentary on love as a form of psychosis and the paranoid political mood in post-Soviet Lithuania,

Feathers

Feathers

The distinctive vision that Omar El Zohairy brought to his two prize-wining shorts is much in evidence in his meticulously crafted absurdist feature debut Feathers. It’s amusing to imagine how he pitched the project at the start, given the narrative’s unlikely...

The Staffroom

The Staffroom

A newly appointed school counselor in Croatia tries to keep her head above water in the shark tank that is The Staff Room (Zbornica),  an auspicious if somewhat meandering feature debut from filmmaker Sonja Tarokic. Less a character study than the portrait of a...

Onoda — 10,000 Nights in the Jungle

Onoda — 10,000 Nights in the Jungle

Onoda Hiroo was the name of the famous Japanese soldier who refused to believe that WWII had ended, so he remained in hiding on a sparsely populated island in the Philippines for almost three decades. His story of endurance, as impressive as it is insane and as...

The Stronghold

The Stronghold

Over the past decade or so, the French city of Marseille has worked hard to clean up its image, gentrifying a significant area around its touristy Vieux-Port, opening a brand new museum and conference center — both architectural marvels — and attracting a swatch of...

Our Men

Our Men

Claire Denis sublimely explored the sweaty, dust-coated bodies of French legionnaires in one of her best movies, Beau Travail, which focused on a platoon of lonesome fighters marooned at a remote outpost in East Africa. In Our Men (Mon légionnaire), the second feature...

A New Old Play

A New Old Play

Director Qiu Jiongjiong uses a traditional theater troupe to spin out three long hours of dreamy reflections on Chinese history in the 20th century.