November (Rainer Sarnet, 2017)

November navigates the lives of poor Estonian villagers through the harsh landscape of a cold winter, stealing and thieving their way through survival. Folklore and traditions dictate their questionable behaviour, offering their blood to the Devil in exchange for a soul to inhabit their Kratt (a man-made and often crudely-constructed thing that aids the villagers … Continue reading November (Rainer Sarnet, 2017)

Queen & Slim (Melina Matsoukas, 2019)

From first-time feature film director Melina Matsoukas, Queen & Slim stars well-known versatile actor Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out) and newcomer Jodie-Turner Smith as the titular characters. The trailer was an empowering Milk (Gus Van Sant, 2008)-esque vision of a fight against prejudice, hyping me up for what Kaluuya was going to bring to the table … Continue reading Queen & Slim (Melina Matsoukas, 2019)

By the Grace of God (François Ozon, 2018)

This film could be set in a political, educational, religious, or any other setting that is built upon a hierarchal ladder; the environment doesn’t matter, as the story’s message is still the same. Based upon the true events from the 2019 conviction of Cardinal Phillipe Barbarin of Lyon for hiding the crimes of Father Bernard … Continue reading By the Grace of God (François Ozon, 2018)

You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay, 2017): a director’s recurring visual voice for disturbed characters

Lynne Ramsay’s 2017 film You Were Never Really Here premiered 6 years after her masterpiece We Need to Talk About Kevin, one of my favourite and most-watched films of all time, so it’s surprising how long it’s taken to get around to watching it. The fairly short – 1hr30m – film is a violent-but-not-graphic, intense-but-not-explicit … Continue reading You Were Never Really Here (Lynne Ramsay, 2017): a director’s recurring visual voice for disturbed characters

Belle de Jour (Luis Buñuel, 1968)

Buñuel’s masterpiece Belle de Jour (1968) has certainly aged well; the film’s reflection on the hypocrisy of sexuality and eroticism in gender is always a pertinent discussion to be had, even in 2019. The double-standards of sexual exploration and expression are subtly criticised throughout the story of the bored housewife Séverine (Catherine Deneuve) as her … Continue reading Belle de Jour (Luis Buñuel, 1968)

Hiroshima, Mon Amour (Alain Resnais, 1959)

Filmed 14 years after an Atomic bomb was dropped by the USA onto Japan’s Hiroshima and Nagasaki, murdering millions and leaving devastating and lasting effects on the country, Alain Resnais’s Hiroshima, Mon Amour is an artistic and abstract visualisation of the event’s consequences. Elle (Emmanuelle Riva), a French actress starring in a film about peace, … Continue reading Hiroshima, Mon Amour (Alain Resnais, 1959)

The Burial of Kojo (Sam Blitz Bazawule, 2018)

Sound and image is combined to create the lyrical landscape of The Burial of Kojo, orchestrated by musician-turned-director Sam Blitz Bazawule and performed by Ghanaian locals. Dreams and reality cross-over in the eyes of Esi (Cynthia Dankwa), a young African girl who takes the centre-stage of this cabbalistic fable, the non-linear narrative following her as … Continue reading The Burial of Kojo (Sam Blitz Bazawule, 2018)