House Logo
Explore categories +

Festivals (#110 of 1103)

BAMcinemaFest 2018 Aaron Schimberg’s Chained for Life

Comments Comments (...)

BAMcinemaFest 2018: Aaron Schimberg’s Chained for Life

Cinereach

BAMcinemaFest 2018: Aaron Schimberg’s Chained for Life

From King Kong to Beauty and the Beast, films have often grappled with romances between pretty women and males who, well, let’s say, fail to adhere to cultural standards of attractiveness. The latest is writer-director Aaron Schimberg’s meta Chained for Life, set behind the scenes of a campy horror flick featuring half a cast of what Tod Browning would have called freaks. The film’s leading man is Rosenthal, played by Adam Pearson (previously seen in Under the Skin), an English actor who has neurofibromatosis, which causes tumors to grow around nerves. Rosenthal’s leading lady is Mabel (Jess Weixler), a friendly and earnest actress without any such condition.

Cannes Film Festival 2018 Girls of the Sun, Dogman, & The Wild Pear Tree

Comments Comments (...)

Cannes Film Review: Girls of the Sun, Dogman, & The Wild Pear Tree

Cannes Film Festival

Cannes Film Review: Girls of the Sun, Dogman, & The Wild Pear Tree

Eva Husson’s Girls of the Sun is a politically righteous and timely film, with a strong lead performance by Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani as Bahar, the leader of an all-female peshmerga fighter battalion bravely fighting ISIS in Kurdistan. But the film also has the dramatic finesse of a sledgehammer: Its most emotionally charged moments buckle under the weight of a ceaseless and manipulative score, and its disorganized and distracting flashback structure tries to contextualize the horrors and humiliations endured by Bahar but does so at the expense of narrative momentum.

Look past the film’s baggy structure and clumsy dialogue and there’s a good deal of tough, spatially coherent action direction on display. As Husson is adept at crafting artfully abstracted images in isolated moments, it’s easy to imagine the more sturdy, brisk, and visually compelling film Girls of the Sun might have been had at least 40 minutes been shaved from its running time.

Cannes Film Festival 2018 Winner Predictions

Comments Comments (...)

Cannes Film Festival 2018: Winner Predictions
Cannes Film Festival 2018: Winner Predictions

Between Cate Blanchett being appointed to head the largely female jury at this year’s Cannes Film Festival and the much-publicized march of 82 women down the red carpet at the start of the festival (representing the mere 82 women directors in 71 years who’ve competed for the Palme d’Or), many have come to predict that one of the three female filmmakers in competition this year would take the top prize. This article won’t diverge from that prediction, and of the three possibilities, Alice Rohwacher’s Happy As Lazzaro still seems like the safest bet, even with reports coming in that Blanchett teared up at the world premiere of Nadine Labaki’s Capernaum.

Cannes Film Festival 2018 Lee Chang-dong’s Burning

Comments Comments (...)

Cannes Film Review: Burning

Cannes Film Festival

Cannes Film Review: Burning

South Korean filmmaker Lee Chang-dong works slowly: In over 20 years, he’s directed just six films, each of which unfold patiently, sprawling out over two-plus hours and carefully tracking character development in narratives that occasionally proceed in real time. Lee tends to define his characters in relation to the specific temporal concepts that he structures his films around, such as the suicidal businessman from 2000’s Peppermint Candy, whose story is told in a reverse chronology, or the sixtysomething woman with encroaching Alzheimer’s disease in 2010’s Poetry, whose memories of the past slowly slip away. But Burning feels like the director’s most reflexive comment on the dramatic possibilities of his favored narrative form.

Cannes Film Festival 2018 Gaspar Noé’s Climax

Comments Comments (...)

Cannes Film Review: Climax

Cannes Film Festival

Cannes Film Review: Climax

French provocateur Gaspar Noé’s Climax has been met with enthusiasm at this year’s Cannes—even from those who usually have little tolerance for the psychedelic horror-core aesthetic he’s been dredging since at least 2002’s Irréversible. Maybe that’s because the film, at an eminently approachable 95 minutes, aspires to a relatively more structured iteration of Noé’s anarchic chaos. It even has a fairly straightforward concept: Twenty dancers—played by 19 non-actors plus Algerian actress and model Sofia Boutella—gather in a performance space, dance, chat cattily among each other, then drink some LSD-spiked punch and descend into raving, violent madness.

The conceit here is that even when Climax’s characters are subjected to the full-tilt crucible promised by the film’s premise, their bodies’ convulsions remain dance-like. But broad concerns like concept and conceit have never really been Noé’s problem, and neither really has his style—which has always incorporated some form of choreography, and used vivid colors and a restless camera with inarguably visceral impact. What Noé’s films have so rarely evinced—and what Climax mostly certainly lacks—is the skill, imagination, and intelligence to develop concepts and conceits, to connect them with ideas that could keep the director’s vision from wearing itself out.

Cannes Film Festival 2018 Yomeddine, Leto, & Sorry Angel

Comments Comments (...)

Cannes Film Review: Yomeddine, Leto, & Sorry Angel

mk2 Films

Cannes Film Review: Yomeddine, Leto, & Sorry Angel

Egyptian-born NYU graduate Abu Bakr Shawky’s Yomeddine (or Judgment Day), the first debut feature to play in competition at the Cannes Film Festival since Son of Saul in 2015, is a different kind of exploitation film than László Nemes’s Oscar winner. It’s for anyone who’s ever looked at a person who suffered through a life-threatening illness and thought to themselves, “There should really be a quirky Sundance-style dramedy made about this.”

A road-trip movie for sympathy fascists, Yomeddine is built around non-actor Rady Gamal, a survivor of leprosy whom Shawky met while making a documentary short on a leper colony. Gamal plays Beshey, a junk collector and recent widower who, after linking up with a Nubian orphan boy, Obama (Ahmed Abdelhafiz), sets off to find the father who abandoned him as a child. The misfits get mixed up with thieves, religious fanatics, inept bureaucracies, apathetic police officers, and a trio of beggars with their own physical deformities, most of who serve to further stack the deck against them.

The 2018 TCM Classic Film Festival

Comments Comments (...)

The 2018 TCM Classic Film Festival

TCM Classic Film Festival

The 2018 TCM Classic Film Festival

At the risk of invoking the spirit of the perpetually weary Lili Von Shtupp from Blazing Saddles, long before I ever hopped the red line train to Hollywood Boulevard in anticipation of the 2018 TCM Classic Film Festival last Thursday night, I had already been beset by a heavy sense of festival fatigue. Such bemoaning might seem misplaced coming from someone who attends exactly one festival a year—this one. But after a noticeable slump last year, in my energy and in the level of the festival’s programming overall, I had begun to worry that after eight TCMFFs in a row the dip in enthusiasm I’d registered last year might blossom into a full-on festival hangover before this year’s fun had even had a chance to begin. However, as news of the specifics of the festival began to trickle out, there became apparent a reason to suspect, if not outright hope, that 2018 might provide a tonic to address the comparatively flat spirits which earmarked the previous gathering.

Cannes Lineup Includes New Films by Spike Lee, Jean-Luc Godard, and More

Comments Comments (...)

Cannes Lineup Includes New Films by Spike Lee, Jean-Luc Godard, and More
Cannes Lineup Includes New Films by Spike Lee, Jean-Luc Godard, and More

This morning, the lineup for the 71st Cannes Film Festival was revealed. Among the most high-profile titles to make the cut: David Robert Mitchell’s Under the Silver Lake, Spike Lee’s BlacKKKlansman, Lee Chang-dong’s Burning, and Jean-Luc Godard’s Le Livre d’Image. As previously announced, Asghar Farhadi’s Everybody Knows, also in competition, will kick off the festival on May 8, and Ron Howard’s Solo: A Star Wars Story will screen out of competition on May 15, 10 days before the film hits U.S. theaters. (The Director’s Fortnight and Critics Week selections will be announced at a later date.) Only 18 titles were announced to be competing for the prestigious Palm d’Or, and as that number is usually in the low 20s, it’s likely that more titles will be added to the official lineup in the upcoming weeks.

True/False Film Fest 2018 Khalik Allah’s Black Mother

Comments Comments (...)

True/False Film Fest 2018: Khalik Allah’s Black Mother

Cinereach

True/False Film Fest 2018: Khalik Allah’s Black Mother

Because of its conveniently contained setting (Columbia, Missouri, home to the state’s largest university) and its independent ethic (a willful disregard for awards, promotional parties, industry dealing, and the atmosphere of corporatized networking that comes with all of this), the True/False Film Fest is regarded as a haven for both fans and creators of documentaries. It’s an unusually democratized event, and it celebrates the community of volunteers and musicians that help the event proceed so smoothly with as much fervor as it does the films and filmmakers that it hosts.

The warmth with which Columbia welcomes its many hundreds of annual attendees remains beguiling, but one of the amusingly dissonant things about True/False is that however much it feels like the city exists simply to host this event, an entire world carries on in and around it. On weekend nights, bars and sidewalks teem with ebullient undergrads, dangerously underdressed for their ambling from one party to the next. The fleeting world of the festival and the ongoing life of the town commingle and collide in fascinating ways; one undergrad stopped a group of us in the street at 1:30 am explicitly to recommend the charming 1972 pop-rock doodle “Magnet” by the band NRBQ. True/False is an idyll, but it’s just one of many ecosystems carrying on in Columbia on this particular weekend.

Dubai International Film Festival 2017 A Gentle Creature, You Were Never Really Here, The Message, & More

Comments Comments (...)

Dubai International Film Festival 2017: A Gentle Creature, You Were Never Really Here, The Message, & More

Wild Bunch

Dubai International Film Festival 2017: A Gentle Creature, You Were Never Really Here, The Message, & More

Even if this paradox applies to a great many film festivals, the notion of flying halfway across the planet to sit in a dark room and watch movies is especially pronounced in Dubai, where little is more than a few decades old, island formations are exploded to resemble Qu’ranic verses, and office buildings look like spaceships retired into the ground at 90-degree angles.

On December 6, a short drive from the canyons of high-rises making up the city-state’s turbocapitalist business district, elites and journalists assembled at the Souk Madinat—a beachside network of malls, restaurants, and luxury hotels connected by artificial seawater canals—for the opening night of the 14th Dubai International Film Festival. Tributes were tendered first to both Patrick Stewart and Cate Blanchett before the kickoff of Scott Cooper’s Hostiles, about a bigoted U.S. cavalry officer (Christian Bale) tasked with escorting a Cheyenne war chief named Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi) from New Mexico to his original territory in Montana.