Meal (2018): A Dysfunctional Family on the Verge of Devouring Itself

The personal merges with the political and comes to a boil in Abhiroop Basu’s searing short film Meal. Featuring veteran actors Adil Hussain (Life of Pi, Lootera) and Ratnabali Bhattacharjee (Jonaki, Bombay Talkies) as a married couple engaged in a wordless domestic duel, the film becomes a potent look at Continue Reading

Shikara (2020): Buoyed By Formal Mastery, Victim To Narrative Insincerity

Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s Shikara combines superior craft, earnest performances, A.R. Rahman’s soulful score and a script brimming with pathos to achieve the unexpected: a film where the sum-of-parts is far greater than the crucial whole. While Chopra’s vision seems fueled by genuine passion and feeling for the themes he tackles, Continue Reading

Dogs Don’t Wear Pants (2019) Review: Gasping for Air, Pining for Pain

Most of our memories are only as strong as our senses. We don’t retain a perfect, objective recollection of what was. We only remember what we feel, see, touch, hear or smell. Director J.-P. Valkeapää uses this human fallibility to brilliant effect for the opening of Dogs Don’t Wear Pants.

Son-Mother (2019) Review – A Radical Reflection of Social Evils Plaguing Iran

Son-Mother is reminiscent of the humanist dramas of Jafar Panahi (who, just like Mohammadi herself, was also barred from travelling abroad and sentenced to prison for his views) and his radical critique of orthodox Iranian values and traditions, anchored by a nearly-wordless central performance from the young Mahan Nasiri, vividly reflecting the pain of having one’s fundamental rights violated and then being coerced into accepting their fate without protest.

Pompei (2019): Fractured Adolescence within a Desolate Community

In the words of co-director Anna Falguères, “If history is always written by the victorious, Pompei is a marvellous counterexample.” She was, of course, referring to the lost city and its immortalization through a natural disaster, but her words apply just as well to the microcosm (of a time and Continue Reading

Heimat is a Space in Time (2019) ‘TIFF’ Review – Seeking Shelter within Memory while Exorcising Ghosts of the Past

Thomas Heise’s sprawling epic, Heimat is a Space in Time, charts the progress and gradual disintegration of a family spanning over three generations, which is juxtaposed against nearly 100-years of bloody German history. Through a series of meticulously narrated letters and diary entries ― set against gorgeous black-and-white imagery of Continue Reading

The County (2019) Review – Engrossing Drama About A Woman’s Lone Rebellion

Grímur Hákonarson’s sensitive drama The County is the tale of one woman’s determined fight against capitalist corruption threatening the social and economic freedom of their locality. Gorgeously shot by Mart Taniel (The Temptation of St. Tony, November), the film is bookended by wide Ceylanesque frames of the vast Icelandic mountains Continue Reading

Made in Bangladesh (2019) TIFF Review – A Factory Worker’s Gruesome Struggle For Her Basic Rights

When was the last time that you thought about how the branded clothes that you buy and wear get made? About the people who make them and the conditions under which they do so? Probably never, right? Director Rubaiyat Hossain wants to change that with her film, Made in Bangladesh, Continue Reading

Antigone (2019) Review – Refreshingly Moving Drama On Familial Sacrifice

“Freely adapted” from Sophocles’ Greek tragedy of the same name, Antigone is a vibrant and heartbreaking account of a teenager’s self-sacrificial journey through the Canadian criminal justice system to save her family from falling apart. Banking on an extraordinary lead performance from Nahéma Ricci (and her piercing green eyes) and Continue Reading