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    Trailer for the Brooding, Atmospheric, ‘History of Fear’

    Earlier this week, the Doha Film Institute, the Qatari cultural organization, announced the recipients for its debut global movie grants program during the 64th Berlin International Film Festival. Among the 20 projects receiving support is Argentine filmmaker Benjamin Naishtat’s debut feature film History of Fear, which made its world debut Feb. 9 as part of […] More

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    FNC 2013: ‘Our Sunhi’ is a charming comedy of errors

    Our Sunhi, the newest film from Hong Sang-Soo, is enamoured with interconnected romances and the mysteries of affection. A charming and patient comedy, the film excels at presenting the trials and tribulations of desire, offering a rewarding and funny take on the mysteries of love. Though there is nothing exceptional about the title character, Sunhi, she captures the elusive affections of three friends. More

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    FNC 2013: ‘Stray Dogs’ is one of the most unique films of the year

    Tsai Ming-Liang has built a reputation for himself as one of the foremost artists of contemporary cinema. His work is often lauded for its challenging ideas, careful pacing, and incredible compositional sense. His newest film Stray Dogs (rumoured to be his last) is about an alcoholic father and his two children struggling to survive in Taipei. Blending stark realism with elements of fantasy and absurdity, there is little doubt that this is one of the most unique films of the year, offering a singular vision of the world. More

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    BFI London Film Festival 2013: ’12 Years A Slave’ a milestone piece of work from Steve McQueen

    In 1853, Solomon Northup published his memoir 12 Years A Slave, a story of how a black man born free in New York was kidnapped, sold into slavery, and for a dozen years worked on various plantations around Louisiana just before the American Civil War. Acclaimed British artist-turned-filmmaker Steve McQueen has now brought this extraordinary tale to the big screen, following his physically harrowing films Hunger and Shame, in what is more than a mere film but a cultural milestone in the representation of slavery, a major work that is spearing in its intensity, incandescent in its soul. More

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    FNC 2013: ‘Bluebird’ is a stunning debut about loss and hope

    Borne out of the current economic crisis, Bluebird is set in an obscure and isolated logging town in Maine. Coated in snow that seems to be barely ever cleared, there is a lingering fear that the mill will close and the town will fade even deeper into the past. Lost in the rituals of daily life, it is only through accidental tragedy that a true sense of malaise and hopelessness comes rising from below the surface. More

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    BFI London Film Festival 2013: ‘The Zero Theorem’ a cacophonous, incoherent dirge from Terry Gilliam

    In 1983, the final Monty Python film, The Meaning Of Life, was released with a rather ambitious title and intent to discover, well, the meaning of life. Thirty years later, and Terry Gilliam returns to these enterprising realms with his new film The Zero Theorem, a codex volcanic in enthusiasm yet insipid at its core. Terry does good press: he barks an intriguing sound bite, citing that his latest ode to chaos is an “impossible look at nothing,” which is certain to prick the interest of existentialists everywhere. More

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    BFI London Film Festival 2013: ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ a colorful, middle-tier period piece from the Coens

    Poor Llewyn Davis is not at a good point in his life. In February of 1961, he is a struggling, bearded bohemian shivering through a frosty Greenwich Village, a folk musician seeking the next gig just to keep the wolf from the door. With few possessions other than the fraying clothes on his back and his trusty guitar, he relies on the charity of others to keep a temporary roof over his head, oscillating from staying with two wedded musical companions in the tight-knit folk scene, Jean (Carey Mulligan, deliciously spiteful) and Jim Berkey (Justin Timberlake, polished) and the middle-class Gorfiens , the wealthy, perky parents of Llewyn’s musical partner, revealed to have committed suicide a few months earlier. Davis is a man scorned, sneering at others and certain of his superior musical skills. He’s not the most likable sort, as his futile attempts to escape the confines of his self-imposed cage make for a colourfully arranged period crooner. More

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    BFI London Film Festival 2013: ‘The Double’ an ambitious and darkly funny second feature

    The Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky has been well served by cinema, especially his major works Crime & Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov, and The Idiot, all of which have received numerous adaptations throughout the decades. The latter was lavished with a recent Estonian take, after receiving a Japanese decoding by Kurosawa no less, as well as Indian and (naturally) Soviet versions. It has taken until 2013 for a filmmaker brave enough to approach Dostoyevsky’s binary second novel; there is a certain numerical sense of doubling, since Richard Ayoade has decided to allocate his second film as The Double, an ambitiously promising plea following Submarine back in 2010. More

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    BFI London Film Festival 2013: ‘Nebraska’ boasts a grizzled, irascible performance from Bruce Dern

    Venerable Woody Grant (a grizzled Bruce Dern) has a singular purpose in mind, to get from his adopted Montana home to neighbouring Nebraska to collect a million-dollar cheque that a suspiciously speculative postal disclaimer has promised to honour. Elderly and suffering with decaying mental functions, Woody clearly can’t see through the marketing scam, and his wife Kate (June Squibb) and son David (Will Forte) grow increasingly exasperated at his dangerous footbound expeditions before arriving at a mutual solution: More

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    FNC 2013: Five Must See Films in the Focus Program

    The 42nd Edition of Montreal’s Festival du Nouveau Cinema is just days away and the weight of an incredibly diverse and exciting program can intimidate even the most weathered cineaste. Combining the very best of big name and upcoming filmmakers, the festival has built its reputation on giving attention to groundbreaking and avant-garde cinema. Though sometimes […] More

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    TIFF 2013: John’s Top Five Films

    Full disclosure: before we set the cat among the pigeons, this is just to remark that some of the more praised films – The Double, Blue Is The Warmest Colour, Abuse Of Weakness, Like Father, Like Son, and 12 Years A Slave – are omitted from this list as I hadn’t seen them. That aside, this is the top five […] More

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    BFI London Film Festival 2013 – Programme Announcement

    The programme for the 57th BFI London Film Festival was recently announced, with the BFI’s Head of Cinemas and Festivals, Clare Stewart, returning for her second year with a rich and diverse group of international films and events from established and upcoming talent over a 12-day celebration of cinema. The Festival will screen 234 fiction […] More

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