Archive for category FILM REVIEW

The Best Films We Saw At #LFF2017

Looking back at 2017’s BFI London Film Festival and after careful deliberation, we finish our review with the list of the best films we saw at this year’s event. We began our coverage recommending 15 films we had already seen at Cannes and other festivals. A list that perfectly complements this one and whose, at least, first 8 titles (among them, The Florida Project, You Were Never Really Here, The Killing Of A Sacred Deer, Summer 1993, etc.) deserve to be included in any best-of the festival recap. We also took a look at a selection of the lesser-known titles from the different strands in former posts. But now its the turn for the films that we actually liked the most during the festival. Altogether, they shape up a promising look at some of the best work that (hopefully) will come to our art-house cinemas during the next twelve months. Read the rest of this entry »

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#LFF2017 Interview With Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra (Good Manners)

Brazilian directors Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra have crafted one of the most surprising films of the year with ‘Good Manners’. After winning an award at Locarno for its unique combination of social realism with multiple genres, ‘Good Manners’ was also selected for the London Film Festival’s official competition. Rojas and Dutra came to present their film and we had the chance to talk with them about, among other things, their collaboration; their unique approach to genre; the social aspect of their work; their classic influences and a particularly distinctive use of colour. Check the interview in full here: Read the rest of this entry »

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#LFF2017 Interview with Xavier Legrand (Custody)

French actor turned director Xavier Legrand came to the London Film Festival to introduce his debut feature ‘Custody.’ Fresh from winning two prizes at Venice, ‘Custody’ is a harrowing tale of domestic violence that follows up the story of Legrand’s first, Oscar-nominated short film. It focuses on how legal loopholes can allow abusive parents to perpetuate the intimidation to their families. We met the Gallic filmmaker for a short interview and talked about what brought him to the issue; his acting career and the cinematic influences of this film. Read the rest of this entry »

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#LFF2017 Interview with Carla Simón (Summer 1993)

The London Film Festival goes on and in between a tight film watching schedule, we had the chance to have a chat with Catalonian director Carla Simón. Her debut ‘Summer 1993’ is one of our recommended films from the festival, conquering audiences wherever is shown. This story of a little girl who is send to live in the countryside with the family of her aunt and uncle after her parents die of AIDS has been selected by the Spanish Film Academy for the Foreign Language Oscar. It has been one of this year’s LFF hot tickets, as well as a favourite for the First Feature Competition. We talked to her about the autobiographical aspects of her story; the challenges of working with children; the film’s remarkable cast and the experiences of her student days in London. Read the rest of this entry »

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Films To Discover From The #LFF2017 Programme

The London Film Festival began and with it the levels of excitement in any London cinephile have reached their annual peak. Too many great films and too little time make us often remain in our comfort zones, missing out on the many chances for discovering new talent from all over the world. And yes, we can’t wait to see the new Guillermo del Toro, Venice winner fantasy melodrama ‘The Shape of Water,’ or Luca Guadagnino’s acclaimed gay romance ‘Call Me By Your Name’, or the closing gala and Toronto Audience winner “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri’, to name just three of the galas. And we will definitely try to catch up the latest work from favourites such as Michael Haneke, Lynne Ramsay, Richard Linklater, Yorgos Lanthimos, Alexander Payne, Todd Haynes, Lucrecia Martel o Sebastian Lelio.

But going beyond the season’s big titles, the different strands and the excellent Experimenta section offer lesser-known treats for all tastes. Here’s a few recommendations for those in search of the new and ground-breaking. Read the rest of this entry »


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#LFF2017 15 Films We Can Recommend

As the tickets for this year edition of the BFI London Film Festival go on sale, we have prepared a couple of posts with our picks from the programme. In the first one, we focus on the films we have already seen. The ones that we loved at Cannes, whose selection is well represented at the LFF, and some others we caught during our summer holidays in Spain. All of them will likely count among the best films of 2017. Have a good festival! Read the rest of this entry »


The Sounds Of #LFF2017: Create and Beyond

The Programme for this year’s BFI London Film Festival has been announced and, as usual, its vast selection of over 240 films becomes a treasure trove for cinephiles of all kinds and persuasions. As we did the last two years, our blog will be covering the festival, which runs from the 4th to the 15th of October, bringing you all the excitement, tips, news and reviews that we can pack in.

As it is our custom, we begin this year’s coverage taking a look at what the festival has to offer to music aficionados. On this edition, there isn’t a Sonic strand anymore. Music titles are now part of the brand new Create strand instead, dedicated to the interaction between film and other artistic disciplines. Good news is that, despite not having an specific area any longer, the festival features so many interesting music-related works that we may not have time to miss it. To help you sample the sounds of most of those artists, check the Youtube and Spotify playlists we’ve also made featuring the LFF’s 2017 sonic highlights. Hope you enjoy it! Read the rest of this entry »


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Best Films Of 2017 So Far…

It’s that time of the year. Blockbuster season has nearly finished and with it the yearly doom and gloom analysis about massive tentpole flops dragging the industry down arrives. Meanwhile, festival season is about to begin and every day a new line-up with the films everybody will be talking about from the autumn onwards is announced, taking cinephile excitement to the roof.

It’s a good time to look back and count the best of what 2017 has delivered. As usual, we don’t include anyyhing released before March, because that was the deadline for the films we considered for our 2016 Robers, which already included most of the films that featured heavily during the awards season, except perhaps for Asghar Farhadi’s excellent drama ‘The Salesman,’ which unexpectedly became a symbol against Trump’s Islamophobic policies, or Raoul Peck’s superb documentary ‘I Am Not Your Negro.’

Latin America reaffirms the good moment its production it’s going through with four titles featured in our Top 20: From Brazil ‘Aquarius’; from Mexico ‘The Untamed’; from Venezuela ‘La Soledad’ and from Argentina ‘The Human Surge.’

Genre films also feature preeminently in our selection. The only big studio productions highlighted, except for the majestic war epic that is Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk,’ are very distinctive horror films such as ‘Get Out’ which uses the current racial tensions in the States as the source for its thrills or ‘Logan’ which almost single-handedly saved the superhero subgenre from destruction porn clichés, with a classic Western-like storyline.

The latest works by Cristian Mungiu, Aki Kaurismäki, Sofia Coppola, Radu Jude or James Gray add a strong authorial flavour to the mix and the extraordinary ‘A Ghost Story’ by James Lowery, next to Trey Edward Shults’ ‘It Comes At Night’ proves that there is still life in the increasingly formulaic world of American indies.

Altogether, these films may not herald a vintage year in film; but they are diverse, challenging and ground-breaking enough as to guarantee a decent supply of quality work, appeasing the growing choir of voices who claims the death of the industry as we know it, sacrificed in the altar of the digital platform.

And our Favourite Films of 2017 so far are… Read the rest of this entry »

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Pablo Berger returns with Paranormal Comedy ‘Abracadabra’

Taking advantage of a well-deserved holiday back at home in Madrid, the torrid Spanish summer invites to little else than finding refuge in a well air-conditioned cinema, catching up with the latest film releases, particularly those local or Latin American ones, which may find it difficult to get a theatrical release in the UK.

And no Hispanic title has been more awaited recently than Pablo Berger’s follow-up to his international festival breakout, ‘Blancanieves’. His new film, named after Steve Miller Band’s eighties classic ‘Abracadabra,’ takes a diametrically opposed turn from the stylish black and white and folkloric Spanish iconography, imbued in flamenco and bullfighting, that made of his take on the popular children’s’ tale such a success. Read the rest of this entry »

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Neruda: Playful Portrait Of An Iconic Poet

The work of Chilean auteur Pablo Laraín’s has always stood out as unconventional. Not even his recent stateside venture with Jackie, which arguably took him closer to the gates of mainstream and earned a nomination for Natalie Portman as lead actress, could made him lose any of his habitual narrative edge.

With ‘Neruda’, Larraín defies every single rule of the much maligned biopic subgenre, crafting a fitting addition to his body of work which, until ‘Jackie’, had dealt with the open wounds of Chile’s historical memory, particularly on his trilogy about the country under General Pinochet’s dictatorship, comprised by ‘Tony Manero’, ‘Post Mortem’ and ‘No’. Going back in time years before the General’s orchestrated coup d’état, it introduces Pablo Neruda both as universally acclaimed poet and as a consolidated political figure, right when the president in charge, González Videla, outlawed the communist party and issued an arrest warrant against the Nobel prize writer for his pro workers revolution ideals. Read the rest of this entry »

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Revolution: New Art for a New World – Review

Today the excellent documentary Revolution: New Art for a New World is released on DVD, coinciding with this year’s centenary of the Russian Revolution and shortly after a preview of the film featured at the official launch of the current Royal Academy of Arts exhibition’ Revolution: Russian Art 1917–1932.’ Our colaborator Rosemary O’Dowd reviewed it:

Directed and produced by acclaimed filmmaker Margy Kinmonth, Revolution – New Art for a New World is a bold and exciting feature documentary that encapsulates a momentous period in the history of Russia and the Russian Avant-Garde. Read the rest of this entry »

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2016 The Year In Cinema: Top 60 Best Films

For the film industry the Oscars ceremony puts an end – this year in truly dramatic fashion – to the awards season, and with it the year in film finishes. This is for us the best moment to look back and make our annual recap of the last twelve months of cinema, which in 2016 have come crammed with shocking news, notable changes to the way we approach the film experience and luckily, above all, an incredible number of great films. The quality of this year’s cinematic output was so remarkable that we have had to add ten titles to our annual Top 50, trying to acomodate as many notable works as possible.

After the industry’s racial and gender inequalities came to the front last year, diversity and inclusion were the themes that prevailed in the media conversation during this one, pushed from mere factual exposition into big political vindication after the unexpected international turn to populism experienced in both sides of the Atlantic.

Sundance delivered a few of the best films of the year, our favourite among which were Kelly Reichardt’s intimate portraits of female troubles, Certain Women; Whit Stillman’s brilliant interpretation of Jane Austen’s world with Love And Friendship and Ira Sach’s tale of boys friendship against their parents’ property feud, Little Men. But the film grabbing all the headlines was Nate Parker’s ambitious debut Birth Of A Nation, a story of slaves’ revenge named after D.W. Griffith’s racist silent classic. Hailed as a strong awards contender after the Oscars so white controversy and sold to Fox for a millionaire sum, claims of the director’s earlier sexual assault later on the year wiped its chances out. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘I, Daniel Blake’ and ‘Moonlight’ Lead The #RoberAwards2016 Film Winners

I, Daniel Blake has been named film of the year in the 2016 Rober Awards Film Poll. Ken Loach‘s latest work, putting to shame the cruelty of the current UK benefits system, has resonated with audiences around the world since it won the Palme D’Or at Cannes.

Boasting an unusually wide spread of winners, an indication of the excellent quality and quantity of great movies released over the past twelve months, this year only two film have won in more than one category. Moonlight, which after its historical -and shocking- won at the Oscars, stood above the rest also in our poll by earning a total of five Robers, namely best directing, adapting screenplay, acting ensemble, supporting actor-Mahershala Ali– and cinematography honours. Meanwhile, Park Chan-Wook‘s The Handmaiden was selected in the best Foreign Language and production design categories.

Kelly Reichard‘s collection of intimate female portraits in Certain Women was the runner-up in several categories, including best film, and earned Lily Gladstone the best supporting actress trophy. Other acting winners were Adam Driver, for his poetic rendition of a blue collar worker’s simple life in Paterson. Isabelle Huppert for her double tour de force in Paul Verhoeven‘s provocative thriller Elle and in Mia Hansen-Løve‘s reflection on how we adapt to life’s changes, Things To Come. Ruth Negga conquered the Rising Star award for the heartfelt interracial love story of Loving.

Other notable winners on this edition are Toni Erdmann for best comedy, Scott Walker for the soundtrack of The Childhood Of A Leader, Nick Cave’s documentary One More Time With Feeling and Kenneth Lonergan for Manchester By The Sea‘s original screenplay. Alice Rowe‘s hilariously chilling Prevenge won the best first feature; the documentary Notes On Blindness was voted Best British Film and Pablo Larraín‘s Neruda biopic was named best Hispanic film.

Check the full list of winners here: Read the rest of this entry »

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Toni Erdmann: Conversation With Maren Ade

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To celebrate its release in the UK this Friday, the second in our Toni Erdmann “double bill” of interviews is the conversation we had with its director Maren Ade during the London Film Festival, where the film was chosen as the gala for the Laugh strand and became one of the most talked-about titles of the programme.

One of our favourites of the year, Toni Erdmann is up for eight Rober Awards. Among them, Ade herself for best director and original screenplay.

Radiating with good humour but joking about feeling confused with so many interviews, the chatty German director talked about her writing process; the way she works with actors; her production company and the current state of the film industry.

(By Roberto González) Read the rest of this entry »

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