A film that strikes you at your core Nisha Pahuja’s harrowing and uncomfortable To Kill A Tiger shows us that hope can always grow, even in the most hopeless of situations -utterly fantastic.
Director Makbul Mubarak challenges how far loyalty will go in his debut film, Autobiography. A confident film that never loses its way, strengthened by two strong performances from its leads. A young man working as a housekeeper in an empty mansion. When its owner returns to start his mayoral election
A lovely story about escaping one’s situation for something brighter, Canary switches up its light-hearted tone for something all the more serious and never misses a step in doing so. A gorgeous and affecting short film. In 1922, a young boy named Sonny worked in an underground coal mine with
Vita Smachelyuk blows you away in Michal Blaško’s increasingly stressful Victim. Full of socio-political narratives, his film drives through the point that even the most well-intentioned of people can be forced into horrible positions—a great feature debut film. Irina lives with her son Igor in a small Czech border town.
Healing is never easy, and in Jub Clerc’s Sweet As , we see how a young group try to figure that out in the gorgeous setting of Pilbara. A sentimental coming-of-age film that hits all the right notes.
A strong drama that strikes a number of emotional chords, Riceboy Sleeps is a delicately handled personal film from director Anthony Shim; finding the right tone throughout, this intimate film will break your heart. So-young is a Korean single mother raising her adolescent son Dong-hyun in the suburbs of Canada
An immersive experience that is much more than a biographical music documentary Ever Deadly is as much an education as it is a look into Tanya Tagaq’s life. You will undoubtedly come away with something meaningful here. Tanya Tagaq is an avant-garde Inuit throat singer who continually explores sound transformation
A compelling, intimate gender identity drama, Alex Schaad’s feature directorial debut Skin Deep offers a fascinating look at relationships. With complex pitch-perfect performances, Skin Deep is a profound viewing. At first glance, Leyla (Mala Emde) and Tristan (Jonas Dassler) seem like a happy young couple. But when they travel to
Like our titular character, Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis have thrown a mixture of animation stylings up into the air and meshed them together in their excellent meditative short The Flying Sailor. Two ships collide in a harbour, an explosion shatters a city, and a sailor is blasted skyward. Then,
The stunning scenery of southern Kazakhstan is the setting for an emotionally bruising Euro-Asian western in Adilkhan Yerzhanov’s powerful Goliath. A film that grabs your interest and only pulls you in further as it goes along. The Kazakh village Karatas has long been subjugated by a criminal boss called Poshaev
Dogborn shows us that no matter how low a position you feel you are in life, there is always another level, and even just to escape your own situation, there is usually the cruellest of prices. The question is whether your humanity is worth risking to get there. Isabella Carbonell
Winter Dunn gets everything perfectly right in her latest short, Dear Mama … Grief comes in all forms, and Dunn capably shows us just how complex that feeling is. An emotional and powerful film that is tremendously led by its two talented leads.
An ambitious film that does stretch itself a tad too thin at times, Bite is still a great watch that warmly embraces its horror to provide quite a few inducing moments. James Owen’s debut feature is one that satisfies. Nina (Shian Denovan) is desperate to put her life back on
Just when you thought that silly childhood fear of something alone in your bedroom had left, Alexis Bruchon comes along with his film The Eyes Below to shatter it all. A simple concept is carried out so effectively that you are left as astonished as you are spooked—a truly sensational
Burial is a period thriller that hits enough of the right notes to leave you satisfied while never striking just the right chord. It remains a compelling film with great performances from Charlotte Vega and Tom Felton. London, 1991. The home of an old woman (Harriet Walter), who watches the
The remaining two acts of End Zone 2 are presented to audiences after the terrific The Once and Future Smash, a brutally authentic 70s trash horror that will leave you wondering just how good that missing 3rd act really was. Fifteen years after the events of End Zone, Smash-Mouth is
The Once and Future Smash is an absolute treat for genre fans. With so many wonderful moments carefully laden within the spoof film that you could easily find yourself clapping away at it. Just a joy of a film. The End Zone 2 was a football-themed slasher from 1970 that
Opera (1987) Dario Argento comes back again to the list with this vicious film. What strikes you most about Opera is just how visually stunning it is, and considering how overlooked this is amongst Argento’s work, that becomes a surprise. Of course, Argento’s weaknesses come to the fore here, but
Laure Calamy owns every second of Her Way, pulling herself every which way emotionally as the exhausted single-parent sex worker. Cécile Ducrocq’s debut is a strong and memorable one full of humanity. Marie (Laure Calamy) is a confident, optimistic sex worker in Strasbourg who is determined to provide a better
A rather beautiful look at honing a craft and being lifted by the support of your family, Aurinko in Adagio is a joy. Elisee Junior St Preux has a wonderful touch as a filmmaker, with his film hitting you close to the heart with its effectiveness. Director: Elisee Junior St
The Moviegoer is Ross Munro’s short film love letter to cinema. Fun and heart-warming, his film allows you to reminisce fondly and brings so much charm that you can’t help but like it.
MINK! is an open and informative documentary that is well worth 20 minutes of your day. We need more documentaries about people like Patsy Takemoto Mink for it shows the good that there is and that progress never stops. You can watch it below in the link provided at the
Neil Marshalls Dog Soldiers has gotten a glorious special release from Second Sight Films. The top-notch werewolf horror still packs a punch with how effective it is and has barely aged a day. During a routine training mission in the Scottish Highlands, a small squad of happy-go-lucky British soldiers, including
A never ending sense of dread envelopes Moshari, & never lets go. Wonderful filmmaking from Nuhash Humayun that has you immediately standing up & taking notice. A must watch from a filmmaker on a fast ascent. Director: Nuhash Humayun Cast: Sunerah Binte Kamal, Nairah Onora Saif IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt17499740 It’s the end of
Roger Corman never passed on an opportunity to jump on a trend and make a few dollars on it, so he jumped into the sword fantasy trend to co-produce the Deathstalker franchise (amongst others). 101 Films have lovingly given us a set with the first two from the Deathstalker films
Weird and wonderful, Eli Powers atmospheric Skin & Bone is an unsettling short that isn’t afraid to hold its card close to its chest. Amanda Seyfried & Thomas Sadoski excel in a film that commands your attention. Director: Eli Powers Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Thomas Sadoski, Nick Verdi, McCaleb Burnett IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt20783516 After taking
Return to Sender is a strong thriller that grabs onto our fears of being watched. With the increasing dependency on the digital world, Russell Goldman shows how we are losing the control we crave for our own lives. Director: Russell Goldman Cast: Allison Tolman, Emma Pasarow, IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt15225028 When recovering alcoholic Julia
A film that isn’t afraid to kick some ass, Kickstart My Heart is everything you want it to be. Kelsey Bollig has made a film you never want to end – a fantastic short from a highly promising filmmaker.
An excellent short film, Paper Thin, focuses on the feelings that run through you when you are losing a loved one. Running at a mere six minutes, Neil Dua and Thomas Archer have made a pitch-perfect and faultless film. Director: Neil Dua Cast: Thomas Archer, Jimi Hernandez IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt21415680/ An intimate exchange between two unlikely strangers
When Perry Blackshear focuses his latest film on the trauma and bleakness of his character’s situation, When I Consume You excels as a psychological thriller. The sense of dread is rife throughout the film, it loses itself when it tries to do too much. Nevertheless, this film affects you with
For 13 minutes, you are heart-wrenchingly moved in Diana Cam Van Nguyen’s Love, Dad. Told through voiceover and paper animation, we are struck by how affecting her film is, as if we are seeing a form of therapy bared before us on screen. Director: Diana Cam Van Nguyen IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt14972316/
Stunning, that is really all you can say about Jack Reynor’s director debut Bainne. A near-wordless stunning piece of cinema. Atmospheric in its desolation of the time period, what a beautifully haunting film.
Breakups can be messy endeavours, and for Marisela Zumbado’s Gabi, she needs to shake things up in April Maxey’s relatable film Work. This melancholy piece explores that longing for a connection with another person. Director: April Maxey Cast: Marisela Zumbado, Darlisa Ali, Star Amerasu, Elaine Whae, Jay Dathorne, Sarah Gordon
Cameron S. Mitchell’s documentary Elsa perfectly captures a woman who will not be defined and forces you to take her seriously. Elsa engrosses and becomes a shot in the arm to make representation in the world fairer. Director: Cameron S. Mitchell Elsa Sjunneson is a DeafBlind professor, media critic, skilled
Entertaining throughout, Anaïs Demoustier charms the life out of you in Anaïs in Love – a directorial debut from Charline Bourgeous-Tacquet, this is a wonderful portrait of a woman at the crossroads in her life. Anaïs (Anaïs Demoustier) careers from one lover to the next while trying to find some
How do you measure a year? is fabulous, a brilliant love letter to the relationship between a father and daughter—a beautiful look at the experience of growing up. Director: Jay Rosenblatt Cast: Ella Rosenblatt IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt15026956 From the time she was two years old, and until she turned 18, they had
A powerful and tough watch, Tara Westwood’s Triggered is a shattering look at loss and its painful consequences. A film that lingers with you long after the credits have rolled. Director: Tara Westwood Cast: Isiah Whitlock Jr., Caitlin Mehner, Robert John Burke, Tara Westwood IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt15301336 A US Senator faces
Troy is a film that you cannot help but love, a wonderful breath of comedic fresh air for one reason: we would most likely (almost definitely) be like Thea and Charlie. Mike Donahue’s film knocks it out of the park.
Seemab Gul looks at how social indoctrination still impacts Pakistani teens in her latest film, Sandstorm (Mulaqat). Gul ensures that our young protagonist is not someone who will play the role of the victim for long. A poignant and contemplative film. Director: Seemab Gul Cast: Ayesha Shoaib Ahmed, Qasim Ali,
A sombre and considerate piece that showcases the importance of compassion and the human touch, Elevate is a striking short that works on you emotionally, accumulating in a powerful ending. Director: Dylan Boom Cast: Tracie Thoms, Jason Butler Harner, Rickey Eugene Brown, Gwyn LaRee IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt15699084 Tiffany (Tracie Thoms) works the
Act of God ‘s authentic charm is what drives this excellent observational short. Unexpectedly funny and poignant, Park Smith and Spencer Cook have made a refreshing and welcome film that shows disability in all of its complex forms. A disabled man’s commute is interrupted by a $100 bill lying on
Rory Keenan’s debut film, Bump, is a rounding success, ably bringing some biting comedy while finding the perfect chance to wipe that smile clean off our faces. A strong start to a promising career as a director. Director: Rory Keenan, Cast: Gemma Arterton, Macy Nyman, Nylah Sweeney IMDB: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt12435324 Heavily pregnant
Michael Kratochvil successfully unsettles his audience once his film I Call Upon Thee gets going. With strong performances from the young actresses, this is a short you won’t soon forget. “It’s not, dad. It’s worse.” Two young sisters in an unhappy home perform an incantation to summon… something… anything in
A great premise with impactful moments The Last Son has all the makings to be a great Western. Sadly it stumbles in the middle act, but importantly never falls. There is a lot to like about the film including Worthington and Colson. It’s the bleakest of winters, and LeMay (Sam
Hysteric is as bold and emotionally brutal a 9-minute film as you will see this year, hell maybe ever. Rod Blackhurst has gone out and done his best to traumatise you in the simplest of ways. At a remote house in Astoria, Oregon, two sisters are suddenly under attack by
The Breach may tread down familiar paths but does so with great confidence. The focus on the story is what shines through here. Though it doesn’t hurt that when the film wants to get gruesome, it does so with glee.
Dale Domazar (Ry Barrett) is a washed-up private investigator and “cult-buster” whose last cult bust resulted in a mass suicide. Kallie Jones (Liv Collins) is a realtor who needs to control everything. With her husband Brad (Justin Bott) sleepwalking through life, Kallie is certain a stay at Master Jagori’s (Tony
With a tremendous opening act Richard Bates, Jr’s King Knight should be a home run of a comedy. Its farcical premise falls away in the middle, yet the warmness of the characters & story keep you watching and laughing along.
The Fight Machine is a film that connects throughout; combining two stories is a bold choice from Andrew Thomas Hunt, but it works marvellously here. Fantastically cast from top to bottom, this is a fight drama you do not want to miss. Paul (Greg Hovanessian) and Rob (Dempsey Bryk) come from
Joe Badon has chucked in a hell of a lot into such a short timeframe in his short film The Blood of the Dinosaurs that you are almost purposely overwhelmed from what you see. A wonderfully creative and disturbing short, you simply can’t stop watching. ‘The Blood of the Dinosaurs’
A horror for millennials, Sissy takes the idea of social ostracism and childhood trauma and runs with it. Resulting in a compelling and unexpected bloodbath of a film, thoroughly tremendous. Writer-directors Hannah Barlow and Kane Senes along with lead Aisha Dee have knocked it out of the park. Cecelia (Aisha
Typical absurdist film from Quentin Dupieux in his tenth feature, Incredible But True. A thoroughly funny tale of a midlife crisis, we have a ridiculously entertaining and charming film that also compels and actually has a lot of heart. Alain (Alain Chabat) and Marie (Léa Drucker) have been together for a
Getting a fantastic 2k restoration from Arrow Films, Mercenaries from Hong Kong is an entertaining slice of action from the early 80s. This relentless film throws everything it can at the screen, and you will love it for it. A notorious assassin (Philip Ko) must be eliminated at all costs. A mysterious
Rogue Rubin’s Lion Spy takes you through a wide range of emotions in its 76 minutes, from anger all the way to being inspired. A fantastic and urgent documentary that pushes you into action.
Shinichiro Watanabe provides a melancholic outlook on the apocalypse with his latest short A Girl Meets a Boy and a Robot. As gorgeous to watch as it is emotionally painful, this is a beautiful short. A girl without memory wanders the ruined wastes of the world that once was, where
Deiji Meets Girl is a wonderful little love letter to its setting, Okinawa. A short full of promise and intrigue bites off a bit more than it can chew but remains a piece that satisfies.
Exploitative Cat III classic Dr Lamb leaves little to the imagination once our killer reveals all. A wild ride of a film that refuses to relent in its perversity and is one that you are not likely to forget anytime soon.
We know that we must reduce the drilling and use of oil, yet here in The Oil Machine, we are presented with a difficult watch of seeing just how deeply rooted our society is in fossil fuels. Emma Davie’s documentary takes us on an urgent journey that only speeds up
British Boys Director Marcus Curvelo, Country: Brazil, 15 Mins Two men in Bahia, Brazil, try to prove their UK ancestry to qualify for a small plot of land in the city’s finest location: the British Cemetery. As entertaining as it is, British Boys shows how, even two hundred years later,
Trauma has taken hold of our two subjects in Peter Day’s Off The Rails. As they battle through their pain, we become all the more concerned for them —an empathetic and engaging piece that is well worth your time. Rikke Brewer and Aiden Knox struggle with the death of their best friend
Director Myro Klocho, Country: Ukraine, 12 Mins Two weeks after Russia invaded his country, acclaimed playwright Andrii Bondarenko focused on the life he had lived. A peaceful childhood had followed bloodshed. And now, in adulthood, he faced the threat that previous generations of his family had witnessed. These thoughts took
Hair Tie, Egg, Homework Books 头绳，鸡蛋，作业本 Director Runxiao Luo – 15 minutes As a model student in her elementary school, 11-year-old Yuqi is assigned to give a speech about her family at the Parent’s Meeting. But after Yuqi finds out that she shares the same secret with a mischievous classmate,
We continue on with the short films from the Odyssey Chinese Film Festival running from now until June 10th via https://www.odysseychinesecinema.uk/. Here are three of the An Exploration strand, expect many more from this strand over the coming days as we have been treated by the festival with some tremendous
Sarira 舍利 Director: Mingyang Li – 28 minutes When an excavator attempts to destroy a temple, a monk’s ancient faith is finally confronted by modern society: it is from then that he must begin his interrogation of the world. Sarira is the type of drama that takes you by surprise
You will be hard-pressed to find a film that portrays isolation effectively and unsettlingly as We’re All Going To The World’s Fair does. Jane Schoenbrun’s psychological horror hits harder than you ever expect it to, thanks to a terrific turn from Anna Cobb. A fantastic debut feature. Alone in her
Matt Reeves ticks all the right boxes with this latest iteration of the caped crusader in The Batman. For fans of Frank Millers work, this is the Batman they have been clambering for. Shrugging off a tired third act, Reeves ends up giving us an excellent film. With all new
Adam Kalderon subverts expectations with his film The Swimmer. Full of subtlety and care an outstanding performance from Omer Perelman Striks, you are left with a tension inducing drama that compels.
Streamline has all of the ingredients of being a compelling drama, with Levi Miller excelling as the conflicted protagonist. However, it becomes a film that needed more runtime to allow a packed narrative moments to breathe and find itself. Regardless though, this is a solid debut for writer-director Tyson Wade
A delicate and emotional look at grief, Jimmy In Saigon is a film full of love that shines a light on the scars of death and keeping your sexuality secret. Peter McDowell has made a wonderfully touching piece.
An extraordinary debut feature from writer-editor-director Lauren Hadaway, The Novice is as compelling and physically tense inducing film as you will see this year – a stunning film. Alex (Isabelle Fuhrman), a college freshman, joins her university’s rowing team and undertakes an obsessive physical and psychological journey to make it
There are so many twists and turns in Jeffrey Schwarz’s documentary Boulevard! A Hollywood Story that you would easily be forgiven for thinking simply could not have happened. A must-watch for anyone who is a fan of old Hollywood. When Gloria Swanson, the iconic star of Sunset Boulevard, saw an
Aly Muritiba’s character drama Private Desert challenges masculine expectations in the most delicate of ways. We have a film that takes its time but rewards us with how moving it ends up being. 40-year-old Daniel (Antonio Saboia) has been suspended from active police work and is under internal investigation for
There is a brutal, beautiful honesty to Just In Case that takes your breath away. Approaching mental health in a far more authentic way in 14 minutes that many features ever could. An important and unmissable film.
A sharp and refreshing film, Treacle shows us how misunderstood bisexuals can be, to even those who are closest to them. Rosie Westhoff’s short gives us plenty to ponder in this layered film.
If you love a mystery thriller, then Broadcast Signal Intrusion is the film for you, but beware, dear viewer, much like our protagonist, you could be left burrowing down that rabbit hole too. A great homage to the noir thriller. In the late 90s, grieving video archivist James (Harry Shum
For 23 minutes, Miriam Fussenegger & Isabella Jeschke’s performances leave you in a tough moral dilemma in His Eyes (Blaue Augen). Director Alexander Weber has delivered an absorbing, impactful must watch film. Cleo’s (Miriam Fussenegger) quest for perfection threatens to derail plans to start a family with her girlfriend Anna
When Isabel del Rosal’s feature debut Walk With Me works, it really works. Sadly though, when the film needs to be more direct, it, like its protagonist, hesitates. Nevertheless, there is a solid to great film here, if only it had been bolder. As she braves life after divorce, young
There is a seamlessness to Do This For Me that betrays you. You fall for these characters, slot in comfortably beside them, laugh with them, that when the screw and pain begin to turn, it devastates you.
Every once in a while, a film will come along and just leave you speechless; Ultraviolette and the Blood-Spitters Gang is that film. Showcasing both the beauty and pain of your first love, this is a remarkable piece of cinema. After the death of his grandmother Emma, Robin Hunzinger and
A film of two halves, Tacheles – The Heart of the Matter takes a little while to get going, but when it does, it becomes a strong documentary that asks how the Holocaust affects young people today and how should they let it affect them. Yaar is a young Jewish
Elizabeth D. Costa’s Bangla Surf Girls shows us the struggle with being pressured into conforming to tradition despite your aspirations and the resilience in young women to push against the social tide. At times brutal with its honesty, this beautifully compelling documentary is fantastic. Shobe, Aisha and Suma break away
A film that keeps itself laser focused in showing us the state of despair & pain that the Burmese people have been put through. Full of anger and resilience, the young filmmakers have made a heartbreakingly powerful film.
An absolute triumph from beginning to end, David A. Weiner continues his love letters to 80s cinema with In Search of Tomorrow. A tremendous glance back to a genre and a decade that we will never forget. Just a fantastic documentary.
Julia Bacha’s impressive documentary Boycott takes you down a rabbit hole that is truly disconcerting as it reveals how those in the US have unknowingly lost some of their civil liberties. A consuming and essential watch. Within the United States, thirty-three states have introduced anti-boycott laws, which require individuals and
With engaging subjects, Kacper Lisowski can focus his rightfully angry documentary Judges Under Pressure on the fight for Poland’s independent judicial system. A vital documentary. Democracy in Poland is hanging by a fragile thread. Facing arrest and fines if they issue rulings that are not to the government’s liking, judges
Raw and continually on edge, Alina Grigore’s Blue Moon is a chaotic family portrait that purposely overwhelms poor Irina and its audience. Throwing everything at our senses, her restless camera never gives you a moment to breathe—a strong debut. 22-year-old Irina (Iona Chitu) lives in the mountains, where her family
Erin Vassilopoulos’ film Superior has everything you would want, filmed in 16mm, filled with quirky moments and wonderfully styled. Yet, something is missing in the story that leaves you wanting something more from it. On the run from an abusive relationship, musician Marian (Alessandra Mesa) drops in unannounced on her
Aga Woszczyńska brings us a fantastic tale in Silent Land through themes of guilt and denial. This is a confident and compelling debut, filled with perfect stillness and two knockout performances from Agnieszka Żulewska and Dobromir Dymecki. The cracks of a ‘perfect’ couple begin to show as their holiday in
Abel Ferrara does as Abel Ferrara does in Zeros and Ones. A film that actively tries to confuse and isolate you from what is happening on the screen. However, somehow something is mystifying that keeps you watching. Called to Rome to stop an imminent terrorist bombing, soldier J.J. (Hawke) desperately
While The Vault is an enjoyable enough heist film, it never quite steps itself out from being a paint by numbers endeavour. Its predictability hurts it, but there is still plenty here to have fun with. When an engineer (Freddie Highmore) learns of a mysterious, impenetrable fortress hidden under The
Adan Bonet opens the eyes of the viewer to the gruelling endeavours of being a mother and an Olympic calibre athlete in Ona Carbonell: Starting Over. A wonderful look at what willpower is in humans. This intimate new documentary follows the Spanish synchronised swimming Olympic medallist, from the birth of
Filled with melancholy and beauty, Moon Manor truly surprises. This wonderful yet heartbreaking film celebrates life; this is a brilliant little gem of a film. On his last day alive, Jimmy (James Carrozo) will show his estranged brother, salt-of-the-earth caretaker, sharp-witted death doula, a novice obituary writer, a cosmic being,
Contemplative throughout, Mehdi Hoseinvand Aalipours’s film Asteroid is a warm-hearted look at the efforts a young boy will make to endeavour his family to live the life they deserve. Make no mistake; this is a wonderful gem of a film.
Colm Bairéad’s utterly fantastic The Quiet Girl is a beautiful piece of cinema that, before you know it, has grabbed your heart and run off with it. An exceptional film tinged with sadness while keeping hope and love alive.
Filled with charm, Adventures of Success at times works wonderfully, but even with fleshed out and interesting characters, led by Lexie Mountain, there are some issues as the film stutters in the middle. Regardless there is a lot to enjoy with Jay Buim’s movie. Led by a mystical female founder
A powerhouse performance from Yllka Gashi in Blerta Basholli’s enthralling film Hive, giving us an insight into how grieving women dealt with a patriarchal society that limits them at every turn – a marvellous drama In March 1999, the Kosovan village of Krusha e Madhe was the site of a
Maria Demeshina Peek’s documentary, Sextortion: The Hidden Pandemic offers a disturbing glance at what goes on online when parents cannot see. A difficult, yet important watch for everyone. “Sextortion: The Hidden Pandemic” tackles extremely disturbing yet timely subject matter and is an investigation into the world of online grooming and
Ashgrove is a film that reels you in effortlessly and by the end has you entirely emotionally invested in Amanda Brugel and Jonas Chernick’s troubled couple. Jeremy Lalonde has delivered a subtle yet powerful move – a marvellous film. A pandemic has affected the world’s water supply; Jennifer (Amanda Brugel)
Olmo Omerzu latest film Bird Atlas, is filled with bitter sweetness that showcases that greed and self-reliance are not the be-all and end-all of life. With a cast on top form, Bird Atlas Hits all the right notes. Ivo Rona (Donutil) may have serious health issues, but he believes that
Atmospheric sci-fi, The Long Walk, takes its time with the audience as it languidly broaches upon grief and memory while asking an insurmountable amount of questions. Mattie Do’s film works on you in ways that you truly do not expect. A man (Yannawoutthi Chanthalungsy) is rumoured to be able to
In True Things, we see a semblance of someone we have known once in our lives. Someone swept away in a romance they should be more careful about. With Harry Wootlif’s intoxicating film, we feel and understand without having to delve too deeply into her characters. A wonderfully nuanced film. Kate
Flitting between 3D animation and present-day footage, Jason Loftus takes us on a harrowing journey in his excellent documentary Eternal Spring. The emotional retracing of Daxiong and his fellow Falun Gong members fighting against their government is an essential and integral watch. An unmissable documentary. In March 2002, a state
Wonderfully directed, Khadar Ayderus Ahmed’s The Gravedigger’s Wife tackles societal issues in Djibouti City, giving a voice to those who need it. A touching and thoughtful film that fills you with hope despite the hardship around those involved. Guled (Omar Abdi) works hard to support his wife and son. The
Ruth Paxton’s A Banquet takes us down a tragic voyage through the repercussions of loss with a family firmly teetering on edge. However, with that said, there are times it feels as if this psychological horror has taken on a touch more than it can handle, with you either leaving
Slapstick aplenty is served to us by Yernar Nurgaliyev’s horror-comedy, Sweetie, You Won’t Believe It. With an added generous helping of gore to keep us going, we are left with a film that struggles to break the one-dimensional stereotypes. After accidentally witnessing a murder by a group of thugs, the
Anna Konik’s tremendous doc Silence Heard Loud forces us into the mindset of seven refugee’s as they recount their tragic pasts. Riveting throughout this is as humanising a film as you will come across this year.
Max von Sydow and Astrid Roos do what they can with Echoes of the Past, a film that should have kept its story as simple as possible, but due to some misguidedness, veers off, leaving us with a difficult film to grapple with. When the Greek government launches a multi-billion
Blake Ridder’s feature debut Help, tackles some uncomfortable issues and, for the most part, is a solid psychological thriller that hits the right notes. However, with some glaring issues, it does struggle in the final act but remains a solid film. A painful break-up prompts Grace (Emily Redpath) to visit
American Night falls foul of trying to be far too ambitious. Structuring the story in a non-linear manner isn’t hampers all momentum, and despite all the style and stellar cast, nothing can save it from the writing. Instead, American Night is about Michael Rubino (Emile Hirsch), the new head of
Radu Jude has made a messy, at times incomprehensible film in Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn, yet it is also a film that you cannot stop watching as it is endlessly entertaining and does, in fact, leave you thinking.
At times, Nicholas Ashe Bateman’s debut #TheWantingMare feels like someone recalling a dream, present, without ever being fully fleshed out. Yet he has done some phenomenal world-building here and seriously impresses.
Barbora Chalupová and Vít Klusák’s documentary Caught in the Net is the stuff of literal nightmares about grooming on the internet. This is a thoroughly depressing yet vital film that is compelling as it is difficult to watch.
Writer-Director Jeremiah Kipp uses horror to accentuate the emotionally devastating life of a young teen in film Slapface. The constant stream of torment that engulfs the excellent August Maturo breaks you a unexpectedly powerful film.
For the most part, Belle ticks all the right boxes and boxes that you would expect from a filmmaker like Mamoru Hosoda. With gorgeous animation and emotional story this marks Belle as a quality film.
With striking visuals and a lead performance from the always reliable Scout Taylor-Compton, Rich Ragsdale’s The Long Night surprises with just how effective it is. While it does occasionally stumble, it remains an enjoyable folk horror
Julia Sergina’s always engaging debut feature documentary looks at Russian taxi driver turned political vlogger Viktor Toroptsev as he struggles with his fight against a state resolute in silencing him. Far Eastern Golgotha is a compelling look at activism.
A biting look at how capitalism takes advantage of any tragedy and how sometimes there are shattering consequences to such vulture attitudes. Emmanuel Tenenbaums Free Fall goes as you would expect, but the emotional punch still works.
Nafisa (Mihad Murtada) is a teenage girl in a Sudanese village who, despite her crush on someone else – is facing an arranged marriage thanks to her parents to Nadir (Mohammed Magdi Hassan). Her grandmother, the powerful matriarch Al-Sit (Rabeha Mohammed Mahmoud), has her own plans for Nafisa’s future. Writer-Director
Filmmaker Colin Hickey is two for two with his sophomore effort Where the Merrows Roam, a dialogue-free film that leaves you full of contemplation about your own childhood and where you are now as an adult. Captivating throughout, this is a film that you take from it what you bring
Sarah Adina Smith’s debut feature excels with the casting of it’s three leads and the uneasy atmosphere throughout. By staying true to its ambiguous nature it could frustrate, but there is more than enough to the story to enjoy.
A technical marvel this is an example of what can be done with lo fi filmmaking. The skills of everyone involved in making this film work needs to be applauded; best of all, it is a brilliantly entertaining film.
Sean Durkin’s intricate family drama The Nest brings two powerhouse performances from his two leads. In addition, it showcases the pitfalls of yearning for power and money when you already have a perfect life.
Leylak is a devastatingly delicate short film rife with raw emotion and astounding performances from Nadir Saribacak and Isabella Haddock. You are left to remember that it is okay to feel the pain you feel this period and that perhaps you do not need to go through it alone. In
Ben Tricklebank’s short film, Champ firmly catches you off guard with how nuanced it is regarding the strained relationship between a father and his aspirational son. A magnificent short that requires your attention and leaves you with a lot to digest. It’s hard to be a boy when your dad
Uzo Oleh’s stylish short film Edicius is a gorgeous look at the trappings of money over all else. Aided by the marvellous Michael Socha, Oleh gives us a visual treat. Jason (Michael Socha), an ambitious lawyer in his 30s, should be on top of the world, but his love for
Mark Rosenblatt’s short Ganef takes on difficulties of inherited trauma in a thought-provoking and very effective way. It is a careful piece that packs a lot more than you would expect in its brief runtime.
A wonderful fairytale, moving, hopeful, touching and even heartbreaking, you could ramble on and on about just how fantastic Céline Sciamma’s Petite Maman is. As simple and honest 72 minutes you will never regret experiencing
Fran Kranz has made an uneasy yet riveting debut feature in Mass. All four actors blow you away with how raw their interactions are; aided by a superb script, this raw, devastating, and in truth, vital piece drains you emotionally. Two pairs of parents meet up in a church hall
Another fantastic year for horror, whether it be mammoth documentaries covering a decade, thoughtful character pieces or practical effects laden absurdities, 2021 had it all, here are some of what we thought were the best.
Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s Drive My Car is an emotionally aching film that utilises its extended runtime to perfection. A shattering piece of poetic cinema that, if it isn’t on your much watch list, should be, without a shadow of a doubt, the best film of 2021. Theatre practitioner Yûsuke Kafuku (Hidetoshi
Tracey Deer’s semi-autobiographical piece Beans is an emotional message regarding the racial violence that indigenous communities have gone through. There is a lot to enjoy and appreciate within her first feature, but we are left with a film that has just too much going on. Twelve-year-old Beans or Tekehentahkwa (Kiawentiio)
Youth v Gov is a rallying cry to the younger generation and all generations to stand up and fight as we battle the climate crisis. Cristi Cooper shows us that if these teenagers can do it, why can’t you? An invigorating & engaging doc
Luàna Bajrami’s terrific debut feature at the age of just 20 is a tremendous look at young women trapped in their small Kosovo town. With naturalistic performances and observational direction, we have an empowering film in The Hill Where Lionesses Roar. In a small remote village in Kosovo, three young
Apart from Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance, The Power of the Dog never rises above serviceable. Unable to delve deeper into its own story and rather unforgivably keeping its audience at arm’s length throughout.