“I Lost My Body” (2019) is the first feature film by director Jérémy Clapin. It was shown as part of the “Dare” stream at London Film Festival 2019 which was described as “In-your-face, up-front and arresting: films that take you out of your comfort zone”. That certainly is a good description of this film. The Cannes Critics’ Week Grand Prize winner engages all the senses to take you on a melancholic and emotional journey towards a gruesome end.
Before this review can proceed, a few significant stigmas need to be pointed out. The first one is how short films are seen to be inferior to feature-length films just due to the fact that they are short. While the second one is how female filmmakers are thought to be averse to genre filmmaking; particularly the horror genre. Nothing could be further from the truth, as these statements are fatuous, demeaning and stupid. Anthologies and short films have been calling cards for many renowned filmmakers regardless of genre eg. Andrea Arnold's Oscar-winning short film Wasp (2003); while female filmmakers have been making many stellar examples of genre filmmaking -- eg. Jennifer Kent's The Babadook (2014), Mary Harron's "American Psycho" (2000), Julia Ducournau's "Raw" (2017) and many, many more.
“Waves” (2019) is the third film by writer-director Trey Edward Shults. It is a powerful drama about the ripple effects of violent acts and their impact on many different lives. High school athlete Tyler (Kelvin Harrison Jr) struggles to keep up with intense wrestling training, his girlfriend Alexis (Alexa Demie), and his family's expectations. His father (Sterling K Brown) pushes him to the limits of his physical and academic ability and is a strict disciplinarian despite providing a luxurious family home. All this pressure comes to a head and a violent act occurs. As the family comes to terms with their own guilt about the situation his sister Emily (Taylor Russell) tries to hold multiple relationships together, as well as her own emotions.
Based on a novel of the same name by Susanna Jones, “The Earthquake Bird” (2019) is a neo-noir slow-burn psychological thriller based in Tokyo in 1989. Lucy Fly (Alicia Vikander) is an ex-pat living and working in Tokyo creating the Japanese subtitles to English films. She falls in love with a local photographer Teiji (Naoki Kobayashi) but suspects her friend Lily (Riley Keough) of having an affair with him. Lily goes missing and Lucy is taken into questioning by the police, suspected of murder.
Set in the depths of London, Sarah Gavron has portrayed the hardships, yet the beauty of the manic city in her film "Rocks", which premiered at the 63rd BFI London Film Festival. The cast and crew, 75% of whom were female, collaborated incredibly hard to represent the true identity of the working class in London. For some, it was their first time on a set, yet they did not shy away from the initial fear but were able to provide 93 minutes of heartache, humour, and honour.
"Rehearsal" is an exceptional short film by director and writer Courtney Hope Thérond, and was recently screened at this year's LFF. The film follows a young actress who is forced into an uncomfortable situation on a film set during a rehearsal. With the film industry still reeling after the news of Harvey Weinstein and the rise of the #MeToo Movement, Thérond's film feels very relevant and will more than likely connect with many viewers especially females, who have unfortunately found themselves in similar situations, afraid and unable to speak up.
By Caz Armstrong This review contains spoilers I haven’t been so uncomfortable in the cinema for a very long time. Not because of the seats, they had fancy electronic recliners and footrests. But the tone and content of this film were immensely stressful – in a bad way. “Uncut Gems” (from directors Benny Safdie and... Continue Reading →
This upcoming Wednesday, (2nd October), is when this year's LFF (London Film Festival) will be starting. Yours truly will be attending for a few days and doing her best to cram as many films as possible. This year's festival is quite remarkable in the fact that 60% of films which have been selected for the competition have been directed or co-directed by a female. This is a great achievement for female representation in the industry, especially when we recall how this year's Venice Film Festival only two films in competition were from a female filmmaker.
Cinematic comedies can be a curious thing to examine, due to the fact that humour is very subjective. No matter how far out the premise a comedy may be, the humour can always reach its mark if one can relate to it and if it is delivered with panache. It could be a revisionist parody of the King Arthurian legend like Terry Jones' and Terry Gilliam's "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" (1975) or a taboo black comedy about the twisted human behaviour behind rape like Paul Verhoeven's "Elle" (2016); if the execution and immersion of the humour and filmmaking work, comedy can always have the ability to reach for greener pastures.