ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 35: Professor Marston and the Wonder Women

Year: 2017 Runtime: 108 minutes Director: Angela Robinson Writer: Angela Robinson Stars: Rebecca Hall, Luke Evans, Bella Heathcote By Jenni Holtz   All too often, biopics are dismissed, especially by younger audiences, for being boring or Oscar-bait-y. They tend to be successful with older moviegoers and award shows, but the response from younger viewers appears... Continue Reading →

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ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry 36: A Silent Voice

Seeing that Naoko Yamada’s “A Silent Voice” made our list for the Top 50 Films of the Decade was an absolute treat. Not only because it’s always nice to have some anime appreciation, but it’s also great because the film isn’t talked about as much as it should. Yamada’s adaptation of Yoshitoki Oima’s manga of the same name is easily one of my favorite anime films as it pulls no punches in delivering a timeless story about redemption, understanding others, and finding your voice.

ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry 37: Blinded By The Light

The screening I attended showed the making of this film and the journey of the director (Gurinder Chadha) and the man whose life influenced this film (Sarfraz Manzoor). I was moved and utterly sucked in just watching the preview! I enjoyed the making of this film; from the director reading Sarfraz's memoir and instantly wanting to make the film to both of them anxiously waiting to hear back from Springsteen after sending him the screenplay. Based on the memoir of Sarfraz Manzoor, the majority of the topics are universal, making them easier to relate. Chadha manages to capture the difficulties individuals endure on a day to day basis all while successfully allowing the music to aid in the narration. Although the story takes place on a different continent to the one I live, it resonated with me. Political issues, social tensions, identity issues, family dynamics, friendships, and many more topics are situations we’re are currently experiencing.

ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry 38: Brave

A young girl has extraordinary skill in the defensive arts. She is independent, smart, humorous; in short, everything a mythic heroine should be. “Brave” (2012) captures the lush countryside of ancient Scotland in vibrant tones of green, brown and blue. We anticipate an epic journey for our heroine worthy of Joseph Campbell in the great tradition of Celtic folklore but are ultimately disappointed by a pedestrian plot that was clearly so much more at some point but has been reduced to clichés and confusion. At the heart of the film is the relationship between teenage Merida (Kelly MacDonald) and her mother Elinor (Emma Thompson). Like so many others in a Disney/Pixar production, Merida is a princess on the cusp of being married.

ITOL TOP 50, Special Review: Faces Places

The Grand Dame of French cinema, Agnès Varda's work has ranged from the New Wave in “Cléo from 5 to 7” (1962), to feminism and friendship in “One Sings, the Other Doesn’t” (1977), to rebellion in “Vagabond” (1985), to documenting the life of the poor in “The Gleaners and I” (2000). Her recent work has a more introspective feel; a reflection on what she films, and why. This is part of what would turn out to be her penultimate film, “Faces Places” (2017). A joyous and bittersweet look at the role of art in everyday life and work, as well as the role of the artist in society, “Faces Places” is an expansion of her work in self-reflection, a study in her constant quest to challenge herself as a filmmaker, and her love and attention to French rural and working life.

ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 40: I Am Not A Witch

A dry humour. An uncomfortable satire. A stunning fairytale tableaux. “I Am Not A Witch” (2017) has an impact that’s hard to describe. The film starts with a young Zambian girl Shula (non-professional actor Margaret Mulubwa) being accused of witchcraft. She is given the choice of being turned into a goat or declaring she is a witch. She chooses to say she is a witch and is taken to live in a ‘witch camp’. At the witch camp Shula is cared for and encouraged by the other women who all remain attached to long white ribbons at all times lest they fly away. Tourists arrive by minibus to leer at them as a local attraction and they’re loaned out to work long hours for someone else’s benefit.

ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 41: Pariah

The Forever Young Film Club is a British organisation whose primary activity is to host screenings of coming-of-age movies. "Girlhood", "Booksmart" and "Mid90s" have all attracted large crowds, and the Club is clearly going from strength to strength. The main reason for this continuing success is down to the hard work of the three women behind the screenings, but there’s also the fact that, sooner or later, pretty much all of us have to grow up. Changing friendships, sex, sexuality, hopes, dreams and discovering your parent/s’ flaws are all part of moving from childhood to adulthood, which means that coming-of-age is perhaps cinema’s most relatable subgenre. Dee Rees’ 2011 feature debut “Pariah” is one such film.

ITOL Top 50 Films of the Decade, Entry No. 42: The Love Witch

Anna Biller's 2016 film, "The Love Witch", is a magical, sensual exploration of female sexuality and empowerment. With stunning cinematography, set design and costume design, this film inspires praise for both it's undeniable style and thought-provoking messages. The film follows witch and burlesque dancer, Elaine on her quest to find true love. However, her outlook on men and their capability to love is concerning to her fellow witches, especially since many of Elaine's intense love potions do not result in a happy ending of any kind.

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