Having made two short films with the same actress as the lead character, "Baden Baden" (2016) is Writer-director Rachel Lang’s debut feature. This French-Belgian comedy-drama is a gentle but poignant summer spent with Ana looking for work, looking for meaning and ill-advisedly renovating her grandmother’s bathroom. It’s funny and awkward but also hopeful.
It has been 75 years since Auschwitz was liberated by allied forces, but the horrors of what took place there still haunt the lives of so many survivors. While there has been many documentaries and literature exploring the monstrous Josef Mengele (the angel of death) and his deadly experiments on prisoners, there has been very little on another monster who operated in the camp, the gynecologist Carl Clauberg. "Made in Auschwitz" is a documentary from filmmakers Sonya Winterberg and Sylvia Nagel, and focuses on a very little-known aspect of the Nazis’ ghastly experiments, and details the efforts of Clauberg to find an efficient means of sterilizing women. It was a cold, inhumane move by the Nazis, who were trying to end the Jewish race completely. Perhaps, most disturbing is the fact that Clauberg’s “research” in birth control and fertility continues to be a part of the medical canon to this day.
“Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always” by Eliza Hittman, follows a pregnant 17-year-old who decides to go to New York to have an abortion performed. She resides in Pennsylvania, where the abortion laws are strict, so after some searching, she finds New York is the best place to get the procedure (without needing parental consent). I walked into this film knowing absolutely nothing, then the movie began, and I observed that it’s about a pregnant teenager. I immediately felt a knot in my stomach because I could relate to Autumn (I became pregnant with my first daughter when I was 16).
Every year, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) holds an annual award show honouring the best and boldest in filmmaking. And every year, there is an extensive discourse on who was snubbed or overlooked or incorrectly nominated. I have those opinions each awards season but there is one snub that still gets me: Ava DuVernay. When her film “Selma” premiered in 2014, it was staggering to see the level of detail put into every aspect of that film. The history, the acting, the cinematography, the set design, and so on. But the direction and momentum of the film rested solely with DuVernay.
“The Turning” starts off as a promising reimagining of an old classic, as it weaves itself down a winding road of mystery. But, once that mystery is unravelled...the film comes to an abrupt and unsatisfying halt.
This provocative yet cheeky documentary by director Penny Lane follows the Satanic Temple through an incredible rise in popularity and details their aim of challenging the dominance of conservative Christianity. I can understand why some would be put off by the title and subject matter of this film but it might help to know that the question mark is important. So please stay with me on this.
In the opening scene of “Little Women” (2019), when we see Saoirse Ronan’s character entering a publisher’s office to try to sell her work and get herself taken seriously as a writer, we’re not just seeing the character of Jo March. We’re also seeing Louisa May Alcott, who wrote the novel that the film is adapted from, and perhaps even the film’s writer and director Greta Gerwig herself.
During LFF 2019 I encountered many short films, there were many that I enjoyed but there was one that stayed with me long after the festival had ended. This film was "Rehearsal" written and directed by Courtney Hope Thérond, who very kindly agreed to talk to ITOL regarding her film and the it's production. During our interview we discussed what inspired her to make the film, the issues concerning consent and what filmmakers inspired her. We would like to extend our thanks to Courtney and wish all the best of her luck with her future projects!
“Portrait Of A Lady On Fire” is a wonderfully subtle, minimalist film, one that trusts the audience’s ability to pick up on the slightest glance, the coyest smirk. It’s also worth nothing that the director is herself a queer woman, having known Haenel as a partner both professional and romantic, and reminding us that queer and trans folk should be taking the lead on LGBTQ+ cinema.