The death of a loved one is difficult. As a child, losing a loved one such as a parent or sibling seems unimaginable. Childhood can be confusing in itself. Death, whether it is expected or not, is never easy. Death is something adults find dreadful, but we understand it is inevitable. How does any person deal with loss and grief? No one can ever prepare for how they will react to the loss of a loved one until it happens. Every person is different. Most adults go through stages of grief, some never confront those feelings for the rest of their lives. However, children barely understand what living is—let alone death.
One can almost guarantee that NASA, along with the filmmakers and subjects of this documentary, “Red Heaven” (2020), would have never guessed how relevant the content they captured would be during these quarantine times the world is currently facing. Right now, almost the entire population is experiencing—at the very least—anything from social distancing or full isolation due to the global pandemic, COVID-19. People are staying in their homes away from the rest of the world to try to stop the spread of the virus. “Red Heaven” is a different type of isolation story: imagine if MTV’s The Real World took place next to a volcano in Hawaii: six scientists picked to live in a small dome, work together and collect data for NASA to help send astronauts to Mars someday.
“Make Up” is the feature debut for English writer/director Claire Oakley. A horror/drama film about a teenage girl tangling with her own emotions and relationships in a Cornish caravan park as surreal occurrences start to untangle her sense of reality. The film starts very promisingly, as protagonist Ruth (played by Molly Windsor) arrives at the caravan park in the middle of the night. The film starts building a surreal atmosphere early, as many of the side characters speak in slightly odd, unnatural dialogue in a way that feels intentional. Wide shots and lateral tracks are frequently used to add to this unsettling air as Ruth starts to believe that her boyfriend Tom (Joseph Quinn) is cheating on her.
Edinburgh based writer/director Eva Reilly has made a compassionate coming-of-age story that brims with legitimacy with her debut feature, “Perfect 10” (2019). A Brighton-set feature that recalls such films as Andrea Arnold’s “Fish Tank” (2009), this is a confident start to a filmmaking career. It displays natural talent and an abundance of promise for growth, for the director and main star alike. Paralleling Reilly’s debut is star Frankie Box giving her first feature performance. She plays Leigh, a gifted teenage gymnast who is suffering. Her passion for sport has slowly dissipated, drained bit by bit by a broken, neglectful home life and the other gymnasts referring to her as a “charity case”. One day, an older boy named Joe (Alfie Deegan) enters her home and reveals that they are half-siblings. This unexpected development drastically changes Leigh’s life for better and for worse.
We all know parts of filmmaking such as the acting, directing, or writing. But a piece of filmmaking that culminates the entire vision is the editing. I was able to ask editor Katie Bryer a million questions and she unveiled just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to film editing. Bryer edited the documentary film, “Maiden” (2019), about Tracy Edwards and her all-female crew who entered the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989. “Maiden” made my top 5 films of 2019 and it is in an elite, rare group of films that made me cry. Bryer edited a truly harrowing story about female empowerment and perseverance, and helped craft a remarkable film. In the interview, Bryer talks about “Maiden,” the process of film editing, what we can be doing to get more women in the editing room, as well as answer some Women’s History Month questions.
The review of Autumn de Wilde’s “Emma” that I am about to place in your hands is the fourth time (that I can think of) that I have written about Jane Austen. I focused my undergraduate thesis on three of Jane Austen’s novels, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Persuasion. I covered female friendships in a piece featured in Aubrey Fink’s The Bridge, and I wrote “As If!: How Amy Heckerling’s Clueless Pays a Lovely Tribute to Jane Austen’s Emma” for this site a few months back. De Wilde’s “Emma” gives me another unique privilege in that I get to witness Jane Austen portrayed in a new light that I have not witnessed before. I have seen a majority of the previous Austen adaptations and have read almost all of her novels (almost). I also get to write about a Jane Austen marriage that strikes me as incredibly unique. De Wilde’s “Emma” remains historically accurate in matters such as wardrobe and story, with a few twists to this classic love affair.
One of the concluding films for the Femspectives festival was Elle-Maija Tailfeathers and Kathleen Hepburn’s collaborative film, “The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open” (2019) a harrowing, but a quietly meditative film about solidarity. It’s a bleak and often uncomfortable watch, but its dedication to telling stories often forgotten, or worse ignored, is what makes it such an exciting new entry into Femspective cinema. The film is a Canadian/Norwegian film centred around a chance encounter between two women - Aila (played by Tailfeathers) and Rosie (Violet Nelson). Rosie is an expectant young mother who lives with her boyfriend and his mother. Aila is a similarly young woman who herself wrestles with the concept of motherhood. Aila meets Rosie, barefoot and in the pouring rain, as she is running away from her violent boyfriend. She takes her back to her place, and in the uncertainty of what to do next, the two start to form a connection of sorts.
The Cannes Film Festival will be running from 12th May to 23rd May and the selection committee has been unveiled. Last year, the festival revealed its committee for the first time which included four women, three of whom return this year. This year's committee now includes five women which we will list below:
Marielle Heller's "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" is a favourite among the ITOL team, I mean it landed at number 6 on our Top 50 Films of the Decade list for no reason. And, while Heller made her debut with "The Diary of a Teenage Girl", it is "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" where we see Heller shine as well as prove her capability as a director. It's also worth mentioning that Heller latest film "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" is proof that she's not just a one-hit-wonder. It's clear that this is a filmmaker that is here to stay. Despite garnering positive views and also picking up Oscar nominations for Melissa McCarthy, Richard E. Grant and best-adapted screenplay for Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty, Heller was completely ignored by the Academy for Best Director.