Review: Archive

“Archive” is the feature debut film from writer/director Gavin Rothery, a name you may recognise from his work on the Duncan Jones sci-fi film “Moon” as well as his concept art for several big named video games. Rothery has an eye for detail and a passion for world building, and we certainly see this on full display in “Archive”, a film so immersive and dense in detail that you can’t help but allow yourself to become pulled into this world. Continue reading Review: Archive

Review: You Don’t Nomi

It would take a brave individual to take on the task of deconstructing “Showgirls” and examining whether it’s a masterpiece or just plain shit. That brave soul is director, Jeffrey McHale with the fascinating, captivating and absorbing documentary “You Don’t Nomi” (a nice pun as “Showgirls” main character is called Nomi). This is McHale’s first feature film, and frankly it’s brilliant! It doesn’t offer up a definite conclusion of whether or not “Showgirls” is a masterpiece on the scale of something like “Citizen Kane” nor is it simply a hit piece. Continue reading Review: You Don’t Nomi

Women as disposable objects in “The American” (2010)

This 2010 film, directed by Anton Corbijn, stars George Clooney as an assassin called Jack who wants to get out of the profession but carries out one more job. He travels to a small village in Italy to build and deliver a bespoke weapon.

While there he forms a relationship with a sex worker Clara (Violante Placido), tries to avoid being assassinated himself, and is generally melancholy. Yes that is quite a light plot. Continue reading Women as disposable objects in “The American” (2010)

Retrospective Review: Beau Travail

“Beau Travail” (1999) is a poetic film about French Foreign Legionnaires by director Claire Denis. It shows an unexpected side of masculinity given the setting and the characters, and it celebrates the beauty of men’s bodies. Twenty years after it was made and Claire Denis’s “Beau Travail” still offers a unique perspective on a subject matter which has the potential to be plagued by violence and toxicity.

The film follows Legionnaires based in Djibouti, West Africa. The story is somewhat loose but it centers around three main characters – Chief Master Sergeant Galoup (Denis Lavant), his superior Bruno Forestier (Michel Subor), and a new recruit Gilles Sentain (Gregorie Colin). Continue reading Retrospective Review: Beau Travail

TIFF Arab Women Filmmakers Retrospective: Desire, Sexuality and Freedom in Raja Amari’s “Red Satin”

This year at Toronto International Film Festival a retrospective, Here and Now: Contemporary Arab Women Filmmakers was held, casting a spotlight on the largely under screened cinema of the Middle East and North Africa. Showcasing the likes of Saudi-Arabia’s Haifaa Al-Mansour, Lebabon’s Nadine Labaki, Syria’s Soudadi Kadaan as well as Tunisia’s Raja Amari.

The programme celebrates female filmmakers from within the MENA region which is rich with female-filmmakers and female-centred stories and which has been at the forefront of feminist filmmaking far longer and far more powerfully than the vast majority of Western cinema. To celebrate this retrospective I will be taking a closer look at feminist filmmaking within Tunisia through Raja Amari’s “Red Satin” (2002), examining her deeply empowering use of the female gaze when depicting desire, sexuality and freedom. Continue reading TIFF Arab Women Filmmakers Retrospective: Desire, Sexuality and Freedom in Raja Amari’s “Red Satin”