"The Other Lamb" is the English language debut from filmmaker Malgorzata Szumowska. You may not be familiar with Szymowska's work, but she is an auteur with a distinct voice and style, her previous films have been divisive "Elles" (2011) a sexually explicit drama which followed Anne (Juliette Binoche), a journalist in Paris for French Elle who is writing an article about female student prostitution, the 2013 film "In the Name Of" which told the story of a closeted gay Catholic priest living in rural Poland and the 2018 film "Mug", a strange comedy that told the story of fun-loving Jacek (Mateusz Kościukiewicz) who is disfigured in an accident at work, and becomes the first person in Poland to receive a face transplant, which leads to his status as a national hero and martyr. As a filmmaker, Szumowska isn't afraid to take on unusual and challenging narratives which push boundaries and are designed to make the viewer think.
For me, 2019’s most divisive film was “Bombshell.” which chronicles the downfall of right-wing propagandist Roger Ailes (John Lithgow). Ailes, a well-known predator, was eventually ousted at Fox News, the 'fascist' juggernaut he created. Numerous women came forward with horrific stories of sexual harassment and abuse. “Bombshell” highlights the story of three characters - two real women and one who is the amalgamation of stories. The real women Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) and Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) have a history of perpetuating the far-right ideology of Fox News. Kayla (the stellar Margot Robbie) is a fictional portrayal of many women who encountered Ailes.
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!
Sexual assault is a crime that has been perpetrated upon far too many women; some who’ve unfortunately gone through this may find this film to be one too difficult to sit through. An experience like this is not one which needs re-living--especially when it hits this close to home (which happens to be the case of the director/screenwriter/producer, Cédric Jouaire according to my press notes). A best-selling writer is seduced, then kidnapped by a stalker who accuses him of rape. She claims that the rape occurred 20 years ago and that he has used her personal tragedy and exploited it by making it the plot of his latest novel. The author insists that this is merely a coincidence and that his work is merely one of fiction, yet the vengeful woman persistently forces him to confess.
A young woman arrives in an idyllic poolside estate overlooking the desert with her wealthy, older boyfriend. She is scantily clad and coquettish--working a lollipop in quite the lasciviously suggestive way. What seems like a hedonist fantasy at first (an older, wealthy, married man all alone in a beautiful house with a young sexy woman and a weekend filled with their vices of choice: drugs, alcohol, sex) gets upended when Richard’s (Kevin Janssens) sketchy pals, Stan (Vincent Colombe) and Dimitri (Guillaume Bouchède) arrive unannounced. This sticky situation is further aggravated when, during a night of partying, Jen (Matilda Lutz) proceeds to drunkenly flirt with them all.
Amidst the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, it as become glaringly obvious how pervasive toxic masculinity, harassment, and abuse are in the film industry. With film and television as not just art forms, but avenues of escapism, how do we watch cinema more responsibly?
Following the scathing Weinstein report, MANY men in Hollywood – and some women – have been accused of sexual harassment and assault. This is not a new thing, but we are certainly not remaining as complacent as before. Louis C.K., Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Bryan Singer, R. Kelly and so on are facing exile from the entertainment industry.
This Halloween will probably see many of us revisiting some classic horror films, and it's more than likely that one of those films will be "The Birds" (1963), a horror film from Hollywood's ultimate master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock. And, while "The Birds" is an effective horror (a small coastal town becomes under attack from birds for no apparent reason), what is perhaps more horrific is the story behind the scenes regarding Hitchcock's abusive treatment towards the star of the film, Tippi Hedren.
Upon its release in September 2009, Karyn Kusama’s horror film, "Jennifer’s Body" received poor reviews from critics and returned an average amount at the box office, leaving it to fall into obscurity as another needlessly sexual and camp horror film. However, like films such as "The Craft" (1996), "Jennifer’s Body" gained cult status.