Tag Archives: Foreign

September 18

TIFF 2017: Loveless

Staying together for the kid is never a good idea. It is equally problematic when you are in the process of a divorce and have no clue what to do with the kid. This is the situation that Boris (Aleksey Rozin) and Zhenya (Maryana Spivak) find themselves in. Their marriage has dissolved to a level […]

September 18

TIFF 2017: The Royal Hibiscus Hotel

After looking at the decline of a relationship in his previous film, Road to Yesterday, Nigerian director Ishaya Bako lightens the mood this time around with The Royal Hibiscus Hotel. The film is everything you would expect from a romantic comedy, which carries its fair share of pros and cons depending on your viewpoint. At […]

September 14

TIFF 2017: The President’s Visit

In a small village in Lebanon, a soap maker toils in his dingy shop. He earns very little respect from the townsfolk, though his service is essential. Then, one day, the President of the country calls him. As part of a new “Clean Up the Country” campaign, he will be visiting the humble shop to […]

September 13

TIFF 2017: In the Fade

Considering the rash of hate crimes occurring against non-whites in North America and Europe, Faith Akin’s latest film, In the Fade, is both timely and necessary. The film focuses on a woman, Katja Sekerci (Diane Kruger), who must deal with the sudden loss of her husband and son to a terrorist bombing. Going through the […]

September 12

TIFF 2017: Disappearance

Roos’ (Rifka Lodeizen), an accomplished photographer, return to her mother Louise’s (Elsie de Brauw) remote home in Norway is not the joyous homecoming one would expect after a lengthy absence. Having abruptly ended her last visit after yet another fight with her mother, Roos promises her younger brother Bengt (Marcus Hanssen), whose thirteenth birthday they […]

September 12

TIFF 2017: Thelma

Moving from her small town on the west coast of Norway to attend university in Oslo, Thelma (Eili Harboe) is ready to embrace the freedom of this stage of her life. The freedom of adulthood comes with limitations though as her devoutly religious parents, Trond (Henrik Rafaelsen) and Unni (Ellen Dorrit Petersen), monitor her schedule […]

September 11

TIFF 2017: Black Kite

Afghanistan is the last place I’d expect to find a kid flying a kite. After watching Black Kite and seeing kites be such a prominent part of life, bringing a tiny bit of joy to those who are trapped in this war-torn land, it seems strange that I ever had a presumption on kites one […]

September 10

TIFF 2017: Soldiers. A Story from Ferentari

Ferentari is an impoverished ghetto of Bucharest. Adi, an anthropology student, moves there to work on his thesis on manele pop music. He soaks up the local culture at a seedy bar where he meets a guide, Alberto. Alberto is a colourful character, a gregarious man with a gambling addiction and 14 years of prison […]

September 09

TIFF 2017: Beyond Words

It would be easy to simply call Urszula Antoniak’s immigrant experience drama Beyond Words timely. While a true statement, it does not effectively convey the complex layers that serve as the film’s foundation. Similar to its protagonist, Michael (Jakub Gierszal), there is a deceptiveness to the how Antoniak’s story is presented. On the surface, the […]

September 08

TIFF 2017: Sheikh Jackson

A devout imam (Ahmad Alfishawy) starts to question both his faith and his own values upon hearing of the passing of pop icon Michael Jackson. Discovering the King of Pop at a young age, Jackson’s music and fashion played big part, much to the chagrin of his gruff father (Maged El Kedwany), in the man’s […]

September 08

TIFF 2017: Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts

Seven strangers descend upon the isolated farmhouse of an Indonesian widow, Marlina (Marsha Timothy) with the intent to steal her livestock, take her possession and rape her. What these robbers do not realize, and as the rotting corpse in her living room indicates, is Marlina is not your average widow. Relying on her survival instincts, […]

September 07

TIFF 2017: Happy End

Michael Haneke’s follow-up to his Academy Award winning Amour is a sharp dark comedy that takes stinging jabs at family, societal appearances and even our unhealthy obsession with social media. Happy End focuses on the Laurent clan as they deal with unexpected professional and personal issues, while attempting to maintain the appearance of an affluent […]

September 07

TIFF 2017: What Will People Say

In What Will People Say, young Nisha (Maria Mozhdah) is caught in an irreconcilable culture clash between her Pakistani heritage and her Norwegian surroundings. At home, especially in the presence of her father, she plays the part of the faithful Muslim daughter. Out with her friends, she is your standard Western teenager – chasing boys, […]

June 02

Graduation

Part of parenting involves doing everything in your power to give your child the tools to succeed in life. This includes instilling a core set of values that that will help them to make the right choices when confronting tough moral decisions. As we see in Cristian Mungiu’s latest film, Graduation, just because one teaches […]

May 26

Inside Out 207: Hold Me Like Before (Abrazame Como Antes)

Verónica (Jimena Franco) and Greta (Natalia Porras) are transgendered sex workers and roommates living in Costa Rica. Spending their evenings working on street corners and hanging out in clubs, their peaceful existence is disturbed by the presence of Tato (Camilo Regueyra). Tato is a homeless teenager who they literally run into, when the car they […]

May 13

Violet

Bas Devos’ gorgeous and sparse film Violet opens with a shot of four CCTVs as they capture Jesse and best friend Jonas hanging out in the mall. The scene seems insignificant at first, as even the security guard monitoring the footage leaves his post at one point. However, the cameras silently observe Jesse and Jonas […]

May 05

Hot Docs 2017: Recruiting for Jihad

Ubaydullah Hussain is an Islamist missionary who is also a recruiter, though he often denies the latter. Despite the philosophical rhetoric he spouts, when it comes to defining what a recruiter is, Hussain dedicates a large chunk of his time to helping young radicalized Norwegian men make their way to battle in Syria. Like a […]

April 30

Hot Docs 2017: Tokyo Idols

Sad-sack middle-aged men in Japan are flocking to ‘pop’ concerts performed by underage girls. These artist are called Idols, they perform in ‘girl groups,’ and to date there about 10,000 of them. They are so intoxicating that one 43-year-old man has blown his life’s savings on this “religion” that saved him from depression. They’re providing […]

April 25

Hot Docs 2017: 69 Minutes of 86 Days

The realities of refugee life are captured with stunning passivity in Egil Håskjold Larsen’s understated 69 Minutes of 86 Days.  The film follows a refugee family en route to Sweden, careful to observe the journey, not comment.  The brilliance of the film lay in a stylistic choice that forces the spectator into the perspective of […]

April 24

Hot Docs 2017: Last Men in Aleppo

“I swear nobody cares about anybody anymore” expresses a sullen man in one of the many sobering moments in Feras Fayyad’s breathtaking documentary Last Men in Aleppo. The man is one of the White Helmet, volunteers in Syria who serve as rescue workers and fireman, a thankless job whose value to those they save is […]