Essays, Festivals

Online Film Festivals: A Pandemic Alternative for a Safer Moviegoing Experience

As the film community watched Cannes move its dates multiple times, other festivals scrambled to find a better alternative to continue. Cases were rising everywhere and no one could see the situation get any better in time for the Fall festival circuit. Venice then announced that it will continue with a limited number of films.… Continue reading Online Film Festivals: A Pandemic Alternative for a Safer Moviegoing Experience

Festivals, Reviews

‘Judas and the Black Messiah’: A Powerful Film with the Best Performances of the Year

Judas and the Black Messiah is a film from a rising Black director, starring two of the most talented Black actors in Hollywood, about one of the most prominent figures of the Black Panther Party: Fred Hampton. As someone who isn’t American, I knew very little about the Black Panther Party other than their open… Continue reading ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’: A Powerful Film with the Best Performances of the Year

Festivals, Reviews

Sundance 2021: ‘Flee’—A Beautiful Documentary Dealing with a Man’s Journey to Freedom and Identity

It starts with Amin finally telling his story to his filmmaker friend, the documentary’s director, under the condition that his name and the places mentioned are changed to conceal his identity. This led to the choice of telling this story through animation, with some mix of archival footage. Rasmussen and Amin knew each other when… Continue reading Sundance 2021: ‘Flee’—A Beautiful Documentary Dealing with a Man’s Journey to Freedom and Identity

Festivals, Reviews

Sundance 2021: ‘Try Harder!’—An Electrifying Documentary that Captures the Life of Overachieving Students

What’s amazing about high school-centric documentaries is that we all went through what the subjects are going through, so we already have this affinity towards them. Debbie Lum’s Try Harder! captures the life of seniors attending a top magnate public school in San Francisco as they prepare for the next step in their academic life.… Continue reading Sundance 2021: ‘Try Harder!’—An Electrifying Documentary that Captures the Life of Overachieving Students

Festivals, Reviews

Sundance 2021: ‘The World to Come’—Another White Lesbian Period Film

Spoilers ahead. The World to Come is another white lesbian period film. After the success of Portrait of a Lady on Fire and the mixed reception of Ammonite, it seems this subgenre of LGBT romance found an audience that would constantly eat it up (including me!). Directed by Norwegian director Mona Fastvold, who co-wrote the… Continue reading Sundance 2021: ‘The World to Come’—Another White Lesbian Period Film

Festivals, Reviews

Sundance 2021: ‘Censor’ is a Campy Gore Galore that Doesn’t Quite Find its Footing

Welsh filmmaker Prano Bailey-Bond’s debut Censor is an homage to the 80's and the infamous “video nasties” of the era in Thatcher’s Britain. Enid (Niamh Algar), a film censor, is a workaholic with a meticulous eye for detail. Her job is to protect British audiences from the ”nasties,” as some critics connect these films to… Continue reading Sundance 2021: ‘Censor’ is a Campy Gore Galore that Doesn’t Quite Find its Footing

Festivals, Reviews

TIFF 2020: ‘Ammonite’ — A Sensual Take on Paleontology

“She sells seashells by the seashore,” a well-known tongue twister everyone grew up with, might have been about Mary Anning (Kate Winslet), a paleontologist in Victorian England. The latest addition in the growing catalogue of lesbian period films, Francis Lee’s second feature Ammonite follows Anning and her love affair with Charlotte Murchison (Saoirse Ronan), which… Continue reading TIFF 2020: ‘Ammonite’ — A Sensual Take on Paleontology

Festivals, Reviews

TIFF 2020: ‘Nomadland’ — A Look into America’s Lesser-known Pioneers

A decade after the Great Recession and amid the economic downfall we are facing during a global pandemic, films tackling the lives affected by these events are sure to come out time and time again. But it’s rare for one to carry emotional weight and affect the viewer. Chloé Zhao’s adaptation of the book of… Continue reading TIFF 2020: ‘Nomadland’ — A Look into America’s Lesser-known Pioneers

Festivals, Reviews

TIFF 2020: ‘Quo Vadis, Aida?’—the Bosnian Genocide through a mother’s eyes

The Yugoslav Wars are familiar to those in the Balkan regions. Outside that, few people can really tell what happened nearly three decades ago. One of the most brutal ethnic cleansings in recent memory happened in Bosnia, specifically in one town called Srebrenica, where 8,372 Bosnian men and boys were slaughtered. Bosnian director Jasmila Žbanic’s… Continue reading TIFF 2020: ‘Quo Vadis, Aida?’—the Bosnian Genocide through a mother’s eyes

Festivals, Reviews

TIFF 2020: ‘Shiva Baby’—Funerals can be entertaining!

Family gatherings can be a pain in the behind. It’s where you see close friends and relatives again after a long time and you get bombarded with personal questions that you either don’t like answering or have no answer to. But of course there is this unsaid etiquette that you have to entertain them and… Continue reading TIFF 2020: ‘Shiva Baby’—Funerals can be entertaining!