Frédéric Choffat & Julie Gilbert – Mangrove (2011)

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A young woman travels with her child to a remote coast on the Pacific in southern Mexico where she grew up. She had lived with her father in a house on the beach until her beloved, a young fisherman from the neighbouring village died a brutal death, causing her to flee. Years later she returns to make peace with the ghosts of the past. Continue reading

François Ozon – Le temps qui reste AKA Time to Leave (2005)

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Diagnosed with terminal cancer and given only a short while to live, a successful fashion photographer embarks on one final journey in the second of three films in a trilogy about death and mourning from French director Franחois Ozon (the first entry in the the trilogy was Under the Sand) . After passing out during a particularly grueling photo shoot, high profile shutterbug Romain (Melvil Poupaud) is shocked to discover that his body has been ravaged by a fully metastasized cancer that will soon kill him. Without revealing the cause for his erratic behavior, the shell shocked Romain commences to alienate his entire family and ditch his handsome young boyfriend before connecting with affable waitress Jany (Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi) at a roadside cafי while en route to his grandmother’s house. Upon arriving at the home of the one family member he knows will be joining him shortly in death, Romain’s naked vulnerability is met with a gentle ear and sound advice. Once again meeting with the kindly Jany on his way to his ultimate fate, Romain and the waitress strike up an unusual bargain. Continue reading

Lav Diaz – Elehiya sa dumalaw mula sa himagsikan AKA Elegy to the Visitor from the Revolution (2011)

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Like Prologue to the Great Desparecido, Elegy finds Diaz looking back to the Filipino Revolution of the last years of the 19th century. Here, he imagines a woman from that era visiting the Philippines of the present-day. Around her time-travel, Diaz weaves a three stories with characters drawn from his usual stock: a prostitute, a musician and three petty criminals. As so often in Diaz’s recent work, Elegy looks back to the Revolution to measure the vast distance between the hopes of that defeated movement and the poverty, desperation and corruption (both political and spiritual) of the Philippines today Continue reading

Ken Loach – I, Daniel Blake (2016)

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Winner of the Palme d’Or at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, the latest from legendary director Ken Loach is a gripping, human tale about the impact one man can make. Gruff but goodhearted, Daniel Blake (Dave Johns) is a man out of time: a widowed woodworker who’s never owned a computer, he lives according to his own common sense moral code. But after a heart attack leaves him unable to work and the state welfare system fails him, the stubbornly self-reliant Daniel must stand up and fight for his dignity, leading a one-man crusade for compassion that will transform the lives of a struggling single mother (Hayley Squires) and her two children. [IFC Films] Continue reading

Zeki Demirkubuz – Kor AKA Ember (2016)

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When her husband Cemal is arrested in Romania, Emine is left alone with their child who needs immediate surgery. She takes a job as a needle worker at a garment workshop where she comes across Ziya, her husband’s former boss. He can’t stay indifferent when he learns what the woman he once fancied is going through. When Cemal returns months later, he finds Emine working at the garment workshop and their son healthy. A hospital bill he accidentally sees reveals that Ziya has paid for the surgery and Emine hid this fact. Will Cemal, who already blames Ziya for what he went through and is extremely jealous of Emine, be able to confront this situation or choose to ignore it? Continue reading

Senem Tüzen – Ana Yurdu (2015)

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Nesrin, an urban upper-middle class woman, goes back to her parents’ old village in Anatolia to finish a novel and live out her dream of being a writer. When her conservative mother turns up uninvited and refuses to leave, Nesrin’s writing stalls and her fantasies of village life turn bitter. The two woman are forced to confront the darker corners of each other’s inner worlds.
– Written by Adam Isenberg Continue reading