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Film Reviews

Cannes Review: Alice Rohrwacher’s ‘Lazzaro Felice’ is one of the fest’s best

The first hour of Alice Rohrwacher’s third feature Lazzaro Felice (Happy as Lazzaro) are as languidly paced as a film could be. The denizens of an Italian estate called Inviolata where farmers (well, sharecroppers) cultivate tobacco for their cruel baroness the Marquise Alfonsino de Luna, nicknamed the ‘Queen of Cigarettes. She sits in a penthouse while her workers toil on the plantation …

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Cannes Review: ‘Girl,’ the deeply humane debut from Lukas Dhont

Lara is 15 going on 16 trans girl with dreams of being a professional ballerina in Lukas Dhont’s touching and humane first feature Girl. She’s far behind the other girls, having started much later than them. Her point work, turns and pliés all need improvement. She’s given an eight-week probation period to see if she can improve enough to be …

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Cannes Review: ‘Border,’ Ali Abbasi’s thrilling supernatural gothic romance

Ali Abbasi creates the grimmest of faerie tales as two outcasts find love in a hopeless place in this wild, wonderful, surprisingly emotional drama. Tina is a border officer for a small Swedish coastal port. Eyeing passengers as they walk through customs, looking for contraband. But, Tina isn’t just looking; she can smell it. Indeed, like a tracker dog. “Alcohol. …

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Cannes Review: Mads Mikkelsen burns up the screen in icy ‘Arctic’

Survival films can go either way: they can be engaging viewing experiences that expand their scope beyond their basic premise or can be slogs that never rise above the level of average survival stories. ARCTIC falls somewhere in between: it doesn’t fully engage compared to better survival films but doesn’t fall completely flat either. But watching the film, we couldn’t …

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Cannes Review: Pawel Pawlikowski’s bleak and beautiful ‘Cold War’

Pawel Pawlikowski’s COLD WAR is one of those films that you can respect but not outright love. Beautifully made but far more slight and bleaker than expected, the film features a fantastic central performance and a narrative that may appeal to European crowds and arthouse film lovers who fall for bleak films such as this one. The story is quite …

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Cannes Review: Paul Dano’s assured directorial debut ‘Wildlife’ starring Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal

The fracturing of an American family in 1960 is at the center of Wildlife (based on the novel by Richard Ford), the superbly crafted and assured directorial debut of actor Paul Dano. While it would have been easy for the first-timer to fall prey to the pratfalls of many actor-turned-directors to overstate, underline and bold emotions and feelings, Dano’s restraint …

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Cannes Review: Kirill Serebrennikov’s arthouse crowdpleaser ‘Leto’

Kirill Serebrennikov’s LETO is a tribute to music, dreams of youth and the power – and beauty of ambition. Despite a masterful and at times stunning musical sequences, an aspect rarely seen in Russian cinema, the film scores low on characterization while impressing visually with Kirill Serebrennikov’s inventive eye and fantastic production design work. The story is strangely underdeveloped and …

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