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World Cinema Reviews

Love and Leashes (2022) review: Office romance with 101 BDSM

Based on the webtoon Moral Sense by Gyeoul with an idol cast that moves away from their naïve and pure image, this rom-com adaptation from director Park Hyun-jin establishes what consent looks like in a relationship dominated by non-conventional desires,... Continue Reading →

The Bacchus Lady (2016) review: elderly prostitutes, poverty and the outcast

Known for his art-house and commercial works concerned with contemporary social issues and exploring sexuality, director E J-yong examines the life of Bacchus ladies. Elderly ladies who prostitute in Jongmyo Park and offer Bacchus energy drink as an excuse to... Continue Reading →

The First Lap (2017) review: Awkward and funny dialogues with a sociocultural awareness touch

Premiering at JIFF in 2017 and winning Best Emerging Director at Locarno Film Festival, Kim Dae-hwan's second feature explores the relationship of an early-thirty-something couple who navigates through social pressure and the stagnation of their careers and relationship. The issue... Continue Reading →

Lucky Chan-sil Review: life-crisis and loving indie films

Loosely based on her real-life story as a producer for film maestro Hong Sang-soo, Cho-hee Kim debuts as director with a romantic comedy that explores existential questions of a life crisis while winking at the filmmaking industry and film-enthusiast. Work... Continue Reading →

The Iron Ladies review: making LGBTQ+ cinematic history

Based on a true story from 1996, the award-winning Thai comedy The Iron Ladies follows a volleyball team composed mainly of gays and kathoey (transgender person) that prepares for the Thai national championship. The 2001 debut film of Youngyooth Thongkonthun... Continue Reading →

Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands (1976) Review: polyamory and embodiment of the sexual revolution

Based on the book of the same name by Jorge Amado (1966), Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands (1976), directed by Bruno Barreto, became one of the most successful Brazilian films in the history of the country until years later... Continue Reading →

Kingdom Ashin of the North Review: Sorrow and violence amid zombies

A side story of the original Netflix’ series Kingdom (2019) based on the Korean Webtoon of the same name and directed by the same filmmaker Kim Seong-Hun, Kingdom: Ashin of the North explains the origin of the zombies and how... Continue Reading →

Climax (2018) review: Big acid trip with horny dancers and an immersive technique

One thing that one can expect for sure from watching a Gaspar Noé film is a shock. A sexual, violent, disturbing shock. Coming to the international eye with Irréversible’s distressing rape scene and with his soft porn Love, Noé knows... Continue Reading →

Night in Paradise review: life and death

A rough take on life through the lens of a mobster Premiering at the 77th Venice International Film Festival in 2020, and released on Netflix in 2021 due to the pandemic, Night in Paradise demonstrates the quality work that filmmaker... Continue Reading →

Homunculus (2021) review: Lost potential

From director Takashi Shimizu (Ju-On, a.k.a. The Grudge) and based on the manga series "Homunculus" by Hideo Yamamoto (Ichi the Killer manga series), comes the live-action version of the same name. Homunculus (2021) shows Shimizu's mastery in horror and thriller,... Continue Reading →

Method (2017) review: psychological games and queer love

There are a few Korean films that present BL (boy's love) or homosexuality theme with respect and with excellent cinematic quality, such as A Frozen Flower (2008) and The King & The Clown (2005). Films with this theme set in... Continue Reading →

Minari (2021) Review: Dreams and hopes within the frame

Filmmaker Lee Isaac Chung’s (Munyurangabo; 2007) Minari presents a semi-biographical story of an immigrant family pursuing their dreams of a better future in the USA through a captivating and heart-aching story. Set in the 1980s, a South Korean family move... Continue Reading →

Analysis: New beginnings in Minari (2021) and the ending explained

[Major SPOILERS - Do not read if you haven't seen the film!] Filmmaker Lee Isaac Chung's (Munyurangabo; 2007) Minari presents a semi-biographical story of an immigrant family pursuing their dreams of a better future in the USA through a captivating... Continue Reading →

Space Sweepers review: a triumph on VFX but with a predictable plot

First major budget fantasy film for South Korea that demonstrates the power of Korean VFX Directed by Jo Sung-hee (A Werewolf Boy, 2012), this feature is the first major budget space film for South Korea. Now, it's streaming on Netflix.... Continue Reading →

The White Tiger (2021) review: A ferocious polarisation

Based on Aravind Adiga's awarded book of the same name, The White Tiger directed by Ramin Bahrani shows the repressed and segregated world of servants in India through the eyes of Balram, a low-caste villager who becomes the driver of... Continue Reading →

Metropolitan (1990) review: a restricted world

Set from the start with hilarious background music that sounds like lounge elevator music, Metropolitan presents the concerns and over-awareness of preppy Manhattan's Upper East Side youth of the 90s with a brilliant screenplay and a touch of romance. Whit... Continue Reading →

Kajillionaire review: the importance of touch

Written and directed by Miranda July (Me and You and Everyone We Know), this comedy-drama is an original, hilarious, and creative story about gaining self-love and the importance of touch. Film poster - image courtesy of The master plan... Continue Reading →

Dogs Don’t Wear Pants review: Longing for love

Love and lust are two different things, but in Dogs Don’t Wear Pants (DDWP) directed by J-P Valkeapää, these two feelings get extremely close to one another in the world of S&M. Grief and love Exploring the often wrongly portrayed... Continue Reading →

Two/One review: Reverie everywhere

What if your life was someone else's dream? With this question, Argentinian director Juan Cabral explores the infinite possibilities of dreaming with a capturing story and astounding cinematography in his first feature film Two/One. The Dream Khai (Yang Song) is... Continue Reading →

Cadaver Review: Art as salvation in times of crisis

There are just a few horror films that can capture you with a sense of unease until the very last end. The Norwegian production Kadaver (2020) by Jarand Herdal is one of them, while it reflects on the value of... Continue Reading →

Burning Review: Disbelief on another level

Lee Chang-dong’s Burning and its persistent dubiousness Based loosely on the short story The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami, filmmaker Lee Chang-dong (Peppermint Candy, 2000; Oasis, 2002; Poetry, 2010) presents a mystery thriller that is difficult to stop watching thanks... Continue Reading →

#Alive Review: a thrilling adrenaline kick

Zombies and online-streaming result in a gripping survival adventure. This article appeared first on Medium. Based on the script of Matt Naylor and directed by Jo Il-hyung, this South Korean adrenaline-seeking feature, premiered internationally on Netflix the 8th of September.... Continue Reading →

Almodóvar’s life through film – Dolor y Gloria Review

An amusing and brilliant masterpiece This review was first published on Medium. Without a doubt, Pedro Almodóvar is one of the greatest directors of this time, with an iconic style and topics that come back again and again for the... Continue Reading →

The art of details and shock: Nasir (2020) review

A regular day filled with unconscious warnings This review was first published on Medium. Now playing at Dutch cinemas, this Indian Dutch production premiered at IFFR 2020, winning the NETPAC award for Best Asian Film. A novel by Dilip Kumar... Continue Reading →

Review One Cut of the Dead (2017): Original idea beats tiny budget

Hilariously original This review was first published on Medium. Despite the tiny production budget, and $0 marketing budget, One Cut of the Dead (2017) proved to be the watch that we all needed. Director Shinichiro Ueda's zombie-comedy film not only... Continue Reading →

Review Frances Ha (2012): Maturing on own terms

[Fist published on Medium, 1 July 2020] A relatable comedy drama on growing up You love her or hate her. Frances Halladay (Greta Gerwig) undoubtedly represents the late twenty-something struggle. Graduated and trying to find her life, several of us... Continue Reading →

El Clan (2015) review: Terrific story, insufficient execution

A true story that shows the sinister becoming ordinary This review was first published on Medium. Reality surpasses fiction. The line above is the tagline of Pablo Trapero's El Clan, which reveals a cruel truth. The actual story of El... Continue Reading →

Review Laurence Anyways (2012): An intimate modern Romeo and Juliet story

Bold, funky and bittersweet This might be one of filmmaker Xavier Dolan’s masterpieces; inspired by the genuine story of his former producer. In Laurence Anyways, Dolan shows that we can rewrite impossible loves repeatedly. Love and regrets Being your true... Continue Reading →

Analysis on freedom: L’argent (1983) by Robert Bresson

A classic watch that captures the attention of the viewer from the start and makes us reflect along the way. A pivotal film for every film enthusiast. Inspired by the first part of Leo Tolstoy's novel “The Forged Coupon,” Robert... Continue Reading →

Review Netflix’s Time to Hunt (2020) by Yoon Sung-Hyun

A crime with unforeseen consequences in a dystopian economic crisis Premiered on Netflix, 23 of April, this crime action thriller by Yoon Sung-Hyun (Bleak Night, 2010) bets on timing and plausibility. Outside the law Fresh from prison, Joon-seok (Lee Je-hoon)... Continue Reading →

Mother (2009) by Bong Joon-ho: mastering suspense

An outstanding suspense thriller that has an instant hook Before Parasite (2019), there was enough of Bong that indicated his mastery. One of those indubitable films is Mother, widely acclaimed in festivals around the world. Instant hook Struggling widow and... Continue Reading →

Review Netflix’s The Platform (El Hoyo): Solidarity when in crisis

A dystopian and graphic critique on society. The feature debut film of Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia The Platform (El Hoyo, literary meaning 'the hole') questions the survival animal instinct of selfish humans. Receiving three Goya nominations and being the big winner at... Continue Reading →

Balloon (2019) review: Female empowerment through a new time in China?

The female body and desire come together in Balloon through the eyes of a family in a remote area of Tibet. Internationally awarded Pema Tseden’s Balloon, screened last week at CinemAsia Film Festival and obtained the Jury Award by an... Continue Reading →

Lucky Monster (2019) by Bong Joon-young: a debutant’s mistake or a new current?

With his worldwide premiere in the 2019 Busan International Film Festival, Bong Joon-young debuted his first featured film Lucky Monster. Part of Busan’s New Currents section, this film certainly invites to re-think genre in a film, as it switches from... Continue Reading →

Parasite by Bong Joon-ho addresses the disappearing humanity

The hype on Parasite was strong, and to be honest, it is well-deserving. From the street to down below, the camera presents the impoverished family Kim struggles to make a living, until the somewhat successful son’s friend Min-hyuk (Park Seo-joon)... Continue Reading →

Review: Sorry to Bother You – on a road to satirical success

Having won several regional film festival awards, Sorry to Bother You starring LaKeith Stanfield and Tessa Thompson is a fun and extremely creative and original story. Meticulously framed and narrated, Boots Riley’s debut film comes as the certainly needed fresh... Continue Reading →

The Burial of Kojo, a surreal temporality ride in Ghanaian folktales

From Ghana to UK and from hip hop to filmmaking, the journey of Blitz Bazawule results in an homage to Ghanaian folktales and in an alluring journey for the viewer. Musician and now filmmaker Blitz Bazawule’s debut was received positively... Continue Reading →

The Real Shadow: Women’s Agency in Zhang Yimou’s Shadow

ATTENTION: this post/analysis has spoilers. If you don’t want spoilers, please read the review. In Shadow everyone seems to have their own agenda. It’s a beautiful mash-up of strong characters, from the main protagonist to the supportive roles such as... Continue Reading →

Layers of meaning in a grey world: Zhang Yimou’s Shadow (2018) review

Acclaimed filmmaker Zhang Yimou returns to the big screen with an exceptional and meticulously thought war epic drama. Set in the period of the Three Kingdoms, the Commander (Deng Chao) is against the peace treaty that the King (Ryan Zheng)... Continue Reading →

The Third Wife review (Người vợ ba, 2018): poetic & breathtaking female perspective

A painting like film with a profound message Set in the late 19th-century rural Vietnam, the young May (Nguyen Phuong Tra My) of fourteen-year becomes the third wife of affluent landowner Hung (Le Vu Long). Securing her place in the... Continue Reading →

Review: Waiting for Sunset (2018) by Carlo Enciso Catu

Choices. Life is full of them, but what happens afterwards when we have made our choice and we cannot turn back time? The aftermath of this dilemma is beautifully portrayed in Carlo Enciso Catu’s Waiting for Sunset. Named Best Film... Continue Reading →

Review: Little Forest (리틀 포레스트, 2018) by Yim Soon-rye

Struggles of young 20-something middle-class depicted through food and the beautiful seasons of South Korea   Based on a manga series of the same name (2002) by Daisuke Igarashi, Yim Soon-rye (Whistle Blower 제보자, 2014) portrays through the four seasons... Continue Reading →

CinemAsia 2019: The midwife – Mary Stephen’s lecture on storytelling

In a short lecture given by editor Mary Stephen on the 9th of March for CinemAsia Film Festival 2019, Stephen discussed what it takes to become an editor and compared editing films in the West and the East. Stephen’s first... Continue Reading →

Review: First Night Nerves (八个女人一台戏, 2018) by Stanley Kwan

Stanley Kwan’s concern with the romantic issues of women adopts a contemporary angle in his latest work First Night Nerves. After approximately nine years, Kwan (Everlasting Regret, 2005; Women,1985) returns with a story about two stellar actresses (played by renowned... Continue Reading →

Review: Aruna & Her Palate (Aruna & Lidahnya, 2018) by Edwin

A mouth-watering road film through Indonesian cuisine As a romantic comedy and quirky adaptation from Laksmi Pamuntjak’s novel “The Bird Woman’s Palate” (2014), Indonesian filmmaker Edwin delivers an enjoyable journey through Indonesian cuisine and the romantic problems of thirty-something young... Continue Reading →

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