Short and Swede

Short and Swede

  Göteborg is the home of Scandinavia’s most important international film festival, offering one of the world’s most generous prizes: a Dragon Award of 1 million Swedish kronor (nearly 158 000 USD) for Best Nordic Film. But comparatively speaking, the festival’s short film award is even more remarkable: this year, a selection of Swedish films […]

No: Too Good at Recreating the 80s

No: Too Good at Recreating the 80s

In 1988, Chile held a referendum to decide whether dictator Augusto Pinochet should stay in power. For one month, both sides could express their views in daily 15-minute TV slots. Pablo Larraín’s new feature, No, stars Gael García Bernal as adman René Saavedra, who is asked to lead the ‘No’ campaign. When he first meets […]

Obscure Objects of Desire: Surrealism, Fetishism and Politics

Obscure Objects of Desire: Surrealism, Fetishism and Politics

Was the surrealist ambition to revolutionise consciousness a natural fit with revolutionary politics? The relationship between art and politics has historically been problematic: witness the sterile, unsubtle style of Soviet Socialist Realism. Surrealism’s degree of individualism is arguably more extreme than that of other literary and artistic movements, however, as it focused on exploring the […]

Lawrence of Arabia: Deserving of its Place in the Sun

Lawrence of Arabia: Deserving of its Place in the Sun

This year marked the 50th anniversary of David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia. To mark the occasion, a digitally restored edition was released, and I had a chance to see it on the Empire Leicester Square’s biggest screen: an auditorium vast enough to complement the scale of the film’s setting, but normally reserved for mediocre Hollywood […]

Top 10 of 2012

Top 10 of 2012

As we reach the end of an inspiring year for cinema, here are ten titles that stood out for me in 2012, and an explanation of why I chose each of them. Although I saw many of these at film festivals, so they may not make it to your local art house cinema, in the […]

‘Village at the End of the World’: Help Wanted?

‘Village at the End of the World’: Help Wanted?

“Village at the End of the World,” a documentary set in Greenland, presents some interesting similarities with “Eat Sleep Die,” the last film I reviewed. Both revolve around unemployment, and the threat it poses to community. Admittedly, the village of Niaqornat in the north of Greenland makes the southern Swedish village of “Eat Sleep Die” […]

‘Eat Sleep Die’: Asking for a little more

‘Eat Sleep Die’: Asking for a little more

  “Eat Sleep Die” (“Äta sova dö,” dir. Gabriela Pichler), treats a topic of central concern in this time of financial crisis: unemployment. Set in a village in Sweden, the film revolves around 20-year-old Raša, a sturdy, virile but tender-hearted only child who lives with her father. At the local salad processing plant, Raša has […]

From Senegal to Saudi Arabia: Girls working for change

From Senegal to Saudi Arabia: Girls working for change

“Wadjda” (Haifaa Al Mansour, 2012) and “Tall as the Baobab Tree” (“Grand comme le Baobab,” Jeremy Teicher, 2012) are set in far distant countries: the first in Saudi Arabia, the second in Senegal. But both films treat a surprisingly similar theme: girls who won’t let tradition stand in the way of their desires. “Wadjda” centers […]

‘To Rome With Love’: Unfairly Underrated

‘To Rome With Love’: Unfairly Underrated

Audiences and critics alike seem to have a soft spot for nostalgia of late: witness the superlative praise lavished on “The Artist” (2011), which did little more than copy silent films of the past. The overwhelming response to Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” (2011) is also hard to explain as anything but nostalgia. Owen Wilson […]

BFI London Film Festival: Opening Reviews

BFI London Film Festival: Opening Reviews

The BFI London Film Festival 2012 starts tomorrow, and if you haven’t bought tickets yet, it’s not too late. There are still tickets left for many films, including the ones reviewed here. While neither of the following films is a masterpiece, both are engaging, and you’ll leave the cinema feeling you’ve seen something a little […]

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