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Author: Leonardo Goi

An Interview With Theodore Collatos

Five years after his last feature, Dipso (2012), a Brooklyn based director Theodore Collatos returns to the big screen with a claustrophobic new thriller, Tormenting the Hen (2017). A New York couple—Claire (Dameka Hayes), a theater director, and Monica (Carolina Monnerat), an environmental engineer—travel to an idyllic countryside retreat in The Berkshires, Massachusetts. Monica plans to work on a new play she’s putting on, and Claire hopes to enjoy time with her girlfriend. But an overly intrusive host (Matthew Shaw as Mutty) throws the couple’s dynamics into disarray, as unresolved tensions between the two women resurface in a crescendo...

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Eastern Promises, aka Tallinn’s Black Nights Film Festival: Secret Ingredient

“I’ll work something out,” says Vele (Blagoj Veselinov), as he refuses the spare change his boss offers him in lieu of an overdue salary, in Gjorce Stavreski’s fulminating debut feature, Secret Ingredient (2017). A thirty-something mechanic from Skopje, Macedonia, Vele has lost his mother and brother to a car accident, and now spends his days repairing trains and looking after his bedridden and cancer-stricken father, Sazdo (Anastas Tanovski). Money is tight, the medications cost too much and the cancer has already metastasized. But upon discovering a bag of drugs hidden by local thugs inside a train, things take an...

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Humanizing the Inhuman – on Paravel and Castaing-Taylor’s Caniba

Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor’s latest documentary Caniba opens with a warning: this film “does not seek to justify or legitimize” what it shows on screen. Redundant as it may seem, it is a fundamental reminder. Caniba is a 96-minute look at Issei Sagawa, a Japanese man who in 1981 murdered 25-year-old Dutch and fellow Sorbonne student Renée Hartevelt, and then proceeded to rape her, dismembering her body and eating it for two days, until he was finally busted by the French police while trying to dispose of the mutilated corpse in a public park’s lake. That the directors do not intend to...

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On Society’s Margins: Sean Baker’s The Florida Project

Films about children almost inevitably fall short of capturing a kid’s worldview. Partly because doing so requires being attuned to a kid’s psychology – and filming what it is like to think and act as a kid is no small feat – but also because so many moments that are central in a child’s life (the simple fact that kids get bored, for instance) must be sacrificed for the sake of three-act structures in which children are expected to conform to the linear, more fast-paced narratives of grown-ups. Sean Baker’s The Florida Project doesn’t work that way. It does...

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Dispatch from Venice – Inconvenient Truths

In a year we witnessed the coining of “alternative facts,” it is refreshing to attend a film festival showcasing features that prompt us instead to scrutinize the narratives we live in. Premiered at the 74th edition of the Venice Film Festival, Paul Schrader’s First Reformed, Nancy Buirski’s The Rape of Recy Taylor and Frederick Wiseman’s majestic ode to the New York Public Library, Ex Libris, share an ear for the need to defend reason and critical thinking, at a time when both seem to have lost their value. Think of Bresson’s Diary of a Country Priest, swap Claude Laydu...

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