Film Festival Reviews - International, Independent, Cult

Rotterdam 2016 Review: RADIO DREAMS And Waiting for Metallica

Despite being brought up and educated in London, Iranian filmmaker Babak Jalali shot his sophomore feature Radio Dreams in the Bay Area of San Francisco. His stylistic preferences and personal signature aesthetics began to take bolder shape in his... More »
By Martin Kudlac   
  

Rotterdam 2016 Review: Personal Docupic 5 OCTOBER Tackles Modern Man And Transcendentalism

The already-established Slovakian photographer Martin Kollár flips between the lenses of photography and cinematography regularly and 5 October, unveiled in the festival section "As Long As It Takes", has the best of both worlds. As a cinematographer, he has lensed... More »
By Martin Kudlac   
  

Rotterdam 2016 Review: WILD Brings Out The Inner Wolf

The Rotterdam International Film Festival had many, many world premieres this year, and some almost-world premieres as well, like German director Nicolette Krebitz' new film Wild, which had its first-ever screening mere days earlier at Sundance. Which made it a... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Rotterdam 2016 Review: BEYOND SLEEP

One of the tasks Dutch high-school boys and girls need to conquer is finishing the dreaded Dutch "literature list", meaning they need to have read a certain number of famous Dutch books. One of the more often-used titles to put... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Rotterdam 2016 Review: FRANCOFONIA Shows All Is Fair In Art, Except War

When you look at his filmography, it is no secret that Russian director Aleksandr Sokurov loves history and art, and most of his works are meditations on those two subjects. One of his most heralded films, Russian Ark, was a... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Rotterdam 2016 Review: IL SOLENGO Speaks To The Heart Of Italian Culture

There is a side to Italian culture which, given the importance it has, receives far too little attention. Beyond the cop vs. mafia gun battles and the eccentric lives of Italian dilettantes, there lurks a mysterious, timeless figure: the contadino.... More »
By Thomas Humphrey   
  

Rotterdam 2016 Review: HISTORY'S FUTURE, A Shower Of Innumerable Atoms

There are few film festivals that manage to be as bold a stage for daring types of film as International Film Festival Rotterdam, and sometimes it almost feels as if there's something hard-wired into that city's forward-looking architecture that compels... More »
By Thomas Humphrey   
  

Rotterdam 2016 Review: LOWLIFE LOVE Is Crafty, Filthy And Bitter

In Uchida Eiji's new film Lowlife Love, we get a nasty peek at the underbelly of the Japanese independent film scene. These are not the indies with a low budget, these are the indies with no budget, often made by... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Review: ERBARME DICH - MATTHÄUS PASSION STORIES Targets The Purpose Of Sadness

(Don't feel bad, feel worse! Then, listen to exquisite music...) A documentary about classical music does, on paper, not seem to be a crowd-pleaser. Yet Ramón Gieling's Erbarme Dich - Matthäus Passion Stories was one of the big surprises at... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Rotterdam 2015 Review: VIDEOPHILIA (AND OTHER VIRAL SYNDROMES) Lust and Loathing in Viral Lima

The emerging director Juan Daniel F. Molero premiered his second film Videophilia (And Other Viral Syndromes) in the shrine of progressive audiovisual endeavours: Rotterdam. This rising star -- and somewhat young renaissance man -- is currently fiercely multitasking as director,... More »
By Martin Kudlac   
  

Rotterdam 2015 Review: UNDULANT FEVER Is Not Fifty Shades Of Pink

(Love is: accepting that his lust for sex can be a substitute for love, unless it can't, in which case you should hate the bastard, unless you love him regardless and you keep chasing him, because then you should persevere... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Rotterdam 2015 Review: HARUKO'S PARANORMAL LABORATORY Drowns In Quirk

(I'll never yell at my television again, lest it suddenly changes into an attractive member of the opposite sex... hey, wait-a-minute!) Last year, Japanese director Lisa Takeba presented her first feature film The Pinkie at the International Film Festival Rotterdam... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Rotterdam 2015 Review: ANOTHER TRIP TO THE MOON Is Both Sedate And Trippy

(Once upon a time, there were two beautiful young women, hunting in a forest...) What is the border between still photography and moving pictures? Footage shot by a camera pointed at a waterfall or a fireplace may technically be the... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Rotterdam 2015 Review: SET ME FREE Impressively Keeps It Real

(Here's someone literally begging to be taken to church...) In Kim Tae-yong's debut film Set Me Free (original Korean title Geo-in), he deals with the memories he has about one of the darkest moments in his own childhood. His parents... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Rotterdam 2015 Review: WAR BOOK Makes For A Compelling Chamber Piece

(Thankfully a nuclear war isn't our biggest fear any more these days... or is it?) This year, the opening film of the International Film Festival Rotterdam was Tom Harper's War Book, a British drama about a governmental brainstorm session. It... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Rotterdam 2015 Review: GLUCKAUF Combines Gritty Drama With Fantastic Acting

(What went down, must someday come up... right?) Looking at the map of the Netherlands, a few things stand out. The West and North are completely coastal, meaning the province of Limburg in the South-East is the most inland bit... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Rotterdam 2015 Review: THE INSEMINATOR, Banned But Not Forgotten

This year, the International Film Festival Rotterdam had a section on surrealism, and one of the films playing in it was Bui Kim Quy's The Inseminator. And it took the festival a lot of trouble to get the film, as... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Rotterdam 2015 Review: AS THE GODS WILL Leaves You Gasping For More

(Putting the Fear of God into someone was never taken as literally as here...) Miike Takashi must, by now, be the most experienced director in the world in several genres, especially if those genres are vaguely defined as "gory and... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Rotterdam 2015 Review: GERMAN ANGST Is Not For The Squeamish

(An Anthology with a capital A for Abuse, Antisocials and Addiction...) This year, the International Film Festival Rotterdam has dedicated a section of its programme to surrealism, and questioning reality in cinema. The horror anthology German Angst is part of... More »
By Ard Vijn   
  

Rotterdam 2015 Review: In STINKING HEAVEN Everything Rotten Is Good

We all live by rules. Whether they are personal choices to undertake or those put upon us by work or family, we live by them. But sometimes those rules can destroy us.Nathan Silver's fifth feature, Stinking Heaven, takes place in... More »
By Ben Umstead   
  
 
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