Diana Dabrowska

Dogman (Matteo Garrone, Italy/France) — Special Presentations

By Diana Dabrowska / September 5, 2018

By Diana Dabrowska As Italo Calvino wrote, “The hell of the living is not something that will be, the hell of living is already here—it is a hell in which we live every day, which we create, being together.” In a laconic way, this quote captures the essence of the newest film by Matteo Garrone,…

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First Man (Damien Chazelle, US) — Gala Presentations

By Diana Dabrowska / September 3, 2018

By Diana Dabrowska The expedition of Neil Armstrong and the Apollo 11 crew is one of the central myths in American history and global pop culture. The moon landing was perceived as a symbol of the victory of democracy—the American Dream as one giant leap for mankind (and going where no Russian had gone before…

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Never Ever (Benoît Jacquot, France/Belgium) — Masters

By Diana Dabrowska / September 15, 2016

By Diana Dabrowska To be honest, I really dont understand how, after the debacle of 3 Hearts (2014), Benoît Jacquot is still allowed to make cinema. At this point, somebody should take away his French citizenship for a miserable and paltry contribution to a sparkling filmmaking heritage. One could naïvely ask, just like Werner Herzog…

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Indivisible (Eduardo De Angelis, Italy) — Contemporary World Cinema

By Diana Dabrowska / September 13, 2016

By Diana Dabrowska In all of this three feature films Eduardo De Angelis goes back to his roots in his homeland in southern Italy, and discovers a new side of Naples and its surroundings. In Indivisibile, Castel Volturno appears as a more poetic version of Gomorra, a no man’s land of weird saints and fake…

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Planetarium (Rebecca Zlotowski, France/Belgium) — Gala Presentations

By Diana Dabrowska / September 13, 2016

By Diana Dabrowska In an early scene in Planetarium, the character played by Natalie Portman says “I don’t want to be a disappointment.” After Portman’s powerful performance as JBK in Pablo Larraín’s “HBO-style” biopic Jackie, Rebecca Zlotowski’s film is not just a disappointment for its star, but a fiasco—and not just for her, but for…

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The Bleeder (Philippe Falardeau, US) — Special Presentations

By Diana Dabrowska / September 8, 2016

By Diana Dabrowska The showboating Apollo Creed in Rocky (1976) was clearly a (non-Muslim) version of Muhammad Ali, but who was the real-life Rocky Balboa? Whether you have always asked this question of yourself or not, here comes Philippe Falardeau’s The Bleeder to give you your answer regardless. Liev Schreiber is fantastic as Rocky’s real-life…

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Nocturnal Animals (Tom Ford, US/UK) — Special Presentations

By Diana Dabrowska / September 7, 2016

By Diana Dabrowska A bunch of naked, pudgy woman are dancing in a very glamourous and sensual way, flaunting their adipose imperfections. More than a Tom Ford movie, this frankly seems like the beginning of ein film von Ulrich Seidl. For a man of such fashionable taste and background, the sequence is provocative and disturbing.…

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La La Land (Damien Chazelle, US) — Special Presentations

By Diana Dabrowska / September 5, 2016

By Diana Dabrowska Alfred Hitchcock once said that a “good film should start with an earthquake.” Damien Chazelle must have kept that in mind, because La La Land  kicks off with a bang, an energetic musical sequence that transforms a Los Angeles traffic jam into the coolest place on earth, a modern-day fantasy variation on…

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Death in Sarajevo (Danis Tanović, Bosnia-Herzegovina/France) – Contemporary World Cinema

By Diana Dabrowska / September 2, 2016

By Diana Dabrowska In Death in Sarajevo, Danis Tanović directs his camera towards his homeland and its tragic history, still torn between a traumatic past and a fragile present. Although the story is loosely inspired by Bernard-Henri Lévy’s theatrical piece Hotel Europa, Tanović incurs deeper debts to another artist, as his multiplicity of overlapping themes…

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TIFF 2015 | Parisienne (Danielle Arbid, France)—Contemporary World Cinema

By Diana Dabrowska / September 17, 2015

By Diana Dabrowska An abusive uncle tries to rape his beautiful Lebanese niece, Lina (Manal Issa). The Lebanese girl manages to defend her dignity and runs away from home. She gets lost in the darkness of the night, while Paris in the background begins glow. Meeting different men and lovers, young Lina discovers the faces…

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TIFF 2015 | Demon (Marcin Wrona, Poland)—Vanguard

By Diana Dabrowska / September 17, 2015

By Diana Dabrowska Five years after The Christening, young director Marcin Wrona returns with Demon, a meditation on Polish memory that hints at the need to exorcise the past. He’s attempting to make a serious movie within a genre framework, and he succeeds in balancing the right amounts of fear, humour, and grotesquerie. Peter (Itay…

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TIFF 2015 | Desdé Alla (Lorenzo Vigas, Venezuela/Mexico)—Discovery

By Diana Dabrowska / September 13, 2015

By Diana Dabrowska Alfredo, a wealthy, middle-aged man, travels by bus, tempting underage teenagers with large sums of money. They don’t even have to sleep with him or touch him. Alfredo only watches as a harmless voyeur. The rules are very simple: turn around, lean against the wall, pull off your t-shirt and slightly slide…

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TIFF 2015 | Frenzy (Emin Alper)—Contemporary World Cinema

By Diana Dabrowska / September 13, 2015

By Diana Dabrowska Turkish cinema currently lives under the sign of Nuri Bilge Ceylan; Frenzy throws a new name into the ring. Emin Alper’s 2012 debut Beyond the Hill was a family drama that transformed repressed violence into a sociological parable; his follow-up is a metaphorical study of madness and paranoia as an expression of…

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TIFF 2015 | The Wait (Piero Messina, Italy)—Discovery

By Diana Dabrowska / September 11, 2015

By Diana Dabrowska A despairing mother, Anna (Juliette Binoche), mourns the death of her beloved son, Giuseppe; a Sicilian community is drowning in a black haze of grief and sorrow. But suddenly the beautiful Jeanne (Lou de Laâge), Giuseppe’s French ex-girlfriend, arrives in the countryside. She doesn’t know about the tragedy and wants to meet…

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TIFF 2015 | The Endless River (Oliver Hermanus, South Africa/France)—Contemporary World Cinema

By Diana Dabrowska / September 10, 2015

By Diana Dabrowska After the radical, frigid and well-received Beauty (2011), young director Oliver Hermanus creates another study of obsession, this time about the fine line between victimhood and blame in the midst of a vendetta. Once again set in present-day South Africa, where racial tensions have hardly receded since the time of apartheid, The…

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TIFF 2015 | The Danish Girl (Tom Hooper, UK)—Special Presentations

By Diana Dabrowska / September 9, 2015

By Diana Dabrowska Copenhagen, 1926. Einar Wegener (Eddie Redmayne) and his wife Gerda (Alicia Vikander) are happily married. He is a painter of muddy, sad-looking landscapes inspired by his childhood memories, while her interests are portraits, although her husband believes she’s still searching for inspiration. In truth, though, it’s Einar who’s waiting to be thunderstruck:…

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TIFF 2015 | Blood of My Blood (Marco Bellocchio, Italy)—Masters

By Diana Dabrowska / September 8, 2015

By Diana Dabrowska The eternal rebel still has fists in his pocket. In his most recent films, Marco Bellocchio has challenged some of the central pathologies of Italian 20th-century history, including the Aldo Moro case in Good Morning, Night (2003) and the rise of Mussolini in Vincere (2009). Unfortunately, in the quirky and rather bizarre…

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TIFF 2015 | Looking for Grace (Sue Brooks, Australia)—Platform

By Diana Dabrowska / September 8, 2015

By Diana Dabrowska It begins in an innocent way: wwo teenagers on the road, Grace (Odessa Young) and Sappho (Kenya Pearson), meet Jamie (Harry Richardson), a nice guy with a rebel-without-a-cause vibe. Grace is attracted to him; director Sue Brooks provides the foreplay, a gentle build of excitement and erotic tension. We accompany Grace through…

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