Elena Lazic

A Girl Missing (Koji Fukada, Japan/France) — Contemporary World Cinema

By Elena Lazic / September 5, 2019

By Elena Lazic A Girl Missing opens on Ichiko (Mariko Tsutsui), a mysterious middle-aged woman whose strange actions are progressively explained in long flashbacks to her former life. In the present, she is a seductive femme fatale living alone in an empty flat, who only ever smiles in the most polite and artifical way and…

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Deerskin (Quentin Dupieux, France) — Special Presentations

By Elena Lazic / September 4, 2019

By Elena Lazic  We all remember Flat Eric, the creepily expressionless yellow puppet turned music-video star, sitting at a huge office desk and bopping along to Quentin Dupieux’s international hit “Flat Beat” while signing contracts, taking phone calls, and doing all the things a businessman does. Twenty years and seven feature films later, the French…

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The Standoff at Sparrow Creek (Henry Dunham, US) — Midnight Madness

By Elena Lazic / September 13, 2018

By Elena Lazic Set almost entirely in a single warehouse and focused on a group of criminals and undercover cops quickly undone by suspicion, Henry Dunham’s debut feature is undeniably inspired by Reservoir Dogs. Yet far being from a simple homage or a poor copy, The Standoff at Sparrow Creek only takes Tarantino’s film as…

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The Great Darkened Days (Maxime Giroux, Canada) — Contemporary World Cinema

By Elena Lazic / September 6, 2018

By Elena Lazic It’s a testament to French-Canadian director Maxime Giroux’s control over his material that, as seemingly random or absurd as the events and imagery in The Great Darkened Days may appear, they all feel ruled by a genuine and moving emotion at their core. Giroux’s film centres on Philippe (Martin Dubreuil), a Québécois…

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Birds of Passage (Cristina Gallego & Ciro Guerra, Colombia/ Denmark/Mexico/France) — Contemporary World Cinema

By Elena Lazic / September 5, 2018

By Elena Lazic In Embrace of the Serpent, director Ciro Guerra and producer Cristina Gallego demonstrated an all-too-rare talent for finding an original visual language that fit and enhanced their subject matter. The black-and-white cinematography, while beguiling, stripped their representation of the Amazon jungle of the exoticism that is so often associated with it, depriving…

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Mom and Dad (Brian Taylor, US) — Midnight Madness

By Elena Lazic / September 14, 2017

By Elena Lazic For his first solo directorial effort, Brian Taylor (of Neveldine/Taylor, the creative duo behind Crank and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance) tackles the challenge of comedy-horror head on with a premise that could have gone so wrong: a mass hysteria causes parents to suddenly turn against their children, with the clear intention…

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Oh Lucy! (Atsuko Hirayanagi, USA/Japan) — Discovery

By Elena Lazic / September 6, 2017

By Elena Lazic While the exotic appeal of foreign titles to Western viewers is undeniable (especially at major film festivals), few movies ever reverse that dynamic. In Atsuko Hirayanagi’s Oh Lucy!, Josh Hartnett doesn’t play one of his usual roles (or at least the roles he used to get in big Hollywood movies), where his…

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I Am Not a Witch (Rungano Nyoni, UK/France) — Discovery

By Elena Lazic / September 3, 2017

By Elena Lazic Rungano Nyoni’s debut feature, a deadpan observation of the superstitions and misunderstandings hanging over everyday life in a small, present-day Zambian village, has all the characteristics of a light comedy of manners. The film follows Shula (Margaret Mulubwa), a young girl who is one day accused by her neighbours of being a…

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