Manuela Lazic

Les Misérables (Ladj Ly, France) — Contemporary World Cinema

By Manuela Lazic / September 4, 2019

By Manuela Lazic  The extreme tension between residents and police in the French banlieues seems to push the boldest filmmakers to go beyond the gritty realism that typical “urban” stories often cling to. Mathieu Kassovitz’s La Haine not only adopted black-and-white photography and a propulsive editing style, but also primitive drone shooting: a camera placed…

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Sibyl (Justine Triet, France/Belgium) — Special Presentations

By Manuela Lazic / September 3, 2019

By Manuela Lazic  After her terrific 2016 feature Victoria, Justine Triet continues her exploration of the female psyche and body with Sibyl, once again casting the great Virginie Efira as her heroine. Sybil is a psychiatrist who retires early to focus on her original dream of being a writer. But aren’t the personal histories of…

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Aniara (Pella Kågerman & Hugo Lilja, Sweden) — Discovery

By Manuela Lazic / September 8, 2018

By Manuela Lazic (ELON MUSK… DON’T READ THIS.) In this Swedish sci-fi film from first-time feature directors Pella Kågerman and Hugo Lilja, getting our ass to Mars doesn’t turn out to be a great idea. The journey on the spaceship Aniara is projected to last three weeks, an unbearable amount of time were there not…

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The Dig (Andy and Ryan Tohill, UK) — Discovery

By Manuela Lazic / September 4, 2018

By Manuela Lazic From the dark and wild lands of Northern Ireland comes this thriller with a morbid, horror-exploitation premise that melds the rural with the brutal. Thirtysomething Ronan Callahan (Moe Dunford, also at TIFF in Black 47 and Rosie) returns home after spending 15 years in prison for a murder he doesn’t recall committing.…

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El Angel (Luis Ortega, Argentina/Spain) — Contemporary World Cinema

By Manuela Lazic / September 3, 2018

By Manuela Lazic For the young Carlitos (played by talented newcomer Lorenzo Ferro), crime is a way of life, and a means of expression: against a conservative society, against adults, and for love. He didn’t always want to be a gangster, and he’s not after recognition: he craves the thrill of the extremes and of…

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The Work (Jairus McLeary & Gethin Aldous, US)

By Manuela Lazic / March 16, 2018

By Manuela Lazic Early on in The Work, a documentary chronicling intense group therapy techniques practiced inside Folsom State Prison outside of Sacramento, California, a man suffers a violent meltdown. He is Brian, one of three outside visitors that directors Jairus McLeary and Gethin Aldous follow as they join inmates over a four-day course of…

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Disobedience (Sebastián Leilo, UK) — Special Presentations

By Manuela Lazic / September 14, 2017

By Manuela Lazic Now fully crossed over into English-language filmmaking (following in the footsteps of his Hollywood-focused countryman Pablo Larraín), Chilean director Sebastián Lelio continues his series of films about women and discrimination with Disobedience. This time out, he examines the difficult dialogue between sexuality and religion through the story of Ronit (an excellent Rachel…

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Chappaquiddick (John Curran, USA) — Gala Presentations

By Manuela Lazic / September 14, 2017

By Manuela Lazic It seems that the movies will never stop portraying the tormented lives of the Kennedys. After last year’s divisive Jackie, which focused (oh so tortuously and in slow-motion) on the First Lady’s immediate reaction to JFK’s assassination, the cameras have now turned for the first time (at least in a high-profile studio…

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Molly’s Game (Aaron Sorkin, US) — Gala Presentations

By Manuela Lazic / September 12, 2017

By Manuela Lazic It took Aaron Sorkin 15 years to finally go from the writer’s desk to the director’s chair, and in some respects, Molly’s Game feels like the work of an experienced filmmaker. The story of Molly Bloom’s rise and fall as the organizer of the world’s most exclusive and star-studded poker game comes…

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Professor Marston & the Wonder Women (Angela Robinson, US) — Special Presentations

By Manuela Lazic / September 11, 2017

By Manuela Lazic Angela Robinson’s biopic of the creators of Wonder Woman makes an intriguing companion piece to the DC blockbuster released earlier this year—which presented a more commercial and sanitised version of the heroine—and is an odd yet enjoyable film on its own. Framed by Professor William Marston’s (Luke Evans) defense of the morals…

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