Festivals: IFFR Reviews

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Rotterdam 2018 Review: SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF, an Uncompromising Character Study of a Flawed Man

When it comes to passive heroes, perhaps none could be more than Ryutaro, the protagonist (and director of the same name) of Sweating the Small Stuff. Ryutaro, 27 years of age, lives alone in a messy apartment piled high with...

Rotterdam 2018 Review: I HAVE A DATE WITH SPRING, a Playful Tragicomic Ensemble Drama about The End Of The World

Do not be fooled by the outwardly cheery title of Baek Seung-bin’s I Have A Date With Spring – the film is actually about individuals whose birthdays fall one day before doomsday.   For a country like South Korea, which...

Rotterdam 2018 Review: THE NIGHT IS SHORT, WALK ON GIRL Marches Across All Emotions

Recent times have been kind to fans of animation director Yuasa Masaaki. The man has been quite prolific: in 2017 we got two new films from him, and Netflix viewers could start 2018 with his 10-episode-take on Go Nagai's Devilman...

Rotterdam 2018 Review: THE RETURN, a Poignant and Authentic Tale of Korean Adoptees Returning Home

Ever since the end of the Korean War in 1953, South Korea has earned a name as one of the largest exporters of babies worldwide. Over 200,000 infants have been put up for adoption and sent overseas, mainly to Europe...

Rotterdam 2018 Review: THE DEATH OF STALIN Makes You Laugh At A Corrupt Tragedy

We're big fans of Scottish writer/director Armando Iannucci here at Screen Anarchy, and have been ever since he was doing short comedic skits on the BBC. The man is now of course most famous for his series Veep, The Thick...

Rotterdam 2018 Review: THE HEART, a Trendy Millennial Drama Celebrating Female Sexuality and Independence

The heart wants what it wants, but does not get – this is the premise of Swedish actress-director Fanni Metelius’s debut The Heart (Hjartat), about a young photographer Mika and her musician boyfriend Tesfay who are madly in love, yet...

Rotterdam 2018 Review: THE REPORTS ON SARAH AND SALEEM Marries Arthouse Drama to Genre Audience Allure Without Losing Complexity

Muayad Alayan´s sophomore feature The Reports on Sarah and Saleem infuses genre sensibilities into arthouse drama against the backdrop of a political conflict

Rotterdam 2018 Review: WESTERN Documents Clashing Cultures

Valeska Grisebach's new film Western takes place, ironically, in Eastern Europe, the narrative following a group of German builders on a construction site deep in the remote woods of Bulgaria. But the title immediately provides its viewers with an interesting...

Rotterdam 2018 Review: MUTAFUKAZ Crackles With Visual Prowess

Last year, French comic-book publisher (slash-gaming-company) Ankama and the Japanese animation legends of Studio 4°C released a joint effort which has to be seen to be believed: the urban action science-fiction satire Mutafukaz. Based on Ankama's edgy comic-book series of...

Rotterdam 2018 Review: SATAN'S SLAVES Are Coming For You

Horror elements have always played a role in Joko Anwar's thrillers. The Indonesian filmmaker seems to revel in making his audience cringe or jump from time to time, and he has always gladly incorporated supernatural elements to do so. Therefore...

Rotterdam 2018 Review: BLUE MY MIND Is Frank, Feminine and All-around Fantastic

There’s something about first-time filmmakers turning to the coming-of-age genre that feels oddly appropriate. Ostensibly at least, it’s a perfect experiential match between creator and creation insofar as both cineaste and protagonist are debuting into the world after a journey...

Rotterdam 2018 Review: THE CANNIBAL CLUB Has A Wicked Bite

A cannibal film from Brazil sounds satirical enough all by itself, but director Guto Parente isn't aiming his hatchet at the European exploitation cinema of the eighties. Rather, in The Cannibal Club, he pokes perverse fun at the super-rich of...

Rotterdam 2017 Review: THE WEDDING RING Allows A Beautiful Peek At A Different Culture

When we in the West think of the North African Sahel region, we tend to conjure up images of deserts, terrorism, war, famine, nauseating abuse of human rights... In short, the harshest environments and the nastiest works us humans are...

Rotterdam 2017 Review: WÙLU Shows A Thoughtful Rise To Criminal Power

In Malinese director Daouda Coulibaly's crime drama Wùlu, we follow the rise of Ladji, a bus driver in Mali's capital city Bamako, who decides to use his street-savvy for becoming a career criminal. Cheated out of a years-in-the-making promotion because...

Rotterdam 2017 Review: SISTER OF MINE Damns Your Eyes With Experience

In Pedro Aguilera's Sister of Mine we see Oliver, a jaded American filmmaker. One night he browses porn clips on the Internet, and discovers one which seems to feature his beautiful young Spanish half-sister Aurora, who he hasn't seen in...

Rotterdam 2017 Review: BAMSEOM PIRATES SEOUL INFERNO Challenges Our Sense Of Liberty

Documentaries tend to do well at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, and each year several manage to get into the audience top-10. The 2017 edition has proven to be no exception, as there are three documentaries in the top-5 alone....

Rotterdam 2017 Review: IT HURTS SO MUCH Is A Gentle Documentary About Care

Let me start this review by stating for the non-Dutch people that Heleen van Royen is a bit of an icon in the Netherlands. She is a successful writer of novels, and as a columnist she is (in)famous for not...

Rotterdam 2017 Review: Slovak Rape Drama FILTHY Examines Plight of Victim

Bleak Slovak drama investigates rape trauma and thorny path to overcome it through the eyes of a victim

Rotterdam 2017 Review: Social Satire A DECENT WOMAN Conjures Up Anarchism From A Nudistic Swinger Club

A Decent Woman marries European formalism to Latin American temperament in a social satire embracing anarchism and clothes-optional policy

Rotterdam 2017 Review: SEXY DURGA, One Terrifying Night In Darkest India

Man is a dangerous beast. Long ago, before the time of cinema, before the time of television, and certainly before the time of the Internet, the Indian subcontinent was a land mostly known as a fruitful place for the nightmares...