Festivals: IFFR Reviews

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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...

Rotterdam 2017 Review: STILL NIGHT, STILL LIGHT (MES NUITS FERONT ÉCHO), A Dreamy, Daring Debut

One of the reasons we watch films is to see if we can unearth something of ourselves in others' work. In this way it is a search for kindred spirits across strange and distant lands that fall so close to...

Review: AN Advises Everyone A Hearty Carpe Diem

(When life hands you lemons, make sweet red bean paste!) Japanese director Kawase Naomi's film An (also known in some territories as Sweet Red Bean Paste or just Sweet Bean) played at the International Film Festival Rotterdam this February, where...

Rotterdam 2016 Review: ALTES GELD Is Deliciously Devious

This year, the International Film Festival Rotterdam had a section dedicated to television series. In it, you could see episode-collections shown as films, and films that are soon to become adapted as television series. But one of the most spectacular...

Rotterdam 2016 Review: AAAAAAAAH! Makes You Go Eeeeeeeeh!

(Or: welcome to the planet of the apes, where the apes are us.) Ben Wheatley's film High Rise is currently making waves and shocking people in its theatrical run, with its bleak story of societies happily degenerating into animal behavior....

Rotterdam 2016 Review: CHEVALIER Shows The Ultimate Dick-measuring Contest

Greek director Athina Rachel Tsangari is seen as an important part of the current Greek "Weird Wave" of cinema. She produced several of Yorgos Lanthimos' films like Dogtooth, and he helped produce (and acted in) her previous film Attenberg. But...

Rotterdam 2016 Review: A GOOD AMERICAN Damns The Worst Of America

Austrian director Friedrich Moser is a self-confessed fan of spy stories, so it's not surprising he made a documentary about the NSA's former meta-data expert Bill Binney. Titled A Good American, the film played at the International Film Festival Rotterdam....

Rotterdam 2016 Review: PATHS OF THE SOUL Shows Purpose In Pilgrimage

Years ago, when Blu-ray was a new platform and newly acquired by me, I searched the world for the most spectacular discs to play. Be it the US-release of Baraka or the Hong Kong release of Red Cliff, I'd import...

Rotterdam 2016 Review: TOO YOUNG TO DIE! Is One Hell Of A Load Of Fun

(...and no Jamiroquai in sight...) The Japanese writer-director Kudô Kankurô has his heart in a quirky place, and has proven that already several times over. As a scriptwriter he wrote Zebraman for director Miike Takashi, The Apology King for director...

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...

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...

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...

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...