Collaborating with her partner and cinematographer Paul Guilhaume on the script, this is the second feature from French director Léa Mysius. Set in a picturesque alpine village, The Five Devils (Les cinq diables) centres around swimming instructor Joanne (Adèle Exarchopoulos) who is married to fireman Jimmy (Moustapha Mbengue), though they appear to be stuck in a rut. Their young daughter Vicky (Sally Dramé) has an unusually strong sense of smell, and secretly recreates scents in little jars that she stores in her bedroom. Tensions run high in the community when Jimmy’s sister Julia (Swala Emati) moves in with the family after being released from prison, and Vicky’s strange gift leads her to a shocking revelation.Continue reading “Film review: The Five Devils”
Film review: BlackBerry
In the social media-obsessed era we live in today, it’s almost difficult to remember a time before smartphones; when we didn’t have a world of information available to us at the mere touch of a button. Indie filmmaker Matt Johnson transports us back to that period, adapting Jacquie McNish and Sean Silcoff’s book Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry into what can be described as a comedy biopic of sorts.Continue reading “Film review: BlackBerry”
Film review: Skin Deep
Skin Deep (Aus meiner Haut) is a high concept sci-fi drama that marks the first feature from German writer and director Alex Schaad. The story centres around couple Leyla (Mala Emde) and Tristan (Jonas Dassler) as they take a ferry to an island retreat in the hope that they can revive their relationship from its rough patch. They’re soon paired up with Mo (Dimitrij Schaad) and Fabienne (Maryam Zaree) for a double date and are presented with a strange opportunity; the chance to swap bodies and experience the world in someone else’s shoes. Whilst some participants aren’t entirely sold on the idea, others thrive on the new lease of life the experiment provides.Continue reading “Film review: Skin Deep”
Film review: Other People’s Children
Cinema can often reflect the change in our societal norms, as has been evidenced with delayed coming-of-age stories such as Noah Baumbach’s Frances Ha or, more recently, Joachim Trier’s The Worst Person in the World. As the 2.4 children model of the traditional nuclear family becomes outdated by our increasingly progressive culture, writer and director Rebecca Zlotowski’s latest drama centres around a woman approaching middle-age without the apparent need or want for marriage or a child. Other People’s Children follows 40-year-old schoolteacher Rachel (Virginie Efira), whose comfortable Parisian lifestyle becomes complicated when she starts dating Ali (Roschdy Zem) and becomes emotionally attached to his young daughter Leila.Continue reading “Film review: Other People’s Children”
Film review: God’s Creatures
How unconditional can the unconditional love actually be between a parent and their child? Filmmakers Saela Davis and Anna Rose Holmer explore this idea in their psychological drama God’s Creatures, the former joining the latter on directorial duties after serving as editor on her debut feature The Fits back in 2015.Continue reading “Film review: God’s Creatures”
She is Love Interview: Jamie Adams – ‘The process creates an original atmosphere and an energy that doesn’t exist anywhere else’.
Since making his feature debut Benny & Jolene in 2014, Welsh writer and director Jamie Adams has racked up a whopping nine films! His process is very fluid and improvisational, crafting films on a low budget over a very short period of time and with no script in the traditional sense. His latest effort is romantic drama She is Love, which features a trio of terrific performances from Haley Bennett, Sam Riley, and Marisa Abela. I was fortunate enough to sit down with the prolific filmmaker to chat about the film…
It feels like a very long time since our last conversation, back when you had just made your festive film A Wonderful Christmas Time in 2014. How have you, your process, and your films changed in that time?
I’ve got older, more cynical, and more tired, so the process has changed. The truth of it is that every project is different. There’s different people involved; there’s different cast, crew, and their personalities, and you’re balancing all of that. You’re balancing the budget, the schedule, the scope of the vision. You’re balancing the story you want to tell versus what you’re able to tell.
You get more comfortable with the process like a sports person when they get into a routine of some kind; this is what I do when I’m preparing, this is what I do when I’m in the game, this is what I do afterwards. I can look back at something like A Wonderful Christmas Time for example, which is the second feature that we did in this way, and I could see myself mumbling on set as you’re not as confident about what you’re doing because you’re still finding it. You’re always still finding it, but at least you have more of a clue of how you’ll get to what it is you’re looking for.Continue reading “She is Love Interview: Jamie Adams – ‘The process creates an original atmosphere and an energy that doesn’t exist anywhere else’.”
Film review: The Whale
Religion often rears its heavy head in the works of controversial writer and director Darren Aronofsky; from Mickey Rourke’s martyrdom in The Wrestler, an Eden allegory in mother!, and of course his epic adaptation of Noah. The biblical overtones return in his latest effort The Whale, which is based upon Samuel D. Hunter’s 2012 play of the same name. Brendan Fraser stars as Charlie, a morbidly obese English literature teacher who has become housebound due to his condition. He receives regular visits from his nurse Liz (Hong Chau), estranged teenage daughter Ellie (Sadie Sink), and Thomas (Ty Simpkins), a young missionary of the local New Life Church.Continue reading “Film review: The Whale”
Film review: Saint Omer
Known for documentary filmmaking on contemporary French society, writer and director Alice Diop has transitioned from fact to fiction for her latest effort. Based upon the 2016 court case of Fabienne Kabou, legal drama Saint Omer follows teacher and novelist Rama (Kayije Kagame), as she researches the Greek tragedy of Medea for her next book. For inspiration, she attends the trial of Senegalese woman Laurence Coly (Guslagie Malanda), accused of murdering her 15-month-old daughter.Continue reading “Film review: Saint Omer”
Film review: Tár
Todd Field began his career in film as an actor before making his directorial debut in 2001 with In the Bedroom. It’s been seventeen years since his last effort, which is a testament to the detail he applies to the craft. His latest feature is Tár, a psychological thriller of sorts starring Cate Blanchett in the eponymous role.Continue reading “Film review: Tár”
Klokkenluider Interview: Neil Maskell – ‘I’m angry, so it’s a way of expressing frustration with my own apathy’.
After an acting career that has spanned almost thirty years, Neil Maskell is finally pursuing his long-time passion to write and direct. His debut feature is black comedy thriller Klokkenluider and centres around a government whistleblower and his wife. Ready to tell their story to the press, they are joined by a pair of eccentric bodyguards to protect from any potential threat. I was fortunate enough to chat with the filmmaker ahead of the film’s premiere at the London Film Festival…
You’ve got a wealth of experience in acting, but this is your first time behind the camera. Have you had the desire to direct for a while, or was there something in particular about this film that meant you needed to give it a go?
Definitely the former. I’ve been really quite desperate to be directing something for a long, long time. I’ve been writing for the last 15 years, trying to get either a TV project or film made. Klokkenluider was actually something I didn’t think would really come to fruition. It’s so fucking weird, you know!? The allusion I keep drawing on is that it was like the car in the garage with an old fella sort of tinkering with it, you know, you never get that thing started again! I really enjoyed working on Klokkenluider so even when I was on another project as an actor or a writer, I was always going back to it because I enjoyed being with the characters. I’d get ideas for it when I was in the supermarket after having not written for weeks and I felt I was always slowly getting somewhere with it. It’s kind of amazing that it ended up being the first thing I’ve directed because it wasn’t what I expected it to be, but I’m really glad that it did end up being that because I’m very proud of the script and felt very close to it as a piece.Continue reading “Klokkenluider Interview: Neil Maskell – ‘I’m angry, so it’s a way of expressing frustration with my own apathy’.”