cinema · EIFF19

Film review: Thirty (Dreissig)

Bulgarian filmmaker Simona Kostova taps into the societal pressures and insecurities of getting older with German indie drama Thirty. Writing, editing, and directing the project, she tells the story of five friends approaching the end of their twenties. Birthday boy Övünç, and his friends Pascal, Raha, Kara, and Henner come together in celebration, and head out into the busy streets of Berlin to mark the occasion.

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cinema · EIFF19

Film review: Strange But True

British filmmaker Rowan Athale heads across the pond for his latest feature Strange but True, based on John Searles’ novel of the same name. The noir-thriller plot follows Philip (Nick Robinson) who has moved back to his hometown to recover from a broken leg. When heavily pregnant Melissa (Margaret Qualley) turns up at his door, she tells him that his brother Ronnie (Connor Jessup) is her child’s father. The strange part is…Ronnie was killed in a car accident five years earlier.

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cinema · EIFF19

Film review: The Tobacconist (Der Trafikant)

Based on Robert Seethaler’s best-selling novel of the same name, director Nikolaus Leytner presents a coming-of-age historical drama set in Nazi-occupied Vienna. The plot follows teenager Franz (Simon Morzé) who moves to Austria to be the apprentice of titular tobacconist Otto (Johannes Krisch) at his shop. As he settles into the community, he falls in love with dancer Anezka (Emma Drogunova) and befriends Sigmund Freud (Bruno Ganz) who offers words of wisdom as Franz experiences vivid dreams.

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cinema · EIFF19

Film review: Schemers

 Scottish films have a tendency to be Highlands-based horror shows, or to take place within Edinburgh or Glasgow, or so it’s refreshing to have a Dundonian tale in Dave McLean’s autobiographical drama Schemers. Based on the teenage years of the first-time writer and director, the story follows David (Conor Berry) in 1979, the exciting coming-of-age phase of his life. When a nasty football injury forces him to reevaluate his career options, he seizes an opportunity in music promotion with pals Scot (Sean Connor) and John (Grant Robert Keelan) but runs into trouble along the way.

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cinema · EIFF19

Film review: Them That Follow

 Indie writer and directors Brittany Poulton and Daniel Savage come together for their feature debut Them That Follow, a religious thriller set deep in the Appalachian Mountains. Pastor Lemuel Childs (Walton Goggins) is a revered snake-handler at the heart of the close-knit community’s church, but the story focuses predominantly on Mara (Alice Englert), his repressed yet beloved daughter. She’s engaged to marry local lad Garret (Lewis Pullman) but is carrying a controversial secret that forces her to question her faith.

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cinema · EIFF19

Film review: Farming

 Actor Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje turns his hand to writing and directing for his feature debut Farming, a coming-of-age drama based on his own turbulent upbringing. Born to Yorùbá parents in Nigeria in the late 1960s, Enitan (Damson Idris) was fostered, or ‘farmed’ as it was referred to, by working-class mother Ingrid (Kate Beckinsale) and her husband Jack (Lee Ross) in Tilbury, England. After a difficult childhood, Eni lashes out in his teenage years and becomes embroiled in brutal gang culture.

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cinema · EIFF19

Film review: Emma Peeters

 A decade on from her feature debut, writer and director Nicole Palo revisits the topic of suicide in her faux romantic comedy flick Emma Peeters. The eponymous Emma (Monia Chokri) is a struggling actress living in Paris, making ends meet in retail while she pursues her lifelong dream to be a star. After being knocked back at yet another audition, she decides that enough is enough and that she will kill herself on her upcoming 35th birthday. Whilst making the necessary arrangements, she meets oddball funeral director Alex (Fabrice Adde) who offers to assist her in her suicidal mission.

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