SANCTUARY (TIFF 2022) – Review by Ulkar Alakbarova

Has a thought such as ‘stop the world I want to get off’ crossed your mind while watching a specific film? A film that you have no clue what it’s about; neither its concept nor what it tries to tell you? The film that you have no words to describe. I will tell you what I planned to write about Zachary Wigon’s Sanctuary – this is just a phenomenal film that you won’t be able to not tell your friends about. So just go and watch it. End of review. But as a film critic, I should probably do better than that.

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PRISONER’S DAUGHTER (TIFF 2022) – Review by Ulkar Alakbarova

When you read the synopsis about a man who is being released from prison on grounds of compassion, you think it’s going to be another action film in which an elderly man must fight his past enemies. It is the first thing that comes to a mind once you hear about Prisoner’s Daughter. However, the moment the film starts, it takes a different turn, a surprising one. With screenplay by Mark Bacci and directed by Catherine Hardwicke, Prisoner’s Daughter is a feel good story.

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RAYMOND & RAY (TIFF 2022) – Review by Ulkar Alakbarova

Shows how little we know about our parents, especially how little Raymond and Ray know; if their father had a chance, he would probably impregnate every woman he ever dated! Even though the brothers have nothing good to say about him, it’s their father’s friends and acquaintances who are fond of him. Maybe their father was a better friend, a good lover, but never a good parent. It’s something the brothers must explore in order to find a way to cure themselves from the hatred they have buried in their heart and begin their new life with a new chapter.

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DRIVING MADELINE (TIFF 2022) – Review by Ulkar Alakbarova

“Can the man who beats you day and night. Who rapes you and hits your son can be called a husband?” Driving Madeline explores the past trauma of an elderly woman, who knew how to fight back when the right moment came. Filled with sadness and laughter, happiness and tragic loss, the film transports you into the mind of Madeline, who flawlessly delivers the most educational aspect of domestic violence, femicide, perseverance, courage and the stories she tells, be prepared, will blow your mind away.

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THE WHALE (TIFF 2022) – Review by Ulkar Alakbarova

The Whale is exceptional, brilliant, and mind-blowing. The concept itself is gut-wrenching. Darren Aronofsky does what he knows best – capturing the portrait of a broken human being and presenting it in the most devastating way. For that, he just needed to find the right actor and, Brendan Fraser was the chosen one. Don’t be surprised when he begins to grab one award after another because no one can match his level of acting this year – that’s what we all must be certain of.

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THE TRIANGLE OF SADNESS (TIFF 2022) – Review by Ulkar Alakbarova

The Triangle of Sadness perfectly captures the balance of power and how it can shift. It all comes down to what you know, what you can do and what you cannot. Humans are corrupt, whether rich or poor. And when the poor gets a chance to stand out, they’re abused, taken advantage of, and the actual humiliation starts. Is the story about the poor going rogue? No. But it shows how we people do not realize one thing – for a better outcome, collaboration is required. And when we don’t work together but instead try to overpower each other, the result will be the exact the same – good or bad, wealthy or poor, we all become as corrupt as everyone else.

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THE SWEARING JAR (TIFF 2022) – Review by Ulkar Alakbarova

The Swearing Jar is a very compelling love story about a woman who is indeed broken inside. Through the beautiful songs and lyrics, more or less, we come to know what is really happening. But it’s the commanding Lindsay MacKay direction that brings an important aspect of Carey and Simon’s marriage to life and provides an exquisite explanation as to why Carey does what she does. She does look guilty. Because she does not want to let the other man into her life. But whatever we learn soon leaves her no option. But why complicate it if it’s an easy step? And that’s why The Swearing Jar is so good – it slowly builds up the narrative and delivers it with a bang, but through humor, gentleness and charisma.

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THE PRINCESS – Review by Ukar Alakbarova

The Princess, directed by Ed Perkins, serves as a reminder of how the loss of one particular person can have a significant impact not only on the country where they were from but the entire world. Using archival footage, the documentary reconstructs the life of Lady Diana; how she becomes Prince Charles’ wife, gives birth to two sons, her husband’s infidelity, her attempt to take her own life and rebuild it after divorce, and traveling the world to make it a better place. Her affair with Dodi Al-Fayed and her ultimate death in a tragic car accident. Whether you knew much or nothing, be prepared for a hell of a ride – an emotional roller coaster of the life and death of a woman who is now more alive than ever.

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THE PRINCESS (Sundance FF 2022) – Review by Ulkar Alakbarova

It’s unlikely that there’s anyone who’s never heard of The Princess of Wales, Lady Diana, or Queen of Hearts and the mother of Princes William and Harry, the first wife to Prince Charles, the heir apparent to the British throne. It’s a tragic story surrounding a woman who fought hard for her freedom and to be heard, yet had to ask the media to leave her alone. The Princess is a gut-wrenching documentary that can be passed from generation to generation as knowledge of how famous people should not be treated.

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WHERE IS ANNE FRANK (TIFF2021) – Review by Ulkar Alakbarova

Anne Frank’s diary has been told, filmed, and has many documentaries about it. It seems there is nothing more left to be said until you watch Ari Folman’s Where is Anne Frank. This time, it takes a novel approach and revolves around Anne’s imaginary friend, Kitty, who finds herself in Frank’s house in Amsterdam. Getting a physical form, she steals Anne’s diary and begins the journey of her dearest friend, as she, with deep sadness, learns about Anne’s tragic fate.

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