SEA FEVER – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

It is to the briny depths that Irish filmmaker Neasa Hardiman turns for her feature debut, Sea Fever. A stalwart and highly experienced television director, as both writer and director Hardiman demonstrates a steady hand as she captains the film throughout what in generic terms is thrilling yet rather pedestrian ocean-monster science fiction territory.

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THE OTHER LAMB – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

There is a palpable anger at patriarchal institutions that bleeds from Catherine S. McMullen’s pen as much as it does through Szumowska’s camera as they unpack the precise mechanics of dominance and submission, and how such abuses can become naturalized and institutionalized until stepping back and asking ‘why?’ becomes a radical act in its own right.

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SWALLOW – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

The risk of spoilers with Swallow is high, so to avoid this suffice it to say that the journey taken by Hunter (Haley Bennett) through her eating disorder takes her exactly to where her story should logically go. Swallow is a film as much about striving for creative freedom as it does a woman desperately clawing her way towards a sense of autonomy, one mouthful at a time. Brave, challenging and desperately needed right now, Swallow is a perfect film about facing our imperfections.

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HOMEWRECKER – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

there is something about Homewrecker on a fundamental level that echoes Karyn Kusama’s superb 2015 film The Invitation; these are horror films built around the reality that most of us would err to good manners over gut instinct on almost all occasions, no matter how strongly the latter screams at us to act differently to how courtesy dictates. Both films are nightmares, but tonally they couldn’t be more different; Homewrecker is a horror-comedy of manners that places the myth of the assumed sisterhood and our feeble submission to politeness under a hilariously critical microscope.

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SPOTLIGHT November 2019: Jen and Sylvia Soska, Canadian Twin Filmmakers, RABID

For far too long, women horror film directors have been considered an oddity. Key figures in the contemporary ‘women in horror’ movement, Canadian filmmaking twins Jen and Sylvia Soska established themselves as noteworthy directors and screenwriters with their 2009 debut feature Dead Hooker in a Trunk. The film’s cult status has changed the horror genre landscape and perceptions about female horror directors. The Soska effect continues with this year’s Rabid.

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ATLANTICS – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Atlantics is set in Senegal, where a young man called Souleiman (Ibrahima Traoré) is one of many young construction workers we meet in the midst of their discovery that they have been exploited by their employer, their promises of long-overdue wages now revealed to be empty. Hot and crushed into the back of a truck as he returns home, the desperate young men are forced to look for alternate ways to survive; these are the circumstances that leads Souleiman to the ill-fated decision to join many of the others in attempting the perilous journey to Spain in a poorly-equipped boat to find a better life as refugees.

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FOCUS ON FEMALE FILMMAKERS AT 2019 LONDON KOREAN FILM FEST – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas reports

The 2019 festival turns towards the role of women in both Korean cinema specifically and representations in Korean culture more broadly in two ways; firstly across a variety of other program streams including Cinema Now and focuses on documentary, shorts and animations, and perhaps of more immediate, the Women’s Voices strand that highlights the best of women-made Korean cinema at the current moment.

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ADJANI RETROSPECTIVE AT AUSTRALIAN ALLIANCE FRANCAISE CLASSIC FILM FEST – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas reports

With a filmography of the calibre of Adjani’s, the cliché of ‘breaking into Hollywood’ seems almost too obvious; no one has won more Cesar awards for Best Actress even today, and when she was nominated for an Oscar for her role in François Truffaut;s The Story of Adele H., she was the youngest person at the time ever nominated for a Best Actress award. Adding to this the Chevalier de la Légion d’honneu she was awarded in 2010, one can’t help but wonder if she ever needed America at all.

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CLIMATE OF THE HUNTER – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

For the second year running, Oklahoma’s Mickey Reece – the so-called “Soderbergh of the Sticks” – has blasted audiences at Austin’s Fantastic Fest well and truly out of their seats with his extraordinary and wholly unique tales of the sophisticated emotional lives of older women and the people (family, lovers) who surround them.

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LITTLE JOE – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Recently playing at Austin’s Fantastic Fest after competing for the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival (and winning Emily Beecham Best Actress award), Jessica Hausner’s English-language debut feature Little Joe in many was recalls her 2004 feature Hotel with its particular utilization of genre as a way to explore the relationship between women, identity and labor

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