SPOTLIGHT November 2018: Catherine Hardwicke, Blockbuster Indie Filmmaker and Activist

This year marks a number of significant anniversaries for filmmaker Catherine Hardwicke, one of the most well-known and hardworking women directors in the business. 2018 marks both the 15th anniversary of the release of her debut film Thirteen and – in November – the 10th anniversary of one of the hugely successful supernatural romance blockbuster Twilight, granting a perfect reason to focus on Hardwicke’s career more broadly as this month’s Spotlight.

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Sarah Jacobson: American Genre Film Archive Retrospective at Austin’s Fantastic Fest – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas reports

Declaring herself as nothing less than “the queen of underground film” and having learnt the craft through revered underground filmmaker George Kuchar, Jacobson’s well-earned legacy as one of the most vital and original filmmakers of the late 20th century had until recently been hidden from view, This retrospective illuminates her work for cinephiles hungry genuine punk- feminist cinema.

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TIFF18 Review: DIAMANTINO – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

With its North American premiere at the Midnight Madness program of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, there is little that can prepare you for the unique, twisted majesty of queer Portuguese film Diamantino. Co-directed by Gabriel Abrantes and Daniel Schmidt, this is an unapologetic carnival of bad taste all but destined for cult film longevity.

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TIFF16 Review: RETROSPEKT — Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

With its world premiere at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, Dutch filmmaker Esther Rots’ sophomore feature Retrospekt is an extraordinary accomplishment and one of the standouts of this year’s Contemporary World Cinema programe. The film begins humbly enough and – based on the plot synopsis alone – indicates at first what might be a relatively pedestrian drama about a domestic violence counsellor

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TIFF18 Review: CLIMAX – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

It’s been sixteen years since the notorious French master of excess Gaspar Noé’s Irréversible, with its unforgettable nine-minute long rape scene, truly shocked audiences. Movies like 2009’s Enter the Void and 2015’s Love have seen the filmmaker pushing the envelope of acceptability and explicitness in ways that have become perhaps paradoxically something to be expected. Climax is one of his most euphoric, succinct, and effective movies in over a decade

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TIFF18 Review: BURNING — Alexander Heller Nicholas

The blaze of admiration first sparked when Lee Chang-dong’s taut thriller Burning premiered at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival earlier this year where it competed in for the Palme d’Or and won the FIPRESCI Prize showed no signs of abating when it made its North American premiere in September at the Toronto International Film Festival.

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TIFF18 Review: JEREMIAH TERMINATOR LEROY (World Premiere) – Alexander Heller-Nicholas

In any other time, there surely couldn’t be a twisted lo-fi queer-leaning biopic co-starring Laura Dern and Kristen Stewart that could be anything less than a total smash hit. Individually, each actor has developed intensely devoted fan bases in both the general mainstream and simultaneously among cult film die-hards. Framed with that ever-alluring ‘based on a true story’ chestnut, Jeremiah Terminator LeRoy should be win-win. So this indie turn should be a slam dunk, and yet…these are far from ordinary times.

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