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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PELICAN BLOOD.- Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

With the recent US premiere of her latest film Pelican Blood at Fantastic Fest, Katrin Gebbe returns once again to appreciative audiences in Austin after her fearless 2013 debut film Nothing Bad Can Happen. With the latter devastating audiences across the globe since its world premiere in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival, Pelican Blood reveals Gebbe to be a filmmaker now in full flight, more than capable of tackling confronting difficult questions around cliché-defying representations of mother-child bonds.

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THOSE THAT, AT A DISTANCE, RESEMBLE EACH OTHER – TIFF19 Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

The achievements of award-winning Argentine-British filmmaker and artist Jessica Sarah Rinland make her a perfect fit for the Toronto International Film Festival’s experimental strand, Wavelengths. This year, her fascinating documentary Those That, at a Distance, Resemble Each Other explored questions about the relationship between original and imitation, and how this relates in both practical and conceptual terms to the field of museum conservation and beyond.

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Women-Directed Short Films @ TIFF19 – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas reports

Like so much at festivals of TIFF’s scale, the real treasures are often from filmmakers from around the world whose names are comparatively new, and this is certainly the case with this year’s women-made shorts. There was no lack of women filmmakers in the strand, with 56% of the Short Cuts program this year directed by women.

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SIMPLE WOMEN – TIFF19 Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

One of the most original, honest and captivating films of the year, in her accomplished feature debut Chiara Malta throws orthodox approaches to the biopic into complete disarray as she privileges our own subjective relationship to the movies and those in them under the microscope.

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