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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SAINT MAUD – TIFF19 Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

As the only woman-directed film in TIFF’s iconic Midnight Madness program in 2019, the world premiere of Saint Maud demonstrates British director and screenwriter Rose Glass’s flair for horror with this extraordinarily powerful feature film debut.

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DISCO – TIFF19 Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

While it’s far too easy to get swept up in the big name, red carpet glitz of a festival the scale of the Toronto International Film Festival, the real treasures are often tucked away beyond the limelight. As with last year, the Festival’s Discovery program whose mission is to identify and champion “directors to watch” as “the future of world cinema” in 2019 again provided a home for some of the festival’s most exciting movies.

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RADIOACTIVE – TIFF19 Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

With its world premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, the breathtaking success of Radioactive hinges on two extraordinary women. One, of course, is the film’s subject, the famous French scientist Marie Curie who was not merely the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, but the only person to win it twice in two different arenas of scientific study. The second is the film’s director, French-Iranian polymath Marjane Satrapi.

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SORRY WE MISSED YOU – TIFF19 Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

No one can ever accuse stalwart British filmmaker Ken Loach of lacking focus. Now over five decades into his feature filmmaking career, with his latest movie Sorry We Missed You he continues his near-unwavering focus on the systematic dehumanization of those struggling to survive in the meat grinder of late capitalism.

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