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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TIFF18 Review: ENDZEIT EVER AFTER — Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

A girls’ own adventure tale for the darkly inclined, Endzeit – Ever After had its world premiere at TIFF 2018 and is the German feminist zombie film we didn’t know we needed until it came along. For a subgenre that risks almost constant threat of cliché, a number of recent entries to the zombie category have demonstrated just how forceful the trope is to communicate the endurance and strength of women who band together.

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TIFF18 Review: High Life – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

With all the spectacular SFX majesty that has dominated the representation of space across the science fiction genre, that Claire Denis’s High Life begins less fascinated with its cosmic surroundings than the ‘spectacle’ of a single working dad sets the tone in many ways for her first English-language feature.

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OVER THE LIMIT — Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Marta Prus’s documentary Over the Limit about world champion Russian gymnast Margarita (Rita) Mamun has perhaps unavoidably drawn comparisons to I, Tonya, Black Swan, and even Whiplash, comparisons which – while gesticulating towards the power dynamics inherent to supposed ‘success’ in a given field – undermine one single, crucial fact: this is a real story, not a made-up one or a fictionalised retelling.

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TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID — Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

With her 2017 feature Tigers are Not Afraid, Mexican filmmaker Issa López became the first woman to ever win the Best Horror Director award at Austin’s Fantastic Fest where it premiered. López’s potent and deeply beautiful film tells the story of a group of children abandoned as a result of the brutal dominance of a powerful drug cartel in their urban Mexican neighbourhood. Centred around an extraordinary performance by young actor Paola Lara in her feature film debut, she plays eleven-year-old Estrella who – like many of the children with whom she unites in an attempt to survive a world of unimaginable violence and pain – while often fearless, must necessarily negotiate her experiences from her youthful perspective.

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