BLOOD ON HER NAME – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

While focusing on a killer’s guilt is nothing new, the particular way that Blood On Her Name brings this emotion and the satellite of interrelated other feelings to life is impressively refreshing. Something about this film at its very core demands that we acknowledge the elephant in the room: yes, murder is a great plot device, but just imagine how bad it feels.

Read more

I AM FEAR – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Through its unapologetic visceral thrills, I Am Fear invites us to experience recent history “through the gut” in what is effectively a supernatural horror film combined with the political thriller subgenre of the terrorism movie. The film seeks to use genre as a tool to answer a very simple question, but one almost overwhelming in its scale: why is the world such a terrible place? It sure as hell gets points for trying to say something meaningful about the world at a time when so many others are pretending it’s business as usual.

Read more

THE LONG WALK – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

While a fascination with guilt, regret, memory and the bonds of memory (all seen through an unapologetically feminist lens) permeates her work, it is in The Long Walk that Mattie Do reveals the depths of her talent, the extent of her humanity and the potential to even further consolidate her status as one of the most important Asian filmmakers working today.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more