THE TSUGUA DIARIES – Review by Jennifer Green

Portuguese film The Tsugua Diaries (Diários de Otsoga) provides a thought-provoking and sense-arousing time capsule of a globally unforgettable moment. Within the confines of the summer 2020 pandemic lockdown, co-directors Maureen Fazendeiro and Miguel Gomes probe concepts of storytelling and character development by recounting 22 days on a film set – backwards. The result is at times dull, realistically and symbolically so. But as an intellectual exercise, Diaries proposes some provocative ideas by deconstructing traditional notions of time, story and character.

Read more

FIRE IN THE MOUNTAINS – Review by Jennifer Green

It would be hard not to be affected by Fire in the Mountains‘ dire story of one woman’s personal struggles in a Himalayan village. Embodied within her story are larger themes, clear but crafted in subtle and realistic ways, about a woman’s place in her world and the simmering conflict between traditional and modern India. Set in a beautiful area touted as the Switzerland of India for its spectacular Himalayan views, the film contrasts that natural beauty with the scarcity and hardships of its villagers.

Read more

PLEASURE – Review by Jennifer Green

Swedish director Ninja Thyberg’s debut feature Pleasure pushes the boundaries between objective storytelling and voyeurism, and it does so with a heavy dose of realism, including a majority of the cast coming from the adult film industry itself, which makes the film both absorbing and very hard to watch. It’s impossible not to feel a sense of dread throughout Pleasure, and that is exactly the point.

Read more

HAPPENING – Review by Jennifer Green

Happening (L’Evénément) is a riveting film, from start to finish. The story about a young woman who finds herself unintentionally pregnant in 1960s France, a time and place where abortions were illegal, is universal and powerful, at once heartbreaking and liberating. Sixty years have passed since that era, yet the film holds powerful messages today in the face of pushback on women’s reproductive rights. The film is based on the semi-autobiographical book by Annie Ernaux.

Read more

THE TALE OF KING CRAB – Review by Jennifer Green

The Tale of King Crab is a moody Italian drama that weaves a wandering narrative of misfortune, desperation and redemption. It could potentially be read as a treatment on mental illness and alcoholism, or perhaps on the imprecision of oral histories. Either way, it is at its core a story of, by and for men split into two very different chapters, one shot in Italian and the other in Spanish.

Read more

PARIS, 13TH DISTRICT – Review by Jennifer Green

Veteran director Jacques Audiard’s Paris, 13th District (Les Olympiades, Paris 13e) is a beautiful film to look at, well-acted and full of commentary on a generation of contemporary Parisians. It does for the meandering lives and loves of thirty-something Parisians something akin to what Joachim Trier’s The Worst Person in the World did for Norwegian millennials. What voids these young people are grappling to fill (or ignore) is left at least partially up for interpretation. Perhaps that’s why Paris‘s somewhat traditional – and satisfying – closure comes as a bit of a surprise.

Read more

Despite Progress, Europe’s Film Industry Struggles with Gender Equality – Jennifer Green reports

The European Audiovisual Observatory (EAO) reports that women represented fewer than one out of four film directors in Europe (23%) between 2016 and 2020. Females made up slightly more producers (33%) and screenwriters (27%), but struggled to have a significant presence in technical positions like cinematographers (10%) and composers (9%). Women directed fewer films than men and were less likely to be sole directors of feature films than their male counterparts. Female producers were involved in 44% of European feature films (alone or in teams), but on average women tended to produce slightly fewer films than men. Women also made up less than half (39%) of lead roles. The Paris-based “Femmes de cinema” Lab initiative’s 2021 study shows that “on average and even today, women are less paid, less subsidized, less programmed than men, and female characters are still too often poor or stereotypical.”

Read more

COAST – Review by Jennifer Green

This small indie film from directors Jessica Hester and Derek Schweickart does a better job at capturing the restlessness, the risks and the thrills of being a teenager than most teen-targeted studio films ever hope, or probably aim, to. Coast‘s realism is underscored by its setting, a central California coastal town with a heavily Hispanic farming community, a place where kids grow up looking toward a life working the fields if they don’t strive for something different – or leave.

Read more

SWAN SONG – Review by Jennifer Green

In Swan Song, Cameron Turner is dying of cancer, but rather than reveal his diagnosis to his wife, Poppy and son, Cameron opts to undergo an experimental new treatment to clone himself and let the replicant continue living his life. During the final stages of the treatment under the supervision of Dr. Scott, Cameron has to face the reality of his decision and confront whether he’s ready to say goodbye to his loved ones — and life as he knows it.

Read more