PARADISE HILLS – Review by Nikki Baughan

An off-kilter, steampunk blend of Disney, The Handmaids Tale and The Stepford Wives, writer/director Alice Waddington’s feature debut is entirely as intriguing as that sounds. A visually unique, narratively striking study of society’s attempts to control women, to mold them into an acceptable version of femininity, its determinedly fantastical elements are anchored by its strong themes and excellent performances.

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BIRD BOX – Review by Nikki Baughan

Susanne Bier is a filmmaker with an innate ability to mine the painful truths of the human experience in a way that is both deeply intimate and profoundly universal. And so it is with Bird Box, her first foray into genre filmmaking, that distills the daunting responsibility of parenthood into one woman’s seeming impossible journey of survival in a world overrun by unseeable monsters.

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CAPERNAUM – Review by Nikki Baughan

Joining a host of recent works of both fact and fiction – such as Sudabeh Mortezai’s Joy and Gabrielle Brady’s Island Of The Hungry Ghosts – which highlight the refugee crisis engulfing the globe, Capernaum is a gut-punch reminder that the rise of isolationist politics is leaving swathes of human casualties in its wake. Devastating but utterly essential cinema

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HERE AND NOW – Review by Nikki Baughan

Writer Laura Eason’s screenplay effectively mines the anonymity and isolation of modern life, where people connect more easily through technology than face-to-face; we often see Vivienne surrounded by people but utterly, desperately alone. And if Fabien Constant’s direction sometimes over-eggs the pudding, the emotional truth of the story, and Parker’s nuanced, sympathetic performance, prevent it from straying too far into melodrama.

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ALL ABOUT NINA — Review by Nikki Baughan

An electric turn from Mary Elizabeth Winstead pulses through this striking feature debut from short filmmaker Eva Vives, which effectively shines a light on issues of honesty, identity and equality through the story of a stand-up comedian transplanted from cacophonous New York to the more introspective LA. While the character’s resulting journey of self-discovery may follow familiar lines, it is bracing nevertheless.

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SPOTLIGHT 9/18: Rungano Nyoni, Filmmaker, I AM NOT A WITCH

awfj spotlight black littleRungano Nyoni’s debut feature, I Am Not A Witch could be described as bold filmmaking. The story of an eight-year-old Zambian girl accused of witchcraft is both visceral drama and intelligent, powerful social commentary. Yet for writer/director Nyoni, it was simply a narrative she felt compelled to bring to an audience.

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