A DIFFERENT MAN – Review by Serena Seghedoni

At the center of it all is New Yorker Edward (Sebastian Stan), whose facial deformities have become so severe that his doctor (John Keating) fears he might lose his eyesight soon. But it’s not just a matter of health: Edward’s entire life revolves around his condition, from the way people react to him to the lack of opportunities he’s given, and he also doesn’t have any friends. It’s a miserable existence, and though our protagonist might not be showing it on the outside, he’s on the verge of giving up on life altogether, the void he feels mirrored by a leaking hole in his flat’s ceiling that grows bigger and darker every day, as a constant reminder of his predicament.

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HIT MAN – Review by Serena Seghedoni

Hit Man’s protagonist is Gary Johnson, an extremely ordinary psychology and philosophy university professor whom you’d barely notice if you passed him on the street. But Gary has a side job, as he collaborates with the New Orleans Police in his spare time, helping them catch prospective offenders. And, when we first meet him, he’s just been promoted from “man in the van” to “contract killer.” In other words, his new role requires him to meet with ordinary people looking to hire a hit man and get their requests on tape, so that the cops can arrest them.

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THE BIKERIDERS – Review by Serena Seghedoni

Writer-director Jeff Nichols (Mud) is back, seven years after his last picture, with The Bikeriders, a film that will take the world by storm when it opens in theaters in December. Inspired by Danny Lyon’s 1968 book of the same name, containing a series of photographs and interviews with various member of a 1960s motorcycle club, the film immerses us into said Midwestern club’s world – or rather, that of a fictional one, where we get acquainted with its bikers’ daily routines, desires, and hardships.

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SALTBURN – Review by Serena Seghedoni

Emerald Fennell’s Saltburn is a wickedly subversive, exquisitely twisty character study that leaves no room for redemption and satisfying resolutions, and that’s the real genius of it. Fennell defies our expectations and delivers a clever character study disguised as an “eat the rich” satire, where everyone is a horrible person and absolutely deserves what they get.

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Berlin Film Festival 2023: Female Filmmaker Wrap – Serena Seghedoni reports

The Berlinale has been publishing a gender evaluation since 2004, and though the festival hasn’t reached gender parity yet, their inclusivity has significantly improved since 2019. If from 2002 to 2018 their percentage of female-directed films in competition amounted to 5-22%, in 2019 they almost reached gender parity with 41%, and the percentage has exceeded 30% every year since then. Their internal organization also reflects their desire to be inclusive, as they have achieved gender parity in almost all of their committees, juries, and even festival directors.

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PAST LIVES (Berlinale 2023) – Review by Serena Seghedoni

A favorite amongst audiences and critics and a strong contender for the Golden Bear is without a doubt Celine Song’s Past Lives, screened in competition after its World Premiere at Sundance and about to be distributed theatrically in the summer by A24. We first meet the film’s protagonist, her name is Na Young (Seung Ah Moon), she’s 12 years old and she lives in South Korea. But her family soon has to emigrate from the country, which means that Nora has to leave her childhood sweetheart/best friend Hae Sung behind and take on not only a new name, but also a new identity.

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CLOSE – Review by Serena Seghedoni

In Lukas Dhont’s tender and tragic coming of age story, it’s best if you go into the movie knowing very little about it, letting each new development sink in until the film reaches its resolution, and you’re left with an experience that spoke to your very core. Suffice it to say that when the two central characters — best friend teenage boys — stop talking to each other, Close> immediately evolves into a completely different kind of movie

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TAR – Review by Serena Seghedoni

In TÁR, writer, director and producer Todd Field (In The Bedroom) provides us with the character study of a brilliant, pretentious, cruel genius who gets no redemption by the time the credits roll. Is the filmmaker making a point about the nature of art, talent and creativity? Is he showing us a successful woman who just so happens to be a horrible person and asking us if we’d judge her as harshly if she were a man? Or is he turning the tables on us, showing us that a sexual predator – which is arguably who Lydia Tár eventually turns out to be – doesn’t always look like what we’d expect them to be?

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