Sophie von Haselburg on LOVE…RECONSIDERED, GIVE ME PITY! and Being American Royalty – Nadine Whitney interviews

Sophie von Haselburg knows a bit about being “American Royalty,” but she has never traded on her famous parents (Bette Midler and artist Martin von Haselburg) for career recognition. Sophie prefers to work in indie films and smaller roles. In Love… Reconsidered she plays thirty-something Ruby Goldberg who has little to show for her life except fifteen failed careers and a rich ex-boyfriend. Nadine Whitney talks to Sophie about what it means to perform authenticity and her work with Amanda Kramer in Give Me Pity!.

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HE WENT THAT WAY – Review by Nadine Whitney

Now deceased Australian director Jeffrey Darling’s only feature is the definition of “missed opportunity.” It is hoping to be some odd buddy comedy road trip movie with a “misunderstood” psychopath Bobby Falls (Jacob Elordi) hanging out with the broke and desperate Jim (Zachary Quinto) and a soon to be passed his use by date chimp called Spanky (played by Terry Notary’s child Phoenix). What the audience gets instead is a very messy sermon on how Bobby might have been different if someone handled his primal nature with the same care Jim showed Spanky.

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DAMAGE – Review by Nadine Whitney

Madeline Blackwell’s Damage is a deliberately liminal film. The script is wonderful and it is given full voice by the first-time actors and the several cinematographers who worked on the film. Damage is a beautiful meditation on being and not being – weighted in realism and magic realism, and shared humanity. A stunning debut by a voice of which Australian and international audiences should take note.

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SHADOW OF THE SUN – Review by Nadine Whitney

Miguel Ángel Ferrer’s debut feature and international Oscar submission The Shadow of the Sun is an enriching and emotional journey which unites two brothers who live in Acarigua a remote and insular city as they follow their dreams to present a song at a music competition in Caracas. Although The Shadow of the Sun is a touch formulaic it redeems itself with being cheeky, charming, tragic, and magical. Miguel Ángel Ferrer has made a glorious film which is an ode to brotherhood and acceptance, and most of all to living out loud and not hiding in anyone’s shadow.

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SALTBURN – Review by Nadine Whitney

Emerald Fennell’s baroque psychosexual thriller wants you to have fun. There are lines that are spun with a golden malice. She has no pity for the upper crust and delights in displaying how insular they are and how easily they wield their wealth and titles. Their peccadillos are supposed to be transgressive, but in effect they are just the result of bored rich people needing their fix from extending a form of noblesse oblige.

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NEXT GOAL WINS – Review by Nadine Whitney

The best one can say about Next Goal Wins is it’s cute. The worst would require a complete breakdown of where Taika Waititi is stumbling as an artist. Too many jokes far too often that many of them just fail to land. There is some great writing, some wonderful performances, but Next Goal Wins is a cluttered mess which could have benefitted from slowing its madcap pace. It certainly isn’t the worst thing either Waititi or Michael Fassbender have done, but it is also far from the best. Waititi has scored his own goal by being remarkably repetitive. Next Goal Wins is not a winner.

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VERA – Review by Nadine Whitney

true. Vera’s essentially stalled career because she was not as beautiful as her father. Vera’s addiction to plastic surgery. Vera’s tenuous financial situation which requires her to turn up and be seen at events. A woman in her early fifties who looks a decade older because of the surgery she has undergone and was first introduced to by her mother as a child who wanted to perfect her looks.

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BLAGA’S LESSONS – Review by Nadine Whitney

In Blaga’s Lessons, director Stephan Komandarev crafts not only a crime thriller but also a lesson about Bulgaria itself. Blaga’s Lessons is an angry film about not only a woman, but also a country, trying to find some kind of dignity. The film is rooted in the harsh reality that there are large areas of the Balkans which are blind spots to the rest of Europe. They are the sites of widespread corruption, crime, and despite being part of the European Union they see little of the benefits that come to other “westernised” countries. Once being essentially a satellite state of the USSR, Bulgaria has not been able to easily adjust to free market capitalism. Blaga is one woman but she is representative of many. A former teaching colleague is now a supermarket cashier and grateful for her job where she is humiliated by her boss.

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Cecilia Aldarondo on docu-fiction and YOU WERE MY FIRST BOYFRIEND – Nadine Whitney interviews

In You Were My First Boyfriend, filmmaker Cecilia Aldarondo returns to her adolescence in Winter Park, Florida to recreate sections of the experiences that she felt defined her as an adult. The opening of the painfully intimate docu-fiction is a hazy recreation of a school dance with Cecilia as an adult dressed as her teen self interacting with young actors playing her contemporaries in the mid-nineties. It feels like a horror film come to life, because for so many going back to that vulnerable period is something we only do in nightmares, especially if for some reason we were outsiders at school. Cecilia, a Puerto Rican woman was not the ideal thin white girl. She wanted a boyfriend, popularity, a feeling of belonging, but could never quite achieve it. Cecelia talks about immersive docu-fiction and other works that inspired You Were My First Boyfriend.

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YOU WERE MY FIRST BOYFRIEND – Review by Nadine Whitney

You Were My First Boyfriend might appear to be Cecilia Aldarondo’s personal catharsis, but it is much more. The experiences she describes exist beyond her milieu and are timeless. Few teens are cheerleaders and athletes in the in-crowd. You Were My First Boyfriend will resonate with people of all ages, anyone who felt that they were broken in adolescence and cannot parse why. You Were My First Boyfriend is a painful and beautiful journey where Cecilia Aldarondo lays her soul bare for all to see. We want to hold the hand of the young woman she was and the wonderfully brave woman she is.

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