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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SO UNREAL – Review by Nadine Whitney

In essence all gods are created by humanity as a way to explain the unknown or as a system of moral and ethical guidelines. That isn’t to say that spirituality is a falsehood, but it is perpetuated by earthly entities. In the digital age humanity created a new god – a cyber god of unlimited potential, and one that carried with it the capacity to gain sentience and turn on its maker. Amanda Kramer’s documentary So Unreal written in conjunction with Britt Brown and narrated by actor and musician Debbie Harry traces how cinema near the end of the millennia reacted to the anxiety of emerging technology and how films that might have been seen as time-capsule curiosities became remarkably prescient.

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Amanda Kramer and Britt Brown on SO UNREAL – Nadine Whitney interviews

Amanda Kramer and Britt Brown discuss the lure and fear of the early internet in So Unreal. Amanda Kramer is best known as a director of independent fiction films. Delighting and confounding audiences with such titles as Ladyworld, Give Me Pity!, and Please Baby Please. In a script written in conjunction with Britt Brown, Kramer delivers a stunning visual essay documentary So Unreal about “cyber cinema.” Nadine Whitney spoke to Kramer and Brown about their work that debuted at Fantastic Fest 2023.>

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PLEASE BABY PLEASE – Review by Leslie Combemale

The proceedings feel like a bit of a psychedelic trip without the need for acid. Andrea Riseborough as Suze literally barks and howls like a caged dog, delivering her lines with fuck-you flamboyance, as if daring the film’s audience to call her unladylike. Harry Melling’s Arthur walks an interesting line between confusion and frustration, as he outs himself little by little, vacillating between self-loathing and acceptance of his femme identity.

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WOMEN AT FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2022 – Alexandra Heller-Nicholas reports

Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival – one of the world’s biggest and most highly genre films festivals – returns in 2022 from 14 July to 3 August with its usual impressive line-up of world, national and regional premieres, as well as hosting a diverse array of international and local guests and signature special events. Of these latter, the unquestionable highlight of this year’s Fantasia is the awarding of the Canadian Trailblazer Award to pioneering filmmaker, author, critic, historian and curator, Kier-La Janisse.

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GIVE ME PITY! (IFF Rotterdam 2022) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Give Me Pity! loyally mimics the once-ubiquitous TV prime time special format, here showcasing the many talents of the fictional Sissy St. Claire (Sophie von Haselberg). It’s all the song-and-dance routine glitzy razzle dazzle synonymous with such a format, but as Sissy’s earnest, to-camera monologues unfold throughout the movie, we see the cracks in her supposedly perfect, idealized facade begin to appear.

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LADYWORLD – Review by Carol Cling

Ladyworld may be a new cinematic destination, but the territory it explores is hardly uncharted. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before (and you have): disparate characters, stranded together and struggling for survival following a cataclysmic event. Some scenarios focus on the group’s collective battle against the elements. Ladyworld follows another, equally familiar tradition: group members battling each other.

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