TRUE MOTHERS (TIFF20) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

True Mothers is first and foremost a movie about feeling in every sense of the word. Naomi Kawase’s emphasis on ‘feeling’ is harmonized as physical and emotional; the film is punctuated by a steady stream of close ups of hands, highlighting their gestural capacity to communicate complex feelings without words, but also to connection with another person through touch.

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UNDER THE OPEN SKY (TIFF20) – Review by Alaxendra Heller-Nicholas

This film is unambiguous in its status as a social issues melodrama, with all the pros and cons that combination implies. But at its heart is Koji Yakusho’s moving performance. Under the Open Sky may not be the most original film of the year, but it is undeniably touching, due in large part to the combination of director Miwa Nishikawa and actor Kôji Yakusho’s empathy for complex characters.

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SHOPLIFTERS – Review by Marietta Steinhart (Guest Post)

Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters is a tender, strangely powerful and sad exploration of what makes a real family and implies that we often find true compassion among the strangers we encounter in the world. The film won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, claimed the FIPRESCI Prize for Best Foreign Language Film at Palm Springs International Film Festival and is nominated for a best foreign-language film Oscar.

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