DECISION TO LEAVE – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

Korean director Park Chan-wook, who earned a best director award for this film at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, packs several twists and engrossing camera work into this murder mystery, but also an elegiac romance. Think of Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo and how the femme fatale eventually became obsessed with the detective obsessed with her.

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DECISION TO LEAVE – Review by Diane Carson

Decision to Leave profiles a South Korean detective’s obsession. What subjective filters cloud any attempt to discern the truth of events, much less throughout an investigation by an experienced, self-aware South Korean homicide detective Jang Hae-joon? That’s the intriguing question director Park Chan-wook answers in exquisitely complex fashion in Decision to Leave. The catalyst for Hae-joon’s immediate crisis is a dead businessman discovered at the foot of a mountain.

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ALONERS (TIFF 2021) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Hong Sung-eun’s Aloners is an engaging film about a woman who is completely disengaged. Currently playing as part of the Discovery stream at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, the programme tells us that our protagonist Jina (Gong Seung-yeon) is part of a lifestyle phenomenon known as holojok, “a neologism formed by combining the Korean words holo (alone) and jok (group) to define the growing number of people who prefer to be left alone in one-person households, accounting for one-third of total homes in Seoul”. A low-key, thoughtful meditation on the difference between being alone and loneliness, isolation and independence, Aloners is a quiet, thoughtful and sensitive debut feature from a filmmaker to watch.

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AN OLD LADY (TIFF20) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

If elder abuse is a taboo subject that is rarely afforded the serious consideration and action that such horrors demand, then elder sexual abuse is even more so. There’s a sense of sadness that courageous and well executed film about such a difficult subject may pass unseen because the taboo nature of the subject may turn an audience off. But that is what makes this film so urgent; An Old Lady tells us something we don’t want to hear in a way that makes us forget why we refused to listen for so long.

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PARASITE – TIFF19 Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

The success of Parasite is not merely marked by great filmmaking and an intriguing storyline, but deep within its foundations lies an overwhelming understanding on Bong’s part of how bigotry operates at an almost molecular level. It’s everywhere. Parasite is a truly original black comedy about the tragic, casual normalization of the uneven terms upon which everyday class warfare is waged.

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BURNING – Review by Diane Carson

Happily for my taste, many films don’t rely on multi-million dollar budgets, flashy computer graphics, rapid-fire edits, loud explosions, and heart-stopping car chases in the service of superheroes. In alternative works, thought-provoking, carefully observed characters invite us into another person’s realm, often an individual so normal as to be unexamined and all but invisible in our own daily lives.

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TIFF18 Review: BURNING — Alexander Heller Nicholas

The blaze of admiration first sparked when Lee Chang-dong’s taut thriller Burning premiered at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival earlier this year where it competed in for the Palme d’Or and won the FIPRESCI Prize showed no signs of abating when it made its North American premiere in September at the Toronto International Film Festival.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK, March 9, 2018: CLAIRE’S CAMERA

motw logo 1-35Claire’s Camera is Cannes-centric. Filmmaker Hong Sang-soo set his quirky, genre-defying drama in the sun-drenched seaside resort as the festival takes place, but never visits the event’s star-studded glamour or industry hustle that actually surrounded the film’s Cannes premiere in 2017. And, since the story is about friendship between two women, Claire’s Camera is femme-centric, too. Continue reading…

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