WHERE IS THE LIE? (Slamdance 2023) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Where Is The Lie? is a vibrant bubblegum-colored dramedy about transphobia and social media based – shockingly – on a real-life story that went viral on Twitter. Filipino director Quark Henares knows a lot about how to make a film pop. The extraordinary performance of EJ Jallorina, a trans actress, is the heart and soul of the movie. A well-known child star in the Philippines, much of Jallorina’s life has played out in public, with significant personal milestones all taking place under the public eye. She surely knows first hand the power and pressure of social media on young trans women in this region.

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THE GIRL WHO WAS CURSED (Slamdance 2023) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

The brainchild of writer/director Zara Dwinger, the film follows the eponymous Gizem (Sinem Kavus), a Turkish-Dutch stoner who has let pretty much her whole damned life go to seed after quitting music school and losing interest in everything except for getting high and spying on her neighbours from her apartment through her trusty binoculars. The Girl Who Was Cursed is an elegant, eloquent micro-noir with a dark comic flavor, the perfect US calling card for both Dwinger and Kavus who are very much names to watch.

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THE UNDERBUG (Slamdance 2023) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

It’s the evening before Independence Day in India, an event that plays a significant although subtle backdrop to the events that unfold in Shujaat Saudagar’s gripping supernatural chamber piece The Underbug. While the radio talkback shows that pepper the film in the background feature a steady flow of callers chatting with the host about what “freedom” means to them, we have already, at the outset of the film, learned that not everyone is feeling so celebratory. Riots have broken out with terrifying violence permeating some areas, and people are warned to stay indoors.

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A PERFECT DAY FOR CARIBOU (Slamdance 2023) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Writer/producer/director Jeff Rutherford has crafted a surprisingly powerful and deeply moving portrait of three generations of broken men. A masterclass in a film that looks simple but is in fact anything but, A Perfect Day for Caribou is an unmissable highlight of the 2023 Slamdance festival

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NEW RELIGION (Slamdance 2023) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

It takes mere moments for Keishi Kondo’s feature debut New Religion to pull you in and drag you under. An unrelenting, drone-heavy soundtrack throbs, amplifying the already fever-pitch intensity of the red-drenched onslaught of abstract imagery that cluster and cling together, rendering the film’s pre-credit sequence an experience all on its own. New Religion is an aggressive slow burn of a movie – it knows where it’s going and it confidently takes its time to get there, knowing the journey is as crucial here as the destination.

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NUT JOBS (Slamdance 2023) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

The plot is convoluted, sure, but deliberately so, as all of its seemingly disparate threads weave together nicely as the film hurtles towards its outrageous conclusion. This is low-budget filmmaking at its finest; it’s joyful, it’s ambitious, and it’s precisely the kind of film that Slamdance has built its reputation on showcasing. Nut Jobs welcomes you to be a part of its in-joke, an invitation that you will either accept heartily or resist, and poor fool you if you opt for the latter – this film is an indie delight.

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