Payal Kapadia, first Indian to win the Grand Prix at Cannes – Interview by Mythily Ramachandran (Exclusive)

Payal Kapadia, first Indian to win the Grand Prix at Cannes – Interview by Mythily Ramachandran (Exclusive)

At the recently concluded Cannes Film Festival, Indian director Payal Kapadia etched her name for eternity in the annals of cinema history by winning the ‘Grand Prix.’ Kapadia’s debut feature All We Imagine As Light, was singled out among 22 entries. Her contenders included the likes of Andrea Arnold, Francis Ford Coppola, Jia Zhange-Ke, Paolo Sorrentino, Sean Baker, and Ali Abbasi. Kapadia is the first Indian woman filmmaker to win the coveted prize. No other Indian director had ever competed for the honour nor bagged it. Thirty years ago, Malayalam director Shaji N Karun’s Swaham‘ qualified at Cannes for the competition category in 1994. Mythily Ramachandran spoke to Kapadia about the making of her film and making history at Cannes.

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PUPPY LOVE – Review by Justina Walford

PUPPY LOVE – Review by Justina Walford

Puppy Love is a loving documentary about a healthy litter of Labrador puppies that suddenly become paralyzed. Their breeder, Cindy, is advised to put them down, but she resolves to make them better, taking back every dog that falls ill from their adopters to dedicate her time and resources to their health. In fact, her goal is not only to help them walk, it is to help them thrive as intelligent and active dogs. So she and a group of tenacious women use every possible solution to bring these dogs back to health despite vets and people in the dog community having different opinions. First and foremost, if you love dogs and you love the people who go out of their way to take care of them, this is a solid film.

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BIRTH/REBIRTH – Review by Justina Walford

BIRTH/REBIRTH – Review by Justina Walford

My favorite horror films are symbolic shadow work, a protagonist who is quintessentially “the good one” and another living our darkest intrusive thoughts, with the darkness mentoring the light in a grim spiritual and moral journey. Birth/Rebirth is that film. Marin Ireland is delicious as the snarky, cruel morgue technician Dr. Caspar who, instead of taking on lovers, masturbates men in bathrooms for their sperm. Judy Reyes is devastating as Celie, a nurse who suddenly loses her daughter, Lila, and is plagued by guilt for how little she was present for her daughter in her last moments.

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KLONDIKE – Review by Justina Walford

KLONDIKE – Review by Justina Walford

When we see expectant parents, we think of nurseries and colorful mobiles with the laughter of nervous parents emotionally in sync and awaiting their important day. But in the dark of Klondike’s opening scene, it doesn’t take long to realize that this typical expectant parents’ conversation is not what we expect. The couple has a hole in their house. The environment is bleak and brown. And their conversation is interrupted by a loud explosion. So now we expect a drama with action and blood. But no. Again, we are turned around by the dry, absurdist wit of writer and director Maryna Er Gorbach, and we see this couple struggle with the mundane as much as with the mind games of politics and war.

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MILLIE LIES LOW – Review by Justina Walford

MILLIE LIES LOW – Review by Justina Walford

Millie Lies Low goes headlong into the mistakes people make. Millie is on her way to New York for a prestigious internship, but she has a panic attack and gets stuck in her hometown. Instead of telling her friends and family that she missed her flight and can’t afford another one, she decides to fake her trip to New York on social media. Her life devolves from there, with each secretive misstep leading to worse and worse consequences. Big mistakes leading to bigger mistakes.

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BLUE JEAN – Review by Justina Walford

BLUE JEAN – Review by Justina Walford

Dramas set in the 80s walk a tightrope, often forcing us into a sense of nostalgia, romanticizing the decade even though it was far from inclusive. LGBTQ coming-out films also walk a tightrope, usually stuck in a world of early LGBTQ challenges without showing a character existing beyond the struggle of identity. Blue Jean is both of these genres. Yet, the combination defies the challenges and comes off beautifully as a sincere dialogue and, in some ways, a sincere amends and admiration among generations. Writer-director Georgia Oakley has crafted a narrative that is historically relevant and tragically resonant today. The story is interwoven with television and radio updates highlighting the conservative government’s efforts, led by Margaret Thatcher, to enact discriminatory legislation against the LGBT community.

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CLOSE TO VERMEER – Review by Justina Walford

CLOSE TO VERMEER – Review by Justina Walford

Suzanne Raes’ documentary,”Closer to Vermeer, delves into the enigmatic world of Johannes Vermeer, the celebrated painter behind masterpieces like “Girl with a Pearl Earring.” Little is truly known about the artist himself, and that mystery has been studied and debated by scholars as long as his art has been known. This documentary’s essential story is not about Vermeer as much as Vermeer is the framework to tell an even more riveting tale. As the camera pans so intimately close to Vermeer’s paint and canvas, we see the gloves and scopes of study, gently poring over every dab of paint.

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ANNA NICOLE SMITH: YOU DON’T KNOW ME – Review by Justina Walford

ANNA NICOLE SMITH: YOU DON’T KNOW ME – Review by Justina Walford

Ursula Macfarlane’s documentary You Don’t Know Me about the glamorous life and tragic end of supermodel and early reality star Anna Nicole Smith is a poignant journey taking us through the upheavals and complexities of a woman who seemed to have it all. For those who watched Smith’s rise and fall in real-time, there is a temptation to assume we already know the whole story. A woman whose life was so exposed to the world hid so little, but we soon learn she also used that exposure to manipulate media and those around her. Macfarlane’s film offers a nuanced perspective on Smith’s story, and successfully tries to fit the many facets of such a layered life into just under two hours.

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EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH (L’employée du mois) – Review by Justina Walford

EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH (L’employée du mois) – Review by Justina Walford

Véronique Jadin’s Employee Of The Month (L’employée du mois) is an office comedy with a bloody twist seen through the eyes of long-suffering EcoClean office manager Ines and the new intern Melody. The film starts with a pan of the EcoClean office: a generic set up of old desks, shelves of product perfectly lined up, and all the clues of an organized office manager keeping it spotless and character-less except for a fish – a solitary, silent fish.

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Tallgrass Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Sarah Moshman on UNBOUND

Tallgrass Film Festival Filmmaker Interview: Sarah Moshman on UNBOUND

Sarah Moshman, daughter of documentary filmmaker Harvey Moshman, grew up on set, so to speak, and has since early childhood wanted filmmaking to be her fulltime profession. She’s worked primarily in television, producing and directing segments for prominent news shows and popular series. In 2013, she won an Emmy. In 2015, she won a Gracie. […]

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