Trollhunter (2010)

By Jacob Mertens. The towering behemoth of a forest troll looms over the cameraman, its three heads sniffing the air violently, a shaggy tail swishing through the brush. The scene is punctuated by percussive shifts between night vision and standard, as the awkward bulk of the troll evaporates in darkness […]

Bridesmaids (2011)

By Jacob Mertens. There’s a lot at play with the new female-driven comedy Bridesmaids, directed by Paul Feig. The chaos of marriage and weddings, and the fluctuating dynamic of long sustained friendship is all laid bare, while a balance is constantly maintained between frivolous humor and genuine emotion. More importantly, […]

Alain Resnais: Wild Grass (2009)

By Kierran Horner. The opening sequence of Resnais’ latest film is an abstract one; a non-narrative medium-shot of a tower in a field, disused one assumes, into which the camera passes, through a blackened doorway. From this blackout, an edit posits us in close-up above a crack in a road […]

A Minor Buñuel: Susana

By Kierran Horner. Susana (1951) is a minor Buñuel film, even within the scope of his comparatively weak Mexican period, as director for hire. A melodrama, ostensibly in the moralistic mould of Hogarth’s ‘A Harlot’s Progress’ say, it plots the brief rise and re-descent of its eponymous, sexually-suffused anti-heroine. Depicted […]

CinemAfrica 2: Outside the Law

By Daniel Lindvall. With Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi, 2010; an Algerian, French, Belgian and Tunisian co-production) director and co-writer Rachid Bouchareb follows up his Days of Glory (Indigènes, 2006). The latter film dealt with the discrimination against North African colonial soldiers fighting for France in World War Two. After a […]

The Illusionist: ‘There are no magicians’

By Daniel Lindvall. In 2003 The Triplets of Belleville, with its unlikely, irrepressibly feisty and combative, elderly heroines, took us by storm. Now, French animator and director Sylvain Chomet follows it up with his second feature-length film, The Illusionist (2010). Let me say at once, viewers who expect more of […]

CinemAfrica 1: Viva Riva! and The Last Flight of the Flamingo

By Daniel Lindvall. CinemaAfrica is Stockholm’s annual African film festival. The 12th edition, 23-28 March 2011, screened 43 films from 16 countries, not counting a block of 15 animated short films. The programme included films by directors well known to international art house audiences, such as Chadian Mahamat Saleh Haroun […]

My Heart of Darkness (Sweden, 2011)

By Daniel Lindvall. The title of Staffan Julén and Marius van Niekerk’s documentary My Heart of Darkness obviously evokes Joseph Conrad’s nightmare tale of the European colonization of Africa. Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (first published as a three-part magazine series in 1899) revealed the brutality of European rule, but it […]

‘Ladies and gentlemen, I am an oilman’: There Will Be Blood

By Bryan Nixon. I cling to films that strive to reach the cinematic outer limits, such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Apocalypse Now, and 8 1/2; I dare say that There Will Be Blood is one of those films. It is a film defining corruption and greed that tears apart […]

Bumbling Towards Ecstacy: Man on Wire

By Deirdre Devers. Truth really is stranger than fiction. Our 21st century mediascape is saturated with personal and very public spectacles that are so commonplace as to become low wattage visual fodder. There’s the live coverage of David Blaine’s test of endurance whilst frozen in a block of ice in […]