List Film

Reviews & features: Foreign

FrightFest 2014: Alleluia

20 Aug 20144 stars

Volver's Lola Dueñas stars in a blood-splattered psychodrama outlining the perils of online dating

A directors' fortnight selection at Cannes 2014, this blood-splattered Belgian-French psychological horror is the fourth feature from writer-director Fabrice Du Welz. The subject is the dangers of online dating; Du Welz conjures up a small scale but…

DVD round up July 2014: New European cinema releases

16 Jul 2014

A selection of new, under-the-radar re-issues by Leos Carax, Andrzej Wajda and Krzysztof Zanussi

In this selection of DVDs there are four Polish films and two French works. Where three of the Polish movies are wonderful examples of what, in Poland in the seventies, was called the Cinema of Moral Anxiety, the French movies are by Leos Carax. Here…

Films from Nabil Ayouch and Peyman Moaadi among the highlights of Middle East Film Festival 2014

13 May 2014

The festival features screenings of Ali Zaoua, Polluting Paradise and The Snow on the Pines

This year's Middle Eastern Film Festival, which takes place at the Filmhouse in Edinburgh and GFT in Glasgow, offers an insight into the region's current political and social situation through the lens of contemporary cinema. The programme focuses on…

Alain Resnais and Jean-Pierre Melville among the highlights of Rendez-Vous with French Cinema 2014

10 Apr 2014

The UK-wide French film festival will also feature new films by Albert Dupontel and agnes b.

French film continues to celebrated as one of the most diverse, entertaining and engaging forms of cinema this month with Rendez-Vous with French Cinema, the UK-based French film festival that takes place from Wed 23–Wed 30 Apr throughout the…

The Raid 2

9 Apr 20143 stars

Some astonishing set-pieces underwhelmed by this sequel's over-complicated narrative

The first film in writer / director Gareth Evans’ proposed trilogy of martial arts thrillers was a kick-in-the-pants to the genre: a simple, fluid action film that showcased the art of pencak silat via the story of Jakarta policemen fighting their way…

The Robber

18 Mar 20144 stars

Benjamin Heisenberg's minimalist crime thriller is a thought-provoking piece of work

Filmhouse’s distribution arm continues to snap up what the UK’s mainstream film companies have left on the shelf, with a long overdue release for this Austrian thriller. Is thriller the right word? Certainly the material – based on a true story, via a…

The Past

13 Mar 20144 stars

A quietly gripping domestic drama from Asghar Farhadi, director of A Separation

With this quietly gripping domestic drama, Asghar Farhadi once again demonstrates his ability to turn keen human insight into powerfully compelling cinema. As with previous film A Separation, the Iranian writer/director uses the dissolution of a…

Suzanne

10 Mar 20143 stars

Katell Quillevere's French drama lacks the intimacy its title suggests

We first meet Suzanne as a bubbly child, living with her father and younger sister in a motherless but loving blue-collar household. A rebellious adolescence brings problems, however, and Suzanne's life quickly spins off the rails, to the perpetual…

The Lunchbox

3 Mar 20144 stars

Delightful Mumbai-set drama about an unlikely relationship

This warm and funny Indian film takes a set-up worthy of the great romantic comedies of Hollywood's golden era and develops it into a touching story of connection, with echoes of Lost in Translation in its tone and characterisation. In bustling…

Mood Indigo

24 Feb 20142 stars

Michel Gondry's latest effort is a chaotic mess overflowing with unexplained ideas

Adapted from a novel by French writer Boris Vian, Michel Gondry's return to France after the bloated Hollywood excess of The Green Hornet is a bittersweet love story overburdened by directorial tricks. There's a delicate romance buried within, but…

Love is in the Air

11 Feb 20143 stars

A fluffy French twist on a typical high concept Hollywood romantic comedy

True romance is marked by missed opportunities and second chances in Love is in the Air, a slick, fluffy French confection that slides down as easily as an extra helping of tarte tatin accompanied by a dollop of creme chantilly. It is a very French…

WATCH: the new trailer for Indonesian martial arts sequel The Raid 2

24 Jan 2014

Gareth Evans and Iko Uwais re-team for another high energy action blow-out

The trailer for Indonesian martial arts sequel The Raid 2 has landed on the internet, and it is a doozy. The film picks up once again with supercop Rama (Iko Uwais), who's now going undercover to take on the entire criminal underworld (vastly expanding…

Bastards

13 Jan 20143 stars

Claire Denis' latest is a needlessly tangled neo-noir with moments of great visual beauty

Films by Claire Denis offer certain pleasures as standard. Ravishing visuals, courtesy of her regular DoP, Agnès Godard. Stirring sounds from her musical collaborators, Tindersticks. Subtle performances from actors who tend to be awfully good looking.

The Patience Stone

11 Dec 20134 stars

A provocative drama about a wife and her comatose husband, set against a Middle East war

In an unnamed town in what could be Afghanistan, a young woman tends to her injured husband. A religious war is being fought around them, and while battling alongside his Muslim brothers the husband has taken a stray bullet in the neck. Now he is…

Opinion: Blue is the Warmest Colour is great on love, bad on lesbian sex

7 Nov 2013

Director Abdellatif Kechiche says that 'love is cosmic', but his film fails to convey queer nuances

‘There’s a banality to how a lot of directors represent female bodies and female pleasure, partly because they borrow from the industrial handbook of male-oriented pornography,’ wrote Manohla Dargis in The New York Times, after viewing Blue Is The…

French Film Festival 2013 celebrates work by Daniel Auteuil, Bruni Dumont and Costa Gravas

6 Nov 2013

Juliette Binoche, Gérard Depardieu, Romain Duris and Audrey Tautou star in this year's selection

'After the previous box office highs of The Artist and The Intouchables,' says French Film Festival UK director Richard Mowe, 'le cinéma français shows no signs of resting on its laurels and as usual we have been spoiled for choice.’ The lineup for…

Gloria

1 Nov 20134 stars

Sebastian Lelio's gentle character study is elevated by Paulina Garcia's glowing central performance

One constant criticism of Hollywood films is that older women become invisible. Forty is a dangerous age in an industry beguiled by a teenage demographic. Ironic then that some of the autumn's best films focus on older women, from Judi Dench's…

A Magnificent Haunting

28 Oct 20132 stars

Elegantly shot but emotionally lacking benign ghost story from filmmaker Ferzan Ozpetek

This benign ghost story from Turkish-Italian writer/director Ferzan Ozpetek revolves around a shy, twenty-something gay man Pietro (Elio Germano), who’s recently arrived in Rome from Sicily. A pastry chef at a bakery by night and a struggling actor by…

Nobody's Daughter Haewon

21 Oct 20134 stars

A subtle and fragile work from South Korean filmmaker Hong Sangsoo

In Hong Sangsoo’s latest film he moves away from the concept of foreign estrangement, as explored in 2012’s In Another Country, and instead focuses on issues closer to home, examining the cultural impact of rapid urbanization in South Korea. Sangsoo is…

Highlights of the Scotland Loves Anime 2013 festival

8 Oct 2013

Five reasons to visit the Glasgow and Edinburgh showcase of the latest Japanese animation

The Scotland Loves Anime festival returns for its fourth year with a broad selection of Japanese animation. Visiting both Edinburgh's Filmhouse and the GFT, the festival provides one of the few chances to see anime on the big screen in Scotland. Plus…

Metro Manila

20 Sep 20134 stars

Sean Ellis finds his directorial mojo in this taut crime thriller set in the Philippines

Sean Ellis made a big splash with his nudie short Cashback, but fell well short of expectations with the feature-length version and then a jumbled Lena Headey thriller The Broken. But now he’s taken a similar route to Gareth Evans’ hit The Raid by…

The Great Beauty

4 Sep 20134 stars

A long, sprawling, Fellini-esque portrait of modern Rome by Paolo Sorrentino

Paolo Sorrentino dares to court comparison with maestro Federico Fellini in The Great Beauty, a sprawling, virtuoso fresco of modern Rome that feels like a 21st century companion piece to La Dolce Vita. The lush visual elegance that has become a…

Paradise: Hope

1 Aug 20132 stars

The final part of Ulrich Seidl's Paradise trilogy is alienating and ultimately overstretched

Austrian writer/director Ulrich Seidl made something of a noisy entrance to the already busy field of modern cinematic provocateurs with 2007’s Import/Export depicting dementia in a rather grotesque fashion, but his Paradise trilogy hasn’t aroused quite…

From Up on Poppy Hill

29 Jul 20133 stars

Studio Ghibli's latest is an oddly conceived animation that partners community spirit with incest

Studio Ghibli have never played it safe by churning out sequels and remakes; instead they have chosen to push boundaries, notably with 1988’s groundbreaking Grave of the Fireflies, which stunningly depicted the lingering last few days of two children…

Jiseul

28 Jun 20133 stars

An impressively-realised historical drama from Korea sadly let down by weak characterisation

Widescreen and monochrome, expressively lit and chapter-headed, O Muel's film is a piece of cinema with a subject to match. In 1948 American influenced Korean troops brutally stamped out perceived communist activity on the southern island of Jeju.