List Film

Reviews & features: Foreign

Rigor Mortis

20 Apr 20154 stars

Creepy Hong Kong horror from director Juno Mak paying tribute to past masters

It's an interesting coincidence that Rigor Mortis (which premiered at Venice back in 2013) hits UK cinemas just a couple of months after Kung Fu Killer. Whereas the latter paid homage to Hong Kong's martial arts movies, Rigor Mortis is a tribute to the…

Au Revoir L'Ete

20 Apr 20153 stars

Éric Rohmer-inspired Japanese drama that's heavy on charm, light on answers

With a title like that disregarding comparison to the work of French New Waver Éric Rohmer seems almost criminal. Rohmer sent the young and beautiful to bask in the rays in Conte d'été (A Summer's Tale), to talk of love whilst falling in love; yet…

Exit

20 Apr 20154 stars

Touching Taiwanese drama about longing and loneliness from Chienn Hsiang

A fine film surely influenced by the work of Tsai Ming-liang (Vive L’Amour, The River) but that manages to steer clear of his shadow, this quiet, internally restless movie is directed by Chienn Hsiang, its camera always at the service of its sensitive…

A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence

20 Apr 20154 stars

Roy Andersson concludes his 'living' trilogy with considerable style and humour

Vampire teeth, Charles XII of Sweden, a sexually inappropriate flamenco class and an opportunistic bar-owner known as 'Limping Lotta' are just some of the diverse ingredients in Roy Andersson's latest collection of absurdist anguish. A Pigeon Sat on a…

Difret

2 Mar 20153 stars

Moving Ethiopian drama focusing on the fight for a young girl's freedom

There are a lot of good films being made in Africa and we rarely get to see any of them outside of festivals, so Ethiopian filmmaker Zeresenay Mehari’s eye-opening social justice drama, based on a groundbreaking true story, deserves an…

Life of Riley

2 Mar 20154 stars

Alain Resnais' final film is an elegant closer to a fine career

Alain Resnais died last March at the age of 91, just three weeks after his final work was among the prize winners at Berlin. It's heartening to discover that the playful, experimental instincts that marked his 70 year career remained constant until the…

Force Majeure

26 Feb 20155 stars

Glasgow Film Festival: Ruben Östlund's masterful dramedy foregrounds weakness

A family skiing holiday turns rivetingly sour in Swedish writer-director Ruben Östlund's impeccably executed, discomforting dramedy, which holds humanity under an unflattering, unflinching microscope. It benefits from a simple but terrifically fruitful…

White God

23 Feb 20154 stars

Gripping canine drama from Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó

Kornél Mundruczó’s arresting, prize-winning drama imagines a revolutionary movement of cruelly abused dogs rebelling against their oppressors, and forcefully makes the point that the people running things are not as superior as they think. This…

The New Girlfriend

20 Feb 20152 stars

Glasgow Film Festival: Jumbled, Ruth Rendell-inspired drama from François Ozon

François Ozon’s latest feature takes Ruth Rendell’s short story, 'The New Girlfriend', as its jumping-off point. But fans of Rendell’s gripping thrillers won’t find much stylistic likeness in this plodding drama, which is buoyed by its…

A Second Chance

20 Feb 20154 stars

Glasgow Film Festival: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau impresses in this potent drama

Danish policeman Andreas (Game of Thrones' Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is adjusting to life as a new parent with wife Anna (Maria Bonnevie) when he visits the home of drug addicts Tristan (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) and girlfriend Sanne (May Andersen) to discover…

Blind

19 Feb 20154 stars

Glasgow Film Festival: Eskil Vogt's impressive debut explores the titular condition

Norwegian writer-director Eskil Vogt's intriguing directorial debut skilfully investigates the experience of blindness and of social alienation more generally, probing the anxieties of a woman suffering from sight-loss who's become physically and…

The Green Prince

8 Dec 20143 stars

Fascinating but flawed documentary focussing on an Israeli informant

‘The Green Prince’ was the codename used by Israel’s intelligence service for its most highly placed informant, Mosab Hassan Yousef, when he was passing information to them on Hamas’ activities during the Second Intifada. So, at least, runs Yousef’s own…

The Circle

8 Dec 20144 stars

Swiss love story about a real-life romance and the struggle for gay rights

Hogmanay 2014 will bring the first same-sex marriages in Scotland. In terms of the struggle for equality it should be a moment to reflect on battles won, rights achieved and how far the UK has come. Sadly, global events from Uganda and Russia to the…

Manakamana

8 Dec 20144 stars

A mesmeric documentary following pilgrims as they visit the titular temple

Perched atop a mountain in the Nepalese countryside, the temple of Manakamana is a destination for thousands of visitors, devotees and tourists alike, who all make the trip via a panoramic cable car. And it's in this intimate setting that the entirety…

Me, Myself and Mum

1 Dec 20143 stars

Award-winning French comedy from Guillaume Gallienne that'll amuse and bemuse

Me, Myself and Mum has been one of French cinema's surprise crowd-pleasers over the past 18-months. Feted at Cannes 2013, it was also showered with César awards, including Best Film. You suspect British audiences might regard it as more of an acquired…

Eastern Boys

1 Dec 20144 stars

Morally complex, skilfully performed French thriller from Robin Campillo

A transgressive sexual connection gives way to a deeper, far more risky bond in this elegantly made and morally complex French thriller. Daniel (Olivier Rabourdin) initially solicits young Latvian immigrant Marek (Kirill Emelyanov) solely for sex...

The Grandmaster

1 Dec 20143 stars

Stunning but emotionally undernourished martial arts biopic from Wong Kar-wai

Flying fists and the agony of unconsummated romance power Wong Kar-wai's Oscar-nominated kung fu spectacle, which receives a belated UK release after its clandestine premiere when it was unmasked as the 2013 London Film Festival's surprise film

DVD Roundup: Winter 2014

27 Nov 2014

Including François Truffaut classics, Alain Robbe-Grillet: Six Films, The Lunch Box and Frank

Most of the recent François Truffaut films released on DVD by Artificial Eye don’t need much of a recommendation: films like 400 Blows, Shoot the Pianist and Jules et Jim are masterpieces well-acknowledged. But two that might need a bit of a push are…

Edinburgh Greek Film Festival 2014

12 Nov 2014

Films showing include The Enemy Within, Miss Violence and All Cats Are Brilliant?

Greece has had it tough lately. Thanks in part to systemic political corruption and over-reliance on foreign investment, the global financial crisis set the economy reeling. A combination of public discontent and police brutality led to urban violence…

Africa in Motion 2014 film festival round-up

3 Nov 2014

Featuring Robots of Brixton, Afronauts, Beri and Amare, Picture Perfect Heist and Four Corners

Science-fiction is usually the preserve of Hollywood; new African film-makers take the visual cues of Soweto-shot sci-fi hit District 9 back to their roots. Kibwe Tavares' Robots of Brixton (●●●) mixes footage of real-life riots from 1981 with…

The Way He Looks

20 Oct 20143 stars

Charming Brazilian coming-of-age drama from director Daniel Ribeiro

The familiar growing pains of adolescence are captured from a fresh perspective in The Way He Looks, an unassuming but sweetly engaging coming-of-age drama that serves as Brazil's contender for the forthcoming Best Foreign Language Film Oscar tussle.

Mommy

20 Oct 20145 stars

London Film Festival: Xavier Dolan's fifth film is a domestic drama that's raw and hilarious

Mommy deals with the complex issues of mental illness and domestic difficulties in a way that John Cassavetes would admire: by celebrating difference and not shrinking back or judging when things get ugly. After his taut thriller Tom at the Farm…

Scotland's annual film festival Africa in Motion celebrates 20 years of freedom in South Africa

15 Oct 2014

Events include dozens of film screenings, plus talks by directors Eric Kabera and Ian Gabriel

‘I’d like audiences to come away from the festival inspired by the beauty, spirit and innovation of the continent,’ says Natalia Palombo, one of the managers of Scotland’s Africa in Motion film festival, now in its ninth year. Started in 2006 by Dr…

Winter Sleep

10 Oct 20145 stars

London Film Festival: Nuri Bilge Ceylan's Palme d'Or winning drama is epic story of family in crisis

This masterful, achingly sad story of marital decay and societal rifts is the latest from Turkish auteur Nuri Bilge Ceylan and the winner of this year's Palme d'Or. It finds a tightly wound, quietly angry family gradually unravelling in their mountain…

Wild Tales

9 Oct 20144 stars

London Film Festival: A hugely entertaining anthology film from director Damián Szifrón

Announcing its disregard for subtlety, sense, lawfulness and decency from the off, this Argentinean anthology film lays out a feast of unhinged antics, introducing us to a collection of diverse characters just as they reach their tipping…