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  • Portrait of a Lady on Fire

    Portrait of a Lady on Fire

    ★★★★★

    What an extraordinary film. I don't think I've watched one with this level of quiet intensity for ages. The cinematography is sublime, the performances by all the leads are perfect examples of how to convey more with less, and how refreshing to watch a film in which the majority of screen time is carried (expertly) by four women alone.

  • The Vast of Night

    The Vast of Night

    ★★★

    I really wanted to love this, but ended up just liking it. The middle is tense and exciting but it is bookended by what feels like filler. It has the feeling of style over substance.

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  • The Secret of Kells

    The Secret of Kells

    ★★★★★

    Along with Grave of the Fireflies, I think this has to be the most beautiful animated film I've seen. I was entranced and stunned by the sheer style of it the whole way through. The story is based around the creation of the Book of Kells - an illuminated Gospel produced around 800 AD, but weaves in elements of Celtic mythology. The hero - a young monk called Brendan - lives in the monastery of Kells, where his Uncle is…

  • The Four Times

    The Four Times

    ★★★★

    This isn't a film you should see if you demand that films have a dense plot, exciting dialogue, thrilling suspense and so on. This is a nearly wordless film (there's certainly no dialogue) and almost nothing of great note happens. And yet it is a really beautiful film.

    We observe (I use that word deliberately) a community in Calabria with the focus in each quarter of the film on a slightly different thing. First we follow an elderly goatherd and…