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  • Cold War

    Cold War

    ★★★★

    'Paweł Pawlikowski’s beautiful miniature epic Cold War begins in 1949 with musicians Wiktor (Tomasz Kot) and Irena (Agata Kulesza) trawling through the icy Polish countryside, looking to form a national troupe of traditional folk music talent. At an audition – sort of like an Eastern Bloc version of The Voice – Wiktor’s eye is caught by competitor Zula (Joanna Kulig), an enigmatic but self-assured young woman with a reciprocating eye cast on Wiktor.'

    Saw this at Edinburgh film fest and have been thinking about it non-stop since. Review at The National Student here!

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  • Climax

    Climax

    ★★★

    "Climax begins with an overhead shot of a bloodied woman stumbling across a frozen expanse, eventually collapsing and writhing around so as to make a grotesque red snow angel. It ends with a title card reading DEATH IS AN EXTRAORDINARY EXPERIENCE, the huge letters projected upside down. Subtle it ain’t – though if you wanted subtle you probably shouldn’t be watching a Gaspar Noé film.

    This is, after all, the writer-director who came to international notoriety with Irreversible (2002), the…

  • Whisper of the Heart

    Whisper of the Heart

    ★★★★½

    I've always liked Whisper of the Heart, but in the few years since I'd last seen it I'd somewhat written it off as minor Ghibli. No, this is top tier stuff: as warm, wise and wonderfully textured as any of the studio’s offerings. And I’d totally forgotten the soundtrack, a glorious mix or Legrand and Morricone.

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  • Call Me by Your Name

    Call Me by Your Name

    ★★★★★

    I wasn't sure I'd seen it. For a whole month after I first saw the film, I couldn't stop questioning whether I'd just imagined it. Finally watching it for a second time, and waiting for the scene to happen, I found myself convinced that I'd imagined it. But no, there it was, right where I'd left it. As Elio is drifting off under a tree, the Sufjan Stevens song starts playing and a kind of frame burn effect starts to…

  • Murder on the Orient Express

    Murder on the Orient Express

    Wow. I don't even know where to begin with this.

    Murder on the Orient Express is the worst film I've seen this year by a mile. Not a single moment worked for me. Kenneth Branagh is a mediocre actor and a bad director, but what precious little talent he previously may have had is nowhere to be found here. The direction is laughably bad. A special mention has to go to the shot in which the murder victim is discovered,…