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  • Foxtrot

    Foxtrot

    ★★★★

    On second viewing this has lost none of its emotional power.
    Israeli director Samuel Maoz gives us a slow, sad, quiet, contemplative three act tragedy set in present day Israel. A mother and father are given some bad news about their son Jonathan, who's serving in the Israeli Army. We then see Jonathan's life in the surreal remote checkpoint (codename Foxtrot) and finally the consequences for the family.
    It's about the futility of war, grief, blame and the inability to…

  • Breaking the Waves

    Breaking the Waves

    ★★★★

    This was a tough watch, both from the length and style of the film and the subject matter. I found it quite overwhelming and had to break down the viewing into three parts.
    Although this came out just before the first official Dogme 95 film, it follows most of the rules of that manifesto including the hand-held jiggly out-of-focus camerawork which can sometimes be difficult to watch.
    Set in Scotland, it features authentic Highland accents and an authentic representation of…

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  • The Childhood of Maxim Gorky

    The Childhood of Maxim Gorky

    ★★★★

    The first in a trilogy, the film tells the story of 12-year-old Alexei Maximovich Peshkov, later known as Maxim Gorky, one of the foremost Russian/Soviet writers and five-time nominee for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
    The film is set in the late 19th century (around 1880) in Tsarist Russia and shows young Alexei having a difficult time living mostly with his grandparents (kindly grandmother, strict grandfather), with his mother occasionally joining them.
    Aleksei Lyarsky gives a fine performance as Aleksei,…

  • The Grifters

    The Grifters

    ★★½

    The three leads were fine and I like Stephen Frears as a director but the story, like the visuals, I found flat and uninteresting.
    An updated noir with strong female leads and some nudity (but typically all female), this should have been right up my street but I just couldn't engage with it and couldn't understand the characters' motivations for the way they were behaving. Good opening title sequence, though.