Author: Jordan Adler

Review: Frantz

In Germany after World War I, a feeling of defeat is permanent. For Anna (Paula Beer), that grief extends to going to the cemetery every day to mourn the loss of her betrothed, Frantz (Anton Von Lucke, in flashbacks). One day, she finds a French coin on Frantz’s grave, placed by an old friend of the fallen named Adrien (Pierre Niney). Adrien is French, has just come back from war, and is in the small town of Quedlinburg to mourn his friend. However, as animosity between two national enemies remains a constant, Anna and Adrien try to find a...

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Review: Mr. Gaga

Ohad Naharin is a leading choreographer in his native Israel and a past star of New York’s dance scene in the 1980s. Although he didn’t apply to Israel’s renowned Batsheva Dance Company until his twenties, Naharin soon attracted the eye of Martha Graham. She brought him to New York, where his bold, animalistic movements helped to launch him to stardom. But after a decade of fame and romance in New York, Naharin returns to his homeland and became Batsheva’s artistic director. Mr. Gaga explores the life, as well as the acclaim and controversy, of a dynamic, original figure in modern dance. Any...

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Canadian Film Fest 2017 Review: Modern Classic

Jono (J.M.B. Hunter) and Dave (David C. Grimes) are best friends hoping to collaborate on a first feature; a black-and-white psychological drama about a miserable drunk. Jono struggles to keep his screenplay drafts straight and is having trouble selling the story, which he wants to direct, to producers. Dave is his first choice to play the hapless protagonist, but has chosen an unconventional Method route – self-destructive drinking – to get into character. As they navigate the ruthless Canadian film scene, Jono and Dave have to adjust to the demands and sacrifices of low-budget filmmaking, which could impact their...

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Review: The Settlers

Over the last 50 years, the Israeli settlement enterprise has created turmoil between Israelis and Palestinians. Primarily built in the West Bank, these new homes and townships for Jewish inhabitants have received a polarizing reaction from around the world, due to their construction on occupied territory. Nevertheless, these projects continued unabated, with the help of the Israeli government. Filmmaker Shimon Dotan visits many of these controversial areas to speak with their citizens, including some religious extremists. Meanwhile, the director chronicles the contentious conflicts that have occurred as a result of these expansionist aims. This raw, riveting documentary may not be...

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Review: Shadow Girl

While editing one of her films in Toronto, Canadian-Chilean documentary filmmaker Maria Teresa Larrain began to lose her sight. This was expected, as Larrain had inherited her mother’s progressive myopia. Unable to receive benefits from the Canadian government, Larrain returns home to Santiago to reconnect with her extended family. In Chile, she has to learn how to cope with her increasing blindness, as well as try to document this journey through the way she knows best: film images. The new (and likely final) film from Larrain is a poignant first-person documentary that alleviates a difficult battle of blindness with...

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Review: A Man Called Ove

After the death of his wife Sonja (Ida Engvoll), the cantankerous Ove (Rolf Lassgård) has lost much of his will to live. He is an aggravating presence around his community, scowling at and insulting the locals while trying to enforce the rules around the block with the utmost strictness. Every afternoon, Ove heads to Sonja’s grave to complain about his woes and irritations. However, when a family of four moves in next door to him, Ove cannot help but find friendship with pregnant mother Parvaneh (Bahar Pars) and her two delightful children. 2016 was a terrific year for cinema...

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Review: Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art

In the late 1960s, a few American artists began to abandon the gallery space for wide, open spaces. Bringing their cameras and equipment to desert plains, forests and rivers, these land artists (also called “earth artists”) desired to make a mark on a larger canvas. In this new documentary, the idiosyncratic, large-scale work of various land artists is, ahem, unearthed. From the “negative” Nevada sculptures of Michael Heizer to Robert Smithson’s construction of the Spiral Jetty, these adventurous artworks expanded, for many, the concept of what art is and where it could exist. James Crump’s new documentary examines the...

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