Film, Foreign

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A Magnificent Haunting

28 Oct 20132 stars

Elegantly shot but emotionally lacking benign ghost story from filmmaker Ferzan Ozpetek

This benign ghost story from Turkish-Italian writer/director Ferzan Ozpetek revolves around a shy, twenty-something gay man Pietro (Elio Germano), who’s recently arrived in Rome from Sicily. A pastry chef at a bakery by night and a struggling actor by…

Nobody's Daughter Haewon

21 Oct 20134 stars

A subtle and fragile work from South Korean filmmaker Hong Sangsoo

In Hong Sangsoo’s latest film he moves away from the concept of foreign estrangement, as explored in 2012’s In Another Country, and instead focuses on issues closer to home, examining the cultural impact of rapid urbanization in South Korea. Sangsoo is…

Highlights of the Scotland Loves Anime 2013 festival

8 Oct 2013

Five reasons to visit the Glasgow and Edinburgh showcase of the latest Japanese animation

The Scotland Loves Anime festival returns for its fourth year with a broad selection of Japanese animation. Visiting both Edinburgh's Filmhouse and the GFT, the festival provides one of the few chances to see anime on the big screen in Scotland. Plus…

Metro Manila

20 Sep 20134 stars

Sean Ellis finds his directorial mojo in this taut crime thriller set in the Philippines

Sean Ellis made a big splash with his nudie short Cashback, but fell well short of expectations with the feature-length version and then a jumbled Lena Headey thriller The Broken. But now he’s taken a similar route to Gareth Evans’ hit The Raid by…

The Great Beauty

4 Sep 20134 stars

A long, sprawling, Fellini-esque portrait of modern Rome by Paolo Sorrentino

Paolo Sorrentino dares to court comparison with maestro Federico Fellini in The Great Beauty, a sprawling, virtuoso fresco of modern Rome that feels like a 21st century companion piece to La Dolce Vita. The lush visual elegance that has become a…

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Paradise: Hope

1 Aug 20132 stars

The final part of Ulrich Seidl's Paradise trilogy is alienating and ultimately overstretched

Austrian writer/director Ulrich Seidl made something of a noisy entrance to the already busy field of modern cinematic provocateurs with 2007’s Import/Export depicting dementia in a rather grotesque fashion, but his Paradise trilogy hasn’t aroused quite…

From Up on Poppy Hill

29 Jul 20133 stars

Studio Ghibli's latest is an oddly conceived animation that partners community spirit with incest

Studio Ghibli have never played it safe by churning out sequels and remakes; instead they have chosen to push boundaries, notably with 1988’s groundbreaking Grave of the Fireflies, which stunningly depicted the lingering last few days of two children…

Jiseul

28 Jun 20133 stars

An impressively-realised historical drama from Korea sadly let down by weak characterisation

Widescreen and monochrome, expressively lit and chapter-headed, O Muel's film is a piece of cinema with a subject to match. In 1948 American influenced Korean troops brutally stamped out perceived communist activity on the southern island of Jeju.

Comrade Kim Goes Flying

26 Jun 20133 stars

An enjoyable, family-friendly drama from North Korean

When talking about North Korea, we tend to think of nuclear tests and one of the last Communist autocracies in the world. So when this North Korean/western co-production was billed in the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2013 programme as a…

Come As You Are

25 Jun 20133 stars

Three young disabled men head to a special brothel in Spain

Think of a story of three friends on a quest to lose their virginity and you may think of American Pie, but in Belgian drama Come As You Are, each of the protagonists is struggling with more than just hormones: each one also has a disability. Geoffrey…

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Paradise: Love

14 Jun 20133 stars

An unsettling romantic drama of moods and moments that doesn't quite gel into a compelling whole

The pursuit of happiness leads to inevitable disappointment in Paradise: Love, the first in a trilogy from Austrian director Ulrich Seidl that focuses on three women from the same family. In Love, plump, fifty-something mother Teresa (Margarete Tiesel…

The Stoker (Kochegar)

17 May 20134 stars

A strange, dark and clever Russian black comedy with an unexpectedly forceful moral message

Edinburgh’s beloved Filmhouse cinema has chosen an unusual and intriguing curio for its first release as a distributor. Directed by the prolific Alexey Balabanov - known for his unflinching but darkly comic fables of the Russian criminal underworld…

Dragon

30 Apr 20134 stars

Fast-moving martial arts flick with dazzling action scenes

A welcome entry to the martial arts genre, Peter Chan's Dragon is a fast-moving action thriller that has the brains to match its brawn. Set in the Yunnan province in China in 1917, the film picks up as peaceful handyman Liu Jinxi (Donnie Yen) is forced…

I’m So Excited

18 Apr 20133 stars

Pedro Almodóvar returns to the brassy style of his earlier films

The new comedy from beloved Spanish auteur Pedro Almodóvar begins with a message assuring us that the film ‘is fiction and fantasy, and has no connection to reality’; a provocation to assume the opposite is true if ever there was one. But while there…

Five reasons to go to the Italian Film Festival in Scotland 2013

17 Apr 2013

Every Blessed Day, The Commander and the Stork and Piazza Fontana among the festival highlights

The Commander and the Stork 'This is by director Silvio Soldini, who has been to the festival a couple of times in the past. He also made Bread and Tulips, which was very popular when we showed it. We’ve been very supportive of him. It’s a magic…

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Me and You (Io e te)

16 Apr 20133 stars

Bernardo Bertolucci's family drama is a minor triumph, starring Jacopo Olmo Antinori and Tea Falco

Bernardo Bertolucci probably never expected to direct another feature film which is why the mere existence of Me and You is a minor triumph. Plagued by ill health over the past decade and now confined to a wheelchair, the director of Last Tango In Paris…

Everybody Has a Plan

16 Apr 20132 stars

Viggo Mortensen stars in this schlocky-but-solemn, slow-paced Argentine noir

Not necessarily a good plan, though, eh? Viggo Mortensen here plays Agustin, a classy Argentinian paediatrician who, frustrated by his bourgeois life and his wife’s attempts to further pin him down by adopting a child, takes advantage of an unexpected…

In the Fog

16 Apr 20134 stars

A stately, austere and richly atmospheric war film from director Sergei Loznitsa

‘I have done nothing wrong,’ insists railway worker Sushenya (Vladimir Svirskiy), when two local partisans Burov (Vladislav Abashin) and Voitik (Sergei Kolesov) call on his modest family home. We’re in occupied Belarus in 1942, and a group of saboteurs…

Rebellion

16 Apr 20134 stars

A deft portrayal of the French Pacific 1988 Ouvea conflict from actor/director Mathieu Kassovitz

In Rebellion (L'Ordre Et La Morale), Mathieu Kassovitz revisits events on the French Pacific territory of Ouvea in New Caledonia in 1988 when a small local uprising was met by the full force of the French army. Kassovitz's hard-hitting reconstruction…

Thursday Till Sunday

28 Mar 20133 stars

A beautifully-crafted but directionless Chilean drama about marital strife

This South American drama depicts a four-day cross-country car journey taken by a family, for reasons kept intentionally vague, from the perspective of 12-year old Lucia (newcomer Santi Ahumada), travelling with her parents and little brother Manuel.

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Baise-Moi

22 Mar 20133 stars

The low budget, sex and violence-filled movie is available uncut in the UK for the first time

When it comes to splitting opinion straight down the midriff, few films from the last couple of decades have been quite so marmite as Baise-Moi. For some, this low-budget French movie from 2000 was simply a porno with a bit more story than usual. For…

Matteo Garrone, director of satirical drama Reality - interview

19 Mar 2013

The filmmaker behind astounding Mafia portrait Gomorrah turns his eye to reality TV

It was thanks to his theatre critic father that Italian film director Matteo Garrone first came across the work of the Fortezza theatre company, based at a maximum-security prison in Tuscany. ‘I used to go with my dad to see lots of plays,’ recalls the…

Post Tenebras Lux

18 Mar 20134 stars

A probing, ambitious and frequently exasperating work from Mexican visionary Carlos Reygadas

The marvellous Mexican director Carlos Reygadas (Japon, Battle in Heaven, Silent Light) is a filmmaker given to making films that jar. Whether it is a suicidal solitary having sex with a woman in her mid-seventies or the aloof sex club where the central…

Profile: Francois Ozon, director of In the House

8 Mar 2013

The former enfant terrible of French cinema on his dislike of writing and admiration for Hitchcock

Born 15 November, 1967, Paris Background On the basis of his early shorts See the Sea and A Summer’s Dress and his debut feature Sitcom, writer-director Francois Ozon was labelled in the late 1990s as an enfant terrible of French cinema. He has…

Blancanieves

26 Feb 20134 stars

1920s set silent take on the Snow White story, with seven bullfighting dwarves

It’s going to be difficult to get through a review of Blancanieves without mentioning The Artist, so let’s get it out of the way now. Both films are European, black and white, reduced format silent films in romanticised 20th century period settings.