Sundance 2022 review: Every Day in Kaimukī (Alika Maikau)

“When the non-professional actors play versions of themselves, no matter how distant the plot is from their actual lives, Every Day in Kaimukī succeeds.”

Alika Maikau`s Every Day in Kaimukī follows the twenty-something Naz (Naz Kawakami, a non-professional actor who also co-wrote the screenplay) as he prepares to leave his hometown O’ahu in Hawaiʻi behind and move to New York. He has always lived in O’ahu and that is what forces him to move; to him, it feels wrong to spend one’s entire life in

Sundance 2022 review: You Won't Be Alone (Goran Stolevski)

“You Won’t Be Alone is somewhat of a horror folk-cautionary tale and its ending is as open as the waters of a riverbank that may seem to follow a path on the surface but still run free underground.”

In an isolated mountain village in 19th century Macedonia a woman nurses her baby girl unaware that behind her a witch, or Old Mary as the locals call her, watches the scene, ready to make her move and take the baby with her. As the folktales go, and this one is no different, to save her child a sup

Sundance 2022 review: Klondike (Maryna Er Gorbach)

“Another reason why Klondike triumphs is that despite what the plot about people with different opinions working together might suggest, it never shies away from its politics and how barbaric war is”

Maryna Er Gorbach’s Klondike – a film dedicated to women, as the end credits show – follows a Ukrainian family living on the border of Russia and Ukraine during the start of the Donbas war; a situation that gets worse when on July 17, 2014, the flight MH17 going from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur is sh

Sundance 2022 review: After Yang (Kogonada)

“Our scars, our fears, our desires, they are all made and affected by our memories, and in this sense Kogonada’s After Yang offers a different approach to a common scenario in dystopian narratives.”

In Anne Carson’s poem The Glass Essay a mother says to her daughter, “You remember too much. Why hold onto all that?”, to which the daughter replies, “Where can I put it down?” There is no easy way to face the question because one cannot put down something that is not carried inside, but rather shap

Sundance 2022 review: When You Finish Saving the World (Jesse Eisenberg)

“Cinema is first and foremost an art of empathy; and maybe, just maybe, we keep telling stories to remind us to care about each other. That is why a film should be able to stand on its own, something which When You Finish Saving the World fails to accomplish.”

I remember seeing an interview with Susan Sontag and Agnès Varda about their films and whether or not their respective characters resembled real people and honest human interactions, or if it was even possible to accomplish that. One thin

TIFF 2021 review: Aloners (Hong Sung-eun)

“Aloners understands that being alone is deeply linked with the ability or lack thereof of a communal experience that first appears in the understanding that our experiences may be the same as those of others.”

In Hong Sung-eun’s Aloners, Jina (Gong Seung-yeon), a woman who fears picking up her own phone and uses it only to watch TV, works in a call center of a credit card company. Even though she avoids answering her father’s calls and never reaches out to a co-worker to have lunch together, s

TIFF 2021 review: The Guilty (Antoine Fuqua)

“At the end of The Guilty, what is left is the feeling of wasted time and that there is still a long way for Hollywood to overcome not only “the one-inch tall barrier of subtitles”, but how it deals with films that are foreign to it.”

Back in 2018, Gustav Möller’s Den Skyldige (The Guilty) became a critical success across the globe and ended up receiving over forty nominations in different film festivals and awards ceremonies; so it was no surprise that the news of an American remake helmed by

TIFF 2021 review: Benediction (Terence Davies)

“Benediction is a statement, maybe one about how art can and should be done in spite of the most horrible things.”

There are two films inside Terence Davies’ Benediction, so there shall be two parts of this text about it. One about Davies’ war film and how it painfully understands that there is no way to represent the battles, the heated political discussions, the departures of young men to the front, like cattle marching towards their own slaughter. There is no way – and there is no need – for

TIFF 2021 review: Wildhood (Bretten Hannam)

“Bretten Hannam sees in Link, the protagonist of his film Wildhood, a perfect way to represent how the concepts of home, belonging, and identity intersect each other.”

What is the actual meaning of feeling at home, or how does one feel at home? Perhaps what makes this feeling so complex and even a fetish for many people, in many art forms, is how close the feelings of belonging and of displacement are. In other words, to be at home, to actually belong somewhere or to someone becomes a conscious

TIFF 2021 review: Attica (Stanley Nelson)

“Attica manages to do what seemed impossible: despite trying to have as many people as it can from different groups that were involved in the uprising present for the interviews, it avoids any ‘bothsidesism'”

There is a tough battle at the core of Stanley Nelson`s Attica, for it needs to find a way to both portray the largest prison uprising in US history, and while doing so, ask the audience whether they are capable of feeling empathy towards the film’s subjects. These are mostly former inmate

About Me

Film critic. International Cinephile Society @ICSFilm Contributing Writer.