Guillermo Arriaga is currently on a book tour promoting ‘El Salvaje’ and follows the route of the book’s latest translations, which, among other locations, so far have taken him to my native Florence and will take him to Holland at the start of 2019. In fact, while in the Netherlands, he’ll participate in what promises to be an engrossing conversation during the International Film Festival Rotterdam, part of their #FeelIFFR series of events.Read More
Having just closed its thirty-third edition, the Settimana Internazionale della Critica (Venice International Film Critics Week also known as SIC for short) is the Venice festival sidebar that can boast the discovery of such world cinema masters as Olivier Assayas (SIC 1986), Pedro Costa (SIC 1989), Bryan Singer (SIC 1993), Peter Mullan (SIC 1998), Abdellatif Kechiche (SIC 2000), as well as Ronit and Shlomi Elkabets (SIC 2004). Each year, and year after year since the early ‘80s, the Venice International Film Critics Week has been changing cinema and in the process, also reshaping us and making us better. Because I do believe that cinema is undisputedly the fastest and most efficient way to change the world.
For the past three years renowned Italian film journalist and critic Giona A. Nazzaro has been SIC’s General Delegate, a duty he was elected to by a committee and for which the current mandate expires with this edition. Inshallah, as those of us who have spent more than a day or two in the Arab world are used to saying, he will be reelected to another mandate. I’ve grown quite fond of Nazzaro, in a truly professional way. He’s kind and very talented, but he also has an incredible instinct for discovering the unprecedented. And the past three years have been exciting ones at the SIC.Read More
“The more successful the villain, the more successful the picture.” So Alfred Hitchcock once famously said and no one argues with the Master of Suspence.
Recently, I found that for me the triumph of Warwick Thornton’s ‘Sweet Country’ lies in Ewen Leslie’s performance as Harry March. Part dysfunctional sociopath, part shell-shocked soldier and a whole lot of smoldering angst to fill in the shades of grey in between, Leslie’s performance as the racist, sexual abuser March kicks off with a vengeance this poetic Indigenous Outback western with a Tarantino-esque twist.
I had the pleasure to interview Leslie in person a couple of years ago in Dubai, when ‘The Daughter’ played as part of the Dubai International Film Festival 2015 line-up. In person, the handsome Australian exudes a warmth and kindness which only add to his undeniable charm. And yet, here was this perfect gentleman being a complete bastard in ‘Sweet Country’. I mean, he wasn’t the model dad in ‘The Daughter’ either, but at least in Simon Stone’s film he upheld a certain moral standard. Not so in Thornton’s film, not at all, not as far as the eye can see — for the whole of maybe fifteen minutes he’s on the big screen! Leslie is every bit the perfect villain and more.Read More
When the line-up for the 73rd Venice International Film Festival was announced, in late July, there was one film that immediately jumped off the page at me, and I knew coming into this edition of the oldest film festival in the world, I just had to watch it. I craved to watch it, in fact, as one craves a good meal or the perfect glass of wine.
In fact, “craving to watch it” is the perfect way to describe the desire that accompanies a film like The Bad Batch, which according to producer Eddy Moretti, was initially pitched by its filmmaker as “a cannibal falls in love with his next meal.”
And right I was to be ravenous about watching Ana Lily Amirpour’s follow up to her modern cult classic (yes, it’s already a classic, in case you were wondering) A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. Watching The Bad Batch turned out to be so spectacular for me, so infinitely ahead of the majority of filmmakers’ visions and critics’ perception that I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone else was still unraveling their brains, as I am two days later, to fully comprehend it. I won’t use broad statements like Amirpour is a genius, because for such a young and talented filmmaker where would she go from there if I did — but she comes awfully close.Read More