Clanker

Clanker Man (2017)

“I’m not a miracle worker,” declares Terry (Eli Silverman) at the start of Clanker Man, a mockumentary short (which Silverman co-wrote) from Ben Steiner (The Stomach). Maybe not quite as good at his job as he imagines himself to be, but making up in dedication for what he lacks in competence, this urban field worker…

Mattie

Interview: Mattie Do

First published by VOisappzilla.co Born in Los Angeles to Lao immigrant parents, Mattie Do moved to Vientiane in 2010, and has since become a key player in the country’s emerging film industry. Her feature debut, the low-budget Chanthaly (2013), was the first horror film to be written and directed entirely in Laos, and the first…

Dearest

Dearest Sister (2016)

First published by VODzilla.co Always a cottage industry, Lao film production is, like the nation itself, currently undergoing a rapid transformation. In the past, it produced only state propaganda – but in 2008, Thai director Sakchai Deenan made the country’s first independent film Good Morning Luang Prabang, and 2009 saw the launch of the Luang…

Little

Land of the Little People (2016)

“For a flag they are willing to live and die… provided one educate them to it.” The text which opens Land of the Little People (Medinat Hagamadim) is cited from Theodor Herzl, one of the founders of modern Zionism. As a programmatic statement of intent, the quote’s provenance is as important as its content. This is a film…

Ouija

Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)

First published by Little White Lies It is 1967 – even the Universal logo looks as though it is from the Sixties – and Doris Zander (Lulu Wilson) is being bullied by two boys in the school playground. “You know why people say mean things?”, the school’s priest Father Tom Hagen (E.T.‘s Henry Thomas), after…

Stray

Stray (2015)

Nena Eskridge’s feature debut Stray opens with an idyll shattered. Shots of a peaceful pond, of countryside verdure, of sheep at pasture, and the sound of birds chirping, are disrupted as we see a young woman flee from the back of a van, screaming. This is Jennifer Davis (Gabrielle Stone), and as an older man…

May

May (2002)

First published by VODzilla.co “What’s wrong with my eye, mama?”, asks young May (Chandler Riley Hecht) in the opening line of the film that shares her name. “Doctor says it’s lazy eye,” replies her mother (Merle Kennedy), “but we’re going to make you look perfect.” Any quest for perfection is both quixotic, and filled with…

Transfiguration

The Transfiguration (2016)

First published by Sight & Sound, May 2017 Review: “There’s no such thing as a realistic vampire,” Sophie (Chloe Levine) tells Milo (Eric Ruffin) in The Transfiguration – the feature debut of writer/director Michael O’Shea, and a continuation of O’Shea’s 2014 short Milo. A diminutive, withdrawn African-American teenager, Milo is preoccupied with vampire films, drawn…

Song

A Dark Song (2016)

First published by Sight & Sound, May 2017 Review: “I don’t do forgiveness,” Sophia (Catherine Walker) insists to Solomon (Steve Oram), in writer/director Liam Gavin’s astonishing feature debut A Dark Song. Three years after her seven-year-old son Jack was murdered, Sophia, inconsolable with grief, anger and loss, hopes to fill the gaping hole in her…

Grapes

Sour Grapes (2016)

First published by RealCrime Magazine “Part of it is the detective story of tracking it all down,” says Bill Koch, in an attempt to describe his love of high-end collecting. Yet when about 400 bottles of rare wines in his collection – worth roughly $4 million – proved to be fake, the indignant multi-billionaire undertook…

Wekufe

Wekufe (2016)

Wekufe opens first with a bearded interviewee discussing the corporate exploitation and cultural pauperisation of Chile’s indigenous population. This is followed by text (cited from Alonso de Ovelle, a 17th century Jesuit chronicler of Chile) about ‘wekufe’, or ‘evil’, as a concept introduced to the Mapuche by Spanish Christians. All of which is to say…