The Host

The Host (2020)

The Host first published by “This is a very unusual and very disturbing case.”  So says the perplexed psychiatrist (Derek Jacobi), pouring himself a stiff drink before returning to his desk to face an unseen patient. “You seem to have been having dreams. Anxiety dreams…. Please tell me everything, from the beginning.” Indeed, amid…


The Reflecting Skin (1990)

The Reflecting Skin first published by The Reflecting Skin begins with little Seth Dove (Jeremy Cooper) carrying a large frog across a yellow field, and, with help from his friends Eben (Codie Lucas) and Kim (Evan Hall), inflating it with a reed and leaving it in the road. When the adult Dolphin Blue (Lindsay…

In The Shadows

In The Shadows (Gölgeler İçinde) (2020)

“Say something concrete!”, shouts Zait (Numan Acar), the protagonist of In The Shadows (Gölgeler İçinde). He is frustrated by the endless riddling abstractions that the Repairman (Vedat Erincin) keeps offering to explain what is going on – but in fact plenty is concrete in writer/director Erdem Tepegoz’s dystopia which – with its rocks, rubble and…


The Man Standing Next (Namsanui bujangdeul) (2020)

Woo Min-ho‘s The Man Standing Next (Namsanui bujangdeul) is a period film set, like his previous The Drug King (2018), in the Seventies, and chronicling the last 40 days of military dictator Park’s Presidency before he and his Chief of Security were assassinated by the Director of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency – who was…


Minari (2020)

“Ask yourself before you pee, ‘Is this a dream? Is this a dream?’” This advice, offered by Monica (Yeri Han) to her seven-year-old son David (Alan Kim) as a strategy to help him stop wetting the bed, captures something of the spirit of Minari. For, set in the rural Arkansas of the 1980s to which…

Red Latex

Red Latex (Látex rojo) (2020)

“Slave!” is the first word uttered in writer/director Gerard Marcó de Mas’ feature debut Red Latex (Látex rojo). The speaker is Mistress Gise (Fedra Duarte), summoning her servant/apprentice/lover Julia (Valeria Rowiniski) to suck her toes and go through her schedule – but the dominatrix’s word is also programmatic, introducing us to the film’s key theme….


Dreamland (2019)

Dreamland first published by Little White Lies, as entry 101 of my Cinema Psychotronicum column “We’re in a different world,” says a grizzled hitman (Stephen McHattie) of his surroundings near the end of Dreamland. He is not wrong, and the clue is in the title. For Bruce McDonald’s film falls into a body of works…

Iron Mask

The Iron Mask (Viy 2: Journey To China) (2019)

The Iron Mask first published by The paradox of tea is that it is both a basic household item, and also an ancient commodity whose sale has formed connections between nations across the globe. In other words, tea is an everyday beverage that comes with a strong aroma of geopolitical history. To declare Oleg…

Declaration Of Idiot

Woman of Fire (1971) + Declaration of Idiot (1983)

Woman of Fire (1971) + Declaration of Idiot (1983) first published by the London Korean Film Festival as watch-at-home recommendations for the 2020 Covid lockdown Kim Ki-young’s Woman of Fire (Hwa-nyeo, 1971) The Housemaid (1960), an archly moralising melodrama about a household torn apart by adultery, is Kim Ki-young’s – and arguably Korea’s – most…