Shadow of the Cat

Shadow of the Cat (La Sombra del Gato) (2021)

Shadow of the Cat (La Sombra del Gato) first published by VODzilla.co José María Cicala’s Shadow of the Cat (La Sombra del Gato) begins with teenaged  Emma (Maite Lanata) going nowhere fast. She may be pushing hard on the pedals, and the way her auburn locks are flying through the air may be suggestive of motion…

A Quiet Place Part II

A Quiet Place Part II (2020)

A Quiet Place Part II first published by Sight & Sound, Summer 2021 Review: A quiet, all-American community in upstate New York – a ghost town really, with the clinking of Stars and Stripes on their flagpoles the only sign, and more importantly sound, of life. When Lee Abbott (John Krasinski) drives past in his…

No Looking Back

No Looking Back (Otorvi i vybros) (2021)

No Looking Back (Otorvi i vybros) had its North America première at SXSW 2022 The intent of Kirill Sokolov‘s arresting feature debut Why Don’t You Just Die! (2018) was carefully laid out in its original Russian title, Papa, sdokhni (literally ‘Daddy, die’). For this was to to be a direct assault on the patriarchy, as…

A Cloud So High

A Cloud So High (2022)

A Cloud So High had its world première at the Glasgow FrightFest 2022 A Cloud So High opens with a classic establishing shot: a road sign for Schooner, California that situates the viewer in a highly particularised place. It then shows local ex-cop and realtor Gene ‘Sackler’ Sarling (John Savage, The Deer Hunter) listening to…

Old Windows (2022)

It is 4pm, and Kerrie (Laura Bayston) is closing up for the day at the greasy spoon which was previously run by her father, and before that by his father. This empty, faded establishment is something of a time warp. For it has layers, with old black-and-white pictures and tattered posters alongside newer framed football…

A Beloved Wife

A Beloved Wife (Kigeki aisai monogatari) (2019)

A Beloved Wife (Kigeki aisai monogatari)first published as a programme note for The Japan Foundation Touring Film Programme 2021 – Online Special The typical romantic comedy conforms to a fixed set of tropes: the meet-cute, love at first sight, a range of obstacles impeding the romance’s progress (often involving a love rival), and finally marriage…

Martyrs Lane

Martyrs Lane (2021)

The first word in the title of Ruth Platt’s Martyrs Lane might suggest that the film is going for something extreme like Pascal Laugier’s Martyrs (2008) – but in fact the lane in question is a leafy country road leading from the village church where Thomas (Steven Cree) is the local priest, to the big…

The Taste Of Tea

The Taste of Tea (Cha no aji) (2004)

The Taste of Tea (Cha no aji) first published by Little White Lies, as part 113 of my Cinema Psychotronicum column Schoolboy Hajime (Takahiro Sato) runs panting across a rice field, but misses the train carrying away forever the girl from his class whom he loves but whom he has never had the courage even…

Tetro

Tetro (2009)

Tetro first published by EyeforFilm Like the moth seen fluttering around a light bulb at the beginning of Francis Ford Coppola’s Tetro, Bennie (Alden Ehrenreich) arrives in the night, drawn towards something that he does not fully understand, and that may, for all its attractions, be his tragic undoing. Bennie’s 18th birthday is not for…

Paradise Cove

Paradise Cove (2021)

“Nice place to be homeless,” says Knox Bannett (Todd Grinnell), just after he has handed over a fiver to mendicant war veteran Rodney (Scott Anthony Leet) at the beginning of Martin Guigui’s Paradise Cove. The ‘nice place’ is Malibu, California, famed for its its extended coastal strip, its sun and its surf. Knox has arrived…