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Author: April McIntyre

Film Review: Papillon

Reviewed by April McIntyre

Adapted from the autobiographical novel of the same name and following Franklin J. Shaffner’s 1973 film, Michael Noer’s remake of Papillon follows the story of safe cracker and thief, Henri “Papillon” Charrière as he serves out his sentence in a penal colony in French Guiana.

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Film Review: Reinventing Marvin

A claustrophobic close-up of a body, the light bouncing off the skin of an unidentified figure. This is how the film introduces us to Marvin, an aspiring actor and someone whose work is directly influenced by his upbringing. Anne Fontaine’s coming out film has its feet planted both in Marvin’s past and his present. We’re instantly thrust into his childhood and school-life as he struggles with homophobia, sexual abuse and his dawning homosexuality in working class small-town, Vosges.

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Film Review: Wajib

Annemarie Jacir’s family drama, Wajib follows father, Abu Shadi (Mohammad Bakri) and his estranged son, Shadi (Saleh Bakri), as they hand deliver wedding invitations in Nazareth. The coming together of jet setting son and his traditional father highlights the differences of what it is to be a Palestinian living in Israel and a Palestinian living abroad.
The leads, played by real-life father and son bring an authenticity to an already sincere narrative. Shadi has relocated to Italy, returning to Nazareth for his sister’s wedding. They struggle to see eye to eye throughout the film. Abu Shadi, of the older generation, accepts his life in Israel while Shadi fights against it. They constantly bicker with one another while their banged up volvo carries them from house to house.

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Film Review: Apostasy

Reviewed by April McIntyre

Apostasy: “The abandonment or renunciation of a religious or political belief or principle” cites the dictionary, which gives audiences a hint at what to expect from director, Daniel Kokotajlo’s debut, an insight into the lives of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Kokotajo, a former Jehovah’s Witness himself for 10 years shines a light on a community about which many know very little.

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Film Review: Terminal

Reviewed by April McIntyre

Director Vaughn Stein has put his own spin on the classic genre in his gritty, neo-noir, Terminal. Margot Robbie heads up this impressive cast, which includes Mike Myers, Simon Pegg and Dexter Fletcher. Aesthetically Terminal does what a neo-noir should do; the chiaroscuro lighting, the anonymous big city, blaring neon lights and a deadly and seductive femme fatale. Unfortunately, that is where it stops and there’s only so far the superficial can take us until our interest begins to wane. Stein does, however keep the audience watching with various loose ends running through the narrative waiting to be tied. Several large twists present themselves, where one would suffice. The film promptly leaves noir territory and settles comfortably into a more routine and predictable Hollywood thriller narrative, that even its hardboiled script fails to anchor in its desired genre.

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Film review: Ryuichi Sakamoto: Coda

Reviewed by April McIntyre

“The world is full of sounds” utters Ryuichi Sakamoto, as he sits, listening intently beneath a canopy of trees. The subject of Coda, an acclaimed actor and composer reveals not only his sound-making process but his own worldview and the influence of an ever-changing society on his work.

The documentary, five years in the making is as meditative and as emotional as its subject. We’re introduced to Sakamoto tinkering, almost child-like on a surviving piano of the 2011 Tsunami. Consumed with inquisitiveness, excited to hear the sound of something that he describes as being bent and tuned by nature.
Director, Stephen Schible creates a fascinating balance between the personal and the candid as the film follows the composer with limited interaction and only intermittent nods to the camera. Schible uses Sakamoto’s sound creation, stunning vistas and old footage to piece together everything that makes the subject one of the most imaginative and daring contemporary composers alive today.

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