Review: Happy As Lazzaro

Happy As Lazzaro, despite being set in 1990s rural Italy, has a timeless quality to it. In every shot, the fuzzy, curved frame of writer/director Alice Rochwacher’s 16mm camera is an aesthetic reminder of how this story of an exploited workfroce could just as easily be set at any point of the 20th Century. Controlled…

Review: Système K

Focusing on a movement of Congolese street artists in the slums of Kinshasa that ‘feed on chaos’, Systeme K is provocative filmmaking purely due to the inspiring group of people it follows. ‘This entire city is sick’, decries Freddy, a sculptor and visual artist who builds nightmarish pieces out of rusting bullet casings and machetes…

Review: We Are Little Zombies

‘Reality’s too stupid to cry over’ Hakira proclaims at the cremation of his parents. The teenage main character of We Are Little Zombies could easily pass for the lead in a Wes Anderson film – wise beyond his years, with a wry quip for every occasion. That is, if Wes Anderson had spent his childhood…

Review: God Exists, Her Name is Petrunija

One simple, spontaneous act of rebellion sends a small Macedonian town into an ethical meltdown in Teona Strugar Mitevska’s lowkey comic drama God Exists, Her Name is Petrunija. Tradition is disrupted when layabout history enthusiast Petrunija comes away from a failed job interview and decides to take the plunge into the town’s river. A regional…

Review: Goldie

Goldie’s dream is to be a dancer in a hip hop video. And nothing, even being thrown onto the streets and made homeless, will get in the way of her achieving that dream. Engagement with this drama set in the poverty-stricken South Bronx will heavily depend on how you feel about social media stardom and…

Review: Monos

Far from the reaches of civilisation, the unsettling reality of teenage guerrilla soldiers is examined in the impressive and sensory Monos. Yet director Alejandro Landes is less concerned with the day-to-day minutiae of the children’s existence, but more the coarsening psychological consequences of war and the surreal beauty of their brutal playground. The audience are airlifted and…

Review: Vice

Part-Goodfellas self-aware crime epic, part-Fahrenheit 9/11 true-life horror story, Vice’s form is more interesting than its muddled story and heavy use of prosthetics. The film focuses on the life and political career of Dick Cheney (Christian Bale), charting his rise in American politics and subsequent influence on the Bush administration. Adam McKay has already experimented with…

Review: Monsters and Men

When it comes to race relations in the USA, is there such a thing as a middle ground? And does inaction automatically decide a ‘side’ for you? Nuanced notions of authority, activism and the tensions of living in a cultural melting pot are all explored in Reinaldo Marcus Green’s restrained and resonant debut Monsters and…