MINARI has a rating of PG-13 and a running time of 113 minutes. The film played Sundance 2020. It is currently on release on streaming services.
Monday, April 05, 2021
Sunday, March 28, 2021
KISS ME BEFORE IT BLOWS UP has a running time of 101 minutes. It is not yet rated. The film opened in Germany last year and played BFI Flare 2021.
Saturday, March 27, 2021
TOVE is a beautifully filmed, fascinating biopic about Tove Jannsen, the creator of the Moomins. We first meet Tove as young woman in bombed out post-war Helsinki, stifled by her famous sculptor farmer, so much so that she moves into a flat with no water or heat. Like her graphic artist mother, Tove has a talent for caricatures and cartoons, but has internalised her father's disdain for anything other than fine art. Nonetheless, she has courage enough to publish anti-Hitler cartoons, and to live her life in search of happiness and without concern for convention. Accordingly, when we meet her she is beginning what would be a lifelong friendship and a fairly long affair with a married Member of Parliament. And when she meets the talented theatre director Vivica Bandler, she doesn't hesitate to express her love for her too. What follows is a passionate love affair but also one carried out in post-war Finland where the risk associated with it and the pressure to marry leave both Tove and Vivica ultimately unable to live together. But - by the end of the film - a Tove empowered by her financial independence and success and increasing self-confidence - does find her lifelong love. Though it's testament to her talent for friendship that she remans close to both Vivica and her Arno, the politician.
TOVE has a running time of 100 minutes. The filmed played Toronto 2020 and BFI Flare 2021. It opened in Finland last year but does not yet have a commercial release date in the UK or USA.
SWEETHEART has a running time of 94 minutes. It is not yet rated. It played Glasgow and BFI Flare 2021 and does not yet have a commercial release date.
The entire film takes place over five days in Tel Aviv, where the somewhat haphazard but charming Tower (Niv Nissim) sublets his apartment to the New York Times travel writer Michael (John Benjamin Hickey). For the first hour of its brief running time we think we have a certain perception of Michael as a rather timid man, dealing with the bombshell that his husband back in New York has approached a surrogacy agency without his knowledge or consent. But there are hints that his relationship toward parenting are more complex, and this opens up beautifully in the final third of the film. By contrast, Tomer seems to live entirely in the open - openly gay, sex-positive, unabashed to admit his lack of funds, even making films that are provocative and challenging but without subtlety or sub-text. Tomer is also a little lost, and again, in a pivotal late scene with his mum we realise that he too might be looking for something from Michael that is beyond a lover, and perhaps paternal.
This quiet, drily funny film says so much without words and rests on the superb performances from Hickey (unsurprising - he is one of our finest stage actors) - but also in a debut performance from Niv Nissim. The performances are complemented by incredible framing and lensing from DP Daniel Miller that lifts this film into something beyond just a beautifully performed romantic dramedy.
Most of all I love that the film resists cliche or lack of realism in its denouement. Rarely has an airport hug been so loaded with emotion, meaning and transformation - rarely has a shyly broadening smile on a young man on a bike been so full of promise.
I feel I have taken both of these characters to my heart. I would love to see a follow up film five years ahead. This level of engagement and empathy speaks to the profound power of this film.
SUBLET has a running time of 89 minutes and is not yet rated. It also does not yet have a commercial release date. It played Tribeca 2020 and BFI Flare 2021. It will be released in the USA in June 2021.
I'm not going to lie. Like many people I booked this film because of the legendary Cloris Leachman - and she is wonderful here. But it's Thomas Duplessie who really impresses in a performance that is by turns vulnerable, powerful, bitchy, flamboyant, contained. I also absolutely loved the music choices for the pivotal drag lip sync scenes and the neon-lit dance scenes shot by DP Viktor Cahoj. This really is a film that in its look, sound, style and performances punches way above its weight as a low-budget debut feature.
JUMP, DARLING has a running time of 90 minutes and is not yet rated. It played the Toronto Inside Out Festival and is currently playing BFI Flare. It does not yet have a commerical release date.