With over 1.3 billion people, India is the worlds largest democracy. The country is still steeped in traditional values, and while there used to be many castes of people there are now seemingly just two: the rich, and the poor. The White Tiger sets out to tell you a tale of those two classes, much like 2008s Slumdog Millionaire did, but where Slumdog was a fairy tale, The White Tiger is a tale of power and abuse, and how those things will reveal exactly who you are.
Grief is a powerful thing. Imagine that you’re waiting for your friend to show up on the first day you begin your new adventure as business partners. I imagine being a child who texts your mother good luck and then goes on about your day. Imagine being a mother, estranged from her daughter, and having to answer the door to a pair of police officers there to let you know that your daughter has been killed in an accident.
This is the setup of the three main characters in Love Sarah, the story of a daughter, a mother, and a friend who open a bakery and name it after the titular Sarah dies in the films opening moments.
You have definitely seen this film before. Well, ok, not exactly this film, but if you’re a fan of science fiction and you’re presented with a story about a cocksure young recruit being paired with an android who can’t lie but clearly isn’t telling the whole truth, well, you’ve seen this movie before.
Michelangelo Buonarroti is one of the worlds great artistic geniuses. Admired in his own time and now, his skill for sculpture, in particular, is second to none. Juxtaposed to his skill is how he lived his life, eschewing food and personal hygiene people favour of his work.
Given the stature of the man and the interesting twists his story had, it’s actually surprising that there aren’t more films about him. This new film Russian director Andrei Konchalovsky offers a new perspective of a man we’re all familiar with, but few know much of anything about beyond his artistic genius.
Parents aren’t supposed to outlive their children. This is one of those universal truths, along with things like “the Earth is round” or “water is wet.” The devastation of losing a child is unimaginable, let alone losing one at the moment of birth. This is the story of Pieces of a Woman, which follows expectant parents Vanessa Kirby and Shia LaBeouf through the night of their daughter’s birth and then through the year after as they deal with the aftermath of her death.
2020 has been a hell of a year. With theatres ending up being an unsafe place to be during an ongoing worldwide pandemic you’d think it would be a harder year for film, but looking back it’s clear that this year has been an as vibrant and diverse year for film as any other.
Of course, the difference is that without theatres, there have been far fewer blockbusters and far more indie and middle-tier films. The impact on my film diary for the year has been an interesting one, with bigger budget films losing the endorphin high of the theatrical experience –and thus losing some of the immediate forgiveness they earn if they aren’t great. Additionally, film festivals moved to an online experience either in whole or in part this year, which has meant that I have “attended” more of them.
As a result, I have seen more than 120 of 2020’s films, a steep increase from years past. Narrowing the list down to a group of favourites is as difficult as ever! Also this year, for the second time, I am going to highlight some of the performers that blew me away.
The festival proper is over, but all the titles at the Whistler Film Festival are still available to stream through the end of the month. With that in mind, let’s take a quick look at three more films that you can watch right now.
George Clooney is a talented actor and director, and often produces excellent work when he does both of those things. The Midnight Sky, his latest starring and directorial effort, features an incredible ensemble of character actors, stunning effects and production design, and a story clearly influenced by many seminal science fiction stories, but even in the hands of such talent fails to become something special.
Pete Docter is one of the best directors of animated features working today. That might sound like hubris, but it isn’t. Each of his films is adorable, approachable, and visually stunning enough to warrant the praise, but each also has a core of love and acceptance that makes them universal. The marriage montage in Up! or the simple truth that sadness plays a key roll in our lives from Inside Out, Docter makes movies that tell truths.
Soul, his latest film, is no different.
Tenet was one of the most anticipated movies of the year. Delayed multiple times due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it was finally released to theatres late in the summer in an effort to save the cinema business but need up only proving that the world still wasn’t safe enough for that to happen. Not a flop at the box office exactly, but not a moneymaker either, there isn’t a movie with a more interesting story behind it this year.
Now, finally, it has arrived on home video, and I have finally had a chance to see it. So, how is it? Well, it’s a visually stunning and completely frustrating mess of a movie.
Policing in America is broken. There’s no two ways about it; when black men and women are gunned down in the streets and in their homes and the police who kill them face little to no consequence, something is broken. A Shot Through The Wall seems keen to take on at least some of that brokenness in telling the story of a young Asian American police officer who accidentally discharges his weapon and kills a young black man on the other side of a wall.
What must it be like to lose your memory? To lose all the experiences that make you, you. This is the trial faced by Édouard Beauchemin (Rémy Girard), a successful and noteworthy academic and his entire family as he goes through the onset of Alzheimer’s. This is not a disease that you suffer through alone; it affects everyone around you in profound ways. When you don’t recognize your own children or fail to be recognized by your own parent, there’s no way for that realization to land that is without an emotional punch to the gut.
You Will Remember Me (original title Tu Te Souviendras De Moi) captures this beautifully, and heartbreakingly, and with an excellent performance from lead actor Rémy Girard.
Few professions feel so fraught with peril as that of the miner. Each trip into the depths of the planet brings with it fears of explosions and collapses and men trapped for days without food or water. Souterrain (Underground), the new film from Sophie Dupuis, explores these fears with by following a group of miners in the lead up to an explosion in their mine.
There are a few subjects more perfectly suited to the medium of film than the sports story. Sports provide a built-in context for storytelling: a team that functions as a surrogate family, conflict baked in, and fans and supporters alike to help move the plot along. In terms of setup, they are effectively unmatched. Sports movies provide a framework upon which you can hang a story about characters overcoming odds and achieving greatness, either professionally or personally.
Ray “Ray-Ray” McElrathbey’s story is seemingly also perfectly designed for the cinema. After gaining a full scholarship to Clemson University to play football, he ends up also taking custody of his eleven-year-old brother Fahmarr after his mother relapses. There’s a lot of potential for story and character there, and the resulting film does its best –for better and for worse– to tell as much of it as possible.
If there was once magic in this world, then progress has likely snuffed most of it out. Our relentless expansion into the spaces where Mother Nature lives destroys our ecosystems and in many ways the wonders of this world. This is the conflict in Wolfwalkers, the new AppleTV+ exclusive from Irish animation studio Cartoon Saloon.
It’s the mid-1600s, and the English are in Kilkenny to expand the empire and force their rule on the Irish. The city is being expanded, and the woods next door are being logged for resources to do it. The problem is the deadly pack of wolves who make the forest their home, who defend it at all costs. This is the reason Bill is in the city, a hunter by trade from Yorkshire, he lays traps in the forest to try to make it safe for the men working. What few realize is that there is something more in the forest.