Violation is the first feature film by Canadian filmmakers Madeleine Sims-Fewer and Dusty Mancinelli. A take on the rape-revenge genre, it is a tense and uncomfortable film, but in the best way possible. I had the distinct pleasure of sitting down with the pair via Zoom during the Victoria Film Festival.
It is easy to romanticize the past but what we often overlook is how difficult and awful it was for women. Women in historical stories are often portrayed as fierce, headstrong, and independent, but much more common was that they were sheltered and abused. This the case of one Fanny Lye (Maxine Peake), husband to John Lye (Charles Dance), a devout Christian and former member of Oliver Cromwell’s army. It is, at least, until two strangers happen into their lives.
Space travel is in our future. One day we will get to other planets, but how we get there and who we send will be an ongoing project. What, though, if it weren’t a choice, for we as a society or for the people that we send?
A great story is timeless and as resonant in the present as it was at the time it was written. Frances Hodgson Burnett’s 1911 children’s novel The Secret Garden is one of these. A timeless classic with themes that resonate today as well as they did in 1911.
There have been quite a few adaptations of this story over the years, with four film versions being made before this one and at least that many television serials and specials, most of which in the last 30 years. Adapting a classic, it seems, still requires that something new is offered the viewer. What then, after so many visits to this garden, does this new version have to offer? Well, it’s really, really pretty. Unfortunately, not much else.
It has been 14 years since Higashida Naoki’s book, The Reason I Jump was first published in Japan, and 8 since English novelist David Mitchell translated it. Naoki was 13 at the time and is autistic and unable to communicate verbally. He was able to write his book by using an alphabet board his mother created, and in the process provided a roadmap for how his mind works and how he experiences the world.
That roadmap has proven invaluable to the families of those on the spectrum, especially those who are non-verbal. This documentary by Jerry Rothwell explores how that roadmap has impacted the lives of five such people. The result is a film that will open your eyes and your heart.
Imagine living in a place that is literally rotting away beneath you. No matter what you do, what help you ask for from local and national governments, your home slowly but surely disappears. This is the story of Congo Mirador, a tiny village of fewer than 1000 people situated on Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela. It’s also the story of the whole country, and it’s heartbreaking.
There are few things that one person can do to another that is more violating than rape. It is an act of power, an act of selfishness, and an act of degradation. Violation is a film about such an act—a moment when a man sees a woman and takes what he wants. The result is a visceral and uncomfortable watch that sees a woman go to extremes to take her revenge.
Disaster movies occupy a small but bombastic niche of filmmaking. They’re big on spectacle, small on plot, and medium on characterisation in the case of the best ones. When it comes to the science of whatever disaster they are portraying, they are usually either accurate to a point, or seemingly completely unresearched. Skyfire, the first blockbuster budgeted disaster movie from China, is one of these movies, and a fun example of one, too.