Landline dir. Gillian Robespierre

A well-crafted, perfectly-cast, subtle, and engaging portrait of a New York family going through some growing pains, Landline was a delight to watch. Robespierre and her team get the pertinent details of mid-nineties New York just right, but not to the point where the details of the place overtake the details of the plot: the…

The Midwife (Sage Femme) dir. Martin Provost

Claire Breton is surrounded by life. She is an old-school midwife, coaching women in the art of breathing, listening to their bodies, and making birth joyful. She owns a little patch of a vegetable garden on the banks of the Seine, where her tomatoes and lettuces flourish. Her son Simon is about to become a…

Pendular dir. Julia Murat

I couldn’t help but be reminded of Sally Potter’s 1997 The Tango Lesson. A woman, an artist, starts from a blank canvas. There is an empty, large space of floor waiting to be filled with movement, and large, white sheets of paper ready to be filled with screenplay. Her creative process is two-directional; some days…

After The Storm (Umi yori mo Mada Fukaku)

Kore-eda is very much a filmmaker of place; he has lived and known many of the cities and towns in which his films are set. We are thus treated to an insider’s view of a place, not the Japan of tourist brochures or sumptuous period films, but ordinary Japanese places which feel very much like…

Frantz by François Ozon

Frantz Hoffmeister, a soldier, fiancé, son, and friend, is dead and thus physically absent, but you know from the first five minutes of the film that he will continue to be unnervingly present. Like memories of World War I and the resentment between Germans and French at that time, Frantz is kept alive. His young…