Waru (Various, 2017)

In Māori, ‘waru’ means ‘eight’, and appropriately this anthology feature is directed by eight different Māori women. Comprised of eight single-take sequences following different Māori women on the morning of a tangi (funeral) for a young boy, also named Waru, every chapter starts with the timestamp of 9:59am, implying that each sequence is happening concurrently.

But this is not a case of following eight different parties who all just happen to be congregating at the same service. While some segments concern people on the ground at the tangi, including Waru’s two grandmothers, others come nowhere near it…

Full review for Little White Lies

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Adina Pintilie, Tómas Lemarquis and Laura Benson talk MUBI’s ‘Touch Me Not’

An unexpected winner of the Golden Bear for Best Film at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, Romanian director Adina Pintilie’s Touch Me Not is an eye-opening look at human sexuality and intimacy that’s not quite documentary, not quite fiction in its incorporation of recognisable actors alongside non-professional stars sharing stories and acts of intimacy. Pintilie also ‘stars’ in the film herself as a director reflecting on the drama unfolding, lending proceedings the feel of a therapy session.

With the film now available exclusively on MUBI in the UK after a brief theatrical run, we speak to Pintilie and actors Laura Benson (Dangerous Liaisons, I Want to Go Home) and Tómas Lemarquis (Blade Runner 2049, Nói Albinói, Snowpiercer) about the unique project, how it changed their own views on intimacy, achieving trust, and what winning the Golden Bear means to them…

Full interview for VODzilla.co

Mandy (Panos Cosmatos, 2018)

If his 2010 debut feature Beyond the Black Rainbow established Panos Cosmatos as a director whose filmmaking style is hard to define, follow-up Mandy pretty much cements it…

Full review for VODzilla.co

Breakthrough anime director Mamoru Hosoda on ‘Mirai’

In conversation with Japanese writer-director Mamoru Hosoda, he cites childhood and how young people change as a recurring theme that unites all of his original stories. As such, it seems strangely appropriate that we end up introduced to his own children during our interview. Having just told us that his latest animation, Mirai, is inspired by his kids, we ask him if any of the film’s characters were directly informed by his own brood, which leads to us being shown a family portrait on his phone. “Do you want to see my kids’ pictures?” he asks. “They even look similar.” Sure enough, a lot of the people pictured in the photo resemble the character designs in the film. “The father is different,” he concedes. “Obviously, I’m not that good looking.”

Although staged on a comparatively smaller scale to other Hosoda films like Summer Wars and The Boy and the Beast, Mirai still has an element of fantasy informing its portrait of family relations. It’s closer in spirit to his excellent drama Wolf Children, which spanned several years in the lives of a pair of lycanthropic children and the human mother struggling to raise them. Mirai also features troublesome children, though its exploration of time comes through the unique hook of a magical garden enabling a young boy to encounter his relatives from different eras, with a future older version of his younger sister Mirai acting as his guide…

Full interview for The Skinny

Shirkers (Sandi Tan, 2018)

From Jodorowsky’s Dune to a film about Tim Burton’s cancelled Superman, documentaries about movies that never got made have proved a popular prospect over recent years. Sandi Tan’s energetic Shirkers, ostensibly an entry in this subgenre, differs for a few reasons.

Firstly, it’s directed by the helmer of the original film it concerns, which shares the same name. Secondly, it’s about an independent Singapore-made film the world never got to see, rather than a Hollywood property. Finally, and most crucially, the original Shirkers was actually completed. The reason it was never released is because one strange individual involved in production stole all of the film’s materials once the 1992 shoot had wrapped…

Full review for Little White Lies

The strange story of Orson Welles’ final years

Intended as the director’s magnum opus, Orson Welles’ The Other Side of the Wind is one of the most famous films never to be completed. Or, at least it was.

Thanks to the efforts of various parties over the years (and a hefty cash injection from Netflix to get the existing footage out of rights limbo), a full version of the film – which tells the story of an ageing director struggling to revive his career – has finally been finished. After a wait of more than 40 years, it will be available on the streaming service from 2 November.

In conjunction, Netflix are releasing a feature-length documentary on the very same day, which covers the decade prior to Welles’ death in 1985. Titled They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead, it follows the late filmmaker as he struggles to get The Other Side of the Wind made…

Full interview for HUCK

The sex work-positive horror written by a former camgirl

Acquired by Netflix after winning two awards at the 2018 Fantasia Festival, psychological horror Cam is one of the few films concerning sex work that’s written by a former sex worker. The film’s co-author, Isa Mazzei, had a camming career similar to that of the film’s protagonist for roughly two years –minus the supernatural happenings, we’re told…

Full feature for Little White Lies

Writing by Josh Slater-Williams