Xavier Giannoli talks MUBI’s ‘The Apparition’

From the director of Marguerite and The Singer, The Apparition is a French drama concerning a journalist (Vincent Lindon) being hired by the Vatican to assist with a canonical investigation into a young woman (Galatéa Bellugi) in a small French village, who claims to have been visited by the Virgin Mary.

With MUBI now releasing The Apparition in British cinemas and on their service at a later date, we spoke to writer-director Xavier Giannoli about his procedural drama just before the film’s British premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival…

Full interview for VODzilla.co

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The Apparition (Xavier Giannoli, 2018)

Following his 2015 film Marguerite, a comedy drama loosely inspired by a true story, writer-director Xavier Giannoli returns with a drama that’s all about determining the truth in a story…

Full review for VODzilla.co

Marcelo Martinessi on ‘The Heiresses’

Most of the time when The Skinny interviews filmmakers in person, particularly in the context of a film festival, it’s in a swanky conference room or reserved table in a posh hotel’s private bar. When speaking to Paraguayan writer-director Marcelo Martinessi at this year’s Edinburgh International Film Festival, our interview is confirmed so last-minute that it ends up taking place at a spare table by the concessions stand in the lobby of the Odeon on Lothian Road, mere minutes after he’s introduced the film’s UK premiere. Considering we have to move some spilt popcorn off the seats, we wouldn’t have blamed Martinessi for being less than thrilled to speak about his work in such surroundings. But the filmmaker proves enthusiastic and engaged, even though his trousers probably now bear traces of butter…

Full interview for The Skinny

Set It Up (Claire Scanlon, 2018)

While the American rom-com has hardly been a rare beast in the last few years, a majority of the prominent mainstream examples – e.g. Trainwreck from studio fare, Sleeping with Other People from the independent side – have leaned into cynicism, raunchiness and a subversion of genre trappings. Netflix’s Set It Up, the debut feature of TV directing veteran Claire Scanlon, does not fit alongside them. The closest it comes to raunchiness is one use of the ‘c’ word and its female lead making a mini golf-based sexual euphemism concerning her vagina – this one is probably safe not to hide behind parental controls, compared to, say, Bridesmaids

Full review for VODzilla.co

A Prayer Before Dawn (Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire, 2017)

A decade on from his Africa-set international breakthrough Johnny Mad Dog, Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire returns with his first theatrically released feature since. With A Prayer Before Dawn, the French director is once again telling a tale in a country not his own, but this time, it’s befitting of the story at hand, in which the central figure finds himself the one and only foreigner in a notorious Thai prison…

Full review for VODzilla.co

Local Heroes: new Scottish features at Edinburgh 2018

Before launching its full programme, the 72nd Edinburgh International Film Festival announced the films in the lineup with notable Scottish connections. It’s standard practice for this festival, presumably tied to obligations to sponsors such as Creative Scotland, to give the slate of local productions a profile-boost before breaking out the international big guns.

Of late, this tease has proved more foreboding than enticing. With a few exceptions (such as Peter Strickland’s Berberian Sound Studio), the quality of British features receiving their world premiere at the festival in recent years has been especially patchy, and a number of the particularly dire ones have, in my experience, been those with a local connection. Romantic comedy Scottish Mussel (2015) may still be the worst feature I’ve seen at any film festival.

This year’s Scots-focused preview looked more promising, however, both for the world premieres as well as titles accruing buzz from festivals abroad. Despite the odd dud, the quality, variety and, in some cases, ambition of the features under the broad banner of Scottish filmmaking proved reflective of the state of this year’s programme as a whole…

Full feature for Sight & Sound

Piercing (Nicolas Pesce, 2018)

Following debut The Eyes Of My Mother, writer/director Nicolas Pesce delivers Piercing, a brisk mix of S&M horror and pitch black comedy that’s based on a novel by Japanese author Ryû Murakami, the man behind the source novel of Takashi Miike’s Audition. And if you know anything about Audition, you can guess the territory of some of Piercing’s own plot rug pulls…

Full review for SciFiNow

Writing by Josh Slater-Williams