ABR Arts Film

On Body and Soul ★★★★1/2

Dilan Gunawardana
Monday, 07 May 2018

On Body and Soul opens to a stag and doe wandering in a snowy forest to the slow, meditative sound of wind chimes and cowbells. The stag sniffs the doe cautiously and then tenderly rests his head on her back for a few seconds before cantering away, leaving the doe looking forlorn. Edited in a way that anthropomorphises ...

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Breath ★★★★

Brian McFarlane
Tuesday, 01 May 2018

In Simon Baker’s film, there is a visually stunning moment – one among many – of a giant curving wave on the verge of breaking that recalls the Japanese artist Hokusai’s famous ‘The Great Wave of Kanagawa’. What these two images share is the sense of rapturous beauty that doesn’t underestimate the challenge it offers ...

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Loveless ★★★★

Anwen Crawford
Monday, 23 April 2018

Andrey Zvyagintsev’s Loveless is a cold, despairing film, befitting its title. It opens and closes in the depths of winter, with wide, lingering shots of an ice-bound river; in between, it delivers a portrait of a marriage that has hardened into estrangement, with a child lost to the void that exists between his parents. No character ...

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The Death of Stalin ★★★1/2

Anwen Crawford
Monday, 26 March 2018

Madnesses pile up in The Death of Stalin, too fast and too numerous to itemise. Victims of tyranny are snatched away in the dead of night, locked in basements, or pushed down staircases at Chaplinesque speed. The terms of engagement change halfway through a conversation: forbidden thoughts are now doctrine ...

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Au revoir là-haut (See You Up There) ★★★★

Gemma Betros
Monday, 19 March 2018

Based on Pierre Lemaitre’s Prix-Goncourt-winning 2013 novel of the same name, 'Au revoir là-haut' (See You Up There) is a French film about World War I that takes aim at a society more interested in commemorating the war’s dead than in looking after its survivors. Albert Maillard (Albert Dupontel, who adapted the novel ...

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Human Flow ★★★1/2

Barnaby Smith
Tuesday, 13 March 2018

The unspeakably upsetting image of the three-year-old Syrian boy Alan Kurdi lying dead on a Turkish beach inspired a number of visual or artistic responses after it went disturbingly viral in 2015. Among the most high-profile, and certainly among the most provocative, was Ai Weiwei’s. The exiled Chinese artist ...

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A Fantastic Woman ★★★★

Harry Windsor
Monday, 19 February 2018

There is something about nightclubs that appeals to filmmakers. The work of American directors like Martin Scorsese and James Gray is riddled with them. In 2017, the Cannes-storming AIDS activism drama BPM (Beats Per Minute) featured a group of friends who spent most nights in clubs; places where identities are ...

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Happy End (Transmission Films) ★★★★

Dion Kagan
Tuesday, 06 February 2018

The opening sequence of Happy End, the latest film from French director and provocateur Michael Haneke, is a funny–shocking series of domestic events captured via a livestreaming social media platform like Snapchat or Instagram. It shows the bedtime routine of a depressed, emotionally vacant woman. A pet hamster falls ...

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Lady Bird (Universal Pictures) ★★★★1/2

Anwen Crawford
Tuesday, 06 February 2018

Too often the suburbia on show in American movies feels like a suburbia that only exists in the movies; a fantasy land stocked with preposterously large, catalogue-neat houses populated by families that boast perfect complexions and expensive teeth. Not so in Lady Bird, set in Sacramento, California, where the glitz of Los Angeles and the fashionability of ...

Sweet Country ★★★

Harry Windsor
Monday, 22 January 2018

Sweet Country, the first conventional feature that Warwick Thornton has made since Samson and Delilah (2009), his début, puts the lie to its title. It opens with a shot of boiling tar and only getting angrier thereon...

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