February 2018


Wylie Writes @ Ulrike Ottinger in Asia

All of us should occasionally stop and consider how lucky we are to have the TIFF Bell Lightbox.  On top of the populist arthouse fare that populates the majority of their schedule, the Lightbox occasionally introduces a brand-new audience to underrated, underappreciated, or simply underseen filmmakers.  The latest addition to this tradition is the Goethe Institute-curated mini-retrospective, Ulrike Ottinger in Asia;  a program of four features, three of which are Ottinger’s celebrations of various Asian cultures (the…



There are some things that Andrey Zvyagintsev is very good at, such as political commentary.  There are some things that Zvyagintsev is awful at, such as portrayals (or occasionally even the inclusion) of women in his films.  So, what happens when Zvyagintsev makes a political film with a female lead?  You end up with a disappointing monstrosity;  one that could have been a masterpiece if a good forty percent was discarded.  You end up with…



By: Jessica Goddard An intercontinental survey of the state of the archaic shoe shining profession, Stacey Tenenbaum’s Shiners is endearing in its graceful simplicity and ability to shine a spotlight on truly memorable, delightful characters.  Tenenbaum has a genuine gift for seeking out excellent subjects – from the quirky and lovable, to the inspiring and pleasantly puzzling.  All have in common a philosophical attitude towards the work of shoe shining;  whether they consider it a bona…


Before We Vanish

Sometimes, subpar movies can challenge our opinions and still manage to stick out.  Such is the case for Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s Before We Vanish, a mid-level sci-fi flick with eccentric comedy, explosive action, and dry drama thrown into the mix.