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Shahbaz Khayambashi

Festival Coverage

TIFF 2019: ‘The Twentieth Century’

Depending on who you ask, Canadian cinema may well be celebrating its 100th year this year and, despite the general dismay that it continues to attract from some, it is still very much able to be as innovative as any other national cinema.  Why the history lesson?  Because that may be the best way to introduce Matthew Rankin’s The Twentieth Century, at once a great addition to the Canadian cinematic canon and a bitter poisonous…

Festival Coverage

TIFF 2019: ‘The Lighthouse’

With The Witch, Robert Eggers showed the world that there were untold, new ways to tell horror stories.  So, what can someone who has already reinvented a genre do as a follow up?  Eggers decided to tell a new story based on the research of horrific authentic historical documents, and it works.

Reviews

Survival Box

What do you do when you live in an age of renewed Trumpian nuclear anxiety and wish to express the doomed future of the youth therein?  If you’re William Scoular, you make Survival Box, a film so navel-gazing in its execution that, by the end of its runtime, it can only be described as an answer to a question no one asked.

Reviews

Yesterday

What would happen if you woke up one day and just one seemingly ubiquitous thing had vanished off the face of the earth?  As far as thought experiments go, this formula can lead to a variety of paths, most of them worth a bit of digging.  However, what would happen if the Beatles vanished off the face of the earth and the answer was told by a cheque-cashing Danny Boyle, based on yet another formulaic…

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The Dead Don’t Die

Jim Jarmusch has been making films for almost forty years.  Despite such a prolific career, his bad works can be counted on one hand.  This is a direct result of knowing his audience and knowing exactly what it is that they want.  This streak continues with his latest feature, The Dead Don’t Die, a zombie horror-comedy which takes on American consumption without ever taking itself too seriously;  after all, that film was made about forty…

Reviews

Walking on Water

Christo and Jeanne-Claude were a married couple who were well-known for creating massive works by altering the environment around them, often by wrapping a giant structure in plastic or introducing new foreign elements into an established setting.  Their works were equally celebrated and ridiculed by the artistic elites and society at large.  When Jeanne-Claude passed away from a brain aneurysm, Christo’s attempt to honour her came as a realization of a work they had planned…

Reviews

Girls of the Sun

The struggle of the Yazidi people against ISIS is a noteworthy story and one deserving of a sympathetic and heroic cinematic adaptation.  Unfortunately, Eva Husson’s Girls of the Sun is just not it.  While the film is serviceable, its relationship to its subject matter is somehow mundane and exploitative at the same time.

Reviews

3 Faces

In 2010, Jafar Panahi was arrested on the charge of making propaganda against Iran and was sentenced to not make any films for twenty years.  To a filmmaker, that is akin to having one’s tongue cut off.  Panahi, however, did not take that sentence into consideration;  the last nine years seeing four new releases from him, making it the most prolific chapter of his career.  This new act of revolutionary filmmaking has created some of…