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by Christopher Bourne

Credit: TIFF
by Christopher Bourne Film

MLK/FBI | Sam Pollard

The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is now a near-universally revered and beloved historical icon, but as Sam Pollard’s meticulous and quietly infuriating documentary MLK/FBI shows, this was not always the case, especially during King’s lifetime. Based on historian and King biographer David…

September 30, 2020
Credit: Fantasia Fest
by Christopher Bourne Film

I WeirDo | Liao Ming-yi

In its first half, Liao Ming-yi‘s debut feature, I WeirDo, fits the mode of the cute, quirky rom-com. It bears down hard on its appropriately oddball flourishes: the strange typography of its English title; the bright, candy-colored cinematography, often resembling an exploding bag of…

September 1, 2020
Credit: Fantasia Festival
by Christopher Bourne Film

The Columnist | Ivo Van Aart

Ivo Van Aart’s darkly comic horror film The Columnist fits solidly within the well-worn genre of serial killer/slasher flick. However, Van Aart and screenwriter Daan Windhorst invest the material with a decidedly woke feminist slant, paying particular attention to women’s challenges in navigating the…

August 17, 2020
Photo: Japan Cuts
by Christopher Bourne Film

It Feels So Good | Haruhiko Arai

Haruhiko Arai is a four-decade veteran screenwriter and director specializing in erotic films, cutting his teeth with the legendary pink film auteur Koji Wakamatsu, and going on to become a key screenwriter of Nikkatsu’s roman porno genre. In more recent years, Arai scripted some…

July 24, 2020
Photo: Japan Cuts
by Christopher Bourne Film

Life: Untitled | Kana Yamada

The depiction of sex work in cinema usually does one of a couple things: bears down on the eroticizing, titillating aspects, indulges in moralistic hand-wringing, or employs some combination of the two. To its credit, Life: Untitled, Kana Yamada’s debut feature, adapted from her…

July 21, 2020
by Christopher Bourne Film

The Road to Mandalay | Midi Z

The title of Myanmar-born, Taiwan-based Midi Z’s fourth fiction feature, The Road to Mandalay, conjures Kipling-esque Orientalist visions of the far east. But this starkly rendered yet poetic film offers the exact opposite, focusing on characters forced to navigate the merciless present-day realities of national borders,…

July 4, 2020
Before We Vanish by Christopher Bourne Film

Samurai Marathon | Bernard Rose

Samurai Marathon, NYAFF’s opening night film, is a rather odd bird. It’s a Japanese jidaigeki period-piece from British director Bernard Rose (Candyman, Immortal Beloved) and British producer Jeremy Thomas (The Last Emperor, Thirteen Assassins), with composer Philip Glass and costume designer Emi Wada adding…

May 15, 2020
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