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by Ben Flanagan

Credit: 3B
by Ben Flanagan Film

France | Bruno Dumont

Bruno Dumont’s monumentally titled France takes the director’s search for spiritual transcendence amidst everyday violence into a new zone of satiric melodrama. Having taken a sledgehammer to one of the key national myths in his Jeannette/Jeanne diptych, including an iconoclastic takedown of Dreyer (cinema’s saint, surely), where could…

Credit: Alpha Violet
by Ben Flanagan Film

Small Body | Laura Samani

“Misfortune departs, grace comes in,” says a villager, as she takes a knife to a Kaffan-leaden woman’s hand. In brightly-lit, glossy handheld, Agata (Celeste Cescutti) walks into the sea while dripping blood, a pre-birthing ritual performed in front of her village’s female co-habitants. In…

Credit: Dragon Films
by Ben Flanagan Film

Playground | Laura Wandel

Playground, Laura Wandel’s first feature, is indeed set on an actual playground, but perhaps its French title, Un Monde (a world) more accurately conveys how the Belgian director approaches this brutal coming-of-age story. She opens with a close-up of extreme, tender emotion. It is…

Credit: Totem Films
by Ben Flanagan Film

Softie | Samuel Theis

The forest greens and crumbling modernist estates of the Eastern French town of Forbach provide the backdrop for Softie (Petite Nature), a queer coming-of-age story from Party Girl director and Camera d’Or winner Samuel Theis. A father’s hands shake as his 10-year-old son, Johnny…