Category Archives: Film Reviews

Pedro Costa’s VITALINA VARELA

I wrote the following review of Pedro Costa’s Vitalina Varela for this week’s Cine-File Chicago streaming list. It is a revised/improved version of the introduction I wrote to the interview I conducted with Pedro for Cine-File last fall:

VitalinaVarela_1200x600_v1
Pedro Costa’s VITALINA VARELA (Portuguese)
Available to rent via the Gene Siskel Film Center here.

Pedro Costa has been one of the world’s most important filmmakers for the past quarter of a century. It was therefore surprising that it wasn’t until last year that one of his films, VITALINA VARELA, won the top award at a major festival (Locarno). This deserved honor, coupled with theatrical distribution from the enterprising Grasshopper Films in the U.S., has thankfully upped the great Portuguese director’s profile even further. Over the course of his career, Costa’s unique, poetic style of filmmaking has evolved from working with full screenplays and professional actors (French movie stars Isaach De Bankole and Edith Scob appear in 1994’s CASA DE LAVA) to casting non-professionals to portray some version of themselves (notably Cape Verdean immigrants living in working-class neighborhoods in Lisbon — including Fontainhas, the systematic destruction of which was captured in the director’s 2000 masterpiece IN VANDA’S ROOM). Along the way there have been side trips into documentary filmmaking proper (WHERE DOES YOUR HIDDEN SMILE LIE? and CHANGE NOTHING both document the working lives of artists Costa admires: filmmaking team Straub/Huillet and chanteuse/actress Jeanne Balibar, respectively). VITALINA VARELA, however, feels like something of an apotheosis for Costa — his work in its purest form. Taking its title from the protagonist (and the actress who plays her), VITALINA VARELA is literally the darkest and, arguably, most beautiful film he has yet made. No one knows how to light and frame images like Costa; where most directors film daytime interiors by framing actors against windows, and thus shooting into the light, Costa nearly always frames his subjects against the walls of dark, cave-like interiors, allowing them to be illuminated only by the light entering from windows on the room’s opposite side. Of course, the resulting painterly images would not count for much if Costa’s cinematographic eye wasn’t also focused on a compelling subject. Enter Vitalina Varela, a Cape Verdean woman whose sad story of attempting to join her husband in Portugal after having spent decades apart, but tragically arriving just three days after his death, was first recounted during her brief appearance in Costa’s previous film, 2014’s HORSE MONEY. The lead in that movie, Ventura, returns here in a supporting role as the priest of a ramshackle church whose congregation has long abandoned him – a powerful incarnation that, as Costa has acknowledged, evokes performances from cinema’s history as disparate as Claude Laydu in THE DIARY OF A COUNTRY PRIEST and Joel McCrea in STARS IN MY CROWN. But this show ultimately belongs to Vitalina Varela, whose striking physicality and dramatic sotto voce line readings make her one of the most remarkable screen presences of any movie in recent years. Watching this beautiful and resilient woman contend with a crumbling ceiling while taking a shower or, in a ravishing sequence worthy of John Ford, repairing her roof in a windstorm, constituted an authentic religious experience for this viewer. (2019, 124 min) MGS


Eric Rohmer’s RENDEZVOUS IN PARIS

I wrote the following review of Eric Rohmer’s Rendezvous in Paris for this week’s COVID-19/all-streaming Cine-file Chicago list.

Rendez-VousdeParis_Rohmer2
Eric Rohmer’s RENDEZVOUS IN PARIS (French)
Available to stream free at https://www.tubitv.com 

Who knows what possessed Eric Rohmer, at the ripe old age of 74, to interrupt the making of his “Tales of the Four Seasons,” the third and final of his major film cycles (following “Six Moral Tales” and “Comedies and Proverbs”), in order to knock off this quickie rom-com anthology in 1995? Surely he must have realized that, at his advanced age, each new movie could very well be his last, while also knowing that he had two more features (A SUMMER’S TALE and AN AUTUMN TALE) to shoot. Whatever the reason, we should all thank the cinema gods that he did decide to write and direct this small, unexpected masterpiece consisting of three separate vignettes about meetings — some by chance, others planned — between young men and women in the titular city: RENDEZVOUS IN PARIS captures the spirit of the Nouvelle Vague more closely than what any of this director’s contemporaries achieved from the 1980s onwards (the only real competition being Jacques Rivette’s UP DOWN FRAGILE from the same year). In fact, the continuity between Rohmer’s first feature, THE SIGN OF LEO, made in 1959, and this — in terms of character, setting, theme and even visual style — is remarkable; Rohmer captures here the vagaries of the human heart by photographing, in handheld, freewheeling 16mm, the relationship dynamics between an amusing gallery of college students, teachers, artists and other assorted bohemians, with a winning fleetness that suggests a much younger filmmaker. The first story, “The 7 O’clock Rendezvous,” follows a student (Clara Bellar) who improvises a plan to exact revenge on the boyfriend she suspects of cheating on her. Packed with enough characters and intricate plot twists to sustain a whole feature, it is the most conventionally entertaining of the three. The second story, “The Benches of Paris,” depicts a series of meetings in public parks between a young woman in a committed relationship (the superb Aurore Rauscher) and another man, a would-be suitor, with whom she refuses to meet in private. The narrative seems almost meandering until Rohmer arrives at a surprising, and exceedingly clever, punchline of an ending. The third story, “Mother and Child, 1907,” is the best of the lot: it offers a hilarious, satirical portrait of a pretentious/mansplaining painter (Michael Kraft) who stalks a potential female conquest inside and outside of an art gallery near his home studio. Tying all of these stories together are performances by a male/female street-musician duo (both play accordion and sing), who function as a kind of Greek chorus and threaten to turn the whole enterprise into a parody of stereotypical notions of “Gallic charm.” Perhaps this last element is why some critics have dismissed RENDEZVOUS IN PARIS as nothing more than lightweight fluff but there’s a reason why no less a luminary than Rivette considered it to be not just his favorite Rohmer movie but a “summit of French cinema.” (1995, 98 min) MGS


Jean-Marie Straub’s FRANCE AGAINST ROBOTS

I wrote the following review of Jean-Marie Straub’s latest, France Against Robots, for this week’s Cine-File list. You only have two more days to stream it!

Screen shot 2020-04-05 at 3.59.31 PM

Jean-Marie Straub’s FRANCE AGAINST ROBOTS (French)

Available to stream free at https://kinoslang.blogspot.com through 4/12.

Jean-Marie Straub’s latest, FRANCE AGAINST ROBOTS, recently received its World Premiere online at Kino Slang, the blog of film programmer Andy Rector. This surprise event is the inaugural program of a new weekly online series sparked by the worldwide quarantine, which, to my mind, puts it in the same “corona-ssaince” category as Bob Dylan’s stealth-dropping of the 17-minute single “Murder Most Foul” and Jean-Luc Godard’s surprise appearance on Instagram Live Chat (in which the great director spoke at length about “images in the time of the coronavirus”). Straub’s 10-minute short begins with a five-minute long take/tracking shot that follows Christophe Clavert (best known as a cinematographer) in three-quarters view from behind as he strolls alongside a Swiss lake and recites a Georges Bernanos text from 1945 about political revolution. The substance of this text, which provides the film with its title, is that different forms of government (e.g., “the Imperial English Democracy, the Plutocratic American Democracy and the Marxist Empire of Soviet Dominions”) may appear to be in opposition but actually share the goal of maintaining the same system that allowed them to acquire wealth and power in the first place. The notion that the Soviet Union “profited from Capitalism” no less than the United States, which must have seemed perverse when Bernanos wrote it at the dawn of the Cold War, looks eerily prescient from the vantage point of the 21st century – but the real hammer blow arrives in the last two lines of Bernanos’ text that Clavert speaks (certainly the most important film dialogue I expect to hear all year): “In short: regimes formerly opposed in ideology are now directly united by Technology. A world dominated by Technology is lost for Liberty.” Clavert stops walking to deliver this last line, and the camera tracking behind him follows suit, as if to emphasize its importance. It is here that viewers likely first become aware that the sky in this shot, filmed at dusk, has considerably darkened over the course of the previous five minutes. Then a curious thing happens: The film restarts. We see the opening titles again followed by another five-minute long take of the same action (Clavert walking alongside the same lake and reciting the same text); only this time the sky is brighter, presumably because it was shot earlier in the day than the take that precedes it. It’s important to note here that Clavert is also credited as “Editor,” which might seem curious for a short that essentially consists of two shots but this single cut proves to be crucial to the film’s overall meaning. In addition to the way the dark/light dichotomy arguably injects a sense of optimism into the proceedings, Straub/Clavert’s allowing us to see the same thing twice also highlights what is specifically filmic about FRANCE AGAINST ROBOTS. This is not merely a film about someone talking. As with the work of Eric Rohmer, it’s about someone talking in a specific time and place – a quality underscored by the way viewers can perceive the slightest variations between the two takes, not just in the images but also on the soundtrack: Along with Clavert’s spoken-word monologue, dig the slightly heightened sounds of honking geese and lapping waves in the background (the mixing of which is credited to the legendary François Musy). (2020, 10 min) MGS


PROUD CITIZEN and FORT MARIA

I wrote the following joint review of PROUD CITIZEN and FORT MARIA, two microbudget comedies streaming exclusively at http://www.publiccinema.org through April 8, for the COVID-19/all-streaming version of Cine-File Chicago.

fortmaria

Thomas Southerland’s PROUD CITIZEN / Thomas Southerland and S. Cagney Gentry’s FORT MARIA (US)

Available to stream free at www.publiccinema.org through 4/08.

These two delightful black-and-white microbudget features, each reportedly made for less than $10,000, prove that regional independent filmmaking is alive and well in America. They both star Bulgarian-born poet Katerina Stoykova-Klemer, who probably deserves to be considered a “co-auteur” alongside directors Thomas Southerland and S. Cagney Gentry by virtue of the fact that her dialogue in the films was largely improvised and by the sheer force of her quirky and quietly remarkable screen persona. PROUD CITIZEN (2014, 90 min.) details a week in the life of Krasimira (Stoykova-Klemer), a Bulgarian writer who travels to Lexington, Kentucky to attend the World Premiere of an autobiographical play she wrote about her Communist-era childhood after it wins second place in an international playwriting contest. The fish-out-of-water premise allows Southerland to examine his home state through a foreigner’s eyes as Krasimira interacts with members of the regional theater troupe who are staging the play and attends a patriotic Fourth of July parade; the rich vein of deadpan humor that this scenario opens up is reminiscent of early Jim Jarmusch but Southerland makes the material his own by coaxing impressively naturalistic performances from his mostly non-professional cast so that the film at times feels more like documentary than fiction. FORT MARIA (2018, 85 min.) involves many of the same elements as PROUD CITIZEN but improves upon the earlier movie by applying a more elegant visual style and a more ambitious narrative structure to its subject matter: Maria (Stoykova-Klemer) is an agoraphobic Bulgarian woman living in Kentucky who attempts to assuage the homesickness she feels for the old country by using Google Street View to visit it virtually. The narrative alternates between scenes of Maria talking to her younger neighbor, Clara (Jamie Hickman), who frequently drops in to check on her, and scenes involving Maria’s adopted African-American daughter, Meredith (Meredith Crutcher), who goes to visit her biological aunt, Violet (Joan Brannon), in North Carolina. The expertly musical way that Southerland and Gentry cross-cut between conversations involving all four of these women (two white and two black, at home and at work, in two different states) yields dividends that are sometimes poignant, sometimes humorous and, in the case of one digressive episode about Maria’s ill-fated romance with a co-worker, uproariously funny. MGS


Ksenia Ivanova’s JACK AND ANNA

sem-tc3adtulo-32-e1555271193197

Although it has yet to premiere in Chicago proper, one of the most impressive Chicago-made shorts of recent years is Jack and Anna, a Columbia College MFA thesis film by the Russian-born writer/director Ksenia Ivanova. Since premiering in 2019, this poignant and impeccably crafted 15-minute period drama has screened at dozens of festivals around the world, including the prestigious Sidewalk Film Festival in Birmingham, Alabama, and has deservedly picked up multiple awards in the process. If there is any justice in the universe, Ivanova’s movie will receive the Chicago red-carpet premiere it richly deserves when the coronavirus eventually blows over and its festival run resumes. This would only be fitting given that the cast and crew consist entirely of Chicagoans who should be able to see their work on the biggest screen possible.

Jack and Anna takes place in Colorado in 1913 but tells a story of intolerance and same-sex marriage that feels globally relevant today. The theme of (in)justice is introduced in the opening shot of a judge’s harsh eye, which is trained, in a cool-hued courtroom, on defendant Helen Hilsher, a young woman accused of “impersonating a man” for the previous two years. The narrative then flashes back to depict happier times in the relationship between the tomboy-ish Hilsher (living as “Handsome Jack” Hill) and one Anna Slifka, who were married and owned a farm before their secret was discovered and they were legally forced apart. Kate Smith is superb as Helen/Jack — her courtroom scenes could draw tears from a stone — but Brookelyn Hebert is equally affecting in the less showy role of Anna: Her non-verbal reaction shots are a masterclass in understated screen acting. These performances, like the movie’s impressive technical specs, ultimately transcend the “student film” designation.


Leilah Weinraub’s SHAKEDOWN

I wrote the following review of Leilah Weinraub’s excellent SHAKEDOWN, streaming exclusively on Pornhub through the end of March, for the new COVID-19/all-streaming version of Cine-File Chicago.

44096851_2160705053981437_6478280789543878656_n

Leilah Weinraub’s SHAKEDOWN (US Experimental Documentary)
Available to stream free on Pornhub through 3/31.

The title of Leilah Weinraub’s superb 2018 documentary refers to a series of legendary underground strip-club shows held in a variety of locations in Los Angeles in the 1990s and early 2000s. The performers at these shows, the “Shakedown Angels,” were exclusively lesbians of color who catered to audiences comprised largely of the same demographic. Like Jennie Livingston did with New York City’s drag-ball scene in the landmark PARIS IS BURNING, Weinraub provides an invaluable and eye-opening social history of a subculture too-long marginalized, and many of the pleasures her film offers arise from a similarly skilled manner of documentary portraiture: The subjects come across as compelling, vividly drawn characters – from Ronnie-Ron, Shakedown’s charismatic “stud” impresario, to angels Mahogany (who gives a fascinating description of the difference between performing for women vs. men), Egypt (a formerly homophobic high-school cheerleader who discovered her sexual identity after being introduced to gay club-life by a friend) and the enigmatic Slim Goodie (whose clever costumes and aggressive, mesmerizing dance numbers rival the best of what came out of MGM’s famed Arthur Freed unit in the 1950s). Fittingly, men are almost nowhere to be seen, and the only appearance of white men pointedly occurs when undercover cops show up to arrest nude dancers for “soliciting,” precipitating the closure of Shakedown’s main venue in 2004 amidst a new era of gentrification in L.A. But Weinraub also knows that the most effective way to challenge the dominant ideology of American culture (i.e., patriarchy and heteronormativity) in cinema is not only through content but form, and so she rebels against the conventions of mainstream documentary filmmaking as well. What ultimately makes SHAKEDOWN a landmark work of radical queer art in its own right is its experimental edge: In little more than an hour, Weinraub confronts viewers with an exhilarating montage of footage (culled from 400+ hours she shot herself on standard-definition video in low-light conditions) that frequently takes on a rude, hallucinatory beauty, punctuated by a wealth of still photographs and promotional flyers characterized by a cheesy-but-amazing early-2000s Photoshop aesthetic. Pornhub and Weinraub will host a Q&A live chat on Saturday, March 28 from 12PM-1PM PST. The chat offers viewers the chance to “simulate the experience of watching the film together, even while alone.” (2018, 66 min) MGS


Tsai Ming-Liang’s STRAY DOGS

I reviewed Tsai Ming-Liang’s great STRAY DOGS for Cine-File Chicago. It screens at Doc Films twice this weekend as part of their ongoing Tsai retrospective.

stray_dogs_decade-590x308

Tsai Ming-Liang’s STRAY DOGS (Taiwanese Revival)
Doc Films – Friday, 7:00pm & Sunday, 1:30pm

If Tsai Ming-Liang had indeed retired from making feature-length narrative films after STRAY DOGS in 2013, as he indicated in interviews when it premiered, he would have gone out on a high note (he has since returned with 2020’s DAYS). This beautiful film found the great Taiwanese director training his patient camera eye on a homeless man (the inevitable Lee Kang-Sheng) who struggles to provide for his two young children in contemporary Taipei. There are extended wordless sequences of Lee’s unnamed character “working” by standing in traffic and holding an advertising placard — and thus functioning as a human billboard, not unlike the protagonist of Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s THE SANDWICH MAN — as well as washing his children in a grocery store bathroom; these shots are almost startling in their clear-eyed compassion and remind us that, for all of the audacious experimenting he does with form, Tsai has also grounded much of his best work in an authentic sense of character and milieu. The film’s high point occurs about half-way through: a long take of Lee’s character smothering a head of lettuce with a pillow (before doing other interesting things to it, including voraciously biting into it and cradling it in his arms and sobbing over it), a sad, funny and crazy scene that is far more emotionally moving than the similar but more shrewdly contrived and melodramatic climax of Michael Haneke’s AMOUR. Then there is the matter of the amazing penultimate shot: a static close-up of two faces staring at a mural that ticks well past the 10-minute mark before cutting, with one of the characters effortlessly shedding a few tears halfway through, a moment that recalls the famous final shot of Tsai’s breakthrough VIVE L’AMOUR from 1994. Without taking anything away from its culturally specific qualities, I think that the depiction of a family of “have nots” in STRAY DOGS has more to say about the lives of ordinary Americans in the 21st century than the vast majority of movies that have come out of the United States. (2019, 138 min, DCP Digital) MGS


Chicago Shorts at the Beloit International Film Festival

I wrote the following capsule review of the Beloit International Film Fest’s “WI / IL TWO” shorts program for Time Out Chicago.

aMW1
A Missed Connection. Photo courtesy of Third Wheel Entertainment.

Chicago Shorts Shine at This Year’s Beloit International Film Festival

Located in a picturesque small town in Wisconsin just north of the Illinois border, the Beloit International Film Festival is a gem of a regional fest that has long featured an impressive roster of Midwestern filmmaking talent, and this year’s lineup is no exception. Any Chicagoans planning on attending the 2020 edition of BIFF, which kicks off tonight, Friday, February 21, and runs through Sunday, March 1, would do well to check out the “WI / IL TWO”shorts program: It features a contingent of unusually strong Chicago-made short films. Among the works screening in this program (and thus vying for the fest’s highly competitive “Best Illinois Short” award) are Matthew Weinstein’s A Missed Connection, Layne Marie Williams’ Golden Voices and Eve Rydberg’s Home. This program screens at Bagels & More on Friday, February 21 at 7:30pm and again at the same location on Saturday, February 22 at 7:30pm. Filmmakers and cast members from all three short films will be present for a Q&A session following both screenings.

A Missed Connection is an emotionally resonant study of two college friends, Jacob (Tyler Pistorius) and Lauren (Kimberly Michelle Williams), reconnecting in a coffee shop by chance on a wintry night. That writer/director Matthew Weinstein packs a bit too much “character arc” into the brief run time is a welcome problem in an age of films of too little ambition, and one that is compensated for by spectacularly subtle lead performances and gorgeous Rembrandt-esque visuals. Golden Voices is a poetic horror film about a ghost-chasing podcaster (Kalika Rose) who stumbles upon sleepwalking children whispering of “gold” in rural Indiana. Director Layne Marie Williams, aided by cinematographer Grace Pisula (whose Gold Point Studio produced), packs a wealth of haunting atmosphere into a fleet 14 minutes that will likely leave viewers wanting more; this could easily be the pilot for a web series. Home, a pungent dramedy about the reunion between a father/daughter duo, both on the verge of homelessness, serves as a terrific showcase for two of Chicago’s finest theater actors (Francis Guinan and Carolyn Hoerdemann, who also co-wrote); when actors can cause your heart to lurch by interacting with a tomato—you know you’re in the presence of art.

For more information about this year’s Beloit International Film Festival, including ticket info and showtimes,visit the BIFF website here.


Jia Zhangke’s I WISH I KNEW

I reviewed Jia Zhangke’s I WISH I KNEW for Cine-file Chicago on Friday. It screens three times at the Gene Siskel Film Center over the next week:

I-Wish-i-knew-thumb-860xauto-47122
Jia Zhangke’s I WISH I KNEW (Chinese Documentary Revival)
Gene Siskel Film Center — Friday and Saturday, 6pm and Wednesday, 7:45pm

I WISH I KNEW, a melancholy and meditative documentary portrait of Shanghai that received its world premiere in 2010 but is only now being released in the United States thanks to distributor Kino/Lorber, was originally commissioned to screen at the World Expo in Shanghai. It came in the middle of a seven-year break from narrative feature filmmaking for Jia Zhangke, a period in which the most important director of the Chinese film industry’s “sixth generation” made only documentaries and shorts, and was consequently treated as a minor work by most critics. Seen today, however, after a decade’s hindsight (i.e., after Jia went on to make a string of urgent and complex narrative movies about China’s rapid evolution towards a privatized economy and its leading role within 21st century global culture, films that critic Jonathan Rosenbaum might term “state-of-the-planet addresses”), I WISH I KNEW now looks like one of the key works in its director’s filmography. Confronting each new movie from Jia can be a bit of a bewildering experience, pushing even seasoned cinephiles like me out of typical patterns of response and judgment, which is perhaps one of the reasons why this vital 10-year-old work feels like it is somehow arriving on these shores right on time. I WISH I KNEW is a kind of city-symphony film for the modern age but one in which the city in question is revealed mainly through interviews with its citizens. Each interview subject—mostly middle-aged-to-elderly men and women—talks primarily about the experiences of their parents and grandparents in Shanghai; and thus the whole of this documentary, a deceptively simple accumulation of personal “oral histories” not unlike a filmic version of Studs Terkel’s interview books about Chicago, ends up being greater than the sum of its parts. Among the topics discussed are the establishment of Shanghai as a British treaty-port city in the mid-19th century, the Communist revolution, political executions, and the mass exodus of Shanghainese people to Hong Kong and Taiwan in the aftermath of World War II. While most of the interviewees are ordinary men and women, Jia does also feature some prominent Chinese filmmakers and actors including Wong Kar-Wai favorite Rebecca Pan (who weeps when reminiscing about her past and sings a beautiful song in Mandarin) and Taiwanese directing legend Hou Hsiao-Hsien (who knew little about Shanghai until he traveled there to research his 1998 masterpiece THE FLOWERS OF SHANGHAI). The final two interview subjects are the youngest, which is fitting in that they represent the city’s future, and their stories feel like they could serve as the basis for one of Jia’s narrative films: the first is a man who claims to have become absurdly rich overnight by speculating in securities and the second is a car-racing champion who moonlights as a best-selling novelist. Tying all of these disparate interviews together are wordless, lyrical sequences of a young woman (the great Zhao Tao, Jia’s long-time leading lady onscreen and off) traversing the city alone, from the Suzhou River to an empty movie theater to many building construction sites. This unnamed woman’s compelling presence seems to personify the spirit of Shanghai itself, a nexus of past and present, a place forever busy being born. (2010, 119 min, DCP Digital) MGS


Bertrand Bonello’s ZOMBI CHILD

zombichild

Bertrand Bonello’s ‘Zombi Child’ is the first great film to play Chicago in 2020

January and February typically constitute a dreary movie-watching season in which new cinema fare consists largely of dud pictures that the major Hollywood studios have no confidence in and have decided to dump on the market when theatrical attendance has traditionally been lowest. Fortunately for cinephiles, there are usually still worthwhile independent and foreign releases to choose from during these winter months. A good example this year is Bertrand Bonello’s Zombi Child, which sees the iconoclastic French writer/director putting an original spin on the most tired of horror subgenres. It thankfully bypasses the overly familiar George Romero-esque approach to the lurching, brain-eating “undead” and harks back instead to the zombie film’s voodoo origins found in subtle chillers like Jacques Tourneur’s I Walked With a Zombie from 1943. Opening at the Siskel Center for a week-long run beginning this Friday, January 24, it’s the first great film of 2020 and should be considered essential viewing for Chicagoans looking for something to see on the big screen.

Bertrand Bonello’s best films portray characters who exist outside of the mainstream of French society (e.g., the fin-de-siecle prostitutes in House of Pleasures, the young multi-ethnic terrorists in Nocturama), and Zombi Child is no exception: It alternates between two distinct narrative threads – one devoted to the true story of Clairvius Narcisse (Mackenson Bijou), a Haitian man who was “zombified” in 1962 so that he could be employed as slave labor on a sugar-cane plantation, and one detailing the adventures of his fictional granddaughter, Mélissa, a young black woman at a predominantly white college in contemporary France. The latter story is narrated by Fanny (Louise Labeque), a recently heart-broken student who befriends Mélissa and initiates her into a popular sorority but with dark ulterior motives. The way these two stories dovetail in the film’s climax adds up to a critique of racism, “othering” and the commodification of culture that is at once subtle, subversive and devilishly clever.

For more information about Zombi Child, including ticket info and showtimes, visit the Siskel Center’s website.


%d bloggers like this: