The Golden Dream (La jaula de oro, Mexico-Spain 2013)

This terrific film comes to us with a glowing recommendation from Ken Loach. Its writer-director Diego Quemada-Díez began as a camera assistant on Loach’s Spanish-set Land and Freedom (1995). His work in different roles in the camera department has featured in two further Loach productions plus films by Spike Lee, Alejandro Inarittu and Fernando Mireilles… Read More The Golden Dream (La jaula de oro, Mexico-Spain 2013)

BIFF 2013 #23: The Reluctant Fundamentalist (US/UK/Qatar 2012)

You have to admire the chutzpah of BIFF programmers Tom Vincent and Neil Young in starting their festival with Michael Winterbottom and finishing it with Mira Nair. They are two of my favourite directors but both are almost guaranteed to cause controversy or to produce films that critics write about negatively (which is important for… Read More BIFF 2013 #23: The Reluctant Fundamentalist (US/UK/Qatar 2012)

BIFF 2013 #18: Faith, Love and Whiskey (Bulgaria/US 2012)

It’s the second year of the New European Features competition at Bradford and just like last year there is a Bulgarian entry. The two films are remarkably similar in institutional terms if not in plot and narrative. Avé last year had a director with some US background/training, a young woman with some international experience and… Read More BIFF 2013 #18: Faith, Love and Whiskey (Bulgaria/US 2012)

LFF 2012 #5: Aquí y allá (Here and There, Mexico-Spain-US 2012)

This Mexican feature, like the earlier LFF film Memories Look at Me, is placed somewhere between fiction and documentary. It’s a deceptive neo-realist story that forgoes a strong central narrative in order to present events in the life of a Mexican family in separate episodes over a few years. In the section titled ‘The Return’ at… Read More LFF 2012 #5: Aquí y allá (Here and There, Mexico-Spain-US 2012)

Shinjuku Incident (San suk si gin, Hong Kong 2009)

Dismissed by David Bordwell because of the “formulaic” direction by Derek Yee, this film from Jackie Chan’s production company is indeed flawed in many ways – but it’s also pretty interesting for several reasons. The narrative begins in North East China in the 1990s. Villagers are discussing the possibility of emigration to Japan, especially as… Read More Shinjuku Incident (San suk si gin, Hong Kong 2009)