The bobby-cars are having a bad day. One by one, they are hurled at the shatterproof glass door, which separates the grey and sparse courtyard of the youth detention centre from the inside of the building. Even though the door withstands, it isn’t over yet. With a loud groan, nine-year-old Benni runs to crash one of the toy vehicles into the door. A little CGI crack shows in the glass, just as the neon-pink title-card foreshadows that this is so much more than just about a broken door.
Some films make you emotional, some render you contemplative, while others fill you up with a creeping sensation of hope or despair. But only few manage to completely sweep you off your feet by offering a nuanced, empathetic portrayal of trauma and mental illness. In this respect, the recent German arthouse film System Crasher arrives like a furious marathon runner with a megaphone. A more apt description of is “wucht”, the German synonym to “stunner.”
The Oscars are trash this year but we’re still doing predictions because we’re trying to stay afloat of the twitter discourse. Free us from this cinematic prison and enjoy reading the winners our hearts desire, and those we think will snatch the award!
When Andrew Bujalski released his debut Funny Ha Ha in 2002, it was not evident yet that he would forever change the face of an entire subgenre. The film spawned a movement that is often not particularly adored, but whose spirit is undeniably injected into the majority of modern American independent films – the Mumblecore.
Most films of this genre, heavily shaped by their feeling of structural spontaneity, rejection of conventional storytelling beats and DIY-aesthetic (in the same vein as the Berliner Schule and the Dogma movement), focus on creating a feeling of extreme realism and intimacy. Bujalski, less successfully, repeated that formula two more times with Mutual Appreciation (2005) and Beeswax (2009), until he showed his will to experiment with the Mumblecore form. With his refreshingly weird and insanely original Computer Chess (2013), a niche masterpiece that feels somehow isolated (for the lack of a better word) in its attempt at cinematic storytelling, he created a wholly original subversion of the genre – an absurd period piece about a programming tournament with the goal to create a computer, which is able to beat a human being at chess.
In 2015, Bujalski got a shot at Results, a somewhat bigger project, starring Cobie Smulders and Guy Pearce. It was the first step of a departure that aimed to reach a broader audience and which finally hit a climax in the newest project of his rich and inventive filmography. Unfolding over about 24 hours in the life of a working-class woman, Support the Girls is a vital, entertaining and accessible film that fits into the rare bridge between auteur filmmaking and mainstream delight.
What a strange award season you are, we whisper in our best Cate Blanchett impression. It indeed is. But this year strangeness comes from not the unpredictability of the season, but the exact opposite. If you asked us months ago, we’d say that the upcoming award season was going to be full of fun with so many films that differ from each other. But alas, we spent the whole season watching same people win and listen to same speeches so much that the only way to differentiate them is through the winners’ clothes. Almost every main category at Academy Awards look locked at this point, so as the Much Ado team, we left predictions aside and ranked the nominees in main eight categories!
With the Oscars only a few days away, the most popular question being asked is probably about which film is going to win Best Picture. Short films often get overshadowed by their feature length partners, but despite their small size, they can often present a better narrative than most movies you see being promoted by the big Hollywood studios. This year’s batch of Animated shorts provide personal and inventive stories with some dazzling animation techniques, while the Live Action shorts explore real-world issues that hit all emotions on the scale. In the following article, each film is reviewed with the two front runners in each category clearly presented.
1. Revolting Rhymes: Part One (UK) dir. Jakob Schuh & Jan Lachauer
Based on the novel of the same name by the legendary Roald Dahl, with illustrations by Quentin Blake, Revolting Rhymes cleverly rewrites the classic fairy tales that most of us grew up with. Following the narration of the Big Bad Wolf (Dominic West), the stories of Snow White and Red Riding Hood (featuring the Three Little Pigs) intertwine in this modernized, fun, and darkly comedic adventure. The relationship between Snow White (Gemma Chan) and “Red” (Rose Leslie) provide the most charm as it’s rare we get to see some of our favourite fairy tale heroines together. The animation is beautiful in its realism, especially in terms of the modern, Parisian-style architecture surrounding the story. Originally airing as a two-part series on BBC, only the first chapter of this tale has been nominated for an Academy Award, leaving the Wolf’s cry for “patience” for the rest immediately ignored, as you scramble to find part two on Netflix.
Being only the fifth woman to be nominated for an Academy Award as a director, Greta Gerwig’s work and accomplishments have had a monumental impact on women across all industries. But, Lady Bird‘s highest nominations offer a deeper significance for a group of women I am proud to be a part of. Like Gerwig, I am a St. Francis High School alumna, an all-girls, Catholic high school in Sacramento, California. As St. Francis Troubadours, aka Troubies, we were taught that we would one day change the world, whether it be in STEM or the arts. Seeing other girls doing such amazing things as teenagers only made me eager to see what I, and the young women I went to school with, would do as adults.
In the Twitter bio of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, it reads “we champion the power of human imagination.” In the last ninety years of the academy’s existence however, this “human imagination” has been overwhelmingly straight, white and male. In this year’s Oscar nominations alone, only one of the five directors nominated for best director was a woman (Greta Gerwig for “Lady Bird”) and her presence in the prestigious lineup marked the end of an eight year dry spell of the exclusive “boys club” of male directors in the category. Dee Rees (Mudbound) was snubbed of a best director nomination, marking yet another year that no women of color were nominated for best director. What was truly shocking was that this year marked the very first time that a woman was nominated for best cinematographer (Rachel Morrison for “Mudbound”) in the entire history of the Academy Awards.