Review: ‘The Twentieth Century’ is a satirical feast for the eyes.

Aspiring young politician Mackenzie King (Dan Beirne) dreams of becoming the Prime Minister of Canada. But his romantic vacillation between a British soldier and a French nurse, exacerbated by a fetishistic obsession, may well bring about his downfall. In his quest for power, King must gratify the expectations of his imperious Mother, the hawkish fantasies of a war-mongering Governor-General, and the utopian idealism of a Québécois mystic before facing one, final test of leadership. Culminating in an epic battle between good and evil, King learns that disappointment may be the defining characteristic of the twentieth century!

If you are a cinephile with any sense of humor, The Twentieth Century will delight you to no end. It’s Monty Python meets golden era Hollywood musical mixed-media delicious. (It’s basically the most appropriate mouthful I can begin with… nudge, nudge, wink, wink) It’s the wackiest and most wonderful way to jump headlong into the holiday season in 2020. It’s easy to see why it won three Screen Canada Awards and jury accolades at TIFF and Berlin. Writer, director, and editor Matthew Rankin gifts us with one of the most unique and visually lush cinematic experiences. The attention to detail is flawless and the writing will bedazzle you. While I find the plot difficult to properly describe, that’s all the more reason to watch. I guarantee you have never seen anything akin to The Twentieth Century, ever.

The complete and total commitment from these actors is to be applauded. The laugh out loud absurdity of the dialogue fraught with overt sexual innuendo is pushed gleefully further with a large percentage of the cast being performers in drag. The scenery often consists of sharp-angled, backlit, triangular towers sometimes wrapped with black & white political iconography. I fully expected a Fred Astaire dance number but was too distracted by the fetish shaming and the nationalist propaganda. It simply goes from weird to completely batshit. Performances across the board are magic. Fun fact: The film is (loosely) based on a true story! What, what, what?! While I know zero about the dynamics of the Canadian government and identity, I can say that The Twentieth Century stands out from a line of great indie films that arrived on the scene this year. Even without the national connection, the story screams a global political familiarity in your face all while making you merrily cringe in fits of laughter. It’s one of a kind.

Arriving in Virtual Cinemas on November 20, 2020!
Runtime: 90 Minutes
English Language
Color
Not Rated
🏆 Winner of the Best Canadian First Feature Film Award at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival
🏆 Winner of Best Film at the 2019 Los Cabos International Film Festival
🏆 Winner of the FIPRESCI Prize at the 2020 Berlin International Film Festival
🏆🏆🏆 Nominated for eight Canadian Screen Awards and Winner of three

Tribeca Film Festival Review 2017: ‘NOVEMBER’ is a striking folklore fantasy.

Immerse yourself in 19th century Estonian folklore – feel the mud and cold, the fear and joy of the peasants living side-by-side with cows, werewolves and kratts, the farmers’ helpers, created out of old tools, hay, and animal bones, and brought to life by the devil himself. Director Rainer Sarnet elevates his film above mere period drama, sprinkling the fable of peasant girl Liina’s doomed romance with Hans with generous amounts of humor, and enriching its earthy fairytale milieu with beautiful black and white cinematography. Sarnet’s attention to detail, in particular in capturing the farmers’ dynamic and expressive faces, humanizes and adds a warm depth to the environment as Liina and Hans ponder the great mysteries of life, love, and the existence of the soul, looking for meaning and explanations anywhere they can.

 

November is everything a non-cinephile might think of when it the phrase “foreign film” is haphazardly thrown about. That is exactly what makes this film so intriguing. With its stunning black and white cinematography and its unapologetic folklore elements, the story delves into the question of living a life with or without a soul. The wonderfully weird characters and themes, including death, witchcraft,  and the devil himself, all make November one completely engrossing cinematic experience. Oscilloscope Laboratories acquired North American rights to Sarnet‘s film ahead of its world premiere in the international narrative category. Below you can find the trailer, and while it does not yet contain English subtitles, you quickly grasp the tone of the film. We will, of course, keep you updated on release dates for this unique selection.

FILM INFO
CAST & CREDITS
  • Director:
    Rainer Sarnet
  • Screenwriter:
    Rainer Sarnet
  • Cinematographer:
    Mart Taniel
  • Editor:
    Jaroslaw Kaminski
  • Composer:
    Jacaszek
  • Producer:
    Katrin Kissa
  • Co-Producer:
    Ellen Havenith, Lukasz Dzieciol
  • Cast:
    Rea Lest, Jörgen Liik, Arvo Kukumägi, Katariina Unt, Taavi Eelmaa, Dieter Laser

Review: ‘Body’ Pays Tribute to Psychological Thrillers

body-posterBody is the story of three friends who spend their entire Christmas Eve night deciding if they should call the police or cover up an accidental murder. This film toys with your morals leaving you wondering how you would handle this situation. Brought to us from Oscilloscope Laboratories, comes a film of a simple story, with a disturbing symbolic nature. When you watch these girls make life changing decisions, it will truly make your skin crawl.

Body was exactly what it needed to me, and nothing more. It was a small splice of the thriller genre that is an homage to other psychological thrillers. Even though Body is not as extreme or disturbing as those it pays tribute to, it successfully unveiled the shocking characterization of three girls in only 75 minutes. The less you know about it going in the better your experience will be. Overall, for those who like morally testing thrillers, I recommend going to see Body in theaters on Friday, December 11th. 

3 out 5 stars

Directors:

Dan Berk and Robert Olsen

Starring: 

Helen Rogers

Alexandra Turshen

Lauren Molina

Larry Fessenden