Fantasia 2023 review: ‘HOME INVASION’ is one of the year’s most upsetting films.


Home Invasion stillUtterly fascinating, this documentary horror hybrid effectively puts the fear of God into the audience. The film begins by sharing the history of each incarnation of what we now refer to as the “Ring” security camera, each inspired by a recurring nightmare. Historical recounting gets the creepy treatment with a random subject’s security footage playing in its fisheye lens version behind the storytelling text. There is no formal dialogue. This voyeuristic nightmare is unlike anything we’ve seen before, featuring videos of everything from natural disasters to doorstep theft and animal encounters to delivery people behaving badly and creatively.

The score is bone-chilling, with its piano cords striking. It’s something straight out of hell. But, the film is even scarier than it initially appears when we learn the global and societal impact of advancing technology. Cinematic tropes alone reflect the world’s potential terror. Fantasia 2023 audiences get a taste of a film that would be a perfect Fall statement at MoMA. HOME INVASION is exceedingly disturbing. If anything, it reminds you how quickly the scales of good and evil tip. It will haunt you.

Official selection – Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival 2023
Berlin International Film Festival 2023
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria 2023


Graeme Arnfield


Graeme Arnfield


Graeme Arnfield


Sarah Naylor, Baudoin Oosterlynck


Graeme Arnfield

Review: The mysterious and heart-wrenching ‘PILGIMS’ comes to U.S. cinemas this Friday!


Paulius and Indre seek answers to a mystery that plagues them. PILGRIMS draws you in from the get-go as we follow our two leads down a path of emotional self-destruction and healing. They share a bond no one wants.

Giedrius Kiela and Gabija Bargailaite play Paulius and Indre, respectively. Each brings qualities of pain. Kiela’s aggression has the audience in a death grip. His volatility is frightening. Bargailaite is more subtle. Her unraveling happens in a finale that breaks you. They are hypnotizing.

Slick editing and long takes on a stationary camera make the audience an unwilling witness to Paulius and Indre’s plans. The script’s structure leaves much to the imagination as clues come slowly. My mind swirled as I watched Paulius walk Indre through the crime’s timeline. You feel compelled to keep watching. As someone whose close friend died under mysterious circumstances years ago, the unresolved pain and trauma are palpable. The need to understand and reason with the devil never fades, no matter how many years go by. PILGRIMS captures the very messy essence of grief.

in Cinemas this Friday!


Lithuania’s Official Submission to the 95th Academy Awards Lands in U.S. Cinemas on 4/7!


Berlinale Film Festival 73 review: ‘The Properties of Metals’ stuns with story and sentiment.


Writer-director Antonio Bigini brings Berlinale 73 audiences a story loosely based on a phenomenon magician Uri Geller made famous, the act of bending a spoon with his mind. In THE PROPERTIES OF METALS, we find young Pietro living with an abrasive father in a seemingly idyllic landscape of Italy. When the rumors of Pietro’s abilities bring inquiries from scientists, everyone sees it as an opportunity to escape the darker side of small-town living.

David Pasquesi plays Professor Moretti with a gentle air. His invested fascination with Pietro has genuine fatherly quality. His chemistry with Zaccara comes across as loving and curious. He had me hypnotized by his upbeat yet soft tone of voice. He was a joy to watch. Young Martino Zaccara is so engaging. His genuine innocence and firey spirit play well against Pasquesi.

Pietro’s father only begins to invest his interest in his son’s life when his abilities might benefit him financially. The juxtaposition of his father and Professor Moretti is ceaselessly absorbing. Pietro’s friends slyly represent the adults in the film, each playing a separate role in their treatment of his potential gift. The issues of class, old world vs. new, and family dynamics loom large in the narrative. The film mixes elements of skepticism, belief, science, and faith. It is undeniably intriguing, richly shot, and brilliantly performed.

Director Antonio Bigini
Screenplay Antonio Bigini
Cinematography Andrea Vaccari
Editing Ilaria Fraioli
Music Simonluca Laitempergher

Screening and Ticket information: THE PROPERTIES OF METALS

Mon Feb 2017:00


German voice-over | Headphones for OV



Tue Feb 2112:15

Cubix 8

German voice-over | Headphones for OV

Wed Feb 2210:00

Zoo Palast 2

German voice-over | Headphones for OV

Fri Feb 2418:30

Filmtheater am Friedrichshain

German voice-over


Berlinale 2023 Film Festival review: ‘UNDER THE SKY OF DAMASCUS’ gives a voice to the silenced.


Five Women Unpack the Deeply Entrenched Misogyny in Syria in this Intimate and Affecting Documentary

Heba Khaled, alongside co-directors Talal Derki and Ali Wajeeh, gives Berlinale 73 audiences a vastly impactful and furiously personal look inside the abusive patriarchal structure of Syrian society. Systemic oppression needs a voice of truth. Khaled finds a group of women who take matters into their hands by collecting the stories of women in their community in hopes of creating an original stage production exposing generational hurt. UNDER THE SKY OF DAMASCUS is pivotal storytelling. 

Inside a women’s mental hospital, residents recall their circumstances for being there. Family members dropped off most for pushing back on tradition, some for merely existing at all. Women in a cloth factory and a recycling center recall the physical abuse at the hands of their husbands, passed down to their daughters. Woman after woman, story after story, the abuse is systematic and heartbreaking. 

Ari Jan‘s score heightens the feeling that this situation is a ticking time bomb. As their work progresses, the group’s members begin to dwindle. Either out of fear or blackmail, women quit the project. The film reveals that one of the crew members violated the women while filming. Heba tells the remaining members on camera after flying to Beruit. What happened next broke my heart. We watch these brave women unravel, resulting in a shocking pause in filming. Three months later, a new development knocked the wind out of me. The Play’s self-appointed director makes a decision that could undermine the project’s entire mission statement. 

UNDER THE SKY OF DAMASCUS is often an emotionally crippling viewing experience. It overflows with equal parts despair and inspiration. Quite frankly, it enraged me. The film’s journey is a perfect example of the silencing of women’s experiences and how patriarchal abuse of power can consume even the best intentions. It is a dream and a prayer from one generation to the next. 

Directors: Heba Khaled, Talal Derki, Ali Wajeeh
Cinematography: Raed Sandeed
Editing: Marion Tuor
Music: Ari Jan
Sound Design: Mia Joanna Koskela
Producers: Sigrid Dyekjær, Talal Derki, Heba Khaled, Beth Earl
Executive Producers: Philippe Levasseur, Romain Bessi, Jenny Raskin, Kelsey Koenig, Maiken Baird, Ruba El-Khash

Nominated for the Berlinale Documentary Film Award


*PREMIERE: Monday February 20, 18:30 – Cubix 9*

Tuesday February 21, 19:00 – Cubix 5

Wednesday February 22, 21:45 – Cubix 8

Friday February 24, 19:00 – Zoo Palast 2

Sunday February 26 13:00 – International


Berlinale Film Festival 73 review: A surprising coming-of-age story from Malene Choi, an adopted young man seeks a sense of belonging in ‘THE QUIET MIGRATION’


Carl’s South Korean identity has eluded him since birth as he has been living and working on the farm of his adopted Danish parents. With the expectation that he will take over the farm, Carl slowly begins to break away from the traditions of his family in search of belonging. The Quiet Migration is a slow-burn coming-of-age story. Racist microaggressions compound while poor Carl silently sits in agony. Longing to escape tradition and familial expectations, his journey toward cultural enlightenment comes at the cost of everything he’s ever known. 

Bjarne Henriksen and Bodil Jorgensen play Carl’s parents, Hans and Karen. Sweet and supportive, each gives a lovely, grounded performance. Cornelius Won Riedel-Clausen plays Carl. A mostly soft-spoken demeanor captures the character’s inner turmoil perfectly. A spark of curiosity gleams in Won Riedel-Clausen’s eye, driving Carl toward his truth. He is thoroughly engaging.

As Carl’s chances for individualism seem to dwindle, augmented audio in transitional scenes complements visuals of deterioration. The primarily static 16mm camerawork gives the film a documentary feel, as does the often sparse dialogue and long takes. The intensely funny town gossip and local far-right ignorance come together to paint a picture of global tension. The Quiet Migration has an unexpected quirkiness that I wish appeared more often. The surreal elements shine within writer-director Malene Choi‘s already thoughtful drama. The beautiful ending between Carl and his parents feels just right. It is a unique entry for Berlinale 73 audiences.