Category Archives: Festivals

América review – moving portrait of grandsons' love for their grandmother

This affectionate documentary follows three brothers in Mexico as they care for their 93-year-old grandmother

This soulful debut feature-length documentary from American directing duo Erick Stoll and Chase Whiteside centres on three brothers in Colima, Mexico, whose lives revolve around their 93-year-old grandmother, América. Shot over a three-year period with an affectionate, watchful eye, it blows up an intimate family portrait on to a large, cinematic canvas.

Related: A Woman Without a Name review – true tales of crime and punishment in Iran

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Source: gad

From mushy peas to exotic quinoa, UK shoppers are full of beans … and pulses

Festival of dal will celebrate the rise of global food staples as vegans drive a revival in their popularity

Some may like it hot, others may like it cold, but for many people pease pudding is the last thing they would order from the menu. Similarly, mushy peas have enjoyed something of a mixed reputation with those who enjoy a side with their fish and chips.

Now these two oft-unloved traditional British dishes – and the homegrown split and marrowfat peas from which they are made – are to be revived and championed in the first UK festival celebrating the “magic and variety” of dal.

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Source: gad

New Zealand festival: 'We all belong. We’re all part of one big canoe'

In Wellington a fleet of Māori waka open the festivities, which also feature a ballet take on The Piano and a staging of Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises

It is sunset in New Zealand’s capital city of Wellington and the waterfront is sardined with 20,000 bodies, gazes fixed on the horizon as a fleet of waka cuts towards the shore on one of the final nights of summer.

“We’ve been guided by the stars … it doesn’t matter what way we travelled here, we all belong, we’re all part of one big canoe,” says the master navigator Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr.

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Source: gad

Lathmar Holi festival: colour and beating with sticks – in pictures

Holi is the Hindu spring festival of colours. In Barsana and Nandagaon, people celebrate a variation called ‘Lathmar Holi’, which means ‘Holi in which people hit with sticks’. During the first day of the festival, the women of Barsana, the birth place of Hindu Goddess Radha, beat the men from Nandagaon, the hometown of Hindu God Krishna, with wooden sticks in response to their efforts to drench them with colours

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Source: gad

Romanian film about fear of sexual intimacy wins Golden Bear at Berlin film festival

Surprise win for Touch Me Not means Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs has to settle for best director prize

Touch Me Not, a Romanian film about fear of intimacy and achieving sexual liberation was the unexpected winner of the Golden Bear, the Berlin film festival’s top award at the festival’s concluding ceremony on Saturday.

Directed by Adina Pintilie, Touch Me Not was picked ahead of 18 other films, including Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs and Utoya July 22, by a jury headed by German director Tom Tykwer, best known for Run Lola Run. Based around an English woman’s attempt to overcome her intimacy issues, and ranging across everything from disability to sex clubs, Touch Me Not blends fiction and documentary and is Pintilie’s first feature film.

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Source: gad

In the Aisles review – Toni Erdmann star graces engrossing workplace drama

Sandra Hüller shines in an intriguing fable about a giant supermarket, in which she plays a sweet counter manager with a fondness for a forklift driver.

Sandra Hüller is the German actress who found world-cinema stardom on account of her performance in the black comedy Toni Erdmann; now she makes a very stylish appearance at the Berlin film festival in this utterly engrossing and richly humane workplace drama In the Aisles, from Thomas Stuber. Hüller is, of course, excellent. My only quarrel with the film is that she isn’t in it more.

Franz Rogowski (who was in Sebastian Schipper’s one-take robbery thriller Victoria) plays Christian, a quiet, watchful guy who has just started work in a gigantic cash-and-carry megastore. He mostly works the night-shifts, after the customers have gone home, wheeling motorised pallets and driving forklifts in the aisles, getting crates of food and other things down from shelves as high as buildings – difficult, potentially dangerous work. Christian keeps himself to himself, and is keen to cover up evidence of a more delinquent past: pulling up his collar and rolling down his sleeves so his tattoos don’t show. An older man has been tasked with showing Christian the ropes: this is the worldly, phlegmatic Bruno (Peter Kurth) for whom driving forklifts is a sad decline from his glory days at the wheel of a truck, relishing the freedom of the open road. And Hüller is Marion, who works on the confectionery section; as she drolly reminds everyone, she is in charge of “susswaren”: sweet stuff. She takes a distinct shine to Christian, and he to her. As Bruno says gleefully to Christian: “You’re forklifting like a lunatic because you’re in love!” But she won’t talk about her home life and her abusive husband.

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Source: gad

Dirty beats, clean fun: Hong Kong’s unmissable music festivals

From homegrown heroes like Clockenflap to international imports Sónar and Creamfields, Hong Kong’s city festivals are easy to enjoy – and mud-free

Most of us associate Hong Kong with gleaming skyscrapers, bustling industry and frantic markets. But a succession of homegrown and international music festivals are turning it from staid metropolis into a city of song.

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Source: gad

Isaac Julien: 'It's another watershed moment for history of queer rights'

In Sydney for the 40th Mardi Gras, the pioneering proponent of New Queer Cinema reflects on once radical ideas that have made it to the mainstream

The significance of this moment in time is not lost on the artist and filmmaker Isaac Julien.

The London-born son of St Lucien parents, Julien, 57, has spent much of his career exploring sexuality, race and the iconography of queer history. Having just watched his home country celebrate 50 years since homosexuality was decriminalised, he has arrived in Sydney to help celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras – the first since Australia legalised marriage equality.

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Source: gad

Damsel review – Robert Pattinson goes a-crooning in twisty Old West quest drama

Pattinson cast off more of his matinee-idol past as a gauche galoot seeking his bride in the Zellner brothers’ grotesque, beautiful and unpredictable movie

While the western as a living genre continues to fade into a folk memory, the postmodern neo-western – melancholic, world-weary and demystifyingly ironic – is well established as its inheritor. Jim Jarmusch arguably provided the modern template for this strain with his 1995 Dead Man, and the British director John Maclean rode in that film’s wake with his recent Slow West. Jacques Audiard looks as if he’ll be continuing the tradition with his forthcoming The Sisters Brothers, based on the supremely knowing, not to say Coens-y novel by Patrick deWitt. Meanwhile, playing in the Berlin competition, here is Damsel from eccentric film-making duo David and Nathan Zellner.

The Texan brothers weighed in with a quest narrative with their last film, Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter, about a young Japanese woman on a deranged mission to find the money stashed away in the Coens’ Fargo. With Damsel, the Zellners are questing again. We’re in the Old West, and things kick off with a prologue in the desert, where an exhausted old preacher (a cameo from Robert Forster, as sun-battered as the mighty mesas around him) gives his black suit and Bible to a forlorn traveller (David Zellner) hoping to make a fresh start in life.

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Source: gad

Isle of Dogs review – Wes Anderson's scintillating stop-motion has bite

Marooning a pack of dogs on a dystopian Japanese island, the auteur’s new animation is an inspiringly detailed and surprisingly rough-edged treat

It’s well known that for Wes Anderson, the world is one big toy box. The prodigious American auteur proved that with his last feature, The Grand Budapest Hotel, which turned its human cast into comic puppets placed in a gorgeously crafted train-set universe. Now he proves it again – if anything, more extravagantly – with Isle of Dogs, an animation which, like its predecessor, opens the Berlin film festival in scintillating style.

Anderson has tried his hand at stop-motion animation before with the Roald Dahl adaptation Fantastic Mr Fox, but this new talking-animal entertainment is considerably more sophisticated and ambitious. It’s set in a near-future Japan, where Kobayashi (voiced by Kunichi Nomura, one of the film’s co-writers), the corrupt mayor of fictional city Megasaki, has taken draconian measures to curb the spread of various canine diseases, including the dreaded “snout fever”. He orders all Megasaki’s dogs to be exiled to a bleak island, essentially a huge offshore trashpile.

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Source: gad