Wednesday 27 September 2023

Shadows @ Fragments

Fragments Festival
at the Genesis Cinema, London #Fragments2023

Fragments features, shorts and events that are inclusive and accessible. Audience awards are presented for best feature, short and young filmmaker...

Opening film: 
The Old Oak
dir Ken Loach; with Dave Turner, Ebla Mari 23/UK ****
Ken Loach and Paul Laverty once again take an unflinching look at the English psyche, this time highlighting the deep-seated racism and xenophobia that are delivered with hideous foul-mouthed vitriol right after the words "I'm not a racist, but..." or "I don't mean any disrespect, but...." Shot in a remarkably loose, authentic style, the film ultimately offers a glimmer of hope that is presented here as a challenge... FULL REVIEW >

Closing film: 
Smoke Sauna Sisterhood
dir-scr Anna Hints; with Kadi Kivilo, Maria Meresaar 23/Est ****
Immersive and visceral, this documentary takes the audience into the intimate setting of a smoke sauna in southeast Estonia. In addition to capturing cultural traditions, filmmaker Anna Hints is provocatively exploring the nature of being a woman in society, including a range of big issues. It may sometimes meander into metaphysical swirliness, but this is a remarkable depiction of the importance of having a profound human connection with no barriers... FULL REVIEW >

Big Boys
dir-scr Corey Sherman; with Isaac Krasner, Dora Madison 23/US ****
There's an internalised, autobiographical tone to this warm comedy-drama about a young teen on a journey of self-discovery. Writer-director Corey Sherman knowingly observes small details and larger themes, which helps the audience resonate strongly with this witty, sometimes sexy odyssey. This is a story about a boy realising that it's time for him to come out to those closest to him. And taking that first step is terrifying... FULL REVIEW >

Unidentified Objects
dir Juan Felipe Zuleta; with Matthew August Jeffers, Sarah Hay 22/US ****
Wildly inventive, this lively road comedy has a wonderful fantastical streak, even as the story grapples with seriously grounded themes. It may be a bonkers adventure involving a gay little person and female sex worker, but the writing, direction and acting have a lot to say about overcoming fear. It's also a hugely engaging journey that's packed with wonderfully surreal touches and moments that are both hilarious and moving... FULL REVIEW >

Hidden Letters
dir Violet Du Feng; scr Violet Du Feng, John Farbrother 22/Chn ****
Beautifully shot and edited, this fascinating documentary finds a sharply knowing perspective on a little-known way women learned to express themselves throughout China's history. Because she keeps things specific and personal, director Violet Du Feng finds enormously powerful echoes in the wider world. It's a riveting, moving film, assembled with a remarkable fluidity to make its important points almost subliminally. And the observations are unusually complex and nuanced... FULL REVIEW >

Oink [Knor]
dir Mascha Halberstad; with  Hiba Ghafry, Kees Prins 22/Ned ****
With brightly energetic and wonderfully detailed stop-motion animation, this Dutch adventure is like a balm for the soul. Witty verbal and visual touches fill each scene, creating superbly complex characters, including a cuddly pig that simply can't control itself. The story takes a series of riotous twists and turns along the way, and at its heart centres on the sweet connection between a young girl and her beloved pet...

dir: Mika Imai, Japan

dir: Camilla Hall, Jennifer Tiexiera, USA

For information, FRAGMENTS >

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