The White King review: wrenching, compelling, and all-too-timely

Initially published at WOW 24/7 


Husband and wife filmmakers Jörg Tittel and Alex Helfrecht imagine a tense, absorbing totalitarian state in their debut feature The White King. Review by Katrina Conaglen at Edinburgh International Film Festival Continue reading


EIFF 2015: 45 Years (Andrew Haigh)

Review initially published on WOW 24/7

An intimate, warm-hearted portrayal an elderly couple’s relationship, Andrew Haigh’s new film 45 Years is one of the best British films of the year. Review by Katrina Conaglen.

We have a tendency to look at established couples as inviolate, unshakable. To see an elderly couple married for four decades leads you to safely conclude they’re a permanent fixture, content in the well-worn rhythms of their lives. Continue reading

Film Review: Diary of a Teenage Girl

First published on WOW 24/7 
Seventies-set, The Diary of a Teenage Girl is a witty, honest exploration of a teenaged girl’s nascent sexuality. Director Marielle Heller manages to depict this sexual odyssey without seeming exploitative, offering a refreshing corrective to the way feminine adolescent desires are typically treated by filmmakers: either with prurience, or overlooked entirely.

Review by Katrina Conaglen at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. Continue reading

EIFF 2014: Something, Anything

(Something, Anything, Paul Harrill, 2014)

Peggy (Ashley Shelton) is a gorgeous young woman with all the trappings of a lovely bourgeois existence: handsome husband, beautiful home, career in realty, and a baby on the way. But when Peggy miscarrys, the seeming idyll of her world is shattered and she finds herself utterly bewildered at things not turning right. To the vocal consternation of all around her, she sets about systematically dismantling her world, searching for a means of reorganising and structuring her life so it seems to have meaning again.


Continue reading

EIFF 2014: Garnet’s Gold

(Garnet’s Gold, Ed Perkins, 2014)1195067_Garnets-Gold

Mortality is a bitch, cinema is wont to remind us, so it is a good idea to try and achieve something before you get shuffled off this mortal coil. So it is in Ed Perkin’s documentary Garnet’s Gold, the tale of one man’s flails to make something of his life, worried he’s let much of it slip by in a cosy somnambulant fugue. Garnet Frost is an affectless, intelligent eccentric determined to discover the buried gold of Bonnie Prince Charlie, which, apocryphally, was lost in the Scottish Highlands in the 18th Century. There’s little sense he could possibly be successful, certainly as his friends see it, and you get the faintest hint Garnet himself doesn’t really think he stands a chance, either. But he wants to do something, anything, important.  Continue reading

EIFF 2014: Sorrow and Joy

Sorrow and Joy (“Sorg og glæde” Nils Malmros, 2013)

It is an unfathomable tragedy: film-maker Johannes (Jakob Cedergren) returns home one night to discover his wife Signe (Helle Fagralid) has killed their infant daughter during a psychotic episode. This event (drawn from the real-life experiences of director Nils Malmros) forms the basis of the story of Sorrow and Joy, in which Johannes sets about protecting his wife from the Danish legal system while simultaneously exploring his own culpability in the tragedy.  As he struggles to come to terms with the event, he describes their relationship from first meeting, courtship, marriage, and finally the anguished days following their daughter’s murder.

Continue reading

EIFF 2014: Life After Beth

Life After Beth (Jeff Baena, 2014)

Improbably prolific sub-genre rom-zom-com gets its latest offering in the form of Life After Beth, the debut feature from writer/director Jeff Baena.

Zach (Dane Dehaan, he of the piercing blue eyes) is distraught following the death of his girlfriend, Beth (Aubrey Plaza). His parents (Paul Reiser and Cheryl Hines) are shockingly insensitive in the face of his loss. Conversing with Beth’s father (John C Reilly) proves to be Zach’s only respite, a sympathetic ear prepared to listen as Zach explains Beth’s last words to him were heated and dissatisfied. Continue reading

EIFF 2014: Uncertain Terms

Uncertain Terms (Nathan Silver, 2014)

Pregnancy is frequently romanticised within cinema and television as a nigh-on celestial state,  the apotheosis of every Real Woman’s existence – a beatific reverie where one wears diaphanous gowns and smiles serenely as Gaia flows through you, waiting for The Miracle To Come. In reality, pregnancy entails a woman’s body being co-opted by a parasite that plays havoc with your hormones, your physicality, and your mind – all as a precursor to a much more demanding life-long task. Uncertain Terms, the new film by director Nathan Silver (Exit Elena) recognises this truth, representing impending motherhood with unsentimental clarity, never proselytising or moralising. It’s a refreshing corrective to a subject woefully mishandled by cinema.

Continue reading

Edinburgh Fringe Festival – Continuous Growth (Review & Interview)

The Red Curtain believes all of life’s philosophies should be predicated on the consumption of chocolate. So it is natural we loved Continuous Growth – we warmly embrace any theatre that declares the world’s problems could be lessened if we just shared our last Rolo with someone we loved.

Continue reading