Tottaa Pataaka Item Maal [The Incessant Fear of Rape] (2018)

Tottaa Pataaka Item Maal
Director: Aditya Kripalani
Writer: Aditya Kripalani
Cast: Shalini Vatsa, Chitrangada Chakraborty, Kritika Pande, Sonal Joshi, Vinay Sharma, Ahmareen Anjum
Seen on: 29.5.2019
[Screener Review.]

Content Note: rape

Plot:
Vibha (Shalini Vatsa), Chitra (Chitrangada Chakraborty) and Shagun (Sonal Joshi) don’t know each other, but they end up sitting in the same taxi, part of a fleet especially for women. Their cab is being driven by Shaila (Kritika Pande) who owns the taxi company. As they are stuck in traffic, the four women get to talking: about the need for a taxi service like this. About the constant threat of being raped if you’re out just a little too late. About the entitlement of men. Even on this night, they can’t get home unbothered: a man (Vinay Sharma) starts hollering at them from his moped. But this time, they strike back and soon they have the guy locked up in an abandoned building, ready to teach him what it means to be afraid all the time.

Tottaa Pataaka Item Maal is an interesting, character-driven film on a feminist mission. It has a good cast and is well-told, although the ending – while thought-provoking – is a little unsatisfying. But that shouldn’t keep you from watching it: the film is well worth it.

The film poster showing Chitrangada Chakraborty.
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Camp Death III in 2D! (2018)

Camp Death III in 2D!
Director: Matt Frame
Writer: Matt Frame
Cast: Dave Peniuk, Angela Galanopoulos, Darren Andrichuk, Emma Docker, Chris Allen, Starlise Waschuk, Terry mullett, Cynthia Chalmers, Gerald Gerald Geraldson, Hans Potter, Katherine Alpen, Jason Asuncion, Andrea Bang
Seen on: 6.1.2019
[Screener review.]

Plot:
Camp Crystal Meph was the scene of a horrific bloodbath by the killer Johann Van Damme (Terry mullett). But a few years later, Todd (Dave Peniuk) is ready to give it another try. His uncle Mel (Darren Andrichuk) owns the camp ground and Todd has set up a new camp concept. Together with his camp counselors Rachel (Angela Galanopoulos) and Barry (Chris Allen), they are ready to welcome their group. But soon after their arrival, people start dying – again -, murderous squirrels run wild and nobody has any clue what is actually happening

Camp Death III in 2D! is a parody of Friday the 13th Part III in 3D that has some nicely silly ideas, but unfortunately overdoes it a lot of the times. Plus, it is just so ableist that I really wanted to scream.

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Suspiria (2018)

Suspiria
Director: Luca Guadagnino
Writer: David Kajganich
Remake of: Suspiria (1977)
Cast: Dakota Johnson, Chloë Grace Moretz, Tilda Swinton, Doris Hick, Malgorzata Bela, Angela Winkler, Vanda Capriolo, Alek Wek, Jessica Batut, Elena Fokina, Mia Goth, Jessica Harper
Seen on: 20.11.2018
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Plot:
Susie (Dakota Johnson) comes to Berlin to study at the Markos Tanz Akademie, a ballet school, where she is accepted since a dancer, Pat (Chloë Grace Moretz), just left. As Susie soon finds out, Pat didn’t simply leave. Something more is going on in the mysterious academy and with the help of her fellow student Sara (Mia Goth), Susie starts to investigate.

Suspiria is a visually strong, affective film that proves that watching a film is a very physical experience. It’s captivating in an hypnotic way.

The film poster showing eyes in a splatter of blood.
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#Female Pleasure (2018)

#Female Pleasure
Director: Barbara Miller
Writer: Barbara Miller
Seen on: 19.11.2018
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“Plot”:
Deborah Feldman, Leyla Hussein, Rokudenashiko, Doris Wagner and Vithika Yadav are five very different women from five very different countries and communities. But all five of them fight for a juster society for women, especially when it comes to their sexual self-determination and general bodily autonomy.

#Female Pleasure is a very interesting documentary. Despite the often very heavy and not at all positive topics, it manages to maintain a sense of sweetness and a sense of humor that I found quite enjoyable. But above all, it makes important and good points.

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Touch Me Not (2018)

Touch Me Not
Director: Adina Pintilie
Writer: Adina Pintilie
Cast: Laura Benson, Tómas Lemarquis, Christian Bayerlein, Grit Uhlemann, Hanna Hofmann, Seani Love, Adina Pintilie
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 6.11.2018
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Plot:
In this mix of fiction and documentary, Laura (Laura Benson), Tómas (Tómas Lemarquis) and Christian (Christian Bayerlein) share their journey of (re-)discovering intimacy, looking for connections and overcoming their fears by finding them.

Touch Me Not is a fantastic film. It’s touching, interesting, smart and full of insights. It’s not only a film about intimacy, it is a film that’s intimate itself, sharing something very valuable.

The film poster showing the upper body of a naked woman, throwing her head back mid-orgasm.
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Diane (2018)

Diane
Director: Kent Jones
Writer: Kent Jones
Cast: Mary Kay Place, Jake Lacy, Estelle Parsons, Andrea Martin, Deirdre O’Connell, Glynnis O’Connor, Joyce Van Patten, Kerry Flanagan, Phyllis Somerville, Celia Keenan-Bolger
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 6.11.2018
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Plot:
Diane (Mary Kay Place) spends most of her time taking care of others, at least when she isn’t trying to connect to her son Brian (Jake Lacy) who has been addicted to drugs for a long time. But she can’t convince him to seek professional help. As she fills her days delivering food here, visiting her cousin Dottie (Deirdre O’Connell) in the hospital, and meeting up with her neighbors, her past keeps catching up with her, though.

Diane starts off well enough, but once we delve a little deeper into Diane’s motivation, the movie did start to annoy me – despite some excellent things about it.

The film poster showing Mary Kay Place lighting a candle.
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Cassandro, the Exotico! (2018)

Cassandro, the Exotico!
Director: Marie Losier
Writer: Antoine Barraud, Marie Losier
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 5.11.2018
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“Plot”:
Saúl Armendáriz has spent over 25 years as the luchador Cassandro el exotico! and he has the body to show for it: aches and metal pins keep him both together and from continuing his career. But it’s not the only reason he finds himself in a difficult position: he is also gay and in the macho world of lucha libre, this is yet another fight – but one that Cassandro seems to have won. Nevertheless, facing the rest of his life, he has to figure out how to deal.

Cassandro the Exotico! is a mediocre documentary about a very interesting subject. Thanks to Cassandro and his charisma, it’s easy to look past the film’s weaknesses and enjoy it.

The film poster showing Cassandro in full Lucha Libre gear.
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Las hijas del fuego [The Daughters of Fire] (2018)

Las hijas del fuego
Director: Albertina Carri
Writer: Albertina Carri, Analía Couceyro
Cast: Disturbia Rocío, Violeta Valiente, Rana Rzonscinsky, Ivanna Colona Olsen, Carla Morales Ríos, Erica Rivas, Sofía Gala, Cristina Banegas
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 5.11.2018
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Plot:
Two women on a road trip: one wants to shoot a porn film, the other wants to see her family. They used to be lovers once, now they are again. They pick up a third woman and as they drive through Souther Argentina, they meet more women, discovering themselves and each other through sex, talking and traveling together.

Las hijas del fuego is basically high concept porn. Some parts of it worked for me, others didn’t so much. But it’s an interesting attempt in any case.

The film poster showing a clam in front of a black background, looking like a vulva.
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Wildlife (2018)

Wildlife
Director: Paul Dano
Writer: Paul Dano, Zoe Kazan
Based on: Richard Ford‘s novel
Cast: Ed Oxenbould, Jake Gyllenhaal, Carey Mulligan, Travis W Bruyer, Zoe Margaret Colletti
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 5.11.2018
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Plot:
Joe (Ed Oxenbould) lives with his parents Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Jeanette (Carey Mulligan) in what could and should be the standard family of the 1950s. But when Jerry loses his job, things start to fall apart. He finally decides to leave town to find employment, effectively leaving Jeanette and Joe as well. Now Joe has to watch his mother trying to cope with the situation by flirting which puts him in a very difficult situation.

I’m afraid that my expectations for Wildlife were a little too high. It’s not bad, but it just isn’t as great as the cast would suggest.

The film poster showing Carey Mulligan and Jack Gyllenhaal sitting apart in front of a canvas showing the sky, looking at each other.
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Island of the Hungry Ghosts (2018)

Island of the Hungry Ghosts
Director: Gabrielle Brady
Writer: Gabrielle Brady
“Cast”: Arthur Floret, Poh Lin Lee
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 4.11.2018
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“Plot”:
Poh Lin Lee is a trauma therapist working with asylum seekers on Christmas Island, part of Australia. They are held in a detention center at the heart of the island that seeems otherwise like an idyllic tourist spot, especially in the season of crab migration that is quite a spectacle. Poh Lin has her work cut out for her with the desperate people she is supposed to councel without being able to offer much in the way of hope. As the crabs migrate and the Chinese islanders perform their yearly ritual for the hungry ghosts – people who died on the island without a proper burial – Poh Lin has to figure out how she can deal with everything.

That Island of Hungry Ghosts wouldn’t be exactly easy watching was clear from the get-go but I nevertheless didn’t expect it to hit me quite as hard as it did. Feeling more like a feature film than a documentary, Brady gets to the truth of the matter, and it really isn’t a pretty one. But it is a great film, even if it left me wanting a drink.

The film poster showing the sea hitting rocks.
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