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Explore a featured selection of my writing work below.

Toying with Disobedience: Guillermo del Toro and friends on bringing Pinocchio to life • Journal • A Letterboxd Magazine

It’s the end of a long day of press junket interviews and, still, Guillermo del Toro speaks to me as if he has just sprung out of bed, an electric generosity that would be hard to believe if it were anyone else. The Mexican filmmaker is glistening with the adrenaline of the impending London Film Festival world premiere of Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, a film fifteen years in the making. Much like what happened with Andrew Dominik’s long-time passion project Blonde, Netflix stepped in to make d

‘Ms. Marvel’ Directors Tease New Hollywood Project, Discuss Brendan Fraser’s Oscar Buzz Reviving ‘Batgirl’

“He is so, so talented,” gushes director Adil El Arbi when speaking to Variety about Brendan Fraser. The actor played villain Firefly in the now discarded Warner Bros. Discovery film “Batgirl,” directed by El Arbi in collaboration with his long-time partner, Bilall Fallah. “The way he played that character… It was one of the most memorable villains, so we’ll see. Maybe when he wins his Oscar they’ll want to show the movie,” concluded Adil, referring to Fraser’s Oscar buzz for Darren Aronofsky’s

How Goldfrapp’s Will Gregory, Portishead’s Adrian Utley Turned Documentary ‘Arcadia’ into a Live Show

BAFTA-winning Paul Wright’s archival exploration of the evolution of the use of British land, “Arcadia,” has been given a new lease of life thanks to the duo behind the film’s score. Five years after it first hit screens, Goldfrapp’s Will Gregory and Portishead’s Adrian Utley have turned the film’s vibrant music into a live show appropriately titled “Arcadia Live.” In the show, the film plays in the background as a nine-person band, including lauded singer Lisa Knapp plus Gregory and Utley thems

Aftersun Programme Notes

Spoiler warning: these notes are best read after viewing the film. They contain discussion of plot and character details. ‘Memory is a slippery thing; details are hazy, fickle. The more you strain, the less you see. A memory of a memory endlessly corrupting itself,’ said Scottish director Charlotte Wells in a brief statement upon the American release of Aftersun, her feature debut. Within the same statement, Wells shares two complimentary photos of her and her father, sitting opposite one anoth

Charlotte Wells: 'Adults are locked in the roles that they perform for kids'

Charlotte Wells: ‘Adults are locked in the roles that they perform for kids’ The Scottish filmmaker behind breakout indie Aftersun explains the complex process of portraying memory in cinema. Cinema is rooted in the exploration — and manipulation — of memory. This notion feels ever true in Charlotte Wells’ directorial debut Aftersun, a quietly devastating portrayal of a summer holiday shared by a young girl and her father (played beautifully by rising star Paul Mescal and newcomer Frankie Cori

Blonde film review: A 'hellish rereading of the Marilyn myth'

Blonde marks Dominik's first foray into fiction since his 2012 neo-noir Killing Them Softly. In the decade since, the filmmaker has worked closely with Australian singer and songwriter Nick Cave, capturing his life and creative process in two different documentaries: 2016's One More Time with Feeling and This Much I Know to be True, released earlier this year. The creative partnership between Dominik, Cave and Cave's long-time contributor, Warren Ellis, bears bountiful fruits in Blonde, the seco

Festival Report: Venice 2022

From Don’t Worry Darling to Don DeLillo, Timothée Chalamet to timely documentaries, Rafa Sales Ross offers her take on all the buzz from the Lido. Nestled in the isle of Lido, the Venice Film Festival has dedicated the past few years to solidifying itself as a major player in the fall-festival circuit. It had always had the prestige, but director Alberto Barbera has managed to turn the festival into a major launchpad for streamers looking to make a splash in the awards season. This year, Netfli

Glass Onion review: Less intricate than Knives Out but way more fun

It was mere months before the first lockdown that audiences flocked to cinemas to watch national treasure Daniel Craig try his hand at the consulting detective archetype in Rian Johnson’s Knives Out. The star-studded murder mystery saw the inception of Benoit Blanc, a witty investigator with a dramatically underlined Southern accent described by Chris Evans’s character in the 2019 film as a “Kentucky-fried Foghorn Leghorn drawl.” The accent played a major part in distancing the British actor fro

Film | Film Features | Be Free: The Morose and Joyful Harold And Maude At 50

A pair of impeccably polished shoes comes down a regal wooden staircase. The camera takes its time, refraining from even introducing us to the figure as his feet savour each and every step, the joyful beat of Cat Stevens’ 'Don’t Be Shy' playing in the background. “Don't wear fear or nobody will know you're there. Just lift your head, and let your feelings out instead,” Stevens sings with a levity that feels unreachable, just as the man steps onto a stool and kicks it from under his feet. Just a

The films showing sex workers in a new light

Pretty Woman helped bring conversations about sex work to the mainstream, but has been widely criticised in its approach to the subject. Vivian's trajectory is constructed with the single goal of having the audience root for her to ultimately abandon sex work – any other outcome would be deemed tragic. The way out, of course, is presented in the form of Edward, a rich, white, older man who is unable to resist the urge to rescue her. "You could be so much more," he tells Vivian as the two lay in

Quentin Dupieux and the Unexpected Comfort of Absurdism

A tyre with an unstoppable quench to kill, a man on a mission to become the only person in the world to wear a jacket, a film producer on a frenzied quest to find the best groan of pain ever heard by man, an unusual group of superheroes led by a sexually hyperactive rat… There are no limits to the creative chaos that lies within the mind of French director Quentin Dupieux. It was at age 19 that Dupieux bought his first synthesiser, kickstarting a passion that would lead him to a career in elect

Grieving Guillermo Del Toro Debuts ‘Pinocchio’ in London One Day After His Mother’s Death: ‘This Was Very Special for Her and Me’

After a 14-year uphill battle, Mexican auteur Guillermo del Toro was finally able to share his dream project with an audience as “Pinocchio” (officially titled “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio”) had its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival. Taking the stage before the premiere, del Toro spoke of his connection to the story: “I saw the film as a kid and it’s a film that bonded me with my mom for an entire life. It affected me because Pinocchio saw the world the way I saw it. I was a lit

Blonde Heartbreaker: Andrew Dominik completes his Marilyn Monroe project • Journal • A Letterboxd Magazine

Blonde broke Andrew Dominik’s heart. Four summer Olympics, a global pandemic, two Popes, a British Queen and a King separate the New Zealand-Australian filmmaker from first falling in love with Joyce Carol Oates’ eponymous best-selling novel in 2008 and the world premiere of his magnum opus at the 79th Venice Film Festival in 2022. The relationship between the director and his precious source material has been a sinuous, often cruel one. An ever-elusive mistress, Blonde escaped the filmmaker tim

Saint Omer – first-look review

This deeply nuanced treatise on the tragedy of motherhood marks the extraordinary feature debut of Alice Diop. Th film Saint Omer, which premiered in the 2022 Venice Film Festival competition, is built around its clever handle on notions of suppression: suppression of information; feelings; certainty. Lauded documentarian Alice Diop’s first foray into fiction filmmaking carefully curates what is shown and what is not, as it toys with the viewer’s expectations by delaying character introductions

Surface review: a show as superficial as its title

Sign up for Sight & Sound’s Weekly Film Bulletin and more News, reviews and archive features every Friday, and information about our latest magazine once a month. In 2017, HBO’s hit series Big Little Lies furthered the appeal of the traditional whodunnit by enticing viewers into the uber-private bosom of the privileged American neo-WASP. The show ushered in a new era for the sleek, elevated psychological TV thriller, opening the floodgates to a vast offering of not only whodunnits but howdunnit

Programme Notes: Parallel Mothers

When they meet again, Cecilia, Janis’ daughter is a fast-growing toddler and Janis holds a crushing secret. Ana no longer sports the anxiety-ridden face of a teenager, her long brown hair now turned into a blonde spiked pixie. It is clear she is not the same woman she was at the maternity ward, and, soon, Janis finds out why: Anita, Ana’s daughter, died suddenly of a crib death - one day, her brain simply forgot how to breathe. Brought together once more, the women now root themselves in one

What Scared You, Mum? The Open Wounds of Petite Maman — Girls on Tops

What if we could meet our mothers before they became mothers? How did they become the people who raised us, and how did we change them? Céline Sciamma’s Petite Maman asks quiet, tender questions of enormous scope – and prompted one writer to have all the conversations with her mum that she couldn’t have when she wanted to. Rafaela Sales Ross writes a letter on mothers, daughters, and generational wounds. It’s been almost a decade since we last spoke. How odd. Has time flown by for you, too? At t

In praise of Robert Redford’s Ordinary People

In a year of Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull and David Lynch’s The Elephant Man, the Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Director went to Robert Redford’s Ordinary People, an intimate look into a WASP family slowly disintegrating under the heavy blanket of loss. Forty years after its initial release, there is still much to be appreciated in Redford’s somewhat radical portrait of mental illness. “Why do things have to happen to people? It isn’t fair,” complains Conrad (Timothy Hutton), the 18-

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