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Marina Antunes [Film Festival 10.02.19] thriller drama documentary

Pauline Kael was a great lover of cinema, a great critic, and a great writer. Her words elevated a picture and, as Rob Garver notes in his documentary What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael, reading her work was often like watching a film for the second time from a different perspective.

And so, it is rather unfortunate that such a great and talented artist doesn't get a better film about her life and work.

While it features interviews with friends, family and colleagues, as well as excerpts from her various works, the information the film provides does little to illuminate or provide any new insight into Kael and her work. The interviews are mostly flat and uninteresting with a few notable exceptions and then only because the interview subjects themselves are interesting in their own right.

An interesting introduction to Kael and her work, What She Said doesn't have or elicit the spark and joy that the subject herself had. Thankfully her work remains as a beacon for film lovers who both agree and disagree with her.

What She Said: The Art of Pauline Kael plays at VIFF on October 8. Check the festival website for tickets additional screening details.

I love a good drama that keeps me guessing about what I'm seeing and Clifton Hill, Canadian director Albert Shin's new movie, falls well into this category.

The drama stars Tuppence Middleton and Hanna Gross as sisters, Abby and Laure respectively, who return home to Niagara Falls after the death of their mother. Laure is there to close out the family business but Abby has different plans. The thing with Abby, in addition to the fact that she thinks she can get the rundown motel back up and running, is that she's also a pathological liar and perhaps a tad psychotic and immediately after arrival, becomes obsessed with a childhood memory that comes rushing back.

Featuring a great performance from Middleton, a memorable turn from horror auteur David Cronenberg (he really should have his own podcast), cinematography that casts Clifton Hill as a place of mystery and secrets, and a moody score from Alex Sowinski and Leland Whitty, Clifton Hill is one to keep on the radar.

Clifton Hill plays at VIFF on October 2 and 4. Check the festival website for tickets additional screening details.

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