films seen
average score
Alive and kicking



1998 / 124m - UK
Elizabeth poster

A rather basic and typical costume drama, detailing the life of Queen Elizabeth (and the start of England's Golden Age). The only way that it sets itself apart from countless similar films is that it feels just a tad lighter in tone (Vincent Cassel in particular stands out), but it's not enough to make it something special.

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The cinematography is decent, though it alternates beautiful moments with downright kitsch. Performances aren't that great and feel over-the-top, the soundtrack is cheesy and the drama didn't really interest me that much. That's usually my problem with this type of film though, so your mileage may vary.

It's obvious that director Shikhar Kanpur tried his best to add something extra to Elizabeth, but it never quite happens. At least it's nice to see someone try, it makes that it isn't a complete bore, even so the second half starts to drag and never really recovers with a rather poor finale. Not terrible, but hardly noteworthy.

Bandit Queen

1994 / 119m - India
Bandit Queen poster

There's life outside of Bollywood. Bandit Queen is a film with a pretty hefty reputation, though it appears that's mostly because of political reasons. Not that it's a very happy or pleasant film, but people who are used to watching darker and/or more shocking cinema will have little trouble coping.

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The film tells the story of Phoolan Devi (though its accuracy has been questioned by Devi herself. Devi comes from the lowest caste, when she is just 11 years old she is married off to an adult man. Tired of the injustices and the cross she has to bear, she flees and joins a group of bandits.

The performances are pretty weak, and the cinematography isn't great. The fact the main character has criticized her depiction doesn't really work in the film's favor either, but there are some gripping moments and it's nice to see something that's not a three-hour barrage of kitsch coming out of India.

I'm a big fan of anthologies, and this project sounded very promising on paper. Seventy renowned directors give their vision on the future of cinema. With just one minute per short, there isn't much time to make a point, but it's disheartening to see how few of them even managed to stick to the topic.

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The saddest part was that many of the short didn't even deal with the future, but openly referred to or praised the medium's past. There's also a lot of doom and gloom, with some very basic visions of people not caring enough about arthouse cinema, or playing movies on their phones. Your typical old-man-yelling-at-cloud stuff.

There is only a small selection of directors who seem to have understood the brief, and they struggle to make the most of their limited runtime. What remains is a complete mess, with most shorts looking like they were made on people's afternoon off, and hardly anything that stands out. A disappointment.