KNIVES OUT
2019, Lionsgate, 131 min, USA, Dir: Rian Johnson

The circumstances surrounding the death of crime novelist Harlan Thrombey are mysterious, but there’s one thing that renowned Detective Benoit Blanc knows for sure - everyone in the wildly dysfunctional Thrombey family is a suspect. Now, Blanc must sift through a web of lies and red herrings to uncover the truth. From acclaimed writer-director Rian Johnson comes this suspenseful, twist-filled whodunnit with an all-star ensemble cast including Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Ana de Armas, Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, Toni Collette, LaKeith Stanfield, Katherine Langford, Michael Shannon, Jaeden Martell, and more.


ANTIGONE
2019, Cinema Libre Studio, 109 min, Canada, Dir: Sophie Deraspe

Writer-director Sophie Deraspe’s liberal adaptation of the Greek tragedy by Sophocles is the daring story of one young woman’s commitment to make the world a better place, even if it means sacrificing herself. Antigone (Nahéma Ricci, in a luminous performance) is an Algerian-born teenager growing up with her immigrant family in Montréal when her oldest brother is killed by police and her other brother arrested and threatened with deportation. Antigone invents a dangerous plan to free him - but the consequences of her actions spiral out of control. As Antigone’s predicament intensifies, the film deftly addresses urgent questions of immigration and belonging, social media and identity and the possibilities of idealism. Winner of Best Canadian Feature Film at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival.


BATANG WEST SIDE
2001, 315 min, Philippines/USA, Dir: Lav Diaz

Filipino director Lav Diaz burst into the international arthouse film scene with this epic murder mystery set against the illusion of the American Dream. The story begins with the senseless slaying of Hanzel (Yul Servo), a Filipino youth from the crime ridden streets of Jersey City. Police detective Juan Mijares (Joel Torre) sets out to solve the case, by interviewing the teen’s family and friends and piecing together a fractured portrait of his life. Soon, the detective’s discoveries reveal some relentlessly bleak truths about the Philippine diasporic experience. With the ambitious scope of a great work of literature and a surprisingly brisk pace (for Diaz), BATANG WEST SIDE is one of the director’s most hauntingly beautiful films. “We have to examine our history - more than 300 years of Spanish colonization, almost one hundred years of American intervention, four years of Japanese reign, more than twenty years of Marcos terrorism - all these things destroyed our culture, our psyche. We have to examine that. We have to look back. BATANG WEST SIDE is that. It is an examination of our past, our future - a collective canvas of what we are as a people, as a nation.” – Lav Diaz.


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