|THE OTHER LAMBREVIEWIFC|
In “The Other Lamb,” Raffey Cassidy plays a young woman whose first period coincides with the discovery of a miscarried lamb fetus. Such is the territory we're in with Polish filmmaker Malgorzata Szumowska and screenwriter Catherine S. McMullen's allegorical slice of folk horror, and boy are we in for it. Though hardly subtle in its metaphoric intent, this story of a rural cult of all women, segregated into “sisters” and “wives,” led by a single powerful man makes for an unnervingly effective thriller dripping with atmosphere and foreshadowing.
Cassidy stars as Selah, one of the “sisters” in the Flock, as its deemed by their overseer, the Shepherd Michiel Huisman. While he certainly fits the bill of the Charismatic Cult Leader, he's a bit more brooding as he smothers his acolytes with kindness. Almost all of them are brainwashed blondes he's either plucked out of civilization, or bred in-house using his stable of wives, who've spiritually expired. Selah isn't especially close to any of the other sisters, and it's a testament to Cassidy's gifts that, without much dialogue, most of Selah's struggle is a buildup of internal shifts. There are flashbacks — or are they reveries? — of Selah in a prior life as a normal teenager. But any spiritual vim within her has been stamped out within the parameters of the cult, which prohibit any interaction with anything related to the outside world. “It's a broken place made by broken people,” the Shepherd says.
Selah is also alienated from her group because, since she's a late bloomer in the menstruation department, she isn't considered fertile, and therefore really even useful. Repeated imperatives of “your time will come” feel ominous and scary, and this countdown to hell inside the walls of a cult can't help but conjure thoughts of “Midsommar” or Hulu's “The Handmaid's Tale,” which takes place in a similarly patriarchal world where women are seen as breeding vessels, and nothing more.
There's not a lot of hope here. In whatever part of the world this cult is in, the weather looms grey and dank, such that the outsides constantly match Selah's insides. But there is a storm inside her, as the film steadily mounts to become an epic parable of female revenge. The ways in which the Shepherd grooms his women — most of whom become disposable, as revealed in a harrowing shot of empty dresses next to the riverbed — is a recognizable kind of modus operandi. His tactics include kissing the women on the forehead, or, in several shocking moments, jamming fingers in their mouths as an act of penetration and possession. It's icky, but also resembles the pathology of the very real sexual predators in the world.
SPOILER ALERT: If you are among the few who haven’t actually watched Netflix’s Tiger King docuseries, this review contains a lot of details about what goes down in the sad big cat saga.
With Netflix poised in the coming days to cash in and crank the base up a notch with more Tiger King, it's time to come out and say it: I hate the Red State porn that is the crash and burn of Joe Exotic
The initial seven episodes of this septic and shallow patchwork of trademark infringement, sex, guns, labor exploitation, song, drugs, mullets, betrayal, animal activism, revenge, and a lot of big cats may be much binged over these weeks of coronavirus lockdown, but that doesn't mean it's actually worth watching.
Now, I get it, I sound like I'm just a dour critic who hates anything that isn't prestige premium cable or aspirational. C'mon man, you want to say, Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness is just so unbelievable, I can't look away.
I respectfully disagree, and in fact, propose Tiger King isn't just bad, but dangerous in a divided America persistently looking to reduce the other side to caricature.
In a presently ailing nation where TV is more voluminous and vital than ever, the truth is the March 20 launched Tiger King is a clawed white trash misery index. Gawking at some clearly fragile and damaged people like would-be reality TV star Exotic and their below the Mason-Dixon line antics, the series subsequently provides a cultural circus for those smug bicoastals under stay at home orders and screaming to rise up in moral superiority.
Essentially, the tale of big cat collector, self-styled Oklahoma zoo proprietor and 2016 Presidential candidate Exotic AKA Joseph Maldonado-Passage and his ultimately unsuccessful attempt to have rival Carole Baskin knocked off by a hitman hired for $3,000, Tiger King is in that context more a zero-sum game, literally and figuratively, than hitting the zeitgeist.
Obviously, Netflix are pretty damn good at gauging and dragging the public mood over the years, as the likes of the then phenomenon of 2015's Making A Murderer or 2018’s Wild Wild Country prove. Yet, for all the attention it has drawn, this unfocused murder for hire exploration of sorts emerges as a bastard child of Cops, a million Dateline segments from the 1990s and Fox’s short-lived Murder in Small Town X reality show from 2001.
Not exactly the prestige product that the home of Roma, The Irishman and American Factory likes to brag about at award shows. Then again, with the knowledge that the Romans sold out the Colosseum every night feeding Christians to the lions, the bottom line based House of Hastings surely loves the subscription sign up that the currently incarcerated Maldonado-Passage and the accompanying motley gaggle of...
Any list of the most breakthrough independent films of the 21st century is bound to include some, if not all, of the following titles: “Boyhood,” “The Babadook,” “Frances Ha,” “My Big Fat Greek Wedding,” and “Blue Is the Warmest Color.” The connection between these releases is IFC Films, the indie distributor now celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2020. IFC Films has become one of the definitive indie film studios over its first two decades by supporting visions from the world's most beloved auteurs, including Richard Linklater, Jennifer Kent, Noah Baumbach, Olivier Assayas, Steve McQueen, the Safdie brothers, Lars von Trier, Ken Loach, the Dardenne brothers, Andrea Arnold, and Alfonso Cuarón.
IFC Films started its historic run with the December 2000 release of “Spring Forward,” the Tom Gilroy drama starring Ned Beatty and Liev Schreiber as two parks department workers in New England who forge a friendship over a year working together. The early movies of IFC Films were similarly modest in design and performance, from the Dogme 95 entry “The King Is Alive” to the Marisa Tomei-Vincent D'Onofrio romance “Happy Accidents” and documentaries such as “Keep the River on Your Right” and “Go Tigers!” Then came 2002, an explosive year that put IFC Films on the map thanks to an out-of-nowhere rom-com blockbuster and a Mexican road film that dominated the international film circuit.
Explore the history of IFC Films with IndieWire's list of 20 films that define the first 20 years of the studio. Films are presented in chronological order below.Photo : Moviestore/Shutterstock “Y Tu Mamá También” 2001
One of the earliest titles to put IFC on the map was Alfonso Cuarón's 2001 road trip drama “Y Tu Mamá También,” starring Diego Luna, Gael García Bernal, and Maribel Verdú. The studio picked up the film's North American distribution rights shortly after it set a record in Mexico for the country's biggest opening weekend gross. IFC released “Y Tu Mamá También” in October, a smart choice to build awards buzz that had already been growing since Cuarón took home the Best Screenplay prize at the Venice Film Festival the previous month. The drama ended up grossing $13 million in the U.S., a major feat not just for a foreign-language movie but also for a film released without a rating. IFC released the drama unrated to avoid the dreaded NC-17. On its way to landing an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay, “Y Tu Mamá También” picked up Best Foreign Film trophies from the Indie Spirit Awards, the New York Film Critics Circle, and the Critics' Choice Awards.
“Y Tu Mamá...