Luca Guadagnino, the distinguished Italian director of CALL ME BY YOUR NAME and BONES AND ALL, brings to the screen another remarkable story. It is superbly written by Justin Kuritzkes, whose intelligent screenplay unfolds like a highly accomplished novel and follows the story of Tashi Duncan (Zendaya), a former tennis prodigy, who is now turned coach for the sake of her champion husband Art Donaldson (Mike Faist). The film opens in mid action at the tennis court where Art is playing against Patrick Zweik (Josh O’Connor). It is a critical moment in both players’ career but then the action suddenly moves backwards 13 years earlier when Art and Patrick were inseparable. That was also the time when they first meet Tashi, with whom they both fell in love…

It is stylish, sexy menage a trois kind of film with homoerotic overtones. It brilliantly directed and is perfectly complimented by a terrific soundtrack by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, the Oscar winning duo from SOUL and THE SOCIAL NETWORK. Zendaya has matured into a serious player and so has Mike Faist since his breakthrough performance in WEST SIDE STORY. But the big revelation is British actor’s Josh O’Connor’s unexpected performance, who starts his journey as a sweet, loving youth before he turns into a washed up, cynical player.

It is still early days, but a strong contender for next year’s awards.



Gabriela Cowperthwaite began her career directing documentaries, including the brilliant BLACKFISH, before she turned her attention to fiction. As the title suggests, she sets the action of her futuristic sci-fi thriller on board the International Space Station, a place where American and Russian astronauts work together for the common good.

Three Americans and three Russians continue their experiments until they witness massive nuclear explosions on Earth after war breaks out between America and Russia. The only message the astronauts receive from Earth, before communication is totally cut off, is “take control of the station by any means possible”…

It is a tense and suitably claustrophobic thriller solidly scripted by Nick Shafir and imaginatively directed by Cowperthwaite. The characters are sharply drawn, and all six actors deliver effortlessly engaging performances.



Another brilliant film from writer/director Alex Garland, whose prestigious filmography includes EX MACHINA, DEVS and MEN. The action is seen through the eyes of a group of photojournalists during a brutal civil war in America.

Lee (Kirsten Dunst) and her colleagues Joel (Wagner Moura), Sammy (Stephen McKinley Henderson) and Jessie (Cailee Spaeny) embark on a dangerous journey across America for an interview with the president (Nick Offerman). It is a harrowing film and is superbly executed by Garland who coaches excellent performances from his actors. Kunst is terrific as the fearless journalist, who takes under her wing the inexperienced Jessie, sensitively played by rising star Spaeny and fresh from her leading role in PRISCILLA.

It is basically a road movie which plays like the boat journey in APOCALYPSE NOW, where every corner leads the travellers closer to hell.



Melanie Manchot’s unusual film is inspired by the 1901 film ARREST OF GOODIE – the first ever film to be shot in Liverpool. She created this film especially for the actor Stephen Giddings, which treads a thin line between documentary and drama, and focuses on the world of addiction. Actor Stephen has first hand experience on addiction and after an audition within the film, he is thrilled to be playing real-life Victorian gambling addict Thomas Goudie.

Its structure is handled with care and imagination by writer/director Manchot, who elicits an impressive performance from Giddings. The story is told in similar fashion to the recent documentary WHO IS JAMES PAYTON? but it is presented with much more flair and imagination.



Rachel Lambert’s engaging film benefits tremendously from Daisy Ridley’s luminous presence. She plays Fran, an introvert young office worker who has no friends and spends most of her time in the office hardly uttering a word to anyone and daydreaming. Things start to change when Robert (Dave Merheje), a friendly recruit begins to work there. Surprisingly he is the only person that Fran can connect with, even though their relationship appears to be more platonic than anything else…

The project started life in 2013 as a stage play by Kevin Armento under the title “Killers” before it was made into a short film and subsequently into a full feature by Lambert. The main subject may at first appear to be sad, melancholy and bleak, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel in Lambert’s sensitive film. It is worth seeing just for Ridley’s moving performance alone.



Axel Danielson and Maximilien Van Aertryck’s fascinating documentary was screened at last year’s Sundance London Film Festival and it finally gets a long overdue release. The directors’ aim is to examine society’s obsession with images in the world of social media.  Their title is taken from a comment by King George V during his coronation in 1910, describing the brand-new camera as a fantastic machine. Initially it was the Lumiere Brothers and George Melies’ short film A TRIP TO THE MOON that changed people’s perception in how we observe images, but more recently it is the world of YouTube that controls our daily activities. It is superbly edited and is always engaging and often very funny!



This friendly, easily accessible Festival, which run from the 12th until 20th of April, had screenings at the Rialto Cinema in Limassol as well as at Zena Palace in Nicosia. Inevitably more emphasis is always given to Greek and Cypriot films, but this year’s international selection included Festival favourites such as Wim Wenders’ PERFECT DAYS, Christian Petzold’s AFIRE and Ken Loach’s THE OLD OAK amongst other delights from across the globe.



Greek writer/director Sofia Exarchou follows her highly imaginative PARK with another mesmerising film, which won the Golden Alexander Award for Best International Feature at last year’s Thessaloniki Film Festival. The spellbinding Dimitra Vlakopoulou won the Best Actress Award at both Thessaloniki and Locarno Film Festivals for her remarkable performance as Kalia, the group leader to a bunch of animators.

High season is approaching on a small Greek island and the animators are busy preparing their acts for the tourists’ entertainment. At first the tireless Kalia leads the auditions and rehearsals for the new arrivals with much enthusiasm and humour, but as the time goes by, the demanding workload soon catches up with her…

Exarchou directs with style and energy a memorable ensemble of performers. It is a strong film not just about the trials and tribulations of a group of artists, but it is also about loneliness and acceptance.



This is the last project of the great Cypriot director Christos Siopahas, who sadly died before his captivating film received its first public showing. I had the pleasure of working with Christos in his previous film RED THURSDAY. Here he sets his action in a small mountainous village near Troodos during the 1940’s.

A miller (Christopher Greco) lives a solitary life far away from civilization, but his peaceful existence is suddenly broken when a young sick woman is brought to him seeking refuge. She is running away from her cruel husband, but her brothers are trying to track her down and punish her for dishonouring their family. Meanwhile, the miller’s prodigal son returns and takes advantage of the young woman’s vulnerable situation…

It is an immensely powerful film, spoken in the Cypriot dialect, and is superbly photographed by Vladimir Subotic in perfectly framed black and white compositions. Siopahas’ beautifully written, lyrical film, boasts superb production values and offers his actors fully fleshed characters. The acting is strong especially from Greco, whose striking presence lights up the screen.

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