SFFILM Review: Censor

Most Americans probably don’t know that before Tipper Gore wreaked havoc on the United States music industry with her crusade against profanity in art, the UK had their own epidemic regarding the world of straight-to-video slasher films. Prano Bailey-Bond sets her directorial debut in a Thatcher-steeped 1980s Britain, when the BBFC (the British Board of Film Classification) demanded to run so-called Video Nasties through a rigorous screening process that resulted in mandatory edits and a viewer rating. Censor never namechecks the BBFC, but it’s clear that the film’s troubled protagonist, Enid (Niamh Algar), works for the organization. For her, it’s more than just a job – it’s a calling. That’s why she’s shocked when a brutal murder makes headlines for being linked to a film that she herself screened and rated. Soon, Enid is the victim of sinister phone calls and other harassment. Meanwhile, she is disturbed by a film that eerily resembles an incident from her childhood which resulted in the disappearance of her sister. Is Enid the victim of a sinister conspiracy, or is there something more internal at play? 

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2018 San Francisco International Film Festival Recap

Every April, talented filmmakers from around the world coalesce in the City by the Bay for the San Francisco International Film Festival. Now in its 61st year, SFIFF is the longest running film festival in the Americas. SFFILM, a nonprofit organization, helms the fest which caters to an audience of 75,000 people from both inside and outside the industry. This year, the fest ran from April 4th to 17th and showcased almost 200 films.

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SFIFF Highlights…

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Film Review: Scary Mother

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Scary Mother is a quietly riveting film that is richly layered with themes of identity, traditional gender roles, sacrifice, and hypocrisy filtered through the lens of a middle-aged mother of 3. At 26, first-time writer/director Ana Urushadze possesses remarkable insight into the psyche of a woman who spent the majority of her motherhood suppressing her artistic urges. But now that her children are more self-sufficient, Manana (Nato Murvanidze) has taken the opportunity to write her novel. But the writing process has caused her to neglect her “duties” as a stay-at-home mother. Her husband, Anri (Dimitri Tatishvili), is fed up and is desperate to return to the status quo.

Urushadze does an outstanding job of introducing her characters and setting the scene. As the film opens, Manana is checking in with her family after having spent many nights in literary exile. She dutifully clutches a laundry basket as she quietly tiptoes through their crowded tower block apartment in Tbilisi, Georgia. While he dresses for work, Anri reminds Manana how accommodating he has been, sleeping on the couch so she can work in peace. He complains about her unkempt appearance and how long she’s taking to write her book. This interaction informs the audience about Anri’s values and the emotional rift that exists between husband and wife. From what we see of her children, they are detached teenagers who are a bit thrown by the recent inaccessibility of their formerly omnipresent mother…

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