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The Robin Menken Reviews

Robin A Menken is a regular contributor


Rendez-Vous with French Cinema at Film at Lincoln Center, 2024

Rendez-Vous with French Cinema at Film at Lincoln Center, 2024 Posted By Robin MEnken Unifrance and Film at Lincoln Center announce the lineup for the 29th edition of Rendez-Vous with French Cinema. From February 29 through March 10, this hotly attended   annual festival showcases the creativity, breadth and versatility of contemporary French cinema. The 2024 Opening Night selection is Thomas Cailley’s French box office hit The Animal Kingdom, recently nominated ...

Some Enchanting Films at SFFLA, 2024

SFFLA, 2024 (The Scandinavian Film Festival LA with BalticFilmExpo@SFFLA)   Some of my favorite films at SFFLA 2024   TITINA- Award-winning animation writer/director Kajsa Næss's first feature “Titina” is an adult feature animation, based on the almost true facts of the first and second expedition to The North Pole by a lighter than air ship.   The charming animation, containing archival footage mixed with flat animation is a Belgia...

SFFLA 2024- 25th Annual Scandinavian Film Festival

SFFLA (The Scandinavian Film Festival LA with BalticFilmExpo@SFFLA) celebrated its 25th anniversary.   Launched by opera singer, arts advocate, teacher & writer James Koenig, SFFLA has shown the Scandinavian (and now Baltic) Oscar submissions alongside emerging Scandinavian talent. Historically SFFLA’s list of guest filmmaker and actors represent the cream of Nordic filmmakers and it's shorts filmmakers graduated to become new leading lights of the region.  ...

Citizen Saint Georgia's official Oscar Submission

“Citizen Saint” posted by Robin Menken Tinatin Kajrishvili’s “Citizen Saint” is the official Georgian Entry for Best International Film, 2023. Kajrishvili has crafted an acid moral fable, a pitch black “Being There”, with elements of Soviet Social Realism. Inspired by a local living Tablisi "Saint Nicholas" (now known as King Nariman and found on Facebook) and a Georgian short story Bye Amigo, Tinatin Kajrishvili's pro...

A Light Never Goes Out

A Light Never Goes Out Posted by Robin Menken Anastasia Tsang’s gentle, elegiac film ”A Light Never Goes Out” was submitted as Hong Kong’s Official Foreign Submission to the 96th Oscar awards, although, for some reason, does not appear in the final list submitted to Academy voters. Mei-hsiang (Sylvia Chang), the widow of Hong Kong neon artist Bill (Simon Yam) discovers her late husband’s apprentice Leo (Henick Chou) still working in his closed worksho...

The Peasants

The Peasants Posted by Robin Menken Director DK Welchman and producer Hugh Welchman’s follow up to their landmark Painted animation feature "Loving Vincent" is The Peasants (Chłop), Poland’s submission for the 96th Academy Awards. Based on Władysław Reymont’s 1904-1909 Nobel Prize-winning novel of the same name, It follows a year in the life of a Polish village. Although set in the 19th century, the book, which is read by all Polish teens i...

They Shot The Piano Player

Posted by Robin Menken Bossa Nova is making a comeback-filmically. First there was Roberto de Oliveira’s “Elis and Tom”,a documentary from remastered footage of a legendary recording session in LA in 1974: then Dandara Ferreira & Lô Politi bio pic about Gal Costa "Meu Nome e Gal"- a look at Gal Costa's career as part of Tropicalia's political resistance to the violence of Brazil's new dictatorship; and now Fernando Trueba and Javier...

AWFF 2023

The ASIAN WORLD FILM FESTIVAL (AWFF) 2023 Posted by Robin Menken The ASIAN WORLD FILM FESTIVAL (AWFF) 2023 returned to it's signature home at The Culver Theatre, currently run by Amazon. The festival ran from November 8 – 17. The Opening Night film was Concrete Utopia and Moscow Mission was  the Closing Night Film. In a interesting development, both Canadian director Zarrar Kahn ("In Flames") and Malaysian director Amanda Nell Eu ("Tiger Stri...

Highlights of Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival (LABRFF) 2023

Highlights of Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival (LABRFF) 2023 Posted By Robin Menken Flavio Ermírio’s “Tree House” is a slow simmering psychological horror piece, well-cast and beautifully mounted. Real chemistry between the leads Dora (Cristiane Wersom) and Mateus (Pedro Bosnich) is the spine of this post-modern“Rappaccini’s Daughter (Nathaniel Hawthorne). Hugo Prata's "Angela" is a portrait of 70's Brazilian socialite an...

“Red Monet” Opens The 16th Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival.

“Red Monet” Opens The 16th Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival. Posted by Robin Menken Celebrating its 16th anniversary, the Los Angeles Brazilian Film Festival (LABRFF) runs Oct 23-26 at the new Culver Theater owned by Amazon Studios.An Opening Night Gala kicks off the festival with a red-carpet event and cocktail party surrounding the premiere of Halder Gomes’s “Vermelho Monet” (Red Monet), a seductive exploration of a painter and his perpetual muse.   ...

"My Love Affair With Marriage" animated review

Posted by Robin Menken Signe Baumane’s multi award-winning “My Love Affair With Marriage” is a exuberant mixed-media feature animation, a musical blend of neuroscience, gender issues and old fashion romance- gone wrong!     Baumane’s signature style goes back to her earliest shorts in the late 90’s. Her poignant characters are sexy and pulpy-featured and, by 2014, when she made her video Tarzan and her first feature "Rocks In The ...

Roots Of Fire

Roots Of Fire- a rousing musical portrait of young Cajun musicians. Posted by Robin Menken Funded out of their own pockets, Abby Berendt Lavoi and Jeremey Lavoi’s “Roots Of Fire” Is a passionate documentary about Cajun music and the younger generation of musicians dedicated to keeping this francophone music, culture and language alive. Peppered with concert footage and juicy interviews, it’s a warm portrait of the saucy inheritors of one of America’s ...

Garden City, Kansas

Garden City, Kansas. Posted By Robin Menken Bob Hurst’s Garden City, Kansas Is a crime documentary about a foiled terrorist attack and a warning against the violence of Trumpist America. We meet Angie Haflich, the content editor of High Plains Public Radio which broadcasts to Kansas and four other states. Interviews with Haflich and other local citizens portray a conservative Middle American small town (mostly Republican) which, because of it reliance on farming and meat p...

"Elis & Tom"- A Legendary Bossa Nova Recording Session!

Posted by Robin Menken "In February 1974, Brazilian musical stars Elis Regina and Tom Jobim met in Los Angeles, to record an album that would become a reference work in the history of Brazilian popular music.” Digitally remastered from 16 millimeter footage, the film drops us into this historic, troubled and ultimately victorious meeting between two creative giants. The filmed session is a intimate look at a Who’s Who of Brazilian musicians : guitarist-compo...

Jacques Audiard’s "Paris 13th District" ("Les Olympiades”) is lighter than his usual fare

    Reviewed by Robin Menken   Jacques Audiard’s "Paris 13th District" ("Les Olympiades”) is lighter than his usual fare. Weaving the lives of his four main characters with a sort of Alan Rudolph touch. he focuses on Paris millennials, a vain, dispassionate bunch. Think of it as chamber music about their loves, fights, ambitions and, most crucially, their loneliness, exacerbated by relationship-free hook-up apps. ...

The Tale Of King Crab reviewed

The Tale Of King Crab Posted by Robin Menken   The Tale of King Crab is the Feature debut of documentarians Alessio Rigo Premiering at the Cannes Film Festival Directors’ Fortnight, 2021 it also won many awards including the Viennale 2021-FIPRESCI Feature Prize, the Annecy Cinema Italien (2021) Best Film, the Thessaloniki Film Festival Film Critics Feature Award (2021),  and the Grand Prix at Dolce Cinema - Les Rencontres du Cinéma Italien à Greno...

24th Annual Dances With Films Festival by Robin Menken

  Dances With Films, LA's independent film festival ran from August 26 to September 12 at the TCL Chinese Theatres.   Founded by Leslee Scallon and Michael Trent, Dances With Films has been recognized by USA TODAY readers as a TOP 10 North American Film Festival and has repeatedly hit the TOP 10 on FilmFreeway's Review List of more than 8,000 film festivals worldwide.    The entertaining "Voodoo Macbeth", produced by...

20th edition of Industry@Tallinn & Baltic Event focuses on sustainability and the future of filmmaking

  The growing business platform and trade fair in Northern Europe for audiovisual industry professionals Industry@Tallinn & Baltic Event celebrates its 20th edition with a seven-day summit in Tallinn, accessible also online, focusing on hot topics such as green production and sustainability in the film industry. Marge Liiske, the head of Industry@Tallinn& Baltic Event comments that even though 20 years has given the team a great deal of experience and the summit has esta...


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