Close to You is a film about transgender adulthood, about the hometown you’ve grown out of, and about the people that grew up without you. Co-writers Elliott Page and Dominic Savage share a heart-wrenchingly honest and personal story following Sam, a trans man who returns to his childhood home for the first time in five years. I was struck by how Close to You tells a queer story that is familiar but less heard. The film explores the experience of having a family that is accepting but doesn’t quite understand, one that is still learning and going to make mistakes.
Parallel Mothers is a Spanish-language drama by famed writer-director Pedro Almodóvar, who continues his streak of engaging female leads with his frequent collaborator, Penelope Cruz. Cruz shines as a single mother named Janis. While sharing a hospital room with another unexpectedly single mother, Ana, played by Milena Smit, the two women share a connection that would have lasting consequences for years to come.
Jan Miller Corran’s film, Along Came Wanda, is about Mary Beth and Wanda, two women with distinctly different personalities. Mary Beth is shown to have more of a feminine side, while Wanda acts more like a tomboy. Considering most romantic comedies that feature hetero-normative relationships, and often fall victim to patriarichal values, it was refreshing to watch a movie that depicts the relationship of two strong female leads, breaking with convention.
Salt in My Soul documents the life of Mallory Smith, who is diagnosed with cystic fibrosis at age three. Throughout her 25 years of life, Mallory journaled every step of her experience with cystic fibrosis, right up until her last breath, resulting in the memoir on which this documentary is based.
Contributor Erika Assabayeva reviews Gregory Rocco's 2018 film, Stretch Marks.
Samridh Chawla gives an in-depth review of The Wolf House, a 2018 film by Cristobal Leon & Joaquin Cocina.
Once again, CJSF made it's way to the 2019 Vancouver International Film Festival. Check out some of the film reviews from our contributors:
Human Nature by Sam Miller
Human Nature was a personal top pick out of all the movies featured in VIFF 2019. As a Molecular Biology & Biochemistry major at SFU, I have read published papers in journals like Nature about the potential and endless benefits that the newly discovered CRISPR-Cas9 system has for the future.
What does it mean to be a conspirator in times of ecological terror? For Benedikt Erlingsson’s Woman at War, the answer doesn't arrive easily, but almost certainly involves the participation of a Greek chorus. A Greek-ish chorus, in this case: a live band and a trio of a capella Ukrainian singers follow fifty-something Halla (Halldóra Geirharðsdóttir) as she roams the Icelandic countryside, fighting—quite literally—for environmental justice.
In short, Roads in February is quite realistic. Seemingly, nothing much happens. However, it captures subtle but crucial moment in life.
Now is the autumn of our discontent. It is 1971, seven years into the reign of Leonid Brezhnev, and the thaw of the 60's has once again crystallized into stagnation. In the days leading up to the annual October Revolution celebrations in the USSR, Sergei Dovlatov (Milan Marić) is lost: between surreal dreams and even more surreal reality. Dovlatov takes place within a single week in November, and chronicles a fine seven days in the life of Sergei —Seryozha to his friends and family— before he became one of the most popular counterculture writers of the 20th century.