Review no 83: Syrian feature documentary ‘For Sama’

I watched For Sama (2019) on All 4, knowing only that it was an Oscar-nominated film about the Syrian conflict, dedicated to the baby daughter of the journalist and film maker Waad al-Kateab (and co-directed by Edward Watts). I expected it to be harrowing, but I was unprepared for how gripping and powerful the film […]

Review no 40: Jojo Rabbit, film by Taika Waititi (New Zealand)

FAR EAST, SOUTH ASIA AND AUSTRALASIA **** Early reviews of this 2019 film suggested it was a “Marmite” movie: you were either going to love it or hate it, no half measures. I’d watched Waititi’s earlier features, including the hugely entertaining What we do in the Shadows (2014, a mock reality TV documentary about vampires) […]

Review no 39: A Girl Made of Dust, Nathalie abi-Ezzi (Lebanon)

NORTH AFRICA, MIDDLE EAST AND CENTRAL ASIA I recently joined the Shelterbox Book Club, which for a donation of £10 a month sends me a regular book for discussion as part on an online book club, and also helps to provide emergency shelter and resources for families affected by disaster worldwide. The most recent book […]

Review no 31: Frankenstein in Baghdad, Ahmed Saadawi (Iraq)

Translated from the Arabic by Jonathan Wright NORTH AFRICA, MIDDLE EAST AND CENTRAL ASIA This is a strange book with an excellent title, winner of the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in 2014 and shortlisted for the 2018 Man Booker international prize. (I often wonder what prompts a particular book to be translated into English, […]

Review no 22: Monos (Monkeys), film by Alejandro Landes (Colombia)

AMERICAS AND THE CARIBBEAN This new release (2019), directed and co-written by Alejandro Landes, is like Lord of the Flies on shrooms. Monos is an exciting, visceral and disturbing film, which has been selected by Colombia as its entry for the upcoming Oscars in the category of International Feature Film. In October 2019 the film […]