The Killing of Two Lovers

Written by Michael Clawson

70/100

The Nest in flyover country; tense marriage and family drama dressed up as a crime thriller rather than a horror movie, set amid the barren, snow-dusted streets and fields of small-town Utah in winter rather than the gloomy British countryside. In other words, The Nest meets Wildlife (or Certain Women, except the gap between my fondness for that movie and Machoian’s is too enormous for me want to underline that connection). 

Machoian’s eye for the setting – the worn brick houses, the wide roads, the vast swaths of land – does a lot of the heavy lifting for me. I like that he uses long takes to not just sustain tension, but also to establish and explore space: it’s all the more difficult for David to shake the thought of his wife sleeping with another man when the house she’s doing it in is only an easy jog down the street. I also like his framing, like when David takes the kids to the park to launch rockets, and Machoian stages the action off to the left, all the negative space off to the right holding the unease that eventually releases when the daughter snaps. Other choices are poorly judged, like the extreme close ups when David and Nikki go out on their date.

A potential for violence is the film’s fuel for suspense, but I sometimes didn’t feel like David’s stifled rage and his fatherly gentleness were two sides of the same coin. It’s more like Machoian hints at David’s interiority only when he thinks he needs to shovel more coal in the fire of movie’s genre engine. At the risk of belaboring the comparison, where The Nest’s tension is diffuse and vague (my preference), the source of suspense in The Killing of Two Lover’s is more concentrated, and tapped in some minorly gimmicky ways.

The Killing of Two Lovers Trailer

The Killing of Two Lovers is available to stream on Hulu and rent or purchase on major VOD platforms.

Follow Michael on Letterboxd or connect with him on Twitter.

The Humans

Written by Patrick Hao

62/100

The number one hackneyed complaint that all critics make about plays adapted into movies is that it is too stagey. Stephen Karam seemed to have taken those criticisms to heart when he decided to adapt his own Tony Award-Winning play, The Humans, into a feature film. Karam’s adaptation opens with a low-angle shot of the towering Chinatown apartment building that the film takes place in. It’s the first of several invocations of 9/11 throughout the film.

The play ran for 95-minutes on Broadway. In a smart move, the film does not run for much longer than that as well. Not much has changed for the adaptation. The film still follows one family Thanksgiving in a two-story, crappy apartment in New York City. The apartment belongs to Brigid (Beanie Feldstein) and her boyfriend Richard (Steven Yeun). They have just moved to this apartment and lack furniture due to a mishap with the moving crew. Coming to attend Thanksgiving are Brigid’s parents, Mark (Richard Jenkins) and Diedre (Jayne Houdyshell), her grandmother suffering from Alzheimer’s (June Squibb), and newly single and about to be fired sister, Aimee (Amy Schumer).

Like all family reunions, Thanksgiving from hell movies, this one features numerous squabbles, nagging, passive aggression, sarcasm, and bitter revelations, all with naturalistic performances from all the actors. Brigid is insecure with her lot in life. She is a creative who must make ends meet by bartending. Aimee is about to lose her job as a junior partner at her law firm and just ended a year-long relationship. Mark is dealing with the fallout of 9/11 and his own ineffectual masculinity. Meanwhile, Diedre’s own insecurities with her weight and lot in life are extended to her children.

All of this seems like a normal affair for a Broadway play. Karam is notable for his replication of normal human patter. He is also incredible at putting weight on every pregnant pause for its maximum impact. The ensemble cast is also helpful in delivering the undertones of every line. Feldstein’s natural emphatic exuberance being knocked down by the subtle drags of Houdyshell and the caustic resignation of Schumer makes for an especially fun dynamic.

Karam however intends to suffocate the characters with creeping dread and anxiety. The apartment aches at every movement and rumbles from the exposed pipes and heat. His camera fixates on characters for protracted periods of time, lulling the audience, allowing Karam to use sudden dialogue like jump scares. Often the empty apartment seems to be almost engulfing the characters on screen. It’s no secret that The Humans is going for a brutal mix of Repulsion and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf.

While Karam is impressive in how he’s able to layout the confines of the apartment, his stylistic choices become overbearing and discordant with the naturalism that he has his actors embrace. Other films that have trotted in the similar stylistic and thematic territory – the exquisite digital filmmaking of Pieces of April or the suffocating horror of Krisha – were able to find a better balance in the two. If anything, the style he chooses is successful in the ability it depicts the constant dissociation one uses to survive. The vacant stares are a result of defense mechanisms.

There is much to like in Karam’s adaptation of his own play. But it also feels like a playwright trying too hard to prove his bonafides as a filmmaker. Maybe instead of focusing on the bumps in the night, The Humans would have been better served at creating a lump in our throats.

The Humans Trailer

The Humans is streaming on Showtime.

You can follow Patrick and his passion for film on Letterboxd and Twitter.

Bruised

Written by Maria Athayde

50/100

Bruised is a mixed martial arts drama starring and directed by Halle Berry in her directorial debut.  This film is right up my alley. A sports drama lead by a female protagonist. It recounts the story of Jackie Justice (Halle Berry) a former MMA fighter with a drinking problem on a journey to make her way back to the cage. Part of what motivates this comeback is the reappearance of Jackie’s son Manny who she had not seen in years. Paired with a new trainer Buddhakan (Sheila Atim) Jackie starts to gain her old form back as she prepares for Lady Killer (Valentina Shevchenko) who she’ll fight in a flyweight title bout in Atlantic City. While she trains for the championship fight Jackie tries to manage her relationship with her volatile manager and boyfriend Desi, her son Manny, her mom Angela as well as her burgeoning relationship with Buddhakan.

All these components lead to a movie that feels too short and too long at the same time. There was no balance between what Jackie was inside the cage and who she was outside of the cage. I attribute this inconsistency to the cliché ridden screenplay written by first-time screenwriter Michelle Ronsenfarb. Everything horrible that could happen to a person including family trauma, sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and self-doubt is carelessly dotted in the screenplay with no payoff. If this were a series instead of a movie all these additional layers would make sense but as it stands they make Jackie feel like an amalgamation of trauma and not a real character.  

Don’t get me wrong both in front and behind the camera Berry does the best with what she’s got. She embraces and embodies the physicality needed to play this character. Sheila Atim was equally mesmerizing as Buddhakan. The all-women rap soundtrack executive produced by Halle Berry and Cardi B was a historic first and the best thing to come out of this movie. Even with these qualms I anxiously await to see what project Berry takes on next behind the camera.

Bruised Trailer

Bruised is currently available to stream on Netflix.

You can follow Maria Manuella Pache de Athayde on LetterboxdTwitter, or Instagram and view more of what she’s up to here.

tick, tick… BOOM!

Written by Anna Harrison

80/100

If you did musical theater or sang in a school chorus growing up, chances are you heard “Seasons of Love” sung so often that just those simple opening piano notes were enough to send you from the room, howling—or maybe that was just me. Yet while Rent’s most popular song may have become a bit too popular in certain circles, there is no denying the show it originated from reshaped the musical theater landscape; take it or leave it (ha, guys, get it?), Rent revamped Broadway, inspiring a generation of future playwrights and librettists to pull from the current, messy world as the source of their inspiration. But before Rent, and before his untimely death from an aortic aneurysm the day before opening previews, Jonathan Larson wrote a semi-autobiographical one-man show called tick, tick… BOOM!, which would be revamped after Larson’s passing and morphed into a three-person show, enjoying many Off-Broadway performances before Lin-Manuel Miranda (who had previously starred as Jonathan in one of those productions) decided to try his hand at a film adaptation, where he proves to be as nimble a director as he is a writer.

Starring Andrew Garfield as Jonathan Larson the character, tick, tick… BOOM! employs two framing devices, the first being Jonathan’s girlfriend Susan (Alexandra Shipp) narrating from an unspecified time after his death over grainy faux home video footage, giving us the requisite information about Jonathan’s life before Rent, and the second being Jonathan’s first performance of tick, tick… BOOM! at the New York Theatre Workshop; the latter is quite fun, but the former feels a bit too cloying. As Jon begins to describe the mess of feelings he experienced in the days leading up to his 30th birthday, the camera cuts to those days as he juggles working at the Moondance Diner and prepping for a reading of a new musical he has written, Superbia; from here on out, the film will smoothly cut between Larson performing tick, tick… BOOM! onstage and him experiencing the events that inspired it.

“Lately,” Jonathan tells us, “I’ve been hearing this sound everywhere I go. Like a tick, tick, tick.” Like a time bomb. Like the end of his so-far lackluster writing career is fast approaching as he inches closer to the big three-oh with nothing to show for it—by that time, Stephen Sondheim had already written the lyrics to two Broadway shows (West Side Story and Gypsy), and Jon’s own father had started a bustling family, while Jon still waits tables and writes ditties about the sugar on them. Even though he has a workshop of Superbia the next week, his agent, Rosa (Judith Light), has barely been in contact about it, he can’t write the big act two number he needs Karessa (Vanessa Hudgens) to sing, Susan is debating whether to take a job outside of the city as a dance teacher, his colleagues are dying to AIDs, and his friend Michael (Robin de Jesús) has stopped trying to be an actor and instead has become a marketing bigwig, and is trying to convince Jonathan to join him. And, on top of this, Jon is behind on the, um, rent. The ticking clock hovers at the movie, getting louder and louder as everything seems to crash down onto Jon’s shoulders.

tick, tick… BOOM! is most definitely a movie made by musical theater kids for musical theater kids—and I say “kids” because you never stop being a theater kid, even as an adult—but it’s so earnest in its adoration of the art form, so genuine in its awe of the creative process, that even if you detest those annoying theater kids, it would be hard not to be won over by tick, tick… BOOM!. Miranda crafts each shot with care and precision; even if not all of his creative choices fully work (one number in particular recalls to mind Elrond’s floating head in Fellowship of the Ring), they are at least bold, and there can no doubt that Miranda has as much potential with a camera as a pen. He combines the best of both live theater and the movies: there are big dances, there are ballads and patter songs and group numbers, and they are all captured by the camera in a way that, while it doesn’t quite capture the magic of a live show, adds its own filmic twist that creates an entirely new layer.

His treatment of Jonathan Larson, whom he idolized as a teenager, is reverent without glossing over the man’s flaws; this is helped by an absolutely superb performance from Andrew Garfield, who won a Tony for Angels in America but has never tried his hand at musical theater—after this, we can only hope he chooses to do so. He imbues Jon with a fierce kinetic energy; whether he’s rejoicing in Michael’s new and fancy apartment or pulling his hair out trying to write a song, his gangly frame never quite still: his foot is always tapping, his fingers are always playing an imaginary piano. Of the supporting cast, only de Jesús, himself a Broadway veteran who co-starred with Miranda in In the Heights, can hope to match him; the rest are left handily in the dust.

tick, tick… BOOM! is one big, frenetic love letter to musical theater, to the creative process, and to the real Larson, genuine and open in a way that few things are nowadays. Just about anyone who is anyone on Broadway has a cameo, and homages to musicals such as Sunday in the Park with George abound (Bradley Whitford even shows up playing Stephen Sondheim in an excellent imitation, and the real Sondheim cameos as a voicemail), yet it’s not just for the musical theater kids: tick, tick… BOOM! is for anyone who has ever had a dream, for anyone who has ever believed they have more to offer the world, for anyone with eyes and ears and, most importantly, a heart.

tick, tick… BOOM! Trailer

tick, tick… BOOM! is currently available to stream on Netflix.

You can follow more of Anna’s work on LetterboxdTwitterInstagram, and her website.

VIFF 2021 Review: Azor

Written by Maria Athayde

80/100

Azor is a Franco-Argentinian-Swiss co-production co-written and directed by Andreas Fontana marking his feature film debut. From the first shot there is something disorienting about the film. We see a somewhat disoriented man, surrounded by foliage, looking straight into the camera and shortly after we see two young men being questioned by the police at gunpoint on streets. At the same time, we observe a Swiss couple in a nearby car that are startled by this image as they make their way to their hotel after just landing in Buenos Aires. One of the things that contributes to this sense of disorientation is that characters often switch between Spanish, French, and English in the same sentence. So, understanding the context in which this film takes place helps enhance your viewing experience.

The film takes place in Argentina during the late 1970s early 1980s, a period of social and political unrest in the country. This period would later become known as Guerra sucia, or Dirty War in English. During this era thousands of people were killed or disappeared. The majority of those that went missing were seen as a threat to the military junta. It is within this fraught context that Azor takes place. Told through a series of distinct chapters we are introduced to Yvan De Wiel (Fabrizio Rongione), a Swiss banker, and his wife Inés (Stéphanie Cléau) as they embark on a journey to discover what happened to De Wiel’s partner who goes by the name Keys.

As the film unfolds, things become more unsettling. The plot is a bit sparse but there is a general understanding that finding Keys is the throughline which guides everything that happens on screen. The feeling of unease I had while watching this was also due to the economical and superb score as well as the dimly lit shots of De Wiel in Keys’ apartment trying to piece together what happened to his partner. Sharing anymore more would spoil the delicate surprises the rest of this film has in store. This film is an impressive socio-political character study that never feels heavy handed. Fontana’s precision and subtlety kept me invested even when not much was going on. All these achievements are more impressive considering this is Fontana’s debut feature. Azor is a definite recommendation on my list and one of the best films I’ve seen in 2021.

Highly Recommended

Azor Trailer

Azor was screened as part of the 2021 edition of the Vancouver International Film Festival and is currently seeking distribution.

You can follow Maria Manuella Pache de Athayde on LetterboxdTwitter, or Instagram and view more of what she’s up to here.

VIFF 2021 Review: Sin La Habana

Written by Anna Harrison

45/100

Director Kaveh Nabatian’s Sin La Habana has grand ambitions, much like its protagonist, Leo (Yaneh Acosta), a talented Afro-Cuban ballet dancer who dreams of leaving Cuba to find a better life elsewhere. Together with his girlfriend, Sara (Evelyn Castroda O’Farrill), Leo decides the best way to get out is to seduce someone, and the easiest target is Nasim (Aki Yaghoubi), a lonely Iranian-Canadian tourist who enrolls in Leo’s dance classes. Soon enough, Nasim extends an invitation to Leo to join her in Montreal, and Nabatian swaps the colorful and chaotic streets of Cuba for the snowy and stark landscape of Canada. The contrast could not be starker, and cinematographer Juan Pablo Ramírez beautifully frames the different cities, one warm, one cold.

As Leo settles into his new life, he struggles to avoid the pull he feels from Nasim, and Nasim struggles to avoid the judgement of her family. Leo struggles to find success as a dancer despite his talent, instead faced with cultural barriers and lack of opportunity for someone who looks like him; while the dance scenes are engaging, and Acosta’s background as a professional ballet dancer clearly shows, for a movie that seems to place so much emphasis upon dance it feels surprisingly hollow: how did Leo start dancing? What moves him to dance? Why is it so important to him that he keeps trying, no matter how many rejections he’s handed?

It’s issues like these that prevent Sin La Habana from grasping those aforementioned grand ambitions: it tries to juggle so many ideas that none of them are given enough weight. In a movie that tries to position itself as a profound meditation on race, gender, immigration, identity, and all the things that come with it, it largely skates over these issues, giving them only cursory but obvious glances which retread well-worn ground. In particular, there is one baffling scene where Nasim’s father calls Leo the n-word, and while the movie certainly attempts to explore the prejudices of racism and xenophobia, this slur comes out of nowhere and is dismissed with practically a wave of a hand. It occurs quickly and is ignored just as quickly, doing nothing to the story or the characters, only leaving a sour taste in the mouth as Nasim barely reacts to this offense and barely even acknowledges it. (It should be noted that technically the subtitles called Leo the n-word, as Nasim’s father is speaking in Hebrew, so perhaps the Hebrew equivalent doesn’t carry the same weight as the n-word does to any American viewers like myself, but why would the subtitles go for that exact word as opposed to something less blindsiding in a movie that, up to this point, had been more subtle in its observations?) 

These issues are compounded by a lack of chemistry from the lead actors, sapping the love triangle of any potency and instead rendering it a young adult cliché. When the three of them collide, what should be a taut, climactic moment becomes dull and uninteresting. Sin La Habana has all the promise in the world, but sadly squanders it in a scattershot film that never focuses long enough on anything to make it interesting.

Sin La Habana Trailer

Sin La Habana was screened as part of the 2021 edition of the Vancouver International Film Festival.

You can follow more of Anna’s work on LetterboxdTwitterInstagram, and her website.

Mass

Written by Alexander Reams

88/100

I still remember December 14, 2012. I had come home from school after a long day at school, then stayed after even more to wait on my mother (who was a teacher) to finish up her preparation for the next day. I remember the drive home, my mother was unusually emotional and I was thinking something had happened with my grandmother, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s and Dementia. When we arrived home I was told to not turn on the TV and wait for my parents. My parents went into a separate room and talked for what seemed like forever to 10-year old me. When they came out they sat me and my brother down and told us what had happened in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. 

At the time I couldn’t even begin to comprehend. Until 5 years later when I experienced that same fear, confusion, anger when there was an incident at my high school and we didn’t know what was going on if we were in any danger, or when we would be able to get out. The worst of it seemed to be the time, the waiting, the not knowing if someone was going to knock down the door and commit this act of violence. Until the aftermath came, and that hit harder than the waiting. This aftermath is what Fran Kranz’s directorial debut Mass meditates on in great strength. 

Going into the film I did not know who was who. I knew who was starring, in fact, that’s what piqued my interest in the film, specifically Jason Isaacs. Even after the film began it took 20 to 30 minutes to fully grasp who was the parents of the victim, and who was the parents of the shooter. Utilizing confusion to put tension into the film from the very first shot. First, we are introduced to Jason Isaacs’ Jay and Martha Plimpton’s Gail. Parked in front of a fence, with what looks like a high school football field behind them. Clearly cementing whose perspective the film is going to be told from. 

Soon after, we are introduced to Reed Birney’s Richard and Ann Dowd’s Linda. The latter of whom immediately thrusts a gift to Gail and then annoyingly apologizes multiple times. After this awkward interaction we spend the rest of the film marinating in this room with these people. There has been a heavy amount of conversation around Ann Dowd’s performance and unfortunately I do not see why. She is overcooking her role for the entire runtime and becomes annoying very quickly. Reed Birney and Jason Isaacs however are the unsung heroes of the film. Their presence is always felt but is never overbearing. 

Fran Kranz’s directorial debut is a quiet film with a loud presence. Not being a film that preaches gun control, but instead looks at the consequences of someone’s actions through their parents. The guilt that the parents feel, the anger, not at the person, but at that person’s parents. Kranz’s writing of all the characters is fantastic, his shot composition and use of lighting helps keep the mood light while the tone is heavy. Assembling a fantastic cast with Birney and Isaacs being the best of them. Hopefully come awards season we will see recognition for one or both of them, as they are more than worthy of the recognition. Quiet films can often be the most profound.

Mass Trailer

Mass is currently playing in limited theatrical release.

You can connect with Alexander on his social media profiles: Instagram, Letterboxd, and Twitter. Or see more of his work on his website.

The Blazing World

Written by Patrick Hao

35/100

The Blazing World is part of a concerning trend with genre movies in which filmmakers and the film press feel like in order to instill these films with a sense of importance, these films have to be didactically about real world trauma. The Babadook, a movie I love, is the first one of these films that come to mind in the way that the press hailed it as great because it tackled such heavy subject matter like postpartum depression. As that movie garnered praise and attention, more and more genre films have seemingly felt the need to be shallow and explicit about the very “trauma” at their core.

Recent examples, such as Candyman, The Night House, and the David Gordon Green’s new Halloween movies come to mind as films that put the subtext as text in a way that feels self-conscious in asserting their importance to the public discourse of trauma. This feels especially disconcerting given that a genre like horror has always been about trauma as the root of fear, but it was allowed to exist as subtext. The Blazing World lives in a pretentious self-consciousness.

The title, The Blazing World, comes from Margaret Cavendish’s seminal 17th century story about a utopian society, but this film has little to do with that, having drawn more inspiration story and style-wise from C.S. Lewis or Lewis Carroll. The film follows Margaret who accidentally drowns her sister as a child while her parents (Vinessa Shaw and Dermot Mulroney) are fighting. As she contemplates suicide, she is whisked away to somewhere else through the help of a man named Lained (Udo Kier as an Udo Kier type) and a portal. Now, as an adult (played by the writer-director Carlson Young) as she returns home, she is on a surrealist journey fueled by her subconscious defined by trauma and loss.

As Carlson Young’s debut feature after spending more than a decade as a young actress doing Disney television and Scream Queens, it is easy to understand that Young wanted to throw everything at the wall to see what stuck. Her surrealist subconscious is bathed in different hues and seems informed by works from Lynch and Jodorowsky. But, in how misguided it is, The Blazing World is probably more like Terry Gilliam’s Tideland

The world that Margaret finds herself in is neither surreal enough to allow the dreamscape to wash over the viewer nor tethered in emotions that are relatable. There is barely even tension in some of the horror focused scenes. Any room left open to interpretation is undercut by the fact that we are supposed to be seeing this as a trigger of Margaret’s trauma. There is even a character who explicitly tells Margaret what she is going through is traumatic.

The lighting and production design is also self consciously cool. The aesthetic may be best described as mid-2010s Tumblr chic with “One Perfect Shot” energy. It’s so self consciously cool that it might as well be this Letterboxd list – cool to look at but devoid of substance. But, as a calling card, Young certainly displays enough of any eye to deserve a bigger budget, and maybe a better script. It’s also hard to be too harsh on a film like The Blazing World. It is clearly a personal passion project with a lot to prove. But it also seems emblematic of a trend in genre movies that should be quickly reversed. Let subtext be subtext.

The Blazing World Trailer

The Blazing World will be available in limited theatrical release and to rent and purchase on most major VOD platforms on October 15th.

You can follow Patrick and his passion for film on Letterboxd and Twitter.

Fantastic Fest 2021 Review: Mad God

Written by Alexander Reams

76/100

Stop motion animation has always been my favorite medium within animated storytelling. There’s a level of passion that is shown throughout stop motion animation that I appreciate above all else. From Wes Anderson’s entries in this genre to the Laika films, sans the occasional miss, stop motion has always always connected with me, including this film. Before this feature was released, director Phil Tippett released three shorts that cover roughly the first half of this film. These shorts were only a glimpse at the wonderful world that Tippett had crafted. 

This world is very reminiscent of The Dark Crystal combined with Lord of the Rings. Explored by characters that do not speak, but words are not needed. The visual storytelling crafted is worth more than any words could conjure. You feel every speck of dirt, every footstep in the ground, the entire journey is felt. Which elevates it and adds an emotional core, all without speaking a word. A testament to Tippett’s mastery of his craft. 

The film is not perfect though, the runtime of the film is relatively short, but it does begin to outstay its welcome. If 15-30 minutes were taken off the film it would be perfect. However, these moments that extend the runtime of the film are unnecessary to the story, such as the overextended opening take showing the world, I feel as though it would’ve been smarter to show the world as the assassin goes through the world as well. He is played as if this is his first time experiencing it and yet we feel as though we know more, instead, it should be the other way around. Even still, this is another fantastic stop-motion film and it was a joy to watch it.

Mad God Trailer

Mad God was screened as part of the 2021 edition of the Fantastic Film Festival.

You can connect with Alexander on his social media profiles: Instagram, Letterboxd, and Twitter. Or see more of his work on his website.

VIFF 2021 Review: Money Has Four Legs

Written by Patrick Hao

68/100

Filmmakers love to make movies about how hard it is to make a movie. From The Disaster Artist to Living in Oblivion, these movies about movies are often a love letter to the medium that they love despite the hardships that they face. Money Has Four Legs goes beyond just a simple love letter to a medium, by being a potent critique of the Burmese film industry.

Maung Sun directs the film about Wai Bhone, son of a famous film director, looking to shoot a remake of a classic film. The opening scene opens with his interaction with the censorship board demanding numerous changes to his script breaking his artistic vision. Not only that, but his cast members are also irresponsible and late, and the ever-present threat of poverty makes Wai ask if this is all worth it. Everyone is seemingly against him.

The satire of the film is clear-eyed throughout about the Burmese film industry. What bubbles underneath the light comedy of the film hijinks is the presence of the socio-political troubles within Myanmar. Muang Sun does not only point his satirical lens at censorship boards but at the way the state treats the impoverished and the corruption of local banks. It is almost surprising that this film was able to get past the censorship board itself.

Maung Sun proves himself to be a very capable filmmaker with an ability to balance tonal shifts and clever referential flourishes. He knows when he is dealing with serious issues and when to be silly. If there are any drawbacks to the film, it very much feels like a first film(which it is) in which so many ideas are packed in that some do not get the attention it deserves. In particular, Wai’s nagging wife feels especially retrograde.

This film has also become an artifact as the Myanmar that Money Has Four Legs depicts is one in which the country had gone through a liberalization. However, just this February, a successful military coup had taken over the country’s government. In fact, Ma Aeint, a co-writer and producer of the film was arrested in early June by the military junta and is being held as a political prisoner. Money Has Four Legs gives a glimpse at a political climate that would not be shown through news telecasts or Vice documentaries. And for Maung Sun to do so in a biting entertaining way showcases why art and movies can be so important and powerful.

Money Has Four Legs Trailer

Money Has Four Legs was screened as part of the 2021 edition of the Vancouver International Film Festival.

You can follow Patrick and his passion for film on Letterboxd and Twitter.