cléo reviews: Locarno 2019

The Locarno Film Festival is renowned for its focus on true art cinema—films made by auteurs and designed to trigger profound responses in viewers. The festival’s 72nd edition followed through on that promise while also leaving space for some surprises. The best films all demonstrated deeply empathetic yet uncompromising outlooks—the kind of cinema that is […]

An Interview with Sophie Robinson about her film Me, My Mouth and I

First staged in 1972, Samuel Beckett’s dramatic monologue, Not I, is stark by design—consisting only of a woman’s mouth, hovering about eight feet above the floor and illuminated by a single spotlight. Speaking in rapid, tangential sentences, the voice belongs to a character called, simply, Mouth. In her 2018 film, Me, My Mouth and I, […]

cléo reviews: Hot Docs 2019

Last year, on the 25th anniversary of the festival, Hot Docs reached gender parity in its programming for the first time in its history. For the 2019 edition, it surpassed that waypost, with 54% of its films being helmed by women. Naturally, many highlights of the festival come from the diversity of women’s voices. A […]

Everyone Else: Showcasing Maren Ade’s pre-Toni Erdmann wit

This May, the Goethe-Institut Toronto is presenting the series Past Forward: Directors Before Cannes, a celebration of early works by major contemporary German filmmakers Maren Ade, Valeska Grisebach, and Ulrich Köhler. Screening at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, the series includes features and rare short films made before the directors’ international success at the Cannes Film […]

Notes on Being: Exploring Identity at the Images Festival

Film still from Halimuhfack (Christopher Harris)

The annual Images Festival begins this week in Toronto, and we are very excited to be co-presenting the program Notes on Being. Featuring works by Onyeka Igwe, Cauleen Smith, Basma Alsharif, Chantal Akerman, Abigail Child, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, Zeinabu Irene Davis, Kevin Jerome Everson and Christopher Harris, the selection is—in the words of programmer […]

An Interview with Hot Docs Forum Producer Dorota Lech

Dorota Lech is a Polish-born, Toronto and Los Angeles-based film programmer and independent curator. Since 2013, she has worked for the Toronto International Film Festival, where she is currently the Section Head of the Discovery programme and an International Programmer. She holds a double M.A. in Political Science and Gender Studies from McGill University and […]

An Interview with Black Gold Programmer Sarah-Tai Black

Sarah-Tai Black is a programmer and arts writer based in Toronto. Since 2017, she has curated Black Gold — a monthly screening series at The Royal Cinema dedicated to celebrating black screen icons and filmmakers. On March 7th, to celebrate its second anniversary, Black Gold will be screening a rare 35mm print of Claire Denis’ little-seen […]

Masturbation: it’s free!: Willow Maclay on Mary Jane’s Not a Virgin Anymore

On March 3rd, cléo will be co-presenting Sarah Jacobson’s film Mary Jane’s Not a Virgin Anymore at Toronto’s What the Film Festival (click here for event details). In anticipation, Willow Maclay—who wrote about Jacobson’s 16mm debut I Was a Teenage Serial Killer for our SHORTS issue—has penned an ode to Mary Jane and orgasmic self-realization. […]

An Interview with Filmmaker and Artist Nazlı Dinçel

When Michael Sicinski wrote about Turkish-American experimental filmmaker Nazlı Dinçel for our SHORTS issue, he described the discomfort that her films can elicit in audiences as imperative to the radical politics of her work: “they are strategic interventions of sorts, bringing sexual bodies into a space where they still have the power to be disruptive.” […]

2018: A Year in CanCon

We’re back with our second annual holiday haiku roundup. This time, in anticipation of our upcoming issue on the topic of CANCON, we’re focusing on our favourite Canadian films of the year — seventeen syllables at a time. AVA (dir. Sadaf Foroughi) Not to be tested A teenager in Tehran Defies her constraints FAUSTO (dir. Andrea Bussmann) […]

cléo recommends: Sophy Romvari’s Pumpkin Movie

Sophy Romvari’s Pumpkin Movie was conceived in light of the scariest thing the Toronto-based filmmaker could imagine: “men.” The film, which premiered at True/False before playing Hot Docs and Sheffield, centres on two friends (played by Romvari and Leah Collins Lipsett) convening on Skype for an annual rendezvous in which they carve pumpkins and swap […]

An Interview with Mouly Surya about her film Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts

The third feature from acclaimed Indonesian director Mouly Surya, Marlina the Murderer in Four Acts (2017) is a feminist revenge tale for our current moment. The film — which screened in the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes — is striking not only for its setting on a remote Indonesian island; like all good Westerns, the action runs from start […]

An Interview with Aminatou Echard about her documentary Djamilia

Fictional characters, as with the people we encounter in our own lives, morph over time in the annals of our memory. They become, like most things, a reflection of our relationship to them. This is the paradox central to French filmmaker Aminatou Echard’s 2017 documentary Djamilia, which explores the relationship that women in contemporary Kyrgyzstan have to […]

2017: A Year in Review (Or Haiku)

It’s customary, come December, that we engage in a certain amount of introspection. This past year — being what it was — conducts little clarity. For us, as we’d expect for many of you, many (really, most) high points of 2017 happened in the theatre. Here, we’ve shared a list of those films from the year that […]

An Interview with Ella Cooper of Black Women Film! Canada

Black Women Film! Canada is a leadership program and collective dedicated to forwarding the careers, networks and skills of filmmakers and media artists who are Black female-identified. Based in Toronto, the program was founded by Ella Cooper: artist, filmmaker, educator, and community organizer. As evidenced by her leadership of BWF!, Ella has an ingenuity that permeates […]

An Interview with TIFF Programmer Danis Goulet

For the ardent cinephile or first-time audience member, a well-curated shorts programme is a sight to behold. Here you will find filmmakers from every corner of the world in conversation. To really lean into the metaphor: if variety is the spice of life, then a festival’s shorts section is the whole buffet, and then some. With TIFF […]

Work It Out with Anne T. Donahue

Congratulations! You’ve made it to spring. And yes, every day feels like a full decade. And yes, we are all aging six months for every hour. By the end of Trump’s presidency, we will all have transformed into our own versions of Old Rose™ in Titanic, but without a young Leonardo DiCaprio to find us a […]