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Sundance Film Festival 2019

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The Last Tree

“The Last Tree” is a period piece set in 1990’s London and follows young Femi’s journey, settling back in with his birth mother after a having lived with a foster care family in Lancashire.  Femi goes from being sidelined as the only black child in his white classroom in Lancashire to experiencing a new angle of racism where he is now being sidelined as the darkest child in his black classroom in London, all of which sums up the multiple layers and dimensions that contirbute to  race, identity and home in today’s world. His life is switched from living a pretty idyllic childhood in Lancashire with a loving and caring foster mother and family coming to live with his birth mother, played by Gbemisola Ikumelo, who is about tough love and survival. They are  constant at loggerheads with each other whilst also having to share a claustrophobic high rise flat in London…

Late Night Magic

Mindy Kaling and Dame Emma Thompson dish up pure comic gold while re-imagining the male-dominated world of the chat show.  “Late Night”  is warm, witty and funny and on no account do you need to be a champion for diversity or equality in the workplace to appreciate the film. Emma Thompson as Katherine Newbury is an acerbic, detached talk-show host who is facing declining rating’s, she is out of touch with the real world and is shortly will to be replaced. Katherine has her all-male team of writers with whom she has little patience or even knowledge of their names, quickly assigning them numbers 1-10 instead, she enters her writer’s room realising that she is need of fresh talent, a woman if possible. In come’s Molly Patel, played by Mindy Kaling, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed determined to make an impact and leave her mind-numbing factory job somewhere outside of Manhattan behind her. Emma and Mindy have great…

The Farewell

“The Farewell” is a rich family drama that provides a poignant observation of  Chinese life when  Billie,  played by the brilliant Awkwafina, returns from New York to spend time with her dying grandmother. Nai Nai has been diagnosed with cancer everyone knows of her impending death, however, the family have decided to keep the news from her.  Although this is done in the best spirit possible to protect her the ethics behind the decision really trouble Billie who is struggling with her grandmother not knowing the truth. A family wedding is planned, at which Billi’s cousin, who grew up mostly in Japan, will marry his girlfriend. The gathering also gives extended family members the opportunity to pay their respects to the dying matriarch, although no one is to shed a tear or mention her illness. This leads to comical and at times very moving moments where the charade could be exposed whilst…