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CODA Review | Sundance Film Festival

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2021’s Sundance Film Festival is underway and despite being virtual this year, if the first film I saw is anything to go back it looks like it’s going to be just as packed full of great films as the festival would be in person.

The film’s title, CODA is an acronym for ‘Child of Deaf Adults’ and the film follows teenager Ruby, played remarkably by Emilia Jones, who is the only hearing person in her deaf family. Ruby is torn between her family and their fishing business and following her love of singing in this incredible coming of age film. CODA is actually an English-language remake of the 2014 French film La Famille Bélier and after watching CODA, it really makes me want to seek out the original.

A still from CODA by Siân Heder, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

Ruby is vital to her family’s fishing business as she’s the only hearing member of her family but then after signing up for the school choir in an attempt to get closer to Miles, her crush, she ends up finding a passion for music and for singing. Naturally her parents, who can’t even hear her singing to know if she’s any good, aren’t too impressed by this and would rather she stays with them to help support their fishing business instead of going to music college.

It would be very easy to dismiss CODA as being rather formulaic and generic in the sense that it does follow all the usual tropes and it does tick all the boxes of what you’d expect to see in a coming-of-age film, but it also does so much more than your standard film about becoming your own person and finding yourself. The main reason is because of the central characters.

At the film’s heart is Ruby, a CODA and her deaf family- all of whom are actually played by deaf actors. The fact that writer/director Siân Heder is telling a fairly standard story that we all know about the teen girl who has to find herself and break free from her family from a perspective that we never really get to see in many films makes this film so much better.

Eugenio Derbez appears in CODA by Siân Heder, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Mark Hill.

As well as this, Jones is fantastic in the lead role and really brings the character of Ruby Rossi to life. The film juxtaposes the silent scenes between Ruby and her family that take places in ASL and the scenes of Ruby singing so well taking the film from quite pensive scenes, to louder scenes of Ruby truly finding herself. Despite the fact that there’s a lot of sign language (with subtitles) in this film and a lot of scenes with no spoken dialogue, it’s still a really sincere and heartfelt film

Overall, CODA is a really exquisite film that’s full of heart and emotion and despite the fact it largely sticks to the fairly generic tropes of the coming-of-age film, it’s CODA’s unique and compelling characters that really makes this film as charming as it is.

★★★★★

CODA premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival in the U.S. Dramatic Competition section.

FILM RATING
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The Batman | Official Trailer 2 – DC Fandome

The Batman is an upcoming American superhero film based on the DC Comics character of the same name. The film is being produced by DC Films and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, and is a reboot of the Batman film franchise. The film is directed by Matt Reeves, who wrote the screenplay with Mattson Tomlin.



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Genre:

Action, Crime, Drama

Release Date:

March 4, 2022

Director:

Matt Reeves

Cast:

Robert Pattinson, Zoë Kravitz, Colin Farrell, Paul Dano, Andy Serkis, Peter Sarsgaard, John Turturro, Jeffrey Wright

Plot Summary:

The Batman is an upcoming American superhero film based on the DC Comics character of the same name. The film is being produced by DC Films and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, and is a reboot of the Batman film franchise. The film is directed by Matt Reeves, who wrote the screenplay with Mattson Tomlin.

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Drama

Mothers of the Revolution – They’ve Challenged World Leaders, Altered The Course Of History And Truly Inspired Millions

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Mothers of the Revolution tells the story of one of the longest protests in history. Between 1981 and 2000, thousands of women from around the world came together at Greenham Common to take a rightful stand against nuclear proliferation. This remarkable group of fearless women were shunned by the press and the media. Director Briar March reveals the women as the cold war heroes they truly were, she tells the story of these women through their eyes and though reenactments as they persisted arrests, condemnation and scorn. 



In the early 1980s, a young mother in Wales was alarmed like many about the UK government’s Campaign called “Protect And Survive”, which advised people to use the four minutes between the warning and a nuclear strike to stack suitcases full of objects like books to absorb the radiation. The Pressure and rising threat to their own families’ safety called for action and thus the Women for Life on Earth group was born.

From the conversation around the kitchen table in Wales, Karmen Thomas took action. She was instrumental in organising the initial protest which on the 5th of September 1981 these women marched from Wales too Berkshire to protest over the nuclear weapons being kept at RAF Greenham Common. Over 120 miles they become a living protest against the British Governments decision. The protest surly gathered momentum as when the reached Greenham Common permanent camps were set up. 

Many women joined the camp such as Chris Drake, a single mother and millworker who truly felt like she belonged and felt like she was born again. Young mothers were not a group who traditionally had their voices heard at the time and the press moved on to other issues they deemed more important, So the women organised Embrace The Base. A day in which the camp and women across the country who travelled up joined hands to form a human chain around the entire military base. 

This documentary is a celebration of Greenham such as its spirit and the effects, which were all worth celebrating. However the film also shows the difficult aspects such as the brutal evictions and assaults by the police force and soldiers. It truly was a Cold War drama/thriller with the tension of a soviet spy novel. It’s also the story of love especially for family and children , and of the commitment these women made to a higher cause. 



They’ve challenged world leaders, altered the course of history and truly inspired millions, it’s an emotional and empowering documentary. 

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Drama

Brother’s Keeper – A Strong Film About Incompetent Adults Failing These Vulnerable Kids

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Yusuf (Samet Yıldız) and his best friend Memo (Nurullah Alaca) are pupils at a boarding school for Kurdish boys, secluded in the mountains of Eastern Anatolia. Both live in the same dorm as it’s a strict and a very repetitive environment, however when Memo falls mysteriously ill, Yusuf is forced to struggle through the bureaucratic obstacles put up by the school’s repressive authorities to try to help his friend. But by the time the adults in charge finally listen and understand the seriousness of Memo’s condition and desperately try to get him to a hospital, the school has been buried under a sudden heavy snowfall. despite the cold and with no way out, they’re desperate tp reach for help. Teachers and pupils engage in a blame game, where grudges, feelings of guilt and hidden secrets emerge. 



Brother’s keeper is truly a study about the power of social realism which is used as a persuasive tool but it’s also about the teacher’s incompetence, responsibility and guilt. It’s a character driven story that has investigative elements to it. 

The Pupils are reminded on how lucky they are to be there, yet it feels more like a relentless institution that’s run like a juvenile detention centre rather then a proper educational school. 

The film remains on the smaller scale and made to feel intimate. The sense of isolation creates this frosty atmosphere where the cold reflects the Icy tension between staff and pupils, the Institute is rather dull and callous but the film does have one running gag where staff members repeatedly slip on the icy floor as each teacher and headmaster enter the sickroom. 

Overall this is a really strong film about incompetent adults failing these vulnerable kids, which made the situation truly bleak. It has some great performances and foreshadows the ending which was so deep that it’ll linger.

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