Films I loved in August and September 2020

Steven Garza in Boys State

In the US documentary Boys State, 17-year-old boys attend a program to form a mock government. It’s an enthralling insight into political processes; the voices of reason that rise above the regressive rhetoric are inspiring, while the effectiveness of the dominant discourse is horrifying.
Released on Apple TV+ 14 August 2020

Mohsen (voiced by Swann Arlaud) and Zunaira (voiced by Zita Hanrot) in The Swallows of Kabul

The Swallows of Kabul is a stunning animation about life under the rule of the Taliban, following two couples whose lives collide when tragedy occurs. Romantic and devastating with an appeal to the older generation to support the younger so that one day they may overcome oppression.
Released in Australian cinemas 20 August 2020

Jessie Buckley as The Young Woman in I’m Thinking of Ending Things

Structured around an awkward drive to and from an even more awkward meet-the-parents dinner, I’m Thinking of Ending Things is an intriguing and bewildering puzzle of a film exploring memory, identity and authenticity in an unsettling and darkly comedic world of dream logic and artifice.
Released on Netflix 4 September 2020

Ilanah Cami-Goursolas as Jess, Esther Gohourou as Coumba, Médina El Aidi-Azouni as Angelica and Fathia Youssouf as Amy in Cuties

Given the inherent difficulties in depicting the uncomfortable issue of the sexualisation of children, Cuties is all the more impressive for how well it explores a young girl’s sense of identity as she tries to navigate the mixed and often contradictory messages she absorbs about how to behave. Read full review.
Released on Netflix 9 September 2020

Thomas Caldwell, 2020