An exquisite, beautifully actualized relationship drama that is refreshingly honest about the complexities of companionship, peace, and happiness in a world ripe with social disparity. A film that is particularly incisive about the nature of appearances, Compartment No. 6 is a portrait of self-actualization that wonderfully contextualizes the struggle to find the right equilibrium between our internal selves and our external presentation of ourselves to others. The role we play socially, the presentation of self deep-seated into social interaction is expressed with such maturity and intimacy in this film that I believe it transcends its more modest conceit. Performance is intrinsic to living, and through these two characters, whose perspective is sculpted by differentiating social and economic experiences and expectations, Compartment No. 6 effectively evokes how we are all far more similar than we imagine. We are sculpted by external forces but the same interior impulses remain.
Captures better than any film in Miike's Black Society Trilogy the perpetual search for some semblance of home amongst the ennui of modernity. The depravity these characters experience, the violence they participate in, is spawned out of necessity due to an unforgiving and unwelcoming world in which transnational exchange embraces commodification while rejecting the diasporic bodies it produces. Focused on youth more than its predecessors, Ley Lines is perhaps best expressed as an act of rebellion in which the impressionable young protagonists find their bond forged by xenophobia and desperation. The tragedy is commonplace but their actions of violence are reciprocal, forged by the hand they were dealt. The denouement is vividly elucidated in the film's final shot - two young bodies adrift, the sea of uncertainty awaits, but there is also a semblance of hope as they move onward, following the currents in hope of finding this place of comfort where they can be at peace, at home.
The personification of a specific type of sociopath is perfectly composed in Baker's Red Rocket, a film that tactfully exhibits the darker side of what American culture can spawn. What Baker and co. seem to understand so well is how these types of brash, manipulative individuals are rarely repugnant to the outsider, quite the opposite. Mikey Saber, played to perfection by Simon Rex, is cunning; He views every interaction as an opportunity to exploit for his own gain but in order to do this effectively one must be charming and convincing, and Mikey manages this, exploiting the impressionable, whether it be the desperation of a young woman or that of his ex-lover, who begins to be lulled to sleep again by his false promises. Baker's film is full of humor and is an engaging experience from start to finish, and much of this is due to the recognition that the biggest con artists out there, those that manipulate others and have delusions of grandeur are often extremely likable, sharpening their skillset with every person they step over to serve themselves. The cognitive dissonance is striking and accurately rendered through this character, a man who simply doesn't even realize how destructive he is towards others. In the end, what I perhaps find so interesting about this film is what ultimately stops this character, this walking manifestation of abject selfishness and sociopathic tendencies is community. The community comes together to reject and repel this toxic element, they protect their own
What Do We See When We Look At The Sky is frankly a revelation, a film so distinct in its formal arrangements and cinematic language that it manages to evince the overwhelming beauty in the day-to-day moments we often perceive to be mundane. Achieving transcendence through an ontological approach rooted in these small exchanges, interactions, and observations that alone seem minuscule but when strung together make up living and experience, What Do We See When We Look at the Sky? is just remarkable, a beautiful evocation of life. Community, connection, sharing the same spatiality yet often being worlds apart, what Koberidze crafts here is a peculiar love story between two individuals that transcends the boundaries of personal experience to become elemental, existential, and ultimately optimistic about humanity despite all the pain and injustice throughout the world. Koberidze is honest about the ephemeral nature of exchange, interaction, and perception in modernity, and what What Do We See When We Look At The Sky so beautifully expresses is how we as individuals are malleable entities that are constantly evolving, adjusting, and reconfiguring. Small interactions of kindness, affection, or love may seem small or insignificant when viewed through the prism of atrocities that continue to occur throughout the world, yet our salvation begins with our ability to recognize how little control any of us have over collective humanity. We are not in control and that's ok yet what Koberidze astutely expresses with What Do We See When We Look At The Sky is a reminder that if we all attempt to see the beauty and miracle that is life, if we embrace the moments of spontaneity and intrinsic anarchy of living, perhaps someday the human atrocities will reside and all that will be left is love between our fellow man.
Looks like this is the movie of this year most people adore that I thought was good but not great. Think it works best when seen as a Coming of Age film that also rejects the whole conceit of a Coming of Age film; Personal growth, both emotionally and intellectually, doesn't end after adolescence, that is simply a fabrication. Trier's always been skilled at crafting narratives and this is certainly one of his better efforts as of late. At its best, it is an incisive investigation into finding oneself and navigating affect. Our wants and desires are often far from concrete, and The Worst Person in the World wonderfully captures the continuous process of identity and desire informed by both internal retrospection and external engagement. What bothered me the most is how tethered it felt to specific zeitgeist nomenclature that permeates the film. It left it feeling cheap at times, corny, and beholden to a specific moment of discussion that at times made me question how genuine its intentions were. It seems to almost not recognize how much what it is saying is universal and timeless to living and experience as we navigate the external world
An avant-garde explosion of discontent featuring some of the best dissolves ever committed to celluloid. A militant affront to the homogeneous image of Blackness constructed by Hollywood and a direct denouncement of police brutality that embraces the commonality of blackness, the body, and the need for escape from the oppression brought by the white majority and the agents of the state that serve their interests. Radical formal expression elucidates the discontent and anger but also the commonality of collective power. Hollywood itself would later make this malleable, distort it, and arguably exploit it in the construction of the blaxploitation genre in which the communal nature of rebellion and collective action was largely replaced by individualist ideals of excess and action
Magical. Mayu Matsuoka's performance in this is one of the best of the 2010s. Akiko Ohku is making some of the most playful, poignant ruminations on connection, companionship, and self. To call this a rom-com feels far too reductive, as what Ohku has crafted with Tremble All You Want is such a distinctive vision that transcends the strictures of genre. It aims to elucidate the complexities of consciousness through the cinematic art form and it largely achieves this due to its ontological approach that fully recognizes even our identities and ideas are often in contention and consistently adjusting and refining how we engage and interact with the external. People always vaguely reference "the magic of the movies" but what Akiko Ohku is doing with Tremble All You Want and her follow-up, Hold Me Back, which is also exceptional, is bringing truth to that adage through a formal ingenuity that takes full advantage of what this beautiful medium for expression is capable of.
Effective in the immersion it creates, Larrain's Spencer deploys a regimented and precisely arranged formalism that enshrouds its main subject in a sense of confinement before she even appears on screen for the first time. Restriction, repetition, and desolation juxtaposed against opulence and power, Spencer is an intriguing psychological horror film in which the lines between reality and perception become entangled. Not a shy film, Spencer's audio and visual techniques aim to be expressive, featuring surrealist flourishes and abrasive non-diegetic sounds in the form of strings to really push the audience towards a sense of understanding of this character's inner turmoil. One could certainly argue the film could have been more subtle but Stewart does great work here that helps alleviate some of Larrain's proclivities to be brash that border on overindulgence and even outright camp. Larrain's use of the close-up is two-fold, providing a sense of intimacy as the camera's gaze attempts to excavate the internalized struggle of Diane while also reinforcing the sense of confinement that enshrouds this film's aesthetic and formal sensibilities. Subservience to tradition and expectation; psychological imprisonment and the lack of release in which spontaneity, autonomy, and even outward displays of affection are suppressed.
Formally and narratively rebellious, much like the film's theme, Red Sorghum is a dazzling historical drama and evocation of resistance. The general character dynamics at play here aim to elucidate the various ways in which the psychology of possession or ownership restricts social harmony. Whether it be through gender, class, or nationalist modes of identity, a thematic throughline of Red Sorghum relates to how humanity's intrinsic desire to possess leads to oppression, subjugation, and inevitably violence. Red Sorghum is a kaleidoscope of color, elemental and expressive, enshrouding this familiar story of a communal act of resistance with a flair for the grandiose and general character dynamics that aim to illuminate with an existential lens humanities propensity for violence and its need to be rid of any modes of social hierarchy spanning gender, class, cultural, etc
Had not seen this since my early 20s and it's clear that I simply didn't appreciate it at the time. Most of my foray into Fulci's oeuvre at that point was more in his overt horror films, and the artistry here escaped me. Given the film's proclivity towards bodily fluids at all the right moments, I'm surprised I didn't like it more back then. Well, what Fulci and co. have crafted here is such a singular aesthetic that perfectly and unapologetically grafts itself onto the sword and sandal, fantasy epic that is an obvious post-Conan cash grab. By obfuscating any direct logic rooted in realism or traditional narrative framing, Fulci creates an otherworldly experience, one in which its lucidity of vision is rooted in the fantastical and nothing else. Is it hard to follow, sure? does it matter? nope! Watching films like this are a constant reminder of the type of ingenuity and clarity of vision that can be embraced beyond traditional modes of narrative storytelling and IP building and the whole industry is honestly depressing at the current moment. This type of visual mosaic is cinema baby!
Love of all things cinema brought me here.