Certainly epitomizes the notion that film is adept at spectacle like perhaps no other artistic medium. An action-packed, slapstick comedy epic which dabbles in existential inquiry, time travel, and Buddhist mysticism. Discombobulated at times, frantic, yet aggressively creative and consistently invigorating despite feeling at times to be completely untenable when it comes to narrative coherence. Wuxia coalesces with slapstick comedic sensibilities, with the film's narrative mosaic serving a purpose, evoking the chaotic, disparate nature of life, exhibiting how it is one of continuous affect, with individual perspective being both everything and nothing, with knowledge and happiness in turn being intrinsic to those individuals whom accept this realization.
Huston weaves an elegiac construction of James Joyce's short story in which the dialogue is left nearly untouched. An exquisite example of visual construction. A near single location, polite conversations, yet with Huston it has a quiet, profound spirit lurking in the subtext which provides quite an emotive punch. Honestly, not the type of film I'm typically drawn too, but its grace and aesthetic construction remain damn near instructional for aspiring filmmakers
One doesn't really watch this film one experiences it. The costume design, production design, cinematography, etc. all coalesce into an outre creation that is decadent yet depraved, a mischievous psychedelic experience where delusion is in a sense, comforting when juxtaposed against the destruction left in wake of deceit.
Explicit in its affirmative stance towards community insurrection when confronted by subjugation by the state's land commodification, Kaala is a brazen piece of populist political cinema. A demigod spawn of marxist historiography leads the proletarian army in this melodramatic tale of community uprising against a greedy land developer emboldened by the state - whose desire for wealth accumulation hides between the shroud of economic growth and progress. Kaala is a potent tale about the paramount nature of the social fabric of any community, exhibiting how the capitalist state fractures society through creating artificial fissures of differentiation among the populace, perhaps unintentionally being anti-authority due to the martyr mythology narrative device its construction adheres too, aligning more with Karl Polayni than the Marxist-Leninist historiography it seems to explicitly align with. To put another way, while its bombastic aesthetic designs and narrative mythological arch are explicitly populist - brazen in its communist hammer and cycle symbolism - the film manages to detach the pejorative implications of the populism due to its seemingly implicit emphasis towards personal autonomy in any social formation, aligning more with an anarchist/ancom historiography where the social fabric of a community is embedded into any economy of market exchange.
A feverish an amalgamation of anxiety, animosity and uncertainty crippling the 1983 epoch, Emerald Cities is satirical, symbolic, and full of panache, mirroring the uncertainty of the moment. The film's frantic assembly of image and audio design are anarchic, coalescing into a potent display of rebellion, one which serves as an affront to nationalism, a critique of capitalism, and perhaps most importantly an utter rejection of the desires and expectations of the ruling class through sheer desire for personal autonomy.
A rich contextual tapestry, Happy Hour is a transcendent work of art, one thats brazen scope is complimented perfectly by its intricate understandings of the complexities of the human experience. The material and abstract are explored with honesty and justifiable complexity, with Ryusuke Hamaguchi bringing the ontological to the foreground of his text, allowing it to breath and present itself, while the subtexts manifests and reinforces the film's themes over this longitudinal study of four female friends. A rapturous critique of the patriarchal organizational structure of society, Happy Hour evokes how the emotive, sensual nature of the body often becomes subjugated by the mind under such social arrangements. For the feminine form these forces are viewed as antagonistic instead of harmonious due to threat they pose to the status quo, breeding internal conflict from within, as each woman restricts and compartmentalizes their own internal strife due to their inability to express themselves. The vast entanglements of any meaningful social formation are astutely observed, with the film fully acknowledging the complexities of social relationships while simultaneously rejecting the simplistic duality between egoism and altruism. The film's critique of the patriarchal system is sharper than most, exhibiting the downstream nature of any socially repressive system where positive liberty and negative liberty oscillate and conflict across various social stratas, with many of the men in this case being destructive implicitly, complicit with the system that suppresses and restricts those whom they love - a wonderfully pointed, large scale social critique. The visual edifice employed by Hamaguchi is masterful, being assertive and assured in its aesthetic decisions in a way that wholly encapsulates the labyrinths which exist in consciousness, whether they are platonic or actionable. Every scene is rhythmic and astutely realized, every composition designed to evoke the underlying emotional subtext of these characters. In a sense, Happy Hour is about the utter importance of communication on an individualistic level, as it effectively skewers the crude dichotomy between right and wrong, recognizing that this notion itself is an abstraction, often used more as a device to restrain personal autonomy, expression, and desire. At this point, I have no qualms with acknowledging that Ryusuke Hamaguchi is one of the very best filmmakers in the world working today, everything about Happy Hour is masterful
While plotting has by-and-large reached the point of insignificance to me, often more likely to elicit a state of boredom, Le Doulos feels explicit in how it subjugates the viewer to its dense, complex plotting, exhibiting a near torturous level of ambiguity with its long-winded set-up. When I say subjugation it is not meant in the pejorative sense but more a device which Melville employs to his thematic ends, as he wields this clever construction to enrapture the audience in the labyrinths manifested through a lifestyle built around deceit, deception, and ultimately tragedy. This lifestyle, this game is one which subjugates identity while simultaneously placing it in utter seclusion - the inevitability of death through suppression on a spiritual level is felt in a sense and is inescapable for anyone who plays.
A salient example of the power of the medium, Clement Cogitore's Braguino is an intoxicating piece of visual and audio assembly, one which evolves as it progresses, beginning as an idyllic observational documentary about life among the wilderness, only to slowly and methodically divulge into an impressionistic nightmare of distrust and the potential for violence. Proof that cinema is first and foremost a visual medium, the montages implored by Cogitore evoke a sense of imminent danger, with conflict being palpable throughout due entirely to how the filmmaker portrays his subjects - individuals who've expressed distrust about their neighbors. In a sense, this struggle feels like a microcosm of the ills of the larger world, one in which fear of the unknown breeds distrust and ultimately hatred.
Jean-Claude Brisseau's Celine employs the supernatural artifice as a device which connects the grand scope of existence and the general nature of such intangible ideas as love with the intimacy of an individual's emotional response to such inquires. Psychological healing examined with an astute understanding of the friction which exists between personal identity and any such form of social stratification, with feminism obviously being of paramount importance but not solely accounted for throughout this film's exploration. Understands the tumultuous nature of healing and growth, in that it often must manifest itself internally and then be reinforced through mutual aid, companionship, and understanding.
Suburban milieu of detachment and longing is a common theme throughout independent cinema and yet Dennis Cooper & Zach Farley's feature, Permanent Green Light, manages to encapsulate this while going a step further in its examination, where the coming-of-age story centered around existentialism isn't one rooted in some form of nihilism, cynicism, or depression, but one of intellectualism - and by intellectualism I mean one rooted in observation not action. Exhibits a general sense of complexities intrinsic to society, with one of its more interesting observations being centered around the nature of spectacle, the dehumanizing effect which the macro has on the micro moments which make up human interaction. Shows an interest in linguistics and more specifically rhetoric and how it is employed in casual day-to-day interactions in life, exposing the unseen externalities which rhetoric creates due to its subversion of underlying intention. While understanding intent is of course, an indeterminate proposition, the fact remains, subconsciously speaking, that lack of understanding intent outside of common rhetoric is repressive when viewed through the lens of intellectual curiosity, an ideal which is intrinsic to understanding to complexities of the world. Through its opaque main characterization, Permanent Green Light exhibits how the way we articulate and express oneself whether through language, movement, etc. remains detached, on some level, from what we as individuals are truly feeling. Aesthetically speaking, the film's application of a largely static structure, aligned with sharp compositions, evokes a sense of diaspora, despite these individuals being teenagers living in their childhood homes. In the end, Permanent Green Light is a complex and provocative film which is open to many philosophical interpretations, yet that doesn't mean the film is vague or unclear, being astutely fixated on the confrontation between curiosity and bias due to linguistics - syntax and rhetoric, with much of language now attached, unjustly or not, with various ideological interpretations of the world.
Love of all things cinema brought me here.