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Film

Days

After being told that the film is “intentionally unsubtitled,” the first thing available to a viewer’s senses of Days is a sound, and at that a sound often heard in the work of Tsai Ming-liang: the patter of falling rain. But then a shot completes it: it’s of Kang (Lee Kang-sheng), sitting in his home, […]

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Film

Stray

One of the least helpful remarks made by critics about documentaries is also one of the most frequent: it’s a variation on the idea that being aware of the camera’s presence changes the behaviour of the person it’s capturing—“but they wouldn’t act like that if the camera wasn’t present!” The impact of surveillance on this […]

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Film

Streaming Recommendations: October 2020

MUBI: —Bird Island (Maya Kosa and Sérgio da Costa, 2019) —India Song (Marguerite Duras, 1975) —Paterson (Jim Jarmusch, 2016) —The Wonders (Alice Rohrwacher, 2014) —Brigitte (Lynne Ramsay, 2019) BFI PLAYER: —Rocco and his Brothers (Luchino Visconti, 1960) —Stop Making Sense (Jonathan Demme, 1984) —Varda by Agnès (Agnès Varda, 2019) —Still Walking (Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2008) —Day […]

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Film

New-to-me Favourites: September 2020

Father of My Children (Mia Hansen-Løve, 2010) L’innocente (Vischino Visconti, 1976) Court (Chaitanya Tamhane, 2014) Rome, Open City (Roberto Rossellini, 1945)

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Film

Come Dancing on the Breeze: On Hou Hsiao-hsien’s “Cheerful Wind.”

It’s reassuring to know that even in the early days of his career, Hou Hsiao-hsien was reflecting on authorship. It’s a recurring, and varied, feature of his astonishing body of work: from Lin Wen-ching (Tony Leung) tinkering with photographs in A City of Sadness, which is Hou’s meditation upon the impulse for authenticity, to the […]

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Film Friday Essay

Are You a Detective?: On Bong Joon-ho’s “Memories of Murder.”

That the act of film viewing, and it follows, the writing of film criticism, resembles the patterned efforts of meaning-making performed by detectives when solving crimes is not a new thought. It’s true of reading too. The pleasures of, say, Agatha Christie are wholly related to the fact that the puzzle-like nature of detection looks […]

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Film

The Portuguese Woman

A recent four film Mubi season has served as an introduction to the work of Portuguese director Rita Azevedo Gomes: and if my current feelings are any indication, this is something I’m to be grateful for for a long time to come. The quartet comprises Fragile as the World, about two young lovers who flee […]

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Film

Streaming Recommendations: September 2020

MUBI: —A Couch in New York (Chantal Akerman, 1996) —A Woman’s Revenge (Rita Azevedo Gomes, 2012) —The Terrorizers (Edward Yang, 1986) —Stories We Tell (Sarah Polley, 2012) —Apiyemiekî? (Ana Vaz, 2020) BFI PLAYER: —Sansho the Bailiff (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1954) —Chevalier (Athina Rachel Tsangari, 2015) —The Chambermaid (Lila Avilés, 2018) —Shadows (John Cassavetes, 1959) —Theorem (Pier […]

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Film

New-to-me Favourites: August 2020

Personal Problems (Bill Gunn, 1980) A Woman’s Revenge (Ritz Azevedo Gomes, 2012) Alexandria, Again and Forever (Youssef Chahine, 1990) The Cobweb (Vincente Minnelli, 1955) Attenberg (Athina Rachel Tsangari, 2010) A Couch in New York (Chantal Akerman, 1996)

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Film

I Love Melvin

The musical is perfect for yearning. Usually it’s for love: for someone to desire and be desired by. It could be for happiness in a more general sense. And sometimes it’s more specific still. And since the Hollywood musical depends on and is so much about stardom, it makes sense for the films to be […]