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Film

A Dispatch from out west: The 2019 Glasgow Film Festival

Both the opening and closing films of this year’s Glasgow Film Festival can be described as “coming-of-age” films: Jonah Hill’s Mid90s, and Brian Welsh’s Beats; but it may be more accurate to label them films about being inducted into new social milieus. In the far superior Beats, this concerns entry into the put-upon Scottish rave-scene. […]

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Film

Charleston Parade

A Renoir jazz sci-fi, to a degree, makes for odd, odd viewing. A central African explorer visits 2028, and encounters a white savage, barely clad, accompanied by an expressive monkey. Seeing the strange being, the savage incapacitates him, and demonstrates the tribal dance: the Charleston. She swings frantically, swivelling her back foot as the front […]

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Film

Hale County This Morning, This Evening

Non-fiction filmmaking as lyric poetry, RaMell Ross’s feature is unlike anything I’ve seen before, and will demand frequent revisits. In 2009, Ross began working in Hale County, Alabama, to teach photography and coach basketball. His film follows two subjects, an aspiring professional basketballer, Daniel, and a catfish factory worker, Quincy, a young father with twins on […]

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Film

Chungking Express

Conceived of and filmed during a break in the post-production of his wuxia film Ashes of Time, Wong Kar-wai’s Chungking Express is one of the indelible expressions of loneliness in the cinema. Its bifurcated structure contains two stories, although one outruns the other in terms of profundity and length: both concern police officers who frequent the same fast-food stand in […]

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Film

The Pirate

The beautiful contradiction of the film musical—the pitting of idealism against materialism, expressed through the most materialistic means—is visible in lavish abundance in Vincente Minnelli’s The Pirate, with a score by Cole Porter. In the small village of Calvados, Manuela (Judy Garland) dreams of a life adventuring, seeing far-off places, desires stirred in her by tales of […]

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Film

Divine Accidents: Orson Welles and The Other Side of the Wind

Originally posted here. Orson Welles once said that “the greatest things in movies are divine accidents.” Somehow, over a varied career, he cultivated them. Citizen Kane (1941) is of course a great film — but it’s by no means his best. That, depending on the day, is either his follow-up, The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), his seminal film noir Touch of Evil (1958), or Chimes […]

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Film

Private Life (Tamara Jenkins, 2018)

Originally posted here. The best comedies are really testing to watch. They set up scenarios so precarious in their stability that you begin a mental countdown until the whole structure tips over. This is exactly how it is with Private Life, a glorious (and excruciating) comedy-drama, directed by Tamara Jenkins. Rachel and Richard (Kathryn Hahn and Paul Giamatti) […]

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Film

Faces Places (Agnès Varda and JR, 2018)

Originally posted here. “Chance has always been my best assistant”, the inimitable Agnès Varda intones towards the beginning of her newest film essay, Faces Places. Varda’s career is a gorgeous synthesis of innovative fiction films (Cléo From 5 to 7 [1961], Le Bonheur [1965], Vagabond [1984]) and even more inventive documentaries (Daguerréotypes [1975], Murs murs [1981], The Gleaners and I [2000], and, very much the best […]

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Film

The Rider (Chloé Zhao, 2018)

Originally posted here. Director Chloé Zhao was filming her first feature, Songs My Brothers Taught Me (2015), on the Pine Ridge Sioux reservation in South Dakota when she met Brady Jandreau. He was a promising bronco rider, until he was bucked off his horse during a rodeo; he was severely injured, requiring surgery to insert a metal plate into […]

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Film

A Summer of Cinema

Originally posted here. Although the summer is synonymous with the next round of blockbusters, now itself inextricable from the superhero genre, this is never fully the case. This summer, just like any other, there were multitudes of movies released from all genres. What follows is a record of what happened inside Edinburgh’s cinemas since our last issue, […]