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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 Friday Essay

His Loneliness is Atrocious: On Lucrecia Martel’s “Zama.”

Tantalisingly, in an interview with director Lucrecia Martel, writer José Teodoro speaks of the potential to trace a line that goes straight from Zama to La Ciénaga, an unbroken line of people who, despite hundreds of years of geography, refuse to think of themselves as americanos. They want to think of themselves as Europeans enduring some protracted exile. […]

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Film Friday Essay

I Don’t Really Know What I Like: On Eliza Hittman’s “Beach Rats.”

Beach Rats opens with a montage central to the film’s discourse about desire, in this case a desire partially exposed, partially in shadow. The resulting images will be familiar to anyone who was growing up on Facebook between 2009-2012: a guy’s reflection in a mirror, a selfie of the top off and flash on variety. […]

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Film Friday Essay

On the 2020 Glasgow Film Festival.

For every year I’ve attended the two major festivals nearest me (Edinburgh’s and Glasgow’s), there has been a film lying in wait. At EIFF 2017 I saw Terrence Malick’s Song to Song twice in quick succession; at GFF 2018 it was Un Beau Soleil Intérieur, by Claire Denis, that did it for me—now one of my […]

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Film Friday Essay

On “Uncut Gems.”

That Uncut Gems is first-person, present-tense, active-voice cinema shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who’s seen Heaven Knows What or Good Time, the Safdie brothers’ last two films: but what should be surprising, or at least is to me, is the plantiveness of their newest. It’s most obviously detectable in the score, by Daniel Lopatin, […]

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Film Friday Essay

Why not continue?: On the many stories of “Syndromes and a Century.”

The cinema of Apichatpong Weerasethakul is one of stories growing out from and intruding upon other stories. In his debut, Mysterious Object at Noon, the director combines fiction and documentary to indulge in a Surrealist exercise, an exquisite corpse game, in which one story is appended to the end of another without attention being paid […]

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Film Friday Essay

On Elaine May’s “Mikey and Nicky.”

The film begins with Nicky (John Cassavetes) in a hotel room, panicking. The room is airless, he’s sweating through his white shirt and he looks like he’s thrown-up half his stomach lining. He calls for his pal Mikey (Peter Falk) to help him out. The pair work for the mob, but Nicky has stolen from […]