Favorite films

  • Breathless
  • Four Nights of a Dreamer
  • Bergman Island
  • Flowers of Shanghai

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  • Breathless

    ★★★★★

  • Saint Laurent

    ★★½

  • Hatari!

    ★★★★

  • Four Nights of a Dreamer

    ★★★★½

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  • In the City of Sylvia

    In the City of Sylvia

    ★★★★½

    In the City of Sylvia is a triptych. In the film's first third, we watch a man at a café patio as he stares at the women around him, occasionally sketching them, otherwise simply admiring their beauty from a distance. The camera flits around the patio, wondering what these brief glimpses might reveal, if anything, about the lives of these people, and cutting on occasion to reverse shots of the man as he asks himself the same thing. These shots…

  • The Wonders

    The Wonders

    ★★★★½

    So much about The Wonders absolutely enthralled me. On the one hand, I understand why it has been pegged by many as a simple coming-of-age story. Maria Alexandra Lungu, as a preteen who acts as the de facto second-in-command to her father's beekeeping business, is not only wise beyond her years; she expresses a range of emotions that few actors have managed to pack into a single performance. Her familial duty, aspirations for a life more cosmopolitan than her own,…

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  • Breathless

    Breathless

    ★★★★★

    It had been over five years since I last saw Breathless, and despite it being roughly the same amount of time since I've taken a French class, what struck me most after my fifth viewing of the film was Michel and Patricia's differing command of the French language. Patricia is an American; her poor accent is rather hilarious, but just as striking is her awkward grammar indicating a textbook education. Phrases that might roll off the tongue to a native…

  • Saint Laurent

    Saint Laurent

    ★★½

    I can't get much of a handle on Bertrand Bonello; every film I've seen by him seems to be directed by a different person, even if they have consistent visual, editing, and performance styles. House of Tolerance's intensely physical dichotomy of pain and pleasure makes it a far more tactile work than anything he has made since (Sarah Winchester, Phantom Opera comes close), while Zombi Child deals primarily in metaphysics and implication, and Nocturama is a processual film that felt…

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  • The Shape of Water

    The Shape of Water

    After having seen only three of his films, I'm starting to think that Guillermo del Toro chooses to work in a "fairy tale" register because it means that he gets to be lazy with characterization and thematic development, chalking it up to the simplicity of the form. There is little other excuse that I can think of for why the villains in his films, perhaps true for The Shape of Water even more than for Pan's Labyrinth, seem to be…

  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

    Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)

    ★★★★½

    Visually, Birdman is a beautiful film whose appearance as one unbroken take allows us to understand the complexity of life behind the Broadway stage and the fast-paced nature of the world of theatre. It is this world where we find Riggan Thomson, a washed-up actor who is about to star in a stage adaptation of What We Talk About When We Talk About Love that he both wrote and directed but who struggles with his own descent from fame. Despite…