Elisha has written 106 reviews for films rated ★★★★ .

  • Made in Britain

    Made in Britain

    ★★★★

    SPOILERS: 


    What struck me by the end of this were the myriad ways in which Clarke, Leland, and Roth bring Trevor to life with both absolute honesty and purposeful, subtle irony in regards to their thematic goals.

    Trevor is probably the best portrayal of an outright bigot that I've seen in recent memory. This is in large part because there's no mind-boggling arc of redemption to bookend Made In Britain. There's no sick mom or little brother through which we…

  • The Play

    The Play

    ★★★★

    First Pelin Esmer film!

    Criminally underseen. As a piece to set the tone in terms of intent, I think this would make a great first film for a film class. As dark as the conversation and stories concerning gender got, it was ultimately getting the opportunity to watch these women laugh with each other, understand each other, and express themselves that made this such a great watch. As they break new ground we feel the trepidations behind every word, the…

  • The White Balloon

    The White Balloon

    ★★★★

    Little Razieh is just too good for this world :’-)

    Kiarostami and Panahi really know how to create an anxiety-inducing situation out of matters of perspective. The world through a child’s eyes is vast in small places, and just as frightening and disheartening as it is wondrous (especially for a little girl). Didn’t even take a note during that snake scene, because it had me ready to punch someone.

  • Chinese Roulette

    Chinese Roulette

    ★★★★

    FIRST THING: 

    I downloaded this Google Chrome extension called 'Letterboxd Ratings Remover' and I'd highly recommend it for anyone that occasionally uses this app on their laptop. The experience of going in completely blind, without any preconceived notions given by what my LB friends or people in general thought, was something I didn't know I'd missed for so long. Letterboxd, as well as streaming services, should consider adopting a "blind mode" where we can choose to hide information from ourselves…

  • No Ward

    No Ward

    ★★★★

    Terence touches on what I felt the Ross Brothers missed when they made Tchoupitoulas. It’s that New Orleans is in the people when we’re at home, no matter where we have to make one. Even remembering the worst of this left me feeling grounded in a beautiful way.

  • Four Nights of a Dreamer

    Four Nights of a Dreamer

    ★★★★

    Included in Great Songs from Great Movies


    I spent the first few hours of today reading White Nights, the Dostoevsky novella upon which this film is based. I would definitely recommend reading it first, as it enriches the on screen experience in my opinion. You can find the PDF for it here.

    The reason I suggest this is because it's beautiful to watch how Bresson cracks open what was, to me, a pretty mixed-experience of a novella. White Nights is…

  • A Moment of Innocence

    A Moment of Innocence

    ★★★★

    Second Makhmalbaf film. The first was The Silence, and you should really check that one out too. 

    You know, the more I think about this film the more I love it. Not just for the mental gymnastics brought about by its meta form—seeing Symbiopsychotaxipliasm: Take One last week has primed my brain for that—but for how humane it is. It’s a way to frame the dour self-seriousness and singular perspective of autobiography with something more sensitive and universal: the exploration of…

  • Spring Night, Summer Night

    Spring Night, Summer Night

    ★★★★

    First off, shoutout to Nicolas Winding Refn for getting this lost gem restored. According to Film Lincoln Center, it got invited and then bumped from NYFF’s 68' lineup in favor of a film called Faces by some guy named Cassavetes. You can find this film, along with eight volumes-worth of Refn's favorite forgotten indies, here.

    SPOILERS:

    The more I think about these characters, the more I love them. They're these fraught individuals in search of respectability or a proper role,…

  • Field Niggas

    Field Niggas

    ★★★★

    400th film of the year!! 🎉🎉🎉

    Decided to close out everything with Khalik Allah. This film, and his films in general, are built on the light and love that exists between people the world would rather forget about. If everything here—and maybe something about this year—could be summed up, it would sound like this:

    It’s almost like they get upset that we’re happy and we’re homeless. Like you can’t be in a bad predicament and still be happy...”

  • The Young and the Damned

    The Young and the Damned

    ★★★★

    SPOILERS (for this film, Pixote, and City of God):

    I see a lot of people drawing a link between this film and City of God, but I think it’s a lot closer in kinship to Pixote. There is, for instance, no pure soul such as Benny to mourn over here. Love is never found at all, and it is only sought after when it no longer has a chance to grow. Any imagined escape is an escape back into the…

  • Sympathy for Lady Vengeance

    Sympathy for Lady Vengeance

    ★★★★

    Finally finished Park Chan-wook's Vengeance Trilogy!

    SPOILERS:

    This is possibly the darkest, dark comedy I've seen in recent memory. Initially, the tonal shift from the first two films felt jarring. But I think when viewed in the context of each successive film's stylistic evolution, it makes sense. Sympathy for Lady Vengeance builds on the animated respites and stylistic excesses of Oldboy to find a comedic visual language that revels, not in self-parody, but in humorous and thematically-appropriate absurdity.

    It also…

  • The Cruz Brothers and Miss Malloy

    The Cruz Brothers and Miss Malloy

    ★★★★

    “My sons, nuns are never armed with love and compassion. However, you will be safe here for a while. And you have never even been safe before.”

    Kathleen Collins has held a special place for me this year, ever since I watched Losing Ground in June. I finished her beautifully bittersweet book of short stories, Whatever Happened to Interracial Love?, a week or so ago and I loved it. I'm also halfway through Notes from a Black Woman's Diary, and…