Elisha has written 105 reviews for films rated ★★★★ .

  • Labyrinth of Dreams

    Labyrinth of Dreams

    ★★★★

    A great, brain-bending thriller/romance. In large part due to its surreal direction and sound design, but also due to a “what the fuck” plot that’s loaded with the trappings of desire in all of its irrationality. I spent the entirety of the film being lost in the former and gobsmacked by the latter, so I have little to note here beyond my immediate impression of how good Ishii is at crafting a dream-like atmosphere within the physical rules of a…

  • Pickpocket

    Pickpocket

    ★★★★

    My first foray into Sixth Generation filmmaker Jia Zhangke’s filmography is his 1997 (great year) feature debut, Xiao Wu.

    SPOILERS:

    "Do you like hearing me sing?"

    "Yes, I do."

    This film moves effortlessly from one rung of loneliness to another, as a shifting socio-political landscape leads to abandonment in one’s friendships, romantic partners, family, and finally, oneself and one’s community. Crime crackdowns, state-mandated construction projects, lonely bath houses, new technology and even cigarette brands point to a world that is changing…

  • Four Women

    Four Women

    ★★★★

    Wow. First foray into Julie Dash’s short films. May make me revisit Daughters of the Dust.

  • Duck Soup

    Duck Soup

    ★★★★

    Gotta get through a lot of movies tonight so I’ll be brief. Watched this with Pops and we both had a good ass time. Some of the gags ran a bit too long, but the one liners, satire, and third act—which wasn’t over until the fat lady sang—are truly unmatched. .

  • Bush Mama

    Bush Mama

    ★★★★

    You can watch this film, along with others from Gerima and Shirikiana Aina HERE!


    SPOILERS:

    Wow. Ok that second viewing did the trick. Don’t know how I saw the humanity at the center of this as coming secondary to its messages, but I was dead wrong. Gerima was bringing forth surrealism while focusing on small emotions and big ideas in what is easily one of the greatest student films of all time.

    It captures the disillusionment, not only with one’s environment and…

  • Schizopolis

    Schizopolis

    ★★★★

    “In the event that you find certain sequences or ideas confusing, please bear in mind that this is your fault, not ours. You will need to see the picture again and again until you understand everything.

    Shoutout to Dennis Lim for putting me on to this film via his Criterion Top 10 list. Gleefully self-indulgent, outright hilarious, and filled with endless surprises and dots to connect. After watching, I brushed up on the textbook definition of schizophrenia just to be…

  • Water Lilies

    Water Lilies

    ★★★★

    SPOILERS:

    Céline Sciamma’s debut feature Water Lilies perfectly captures the heartbreak, confusion, and wonder that are so essential to bringing coming of age films to life.

    It begins well enough, with confident direction that establishes its characters and their relationships with little to no dialogue, and a sense of rhythm that’s apparent from the films opening sequence onward. There’s a sense of both jealousy and curiosity when Marie watches the majestic synchronized swimming routines, and it’s when she does so…

  • My Dinner with Andre

    My Dinner with Andre

    ★★★★

    It almost feels pointless to talk about a film that does all of the talking itself. I think a discussion about it would be better with someone else over the phone. Anyways, today I’m going to set aside some time to do nothing. And after that, I’ll break a few habits, indulge in a few impulses, and see if there’s any more attention to be paid to everything and everyone.

  • Amores Perros

    Amores Perros

    ★★★★

    First off, I want to say that Emilio Echevarría and Gael García Bernal steal the show here. The pacing is at times a double-edged sword, but for the most part, it’s perfect. It makes 155 minutes feel more like 93 thanks to the constantly high emotional and material stakes provided by the script. For the tiniest bit, I wish it had slowed down just enough for me to further soak in some of its symbolism (like the balloon), but I’m not…

  • Soleil Ô

    Soleil Ô

    ★★★★

    “Sweet France...
    I am bleached by your culture, but I remain a Negro, as I was at the beginning.”

    You really have to understand just how much of Med Hondo’s life is in this film. Even the structure—it’s sounds and it’s breaks into conversation—feels similar to the way he describes his grandfather, a griot by trade, telling stories in small villages. It simultaneously balances both inner and interpersonal dialogue with boldness and breadth, reaching into as many corners as it…

  • Shock Corridor

    Shock Corridor

    ★★★★

    “WHOM GOD WISHES TO DESTROY HE FIRST MAKES MAD.”
    -Euripides, 425 B.C.

    This film contains one of the most...interesting explorations of race I can think of in recent memory. The same goes for political ideology. It all points to the fact that America and all of his destructive ambitions are the real madhouse, and our characters are merely the people who’ve witnessed and survived its darkest corners. Stanley Cortez’s cinematography is brilliant here. Even moreso than it is in The…

  • Residue

    Residue

    ★★★★

    Man, this is beautiful independent cinema.

    It’s like watching a block of clay slowly take form in real time. It begins with an idea here, a feeling there, and eventually evolves into a complete poetic voice guided by sound, fury, displacement and love. And it’s those latter elements that become bigger than its ideas, in turn forming those ideas into lived in realities (because that’s what they are).

    What strikes me most about this film is it’s use of contrast…