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  • Portrait of a Young Girl at the End of the '60s in Brussels

    Portrait of a Young Girl at the End of the '60s in Brussels

    ★★★★★

    All of Akerman condensed into a single pristine hour. Michèle yearns for connection, but can’t pretend it will ever come easily to her. Defying all conventions and restraints, she presses out into the world, alone. Like so many Akerman protagonists, the more Michèle interacts with others, the more solitary she becomes. The simultaneous experiences of pain and happiness, of proximity and distance, of brightness and gloom, Akerman bestows on Michèle, played pitch-perfect by Circé Lethem. Other than Chantal herself, no…

  • Lourdes

    Lourdes

    ★★★★

    A beautifully composed minimalist slow-burn about the perception of miracles within the context of institutional ritual, commercialism, Church equivocation, and questions around piety. Sylvie Testud plays Christine, a woman suffering from severe MS, and a regular visitor to locations of Marian apparition. These trips, we learn, she makes less out of faith or hope for a cure than for the cultural benefits, and the opportunity to travel and be active.

    On pilgrimage at Lourdes, in southwestern France, she is cared…

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  • Orphan

    Orphan

    ★★★

    Been waiting to find this for years, just because of the two Adèles, and discovered Solène Rigot as a bonus. The story of a young woman, told in reverse chronology, from young adulthood to childhood, in a series of vignettes. The origins of Karine’s troubled life come into clearer focus as the narrative proceeds backwards.

    The idea is cool, the performances are awesome, but there’s a strong vein of misery porn running through this. Deliberately exploitative, with a lopsided emphasis…

  • Lux Æterna

    Lux Æterna

    ★★★★

    Another great Noé trip. The opening exchange between Dalle and Gainsbourg is hilarious. Béatrice Dalle is, as always, an unrelenting force of nature, which is taking nothing away from Charlotte Gainsbourg, but anyone standing next to Dalle is automatically diminished a bit. A fantastically unique meta take on the artist, her art, and the treacherous road from one to the other.

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  • Proxima

    Proxima

    ★★★★½

    For the fourteenth edition of Collokino, I have a lot of fun talking with my brother, homestyle, about this remarkable film. It seems sadly overlooked. I hope this can go a little way to correcting that.

  • Beginning

    Beginning

    ★★★★½

    Feature debut from Georgian director Dea Kulumbegashvili. Told in a series of long static shots (the camera moves exactly four times over the course of the film), it’s a story about a woman marginalized within an already marginal community, whose investment in the world she lives in is tenuous at best. Who is she? What does she want? What does she think and feel? The ambiguity is as seductive as Kulumbegashvili’s taut formalism is riveting. Bereft of symbols, metaphors, and rendition, this is purely observational cinema at its current best. I’m immensely impressed.