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  • Modern Times

    Modern Times

    Conventional wisdom would probably rank the first twenty minutes as Chaplin's best two-reel short, with all the iconic images and sight gags throughout the factory, followed by mostly run-of-the-mill Tramp antics. Though that entire section is academically fascinating, I think the film is at its best outside of the factory, offering its greatest modernist insights from the street level; a Hugo-esque comedy of errors, less awkward and resistant than Chaplin's stubbornness towards industry and sound film. Paulette Goddard's performance is electric, and its jabs at the ideal American family are more riveting than the dissolve from herded sheep to workers by a mile.

  • Her Socialist Smile

    Her Socialist Smile

    The most inspired documentary of the last few years. Those more penetrating eyes of the mind, as Keller called them, become the eyes by which we see Gianvito's footage, text blocks, and infrequent archival materials take shape; an uncanny approach which intensifies alongside its own subject's breadth of political involvement.

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  • The Battle of Algiers

    The Battle of Algiers

    A pummeling celluloid manifesto; perhaps the only film that's made a zoom feel like a beheading. The café bombing scene is what the medium of cinema was built for; as concerning as it is riveting. Makes me wonder why Hitchcock gets to hog all the credit for his similar but comparatively simplistic and apolitical theory on suspense.

  • A Serious Man

    A Serious Man

    A pitch black Sisyphean comedy, if you could even call it comedy, home to cinema's best illustration of Schrodinger's cat. A misfit gem in a terrific filmography; easily the brothers' finest portrayal of a cataclysmic breakdown since Barton Fink.