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  • Persona

    Persona

    ★★★★★

    Oh man, where do I start? Persona defies interpretation; in fact, one of the many themes of the film is the very struggle with interpretation. This film has so many different ways to interpret it that you could watch it hundreds of times and see something new each time. (it blows my mind how complex Persona manages to be in just 85 minutes). At the core of the film— the thread that runs through it all— is duality. The duality of things…

  • Rashomon

    Rashomon

    ★★★★★

    Lashes of rain, spouts of water. A deluge, a torrential spray. All sliding over roof, sluicing down timbers, around pillars of wood, splashing into muddy puddles on the ground. It is a dissected tour; an intro sequence of close images, weather against architecture. Then— we get an image of the edifice as a whole. Rashomon Gate. All the parts together, the complete structure: it is a ruin in the rain, half-formed, jagged with its bones poking out, and degraded by…

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  • Orpheus

    Orpheus

    ★★★★

    Mirrors are cinematically primal images. Ostensibly simple, they carry a plethora of themes and connotations. For mirrors are also windows, reflections, eyes, ideologies, perceptions, realizations, and doubles. And, when facing a mirror, isn’t there always that lurking urge to more forward and travel through the looking glass? The inverted view ahead beckons and speaks of strange happenings, unexpected events, and a delightful tease of the unknown.

    Such is certainly the case in Jean Cocteau’s Orpheus, a film of poetic obsession,…

  • The Blood of a Poet

    The Blood of a Poet

    ★★★★½

    You are what you destroy

    You become what you break
    You absorb what you ache
    You expel what you make

    The statue awaits its part,
    And comes alive in art,
    Not as marble in the grey,
    But an actor in the play,
    A foil to the poet’s complexion
    Like an image to its reflection.

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  • Nomadland

    Nomadland

    ★★★★½

    Loss leaves behind vast, sprawling spaces. When those rough hands of the unknown tear apart the future, they leave only distance, dizzying and dark. It is the terrain of quiet grief— an emotion that flawlessly fits over the American landscape, in all its wide plains, dim deserts, and far-away mountain ridges. And in Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland, we don’t ever see the initial impact of grief, but we are always reminded of what it hardens into: a tough, trampled road, running…

  • Jojo Rabbit

    Jojo Rabbit

    ★★★★

    While Jojo Rabbit operates with striking colours and seemingly simple themes, it has far more depth hidden just out of sight, inside all its crawl-spaces and concealed rooms. It may seem like the film only presents self-evident truths— such as ‘Nazis are bad’ ‘war is awful,’ ‘love is the antidote to hate,’ and so on— but each of these truths functions as the tip of an iceberg, revealing themselves against this symmetric sea of pleasing colours, and conveying a vast,…