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  • Goodbye to Language 2014

    ★★★★½ Watched 20 Nov, 2014

    I can't claim to have understood it, if there is actually anything specific that Godard wants to convey, but Goodbye to Language is a film jam-packed with ideas. It's one of the most playful films I've ever seen - experimenting with just about every aspect of filmmaking and, in the process, creating imagery (in three dimensions) that's truly dazzling. I've never seen anything quite like it, and perhaps never will again.

  • All That Heaven Allows 1955

    ★★★★½ Rewatched 07 Aug, 2014

    Douglas Sirk's tale of a widow who falls in love with her younger gardener is a scathing indictment of middle-class America in the 1950s. It's very much a film that criticises the American Dream, with Sirk seeing the attainment of wealth and family as merely fuelling haughtiness. Having written a dissertation on social pressures in Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence and Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina only a few months ago, I could recognise the same thematic content in Sirk's…

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  • A Brighter Summer Day 1991

    ★★★★★ Watched 01 Apr, 2012

    A magnificent achievement, A Brighter Summer Day is a near four-hour novelistic film set in 1960s Taiwan. Xiao Si'r (played by Chen Chang in his debut role) is a member of a local gang in turmoil due to the disappearance of its leader, Bunny - whose girlfriend Si'r gets involved with. As a study of tensions within gangs, it rivals Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather but - based on a real, tragic event - it's a wholly different film that…

  • Yearning 1964

    ★★★★★ Watched 16 Feb, 2013 2

    This melodrama, courtesy of Mikio Naruse, is a deeply moving and visually impressive work that follows a young man (Yuzo Kayama) in love with his sister-in-law (a stunning, career-best performance from Hideko Takamine), who was widowed during the war. With a final shot that is as perfect as is to be found in the medium of cinema, Yearning is one of several masterpieces that can be found in the oeuvre of the still-unappreciated Japanese master.