Sergei Loznitsa's Maidan is an extraordinary 'historical' document of the revolution against then Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and his government. While more conventional documentaries might choose to follow one or more individuals and their personal experiences, Loznitsa eschews this approach in favour of letting the viewer experience it themselves. His camera is largely static, with long takes allowing us to take in the sea of figures and faces and to more fully absorb the scene that unfolds.
The power of…
American Sniper is an interesting look at the effects of war upon the soldier. Specifically Chris Kyle - the titular sniper played by Bradley Cooper. However, I felt that it spent too much of its time on the battlefield rather than away from it for that to be a valid excuse for its jingoism. Nevertheless, the action is well directed and Eastwood does a good job of cranking up the tension.
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…
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.