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  • I Am Not Madame Bovary

    I Am Not Madame Bovary

    I Am Not Madame Bovary is super interesting formally. There's plenty to talk about on that level. Alas I am a bumbling idiot so this is entirely a plot analysis. Just in case it's not clear what that entails: I write about the plot. Like, all of it.

    I Am Not Madame Bovary is a Chinese film satirising the efforts of officials but also one that sought to pass China's unusually strict censorship board. You can see the problem here.…

  • Shin Godzilla

    Shin Godzilla

    Shin Godzilla is pretty good albeit in an odd duck way. It's only peripherally a disaster movie. That's not to say it doesn't utilise Godzilla as a metaphor for nuclear destruction. There's a moment of grand tragedy that is utterly heartbreaking and its ending is quietly chilling. However such moments merely establish stakes; the meat of the film is, of all things, an unabashed celebration of bureaucracy.

    Granted it celebrates a particular kind of bureaucracy. Before the heroes can work…

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  • Birdman

    Birdman

    Birdman is so in your face that it makes a motif out of characters speaking directly to the camera. It's a manic, propulsive, eager little thing driven by a relentless drum score, a swooping camera and restless actors who talk as though they could burst into flames at any moment. It's populated by caricatures and filled with the kind of passionate nonsense that regularly fills columns exclaiming that Hollywood has run out of ideas, or that theater is a dying…

  • Flight of the Red Balloon

    Flight of the Red Balloon

    A sly, delicate film, ostensibly about a tenancy dispute but also about the porous boundary between life and art. To that end it references its own creation numerous times: there's the mixing of Taiwanese and French art that's present in Suzanne's puppetry (which may also deliberately recall The Puppetmaster) and of course there's Fang Song playing herself and working on a film that is very much like the film we're watching. She even explains how the balloon is made to…