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  • The Salt of the Earth 2014

    ★★★ Watched 11 Dec, 2014

    Let's get the obvious out of the way: Sebastiao Salgado's photographs are so astonishing it's hard to describe them without one's prose descending into a mess of superlatives and cliches. Somehow he manages to capture people instead of bodies using just... see what I mean? In any case with that dealt with the question becomes whether The Salt of the Earth's presentation of Salgado's work does it justice. Initially the answer seems to be yes. The film opens with an…

  • Lake August 2013

    ★★★★ Watched 11 Dec, 2014

    My enthusiasm for this film (bolstered by the appreciation of several smart film people) was initially deflated by its style. The festival approved formulae of static, or near static, master shots combined with long, unbroken takes is rapidly becoming less of a signifier for artistic seriousness and more of an indication of laziness. However several elements of the film combined to jolt me out of my apathy. The first of these was the way in which the style complements the…

Popular reviews

  • A Most Wanted Man 2014

    ★★★½ Watched 01 Aug, 2014

    When TV partisans declare that their medium has overtaken film in terms of quality this is exactly the kind of film they're imagining as a synecdoche: the subtle, adult genre film with a strong thematic through-line. If they were to pick out a TV series to favourably compare to A Most Wanted Man they could hardly do better than The Wire. After all, both concern themselves with institutions so thoroughly perverted that they end up perpetuating the very pathologies they're…

  • Ida 2013

    ★★★½ Watched 05 Jun, 2014

    I saw two trailers before watching Ida. One presented it as a film about uncovering dark secrets of the holocaust and the other suggested it was about a nun being tempted by carnal pleasures (you've got to feel for whoever fell for the latter). It follows then, that as far as I'm concerned, it's about neither.

    Many critics have seen this film as a radical change of pace for Pawlikowski and while the formal elements may be new - black…