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  • Alien: Covenant

    Alien: Covenant

    It would seem to me that Scott finds himself in a somewhat curious conundrum. On the one hand, with few (if any) exceptions, he’s never strayed from his roots as a genre filmmaker; his canon is a mixture of science fiction, historical fiction, biblical epic, and gangster films. Yet, on the other hand, it would strike me that there is an expectation for Scott to meet the demands of an Art filmmaker, the likely result of his early films’ entrances…

  • Blonde Venus

    Blonde Venus

    ★★★★½

    Far and away the superior JVS feature from 1932, and possibly even the most upsettingly under-appreciated from his career (either this or Thunderbolt, from what I can gather). Recognizing that the whole of Sternberg's career after The Blue Angel - maybe before as well, although I'd need to revisit those films with that frame of reference before I could say so confidently - is concerned with performed identity, the political/moral value of a lie, and implicitly, the fleeting truth-value of…

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  • Silence

    Silence

    ★½

    If there's any one thing I truly hate about the West, it's how it always positions itself as the advocate of "free choice" in the face of a totalitarian Other. Countless times, this excuse has been used as a justification for overwhelmingly imperialist action, a sort of ideological bait-and-switch where "freedom" necessarily makes non-Western culture inferior and non-Westerners subordinate to the hegemony of the West.

    I might compare Silence to White Material, in the sense that both are essentially colonist…

  • Close-Up

    Close-Up

    ★★★★★

    Like Birth of a Nation or Breathless before it, Kiarostami's Close-Up is an easy film to take for granted, as the further we get from its original release, the less novel it may appear to be. However, it is also like those two films in that its significance in cinematic history cannot - and should not - be understated. Close-Up is one of the handful of films who have fundamentally reshaped our relationship to the medium. Its legacy is especially…