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  • Veiled Aristocrats

    Veiled Aristocrats

    ★★★★½

    I must admit that on some level, my adoration for this film stems from elements that cannot have been intended by Micheaux, making this appraisal somewhat vulgar. There is no reason to believe that the current condition of the film was at all an artistic choice on his part, but rather, the result of a lack of care and natural decay of celluloid. However, rather than dismiss these elements, I'd like to incorporate them into my reading of the film,…

  • Zorns Lemma

    Zorns Lemma

    ★★★★½

    On the simplest level, an exercise on association, primarily exploring the logic of the cut. Reminds me the most of Kiarostami (though it predates his cerebral work by a few years) in that it goads the audience into negotiating with the film in order to tease out meaning: its opening provides only dialogue over a black screen, prompting the audience to imagine their own pictures to match the prose not unlike Shirin; its middle portion tricks us into obeying its…

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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…