Favorite films

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  • The Tragedy of Bushido

  • Tracing Utopia

  • The Lamb of God

  • Where the Summer Goes (Chapters on Youth)

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  • Chess of the Wind

    Chess of the Wind

    Find it dumb that we're wasting time with superficial, condescending comparisons to Big Europeans like Visconti (decadent rich folk) and Bresson (... austerity?) when Ophül's La signora di tutti is right there.

    Would not be at all surprised to find that Ophül's film was an inspiration – they share many plot points, relationships, staging strategies and a delirious, despairing but also acerbic tone, not to mention the sweeping, spinning camera movements through, into and out of rooms.

    But by any…

  • Canary

    Canary

    Always gratifying when, after four mediocre but intermittently striking films by a director, one hits upon the exception where they more consistently fulfill their promise. This is a far better Kumashiro update than Shiota’s later Wet Woman in the Wind–that being little more than a twee, slapdash exhibition of the Japanese studio film industry’s current creative and political bankruptcy. Canary is both more naturalist and more whimsical than the master, which means that it never scales the athletic heights of…

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  • The Worst Person in the World

    The Worst Person in the World

    Amélie for millennials, though I'm sure Jeunet's bonbon, swarming with wasps and green and red mold, has aged better than this will. Some of the most cynical product I've seen in years. It's like the NYT Op-Ed page mated with an in-flight entertainment system. Irredeemable, witless, ugly trash (yes, even taking into account some pretty sharp performances).

  • The Enclosed Valley

    The Enclosed Valley

    Like all my favorite films, it takes the world apart, then puts it together again.

    An enormous and quiet vision of assembling.