Favorite films

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring
  • Autumn Sonata
  • Paisan

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  • The Leopard

    ★★★★½

  • Le Notti Bianche

    ★★★★★

  • Senso

    ★★★★½

  • Bellissima

    ★★★

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  • Paisan

    Paisan

    ★★★★★

    “Paisà.” A corrupted word from the Italian-American “paesano,” roughly translated as “buddy,” “countryman,” or “neighbor,” often used by American soldiers during the war as a friendly way of greeting their Italian comrades. 

    The word underscores the entire philosophical tenor and humanist soul of Rossellini’s avant-garde masterpiece, a defining film of the neorealist movement that is much closer to traditional definitions of neorealism than his previous work. Nonprofessional actors, authentic locations, and documentary newsreel techniques are all in full force, with…

  • Eyes Wide Shut

    Eyes Wide Shut

    ★★★★★

    The phrase “eyes wide shut” is a contradiction in terms. Eyes can be “wide open,” suggesting a conscious knowledge or clear awareness of something, but eyes cannot be literally “wide shut” unless we approach the confusion of the term as a paradox of perception. For example, eyes might be figuratively “wide open” in the dream world with eyes literally “wide shut” to reality. A person’s eyes can be “wide open” to a number of pleasures and fantasies while keeping their…

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  • The Leopard

    The Leopard

    ★★★★½

    An aging Prince wanders from one enormous ballroom to the next, exhausted and overwhelmed by the extravagant setting and costumed people. He’s watching the scene as if in a trance, surrounded by hundreds, if not thousands of faces of his own genteel kind. He should be at ease among such privileged company, grateful to be sharing this opulence with old and new friends. But this isn’t the case. Inwardly, he’s alone and isolated like a ghost out of time — a pariah…

  • Le Notti Bianche

    Le Notti Bianche

    ★★★★★

    Fellini, weeping by film’s end, watches the premiere in 1957 and makes a blood oath to Mastroianni: “Brother, I’ll forever smother you with beautiful, voluptuous women who crave your every pore!” In a role that would launch his career as Italy’s debonair playboy, the seductive, maddening, titillatingly romantic Mastroianni reminds us once again that repression is the hottest, most tragic thing on the planet. Nothing quite captures the loneliness of unfulfilled desire like watching the sexless agony of lovers swoon…

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  • The 400 Blows

    The 400 Blows

    ★★★★★

    The final freeze-frame says it all. 

    Antoine has arrived on a vast and lonely coastal shore, liberated from the clutches of family and authoritarianism, with nothing to restrict him but the infinite possibility of the ocean. Days of crime, reform and hooky-playing are miles behind him. Detention centers are a thing of the past. Police can’t arrest him. Teachers can’t chide him. Parents and absent role models will no longer hurt him. And in this moment of idealization he feels…

  • Monos

    Monos

    ★★★★½

    MONOS exists on another planet, a perilous edge of the world fantasy that injects you with a syringe of Lord of the Flies + Aguirre, the Wrath of God. A brutal, unflinching fever dream that takes you hostage for 102min, starves you of its sociopolitical context, then forces you to survive its guerrilla anarchy. These are the lost boys and girls of Neverland. A dysfunctional young militia being trained for a war they can hardly understand, pushed to revolution more…