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  • A Brighter Summer Day

    A Brighter Summer Day

    ★★★★★

    This review contains various thematic spoilers but only vague allusions to plot spoilers. Read at your discretion.

    A Brighter Summer Day is a truth epic, a four hour journey into the abyss of teenage disillusionment. It's about the reality of growing up and the consequences of an aimless life. It's a quiet movie, of people kissing in the dark, with conversations happening between people offscreen, of themes muted in favour of shapeless ideas. It's paced like life itself, with threads…

  • Werckmeister Harmonies

    Werckmeister Harmonies

    ★★★★★

    Werckmeister Harmonies is a film of constant symbolism and allegory. It is the greatest philosophical and political allegory since Sátántangó, another film by master auteur Béla Tarr. Werckmeister Harmonies is Tarr's most exciting film (although Sátántangó remains his best) because it's the most brimming with ideas. Adapting the novel The Melancholy of Resistance by László Krasznahorkai, Werckmeister Harmonies more than matches the quality of the masterful original text. The film is more implicit in some ways, taking the dense metaphorical…

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  • Shirkers

    Shirkers

    ★★★★½

    What can a film be? If Shirkers is about anything (and it's about a lot), it's a showcase that at the centre of all cinema is people. It's about cinema as a reflection of self, as a time capsule of moments that people lived and breathed, as something that each and every person has a different reaction to. Shirkers is about a love for cinema in its purest form, of other people's visions becoming our very own dreams. Yet Shirkers

  • Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot

    Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot

    ★★★½

    Whilst Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot relies on an endless stream of indie biopic tropes, its life-affirming story is told in a tidy and ultimately engaging manner. Despite being about a cartoonist, the film focuses very little on art and instead concentrates on disability and alcoholism. The way it touches on the social aspects of living with disability - making friends, having sex, interacting with strangers - gives Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot a…

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  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

    The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

    ★★½

    Like many anthology films, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is a mixed bag. This collection of simple stories joyfully re-imagines a whole host of classic Western tropes and stylings, setting the film in a fantasy land derived from the pulpiest of Wild West stories. The dialogue is witty, the violence is graphic, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs basically delivers an enjoyable experience. At first, the film seems light in tone but, despite being relatively easy viewing throughout, the film gradually…

  • Burning

    Burning

    ★★★★½

    I saw this at Leeds International Film Festival 2018.

    This review has no explicit plot spoilers, but discusses thematic spoilers. Read at your discretion.

    Burning is a mystery with no solution. A film told backwards, with an ending that defines all else. Everything is a retroactive build-up. A film of red herrings because they matter as much as the answer, which is to say: not at all.

    If there exists a perfect man - a man who's rich, young, handsome,…