even if ultimately this is just as despairing a vision of the economic realities of the American working class as Soderbergh’s original, the generally dour tone and piss-stained color palette have been exchanged for an ecstatically intimate view of himbo masculinity and candy-colored, sometimes gloriously abstract lighting expressly designed to make all bodies appear beautiful. gets a lot of mileage out of the reflexive examination of its own status as an attractive, decidedly unpretentious commodity which exists purely to service…
baffling, just barely skirts unwatchability most of the time but nonetheless Rollin intermittently wrings something incredibly moving and almost human from what would otherwise be little more than porn with numbingly elaborate justifications attached. identities and bodies crumble inside of sterile but fashionable interiors, which are supposedly insulating them from the barren, scarred urban wasteland which awaits outside. the eternal present-tensism is what really works here, though, with the constantly refashioned (and yet always disintegrating) selves clumsily stumbling towards warmth…
a delightfully “minor” work about the spirituality of broken people, one which takes their belief seriously (the little rustle of the bushes every time Hank is cast out, repeated so many times it goes from magical to mundane), even though it has no trouble laughing along with the sublime ridiculousness of faith, surrounded as it is by banality and cruelty. one of the loveliest films about how to keep living through trauma and fashion a life for yourself against the…
daylight’s fashionable glossy hyperreality is transformed into near-monochrome gothic fantasia at night. radical discontinuties of time, running too fast and too much and yet frozen by grief. Coppola exorcises the ghosts which narrative forms silence and brick over; the ground we stand on is revealed to be nothing but tombstones (Edgar Allan Poe stayed there once, didn’t you know?). abrasive juxtaposition (spatial, temporal, and tonal) tears at the insides of a tired genre exercise until it’s as bleeding and battered…
”are you consciously aware that that’s my intention? i hate sappy movies, i find them torturous”
the rare found footage film that deals productively with the tensions between the format’s pretensions to naturalism and its actual self-conscious theatricality, between digital’s capabilities for beautiful imagemaking and the unsettling coldness it tends to inflect images with. something of an ur-text (or preliminary investigation) for what Shyamalan was about to do in Split, insofar as he’s interrogating the way exploitation functions as an…
basically doesn’t function as a political text except in a few moments of appreciated clarity (the oneiric punctuation by Pierre’s ghost of the Marxist teacher’s failure to serve her political ideals, Morelli’s wife immediately retreating into the car as a sobering reminder of the Algerian people whose material presence is excluded from these intellectual spaces) and several more of unfortunately facile liberal humanism. however, this decidedly does work as an impossibly sensuous account of youth’s relationship to time, wistfully documenting…
the metempsychosis of a marginalized subject is not tranquil but repulsive, filled with the blood and suffering necessary for expurgation of material and political corruption. a man wanders through a world populated by ghosts and murderers, and yet a tenuous solidarity with the outcasts and downtrodden of the global south is formed. debts are accounted for and repaid, but Europe reasserts its self-destructive brutality once more.
"Remember me, and I promise to forget everything"
treat me like a doll
ill be super perfect
see the real me
buried in the plastic
whats this stuff
is it even flesh
is it even blood
is it even me
i built myself
from barely fitting parts
i still fall apart
fellas, it has the Wachowski touch: in recovering the (political and formal) clumsiness of blockbuster cinema from the corporate anonymity of Marvel and the overstylized deconstructions of Snyder and Rian Johnson it also finds a renewed emotional immediacy in a surprisingly tender account of embodied femininity. slice your tears in two
surrealism as a dissociative escape from the routinized terror of child abuse and the repulsive suffocation of the bourgeois family structure. could invite comparisons to Rivette, but Ruiz’s mise-en-scene is so much more totalizing and elusive that any line drawn between this and something like Celine and Julie Go Boating feels completely useless. very impressive as an aestheticization of the alienated consciousness produced by a life in which home is defined by absence (or, perhaps more accurately, the inassimilable presence…
”Remember the story of the rat?”
Tsui pushes his montage (and, really, the whole form itself) past its limits, fragmenting his style and then piecing it back together from so many disparate influences, including his own films from different periods in his career, that its metamorphosis seems to never cease even for a moment. the polyglotism is literalized in the linguistic inconsistency, but permeates every aspect of the cinematic form here in more abstract ways. everything in this film exists…
the mundane nausea of living with grief is transformed into a holy terror, God speaks through the impossible connective tissue of chance and fate, the gaps in narrative logic necessitate that we have just as much faith as the characters in the designer of this universe. the naive belief of fools and children will always be more compelling than rationalizations and false self-assuredness. only when the home is shattered from the inside does it return to being a space of domestic warmth. this is profoundly, deeply That Good Shit.
“the air is coming. believe. we don’t have to be afraid. it’ll pass.”
"I'm a communist. I don't drink Coca-Cola."
"What do you know about hookers? I respect them. It's a job."
The alternately ecstatic and repulsive last gasp of youth before entrance into a lifetime of subjugating oneself to power. Like many of Denis' films, often little more (and nothing less) than a catalogue of ways of being touched.