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  • Vitalina Varela

    Vitalina Varela

    ★★★★★

    Let me see what I can say of Vitalina. I have seen it twice, and continue to struggle with it in the days since; I wrote some 4000 words on it after my first viewing, only to toss out a good portion after sitting with it longer, fearing that against my better intentions the writing still remained vague and imprecise. It is only fair to Costa to wait until whatever I have to say – as if my writing was…

  • Milla

    Milla

    ★★★★★

    I was too low to write about much last year, let alone last fall, so I missed the opportunity to write about Milla when I first saw it, which is a real shame because Milla was the best film of last year by a pretty enormous margin. Ethically, Massadian is supreme. I find it incredibly telling that Sean Baker panned it, since that about explains how he was capable of producing a film as cruel as The Florida Project. With…

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  • West Side Story

    West Side Story

    ★★★★½

    Kinda stunned by how minimalist this is - I was fully expecting the kind of bloated, blustering musical common to the era, but Wise, in keeping with Lewtonian ideals, strips the film mostly bare. At the same time, it is as detailed as any of the films from the famed RKO B-unit from which Wise came; part of what is so fascinating about those Lewton flicks is the fact that in under half the runtime of most A-pictures, they manage…

  • Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

    Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

    ★★

    The clear precedent for it is Vidor’s Fountainhead, brimming with so much rightwing libidinal energy that there’s no mistaking the monstrosity of it. I agree this film is, at the very least, an attempt at verfremdung (how could you not, Lee is certainly not naive to the nature of the subject matter), but its also still clearly in service of an ultimately rightist critique of media spectacle and big industry that still sing praises of the sanctimonious value of the…

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  • Roma

    Roma

    ½

    "Foucault wanted to write a history of madness itself, that is madness speaking on the basis of of its own experience and under its own authority, and not a history of madness described from within the language of reason, the language of psychiatry on madness [...]

    "It is a question, therefore, of escaping the trap or objectivist naiveté that would consist in writing a history of untamed madness, of madness as it carries itself and breathes before being caught and…

  • 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…