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  • The Big City

    The Big City

    ★★★★½

    Beneath the shadow of Satyajit Ray’s monumental Apu trilogy, critically-hailed The Music Room, and self-declared masterpiece Charulata stands The Big City, one of the revered Indian filmmaker’s more reserved and minimalist (in terms of form) efforts. The film is comparatively minor in scope and scale when pitted against, say, Pather Panchali or Aparajito, and — at an initial glance — appears less ambitious in its aims. Allegedly, select critics even relegate its status to that of a minor Ray or…

  • The Round-Up

    The Round-Up

    ★★★★

    Jancsó was a peer of Angelopoulos, Mizoguchi, and Tarkovsky — masters of long, meditative, and unbroken tracking shots who favoured naturalist cinematography and held a great spiritual warmth for nature: each possessed a near-celestial stranglehold over the elements — so it’s a wonder how I remained oblivious to his work throughout my period of worship for these directors. The Round-up is supposedly one of the great Hungarian films, notably Jancsó's first to receive any significant international acclaim, and it revolves…

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  • Nomadland

    Nomadland

    To make a film intent on being an ethnographic examination of one of America’s more overlooked and niche deviant subcultures can be a noble task. If one considers the role of an artist in society to be that of communication — art acting as a vessel for social change and societal introspection — then a film such as Nomadland which supposedly captures the humanity of a neglected people, their trials and tribulations, and how they came to be all sounds…

  • Rome, Open City

    Rome, Open City

    I’m going to out myself here as one of those people who don’t think that Rossellini’s war trilogy has aged particularly well, although this pertains more to the case of Rome, Open City than the other two (Paisan, I feel, still holds a great deal of worth). As interesting and impressive as the production history behind the film is, the actual narrative is surprisingly simplistic and somewhat superficial, itself being much more reminiscent of the postwar escapism that directors like…

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  • Eyes Wide Shut

    Eyes Wide Shut

    ★★★★★

    My favourite Kubrick shuffles like a deck of cards: depending on my mood, the choice can vary from the raw and unkempt Paths of Glory, the self-explanatory 2001: A Space Odyssey, to even a "lesser-work" such as The Killing. Though, in recent memory, one Kubrick has stood out among the rest. The pendulum has swung—and in keeping with the holiday spirit—that crown is now bestowed upon none other than Kubrick's grandeur swan song, Eyes Wide Shut.

    Much like Kubrick’s earlier…

  • Midsommar

    Midsommar

    Ari Aster's brand of shock horror eludes me, many have cited Aster to the effect of a baseless provocateur or a master of empty pastiches—his films mean nothing, while the best aspects are generally borrowed assets—and in the case of Midsommar, both of those labels apply.

    Midsommar, according to Aster, is meant to simulate the experience of a toxic relationship, specifically his own—Aster drew parallels from a past relationship, modeling Florence Pugh's character after himself, Jack Reynor's role after his…