Favorite films

  • Lawrence of Arabia
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Ran
  • Secrets & Lies

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  • The Song of Bernadette

    ★★★

  • Scenes from a Marriage

    ★★★★★

  • The Sea Wolf

    ★★★★

  • Bergman Island

    ★★½

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  • No Country for Old Men

    No Country for Old Men

    ★★★★★

    A determined but hapless man who thinks he’s more competent than he is gets mixed up in a crime, and everything proceeds to go horribly wrong. That's a plot hook that the Coen brothers have riffed on several times throughout their shared career, most visibly so in Blood Simple, Fargo, and this, their first film conventionally adapted from a literary source.* What distinguishes No Country for Old Men’s take on this plot hook from its predecessors’, and indeed from the…

  • The Rules of the Game

    The Rules of the Game

    ★★★★★

    When you’re starting out on your cinephile journey, Jean Renoir’s The Rules of the Game* is one of the first experiences you’re likely to have where a film’s lofty reputation confuses you. I say this as someone who had such an experience. I first saw the film at age 16, when my knowledge of world cinema and filmmaking in general was still developing - to give you some sense of where it was, I was confident enough to say that…

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  • The Song of Bernadette

    The Song of Bernadette

    ★★★

    A director like Henry King is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you know you're going to get craftsmanship of a vintage rare even during the Golden Age, but on the other, that rarely translates into much that's actively interesting. Maybe he was just unfortunate in the material he was given to work with: Carousel is a shoddly-plotted musical, and The Song of Bernadette is a rigidly pious biopic of the titular saint who discovered the spring at Lourdes.…

  • Scenes from a Marriage

    Scenes from a Marriage

    ★★★★★

    Scenes from a Marriage is one of Ingmar Bergman’s most atypical films. Whether this has anything to do with the fact that it’s also one of his best I’m not sure, but there must be some link between its popularity and how starkly it stands in contrast to the widespread understanding of the filmmaker’s work as oblique, hung up on arcane spiritual questions, and addicted to laboured allegory in that oh-so-arthouse way.

    Admittedly, if there’s one thing the name “Ingmar…

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