Favorite films

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

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  • Love and Anarchy

    ★★★★

  • The Wonders

    ★★★½

  • Syndromes and a Century

    ★★★★

  • The Return of the Soldier

    ★★★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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  • Love and Anarchy

    Love and Anarchy

    ★★★★

    Meanders around a little, and lacks the jaw-dropping audacity of Seven Beauties, but this is still an incredibly good examination of how a man's ideological convictions are doomed by his deep-seated character flaws, and the shattering gut-punch of an ending does a good deal to ameliorate the preceding lack of discipline. Giancarlo Giannini has been exceptional in each of Wertmüller's films that I've seen, but I'm not sure he ever topped his performance here for its mixture of repugnant chauvinism and complete banality. This is easily also one of Wertmüller's best-crafted films, benefiting greatly from Giuseppe Rotunno's customarily magnificent lighting of interiors.

  • The Wonders

    The Wonders

    ★★★½

    Wait so was Coco meant to be their aunt or just some random woman who lived with them?

    This is an interesting cross between your average 2010s ragged handheld realism and something more lyrical and reflective; the comparison with something like The Tree of Wooden Clogs feels too easy, but that film is also one of the very few things I've seen that I would say has any kind of kinship with what Alice Rohrwacher is reaching for. It's probably…

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