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  • Kaili Blues

    Kaili Blues

    ★★★★

    A film that restlessly leverages the languages of cinema. It never settles into habit or complacency, filtering its naturalism through an isncrutable camera eye, which seems to conspire with the film's landscape as Chen is sent further and further into its depths. Traces of authorship emerge gradually through conspicuous, opaque symbols and lines of poetry read over moments of silence. The result is a richly textural (and textual?) film experience. I think there is so much promise in a film…

  • Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters

    Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters

    ★★★★★

    This is how biographical films should be done. Actually makes an honest attempt to examine the author using his work as a window into his internal life and philosophy. The films answers the challenge of capturing a life spread across so many different media by itself embracing a sort of multimedia approach. Aided by the incredible Glass score, its layers build cumulatively to a finale that leaves the audience in dread and awe, totally speechless. Production design by Eiko Ishioka is mind-blowing.

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  • Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom

    Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom

    ★★★★★

    I love the way the luxurious pacing of this film, which almost seems to breathe as it pulls viewers into the Hall of Orgies and push them out suddenly. Totally absorbing, with fantastic production design. Best to see with an audience.

    I'm sure everyone who has seen this in a theater has an anecdote about it, so here's one of mine. During the intertitle announcing the third chapter, a male audience member loudly and impatiently sighed, sending the audience into a fit of uncomfortable laughter.

  • BPM (Beats per Minute)

    BPM (Beats per Minute)

    ★★★★★

    Shockingly intimate film about the relationship between the individual and the collective. In this film's case we navigate the often conflicting motivations and feelings of the members of ACT UP Paris. Their struggle to work together to affect change in society's attitude towards AIDS victims echoes the way the body fights itself when suffering from the disease. This is visualized in an exuberant, loving, often naturalistic and sometimes sublimely abstract ways of the course of its two hour and twenty minute run time. Arnaud Valois and Nahuel Pérez Biscayart turn in unforgettable performances.