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  • Giverny I (Négresse Impériale)

    Giverny I (Négresse Impériale)

    ★★★★

    Five distinct sources of imagery make up Ja'tovia Gary's Giverny I. There are meticulously composed landscape shots of the Giverny gardens, usually with Gary either posed in the center of the frame or barely visible somewhere in the far off background; there are still images of flowers, leaves, and other plants, which flicker in and out momentarily (not unlike the animations in the first segment of Gary's An Ecstatic Experience); there are shots from a film of Claude Monet painting…

  • Mary Jane's Not a Virgin Anymore

    Mary Jane's Not a Virgin Anymore

    ★★★

    Following the style established in the dialogue-based sequences of her earlier film I Was a Teenage Serial Killer, Sarah Jacobson's Mary Jane's Not a Virgin Anymore maintains a relatively traditional sense of composition throughout in terms of both form and narrative—but Jacobson’s execution of these compositions turns them, and the film itself, inside out, in the manner of an empty pocket: The necessarily-threadbare aesthetic found in all of her work (even student films and music videos) is most distinct in…

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  • Chi-Raq

    Chi-Raq

    ★★★★

    Or: The Umbrellas of Chicago.

  • Support the Girls

    Support the Girls

    ★★★★★

    Something of a “shift film” (apologies to Park Lanes): it begins with an opening credit sequence laid over shots of Texas highways (a commute), then charts the workday at an independently operated faux-Hooters restaurant from open until close (followed by a coda). That opening preps you for the graceful whiplashes of Bujalski’s cinema—the titles play over upbeat country pop until the film smash-cuts to a person in a parking lot crying helplessly in their car. That is Lisa (Regina Hall),…