Favorite films

  • Vertigo
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Bicycle Thieves
  • Taxi Driver

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  • Asako I & II

    ★★★★

  • Waltz with Bashir

    ★★★★½

  • I Lost My Body

    ★★★★

  • The Color of Money

    ★★★★

Recent reviews

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  • Waltz with Bashir

    Waltz with Bashir

    ★★★★½

    Only my second viewing of Waltz with Bashir and this time I was struck how persuasive the film was as a study of trauma. When I first reviewed the film (now archived here on Letterboxd) circa 2008, I was looking at the movie through the lens of Middle Eastern politics. I feel now that emphasizing this too much might be reductive or, at the very least, understating the film’s other qualities, namely its striking “récit à rebours”: the mix of…

  • Asako I & II

    Asako I & II

    ★★★★

    Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Asako I & II (2018) is a curious film that marries a surface calm and lightness of tone with an underswell of something more sinister and symbolic. On paper, with its suggestions of missing people and doubling, there are clear nods to Vertigo. You might even envisage something like Lee Chang-dong’s Burning, released the same year. Of course, Hamaguchi would gain further international attention in 2021 with his own Murakami adaptation, Drive My Car. Yet Asako I & II seems…

Popular reviews

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  • The Remains of the Day

    The Remains of the Day

    ★★★★½

    Merchant-Ivory’s adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Booker Prize novel is special to me for several reasons. Notwithstanding the fact that the source material was a subject of academic interest to me, and therefore a novel that I know as well as any other, it was a story I discovered first in cinematic form and constituted one of my first forays into “serious drama” on the big screen. Indeed, the films of Merchant-Ivory, so beloved of my culturally-conservative mother, were things she…

  • Van Gogh

    Van Gogh

    ★★★★

    Thanks to the French-German channel Arte, the entire feature filmography of Maurice Pialat is currently available to stream online. I hesitated before watching Maurice Pialat’s Van Gogh, having jumped into the deep end of French filmmaker’s catalogue with the Palme d’Or-winning Under the Sun of Satan (1987). That is not to say I did not like that film, but that it was pretty heavy weather. On paper Van Gogh looks like something equally austere, charting the life of the legendary…